AR Newsletter
New AR
Still Cooking at 103, Adventist Julia Bethea Embraces Health Message
Born when Theodore Roosevelt was president, she’s lived to see 18 others

BY DE WITT WILLIAMS, Ed.D., M.P.H., C.H.E.S.

A103-year-old Seventh-day Adventist credits the church’s lifestyle emphasis with helping her to live an active life decades longer than many Americans live at all.

Julia Bethea, of Huntsville, Alabama, is a petite and vibrant woman. She lives on her own, cooks her own meals, and works in her garden. To make her own meals, she searches for ideas on the Internet: “I like to fool with recipes for a hobby. I just got a computer, and I am learning how to look up recipes on it,” she said.

 

ACTIVE ADVENTIST: Julia Bethea, 103, an active Seventh-day Adventist, credits the health message with her longevity and fitness. [Family Photo.]
“I was born in Coy, Alabama, on July 25, 1907, the youngest of seven children,” she said in a recent conversation. “I’ve been an Adventist for 50 years and a vegan for 10. I never thought I would live this long, but I’m glad the Lord spared me.”

She added, “I don’t take any prescription medicine, but I do use herbs and things like garlic. I exercise a lot: I use the treadmill and dumbbells, and I walk up and down the road and in the house.

“I wasn’t always a vegan,” Bethea admits. “I used to gobble up anything if it tasted good, but as I learned better I became a vegetarian. I keep my head in health books and study Mrs. [Ellen G.] White’s writings. I don’t have any favorite dishes or recipes. Yes, I still cook for myself—from scratch. If somebody brings me a recipe, I’ll fix it up. I take cashew nuts and make cheese out of them. I cooked my Sabbath meal for today. I cook everything I eat.”

Such a schedule for one who’s lived more than a century might seem daunting, but Julia Bethea has long held a strong work ethic: “When I was young, all I knew was how to work,” she explained. “I helped my husband build a house. I laid blocks and mixed cement. I worked until I was 89 in domestic work. I pay my own bills, and I do whatever needs to be done. I come to church every Sabbath and most times Wednesday night prayer meeting.”

As Julia noted, she wasn’t always a Seventh-day Adventist, but a chance encounter changed all that: “Years ago my brother-in-law worked at a factory in Detroit, and there was a college student standing there selling Message magazines. I think they were 25 cents then. In the back of the magazine was a Bible correspondence course. My sister started taking this correspondence course and found out about Seventh-day Adventists. The more she read, the more she was convinced it was the right way, and she soon joined the church. I didn’t join at the same time.

I wanted to read for myself. Later on, [the late] Elder R. T. Hudson baptized me in an effort in Cleveland. When I came in, my three children came in with their children. And all of that resulted from a young girl selling Message magazines. I wish I knew who she was. We bought it just to help her, but she helped us find the Lord and our church.”

Not only did Bethea’s children join the Adventist family; the faith has been passed on to succeeding generations. Curtis Eakins, health ministries director for the South Central Conference, is her grandson, who says of Julia: “She does more than a woman half her age would do.”

What is Bethea’s wish for the future? “Well, my wish is that I will be saved by doing the Lord’s will. But my greatest wish is to see my friends and neighbors in the new earth.”

 


Copyright © 2017, Adventist Review. All rights reserved worldwide. Online Editor: Carlos Medley.
SiteMap. Powered by SimpleUpdates.com © 2002-2017. User Login / Customize.