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Barbara and Leland Edwards

Barbara Edwards, missionary to Panama and wife of former Director of Foreign Missions Leland Edwards, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday. She was 96.

Born Barbara Noyes, daughter of L.I.F.E. Bible College (now Life Pacific College) graduates Larry and Gladys Noyes, Barbara attended L.I.F.E. from 1940-1941; she was later ordained in 1953.

Leland, who passed away in 2013, recalled meeting Barbara in 1940 at the first missions conference, which took place following the annual Foursquare convention. After finishing his message and telling of things God had done in Panama, Leland’s father, pioneer missionary Arthur Edwards, gave an altar call for those who would like give their lives in ministry wherever God would lead them.

“Several came forward, and one of them was a very beautiful young blonde lady,” said Leland. “The Lord spoke to me, ‘There is your mate for life.’ I didn’t know her name or anything about her.”

Leland took Barbara to the L.I.F.E. junior/senior banquet at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., before he deployed to Panama. After 13 months of writing letters back and forth, Barbara accepted Leland’s marriage proposal in a letter. He saved up for three months to pay her fare to Panama. On the morning of August 31, 1941, a week after she arrived, they were married in the Panama City Foursquare Church.

She was licensed in 1942 and served as a missionary to Panama alongside Leland for 18 years. She then served as Leland’s assistant, first as he took the role of assistant director of foreign missions, and then as director. They retired together in 1988.

“The Foursquare movement globally is in a better place today because of Barbara’s ministry. While we will miss her, I am grateful that her husband, Leland, was there to welcome her home.”
—Glenn Burris Jr., president of The Foursquare Church

Foursquare President Glenn Burris Jr. remembers Barbara as a legend in global Foursquare circles. “The beauty of disciple-making and leadership development is that one’s investment continues to flourish and multiply far beyond any of our own personal capabilities or even lifespans,” says Glenn. “This is embodied in the life of Barbara Edwards. The Foursquare movement globally is in a better place today because of Barbara’s ministry. While we will miss her, I am grateful that her husband, Leland, was there to welcome her home.”

Foursquare Missions International Director Dr. Ted Vail adds that “Barbara and her husband, Leland, were pioneers, faithful leaders, disciple-makers and developers of leaders. She believed that God was able to do amazing things through others, and so she invested her life in helping others.

“We are still seeing the fruit of her ministry today as indigenous leaders and national movements continue to flourish in the regions where she and Leland served,” continues Ted. “Their pioneering work stands as a testament to their faithful and adventurous commitment to the Lord’s calling throughout their lives. She was loved by us all and will be missed.”

Barbara is survived by two sons, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A memorial service celebrating Barbara’s life will be held on Monday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. at:

The Sanctuary
26444 Friendly Valley Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA  91321

Donations in her honor can be made to Foursquare Missions Press.

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  1. That’s part of the FourSquare ministry my heart is filled with sadness and joy such a great woman of God has left precious memories of her I’m sure will last forever I thank God for precious memories with four squareministry I know for myself it is an honor to be part of such a godly organization my prayers go out to her family and to all of Foursquare God bless

  2. Dr. Barbara Edwards was a woman who filled the room with joy and an affirming laugh that was refreshing and encouraging. I had the opportunity to know Barbara when I served in Panama as a Missionary Assist with Edgar and Darlene Coombs, her son Leland and daughter-in-law Loren Edwards. She made many visits during their service time in Panama to see her grandchildren (Amber and Jon-Jon). I had the great opportunity of getting to know her and see the love for her from the Panamanian people of Calle Q Foursquare Church – La Iglesia Cuadrangular. She loved Dr. Edwards and her family. I am so thankful to say Barbara Edwards was a personal inspiration to me and my fulfilling the call to missions in Panama.
    Dr. Doretha O’Quinn
    (aka to Barbara as “Dody”)

  3. My Aunt Barbie, as we lovingly called her, was a second mother to me from my first meeting her at age 6. Time passed…she became a second grandmother to my girls, and never made us feel anything other than family.. I loved her so much and peace us that I know I will see her again. I lost my mother in February, and now my Aunt Barbie – a difficult year, BUT GOD fills us with His hope..

  4. So glad to have had the opportunity to know and love this amazing couple as we grew up in Angelus Temple and later in life at The Sanctuary Foursquare Church. Both Barbara and Leland were inspiring examples to all who came in contact with them at home as well as the mission field. Our Condolences, love and prayers go to all the family thru this time of grief.

  5. The Foursquare Family in The Republic of Panama surely do acknowledge Sister Barbarita’s work in this nation. And will always remember for the fruits of her labor continue till today. May God grant her all the blessing in Heaven.

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