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Dec18FriBut it was no less powerful. December 18, 2020 by Ken Ramstead
“When people hear the story about how I became an officer, some ask me, ‘Was that a calling?’ ” says Major Everett Barrow.
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“Yes, it was,” he replies. “God didn’t have to shout. But I had to be attentive and realize that God was saying something to me.”
A fourth-generation Salvationist, Major Barrow’s home corps was Gambo, N.L., which was composed of many young people responding to the call of God. In fact, at this point, Gambo has produced more than 30 Salvation Army officers.
“We were in an environment where people were talking about a call to officership all the time, which caused me to think,” he reflects. “And observing cadets during corps visits opened my eyes to the possibility.”
Major Barrow had attended university for a year but didn’t feel content. Switching to accounting, the young man worked at a bank for two more years but knew it wasn’t for him.
“While I enjoyed it, it wasn’t fulfilling,” he says. “I wasn’t finding meaning in what I was doing. I needed to step back from everything.
“Then, God said, ‘No, there’s something different.’ There was a calmness about it, a peace and an affirmation.”
Supporting Broken Lives
“When I made my commitment, it wasn’t a struggle, it wasn’t a lightning bolt on the road to Damascus,” he explains. “It was just an awareness that came to me that the Lord had something better in mind, and this promise seemed to be the natural path to follow. Officership was the direction that God was moving me toward.”
During more than four decades in ministry, Major Barrow viewed the world with different eyes and saw how he could make a difference as an officer.
“I got to live out the gospel daily in a very practical way,” he says. “Not only was I preaching the gospel, but I was helping and supporting people whose lives had been broken.”
“I’ve no doubt at all that I was called,” reflects Major Barrow on his 43-year-career. And while he feels that officership is one way of responding to the call of God on one’s life, it is not the only way.
“For some people, they might make the best doctor or best nurse,” he believes, “and God needs them in that hospital as the doctor or nurse rather than the chaplain.”
The questions Major Barrow would ask of anyone considering officership are:
• What’s your level of contentment in what you’re doing today?
• Do you feel fulfilled?
• Do you see yourself doing this
for the rest of your life?
“If the answer to the last question is no,” Major Barrow continues, “then maybe God is saying something else to you, and I would want to be listening to God through all of it.
“I do think that there is a need to surrender to whatever it is the Lord wants us to do. I found there is a calmness that wasn’t there before.”
Not only was I preaching the gospel, but I was helping and supporting people whose lives had been broken. Major Everett BarrowGoing Strong
Though he retired earlier this year, Major Barrow has started a new chapter in his life at East Toronto Corps.
“I’m loving being a corps officer again!” he smiles. “I guess it is a testimony to my career. I’ve always enjoyed being an officer, and when I knew I was retiring, I realized that I would get restless after two or three weeks. Corps ministry has always been my greatest love, so when the opportunity came to serve post-retirement, I jumped at the chance. It’s given me new energy.
“I could keep going for years.”