Where You Send I Will Go
By Elizabeth Griggs
The plans God has in our lives often don’t match the ideal lifestyle we have preconceived in our mind. Biblical individuals, such as Jeremiah, perceived themselves in one manner, while God had another story in mind for him. The prophet, Jeremiah, was challenged to live a life of spiritual authority in order to pursue the call God had placed in his life. The ways of God haven’t changed in recent years. He still takes people out of their comfort zones in order to further His Kingdom, as we can see in the life of Abby Barton.
Barton grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. She went to church regularly, but was also a quiet child. As a young person, Barton kept to herself, and did not put herself out there when involved in ministry. An individual in Barton’s church approached her, as a teenager, and asked if she would like to get involved in a camp they were involved with. Considering this camp would involve going out into the world and speaking with children she didn’t know, Barton was uninterested. Thinking this wasn’t something for her, in the opportunity given her; however, God had a different plan. As Barton discussed the camp with her mother, she was simply asked, “Do you want to go? Should you go?” and God took it from there. He used a few simple questions to spark an interest in her heart for the calling He had in mind. Barton got out of her comfort zone, and went to Camp Moses Merrill for training with Christian Youth in Action®.
Having been a shy, reserved teen, Barton became involved in a ministry that took her outside of what she previously knew. During a week’s training at Christian Youth In Action, Barton grew in spirit, as well as in her motivation to reach a world that is lost. After being sure the teens in attendance clearly understood the Good News of Christ, Barton and her peers were taught how to be leaders, and how to share the Gospel with children. She was able to grow with those at the camp, and form friendships that reached beyond CYIA™. Her demeanor of being shy and quiet began to shift as she was surrounded by peers who shared in her passion for Christ.
In an interview with Lydia Kaiser, Barton shared that her best memories of CYIA was being around individuals who shared her goal to minister to boys and girls. She was surrounded by peers who had the same mindset she did, and were “on fire for Jesus”, as she puts it. While going out and teaching during the summer, Barton began to experience a heavier burden and passion growing in her heart for the lost. God used that calling for the lost and hurting to guide Barton in her next steps as a young adult. Barton continued to lead through Child Evangelism Fellowship®, becoming a Summer Coordinator and intern, and onto learning through the Children’s Ministries Institute® at CEF International Headquarters. God used many small steps to grow Barton into the young woman He needed her to be.
Barton’s passion for children continues to drive her in life choices as she pursues the things of God. She pushed through her shy, reserved nature to listen to God’s call, outside of her comfort zone. Currently, Barton is pursuing a career in biblical counseling for children. She witnessed the hurt and trauma many children experience today, and wants to aid in their healing journey through scripture-based methods. God’s plan for Barton mirrors the journey of Jeremiah, as she was reluctant to pursue God’s call, but found His guiding hand evident in her training with CYIA. God’s calling extends beyond our own measures, and exceeds our own expectations when we follow His lead.
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