Porch & Parish Magazine - Serving the Zachary, LA Community

Zachary Stories

Just Keep Walking

Dr. Wayne Barnes on traveling the world at 89

By Lauren Pope

Dr. Wayne Barnes was the lead pastor at First Baptist Zachary for 39 years and founded Zachary Travel and Cruise in 1983. He has led over 50 tours of the Holy Land and has traveled to over 100 countries and all seven continents. We talked to him about travel, faith, and the remarkable fact that even though he’s visited hospitals, probably more than anyone who isn’t a medical professional, he has never once been a patient in one himself. 

One of Dr. Barnes’ favorite destinations is Tanzania to see the Serengeti migration. Here he is in 2019 with a group who explored Tanzania as well as Uganda to see the Giant Gorillas that live there.

Now 89 years old, Dr. Barnes continues to travel on group tours with Zachary Travel, though he no longer spends 200 days a year on the road. When he’s not traveling, Dr. Barnes says he and his wife Joyce like to start their Sundays at First Baptist Church, of course.

“We also go out to eat after church every Sunday at one of the places here in town. We do the EZ Buffet, Jett’s, Lagniappe, or South Plains mostly.”

He also spends time at the ball field watching his grandkids play. 

He’s watched the Zachary community grow exponentially, both in population and diversity, since his arrival in 1962. But the most shocking thing to him about the past few decades is that he’s been blessed with excellent health. Despite spending so much time ministering to people in hospitals, he’s never been hospitalized himself, never fallen ill with anything worse than a virus, and never needed surgery. 

Dr. Barnes gets his energy not from caffeine (“I don’t drink coffee, never have”), but by staying active and by walking a lot.  “I outwalk just about everyone who comes on my tours with me! I also have a dog named Blue who wakes up early and wants to be walked, so he makes sure I stay busy. That’s the main thing, just stay busy,” he says. 

See more articles from the Healthy Aging Special Section by clicking here.

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