Ever since she was young, Captain Kendacy Barnes’ favourite Bible passage has been Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“When I look at this Scripture,” explains Captain Kendacy, corps officer at North Street Citadel in Hamilton, Bermuda, “I really see how it’s woven into my story and into my life, and how God fulfilled that story through me being a Salvation Army officer. It’s just a tremendous blessing for me now, as I look back.”
Two Churches, One Love
Captain Kendacy’s Christian walk didn’t start in The Salvation Army. Born in Guyana, she was active in her church and became a Christian at the age of nine.
“I was involved in all sorts of ministry and really passionate about God,” she says. “I didn’t feel like I was missing out on the world. I felt at home in that space of worship and I loved what I did.”
It was while Captain Kendacy was attending college that she was introduced to Dwayne Barnes, a Guyanese Salvationist living in the United States, by his brother.
“It’s funny that Dwayne and his family lived just across the street from my family in Guyana, but we had never met,” says Captain Kendacy.
The two started communicating and realized that they had much in common. A relationship began to form, and when Dwayne returned to Guyana for a time for a Salvation Army event, their courtship continued.
Journey to Officership
Of course, the fact that the couple belonged to separate churches could not be overlooked by either of them.
“We had a solid discussion about it,” says Captain Kendacy. “I’d wanted to pursue ministry and pastorship, but I’d never thought of The Salvation Army. I loved Dwayne, but I wanted to ensure that the Army was where God would have me minister.
“Because I recognized that this was a sacred responsibility, I didn’t just want to do it right,” she continues. “I wanted to affirm this was God’s call on my life.”
In 2013, she landed a job at The Salvation Army’s New Rochelle Corps in New York City as a corps ministry assistant and started to explore Dwayne’s Salvation Army. What she discovered heartened her.
“I was so blown away,” Captain Kendacy recalls. “Although I had been exposed to faith-based ministry, it wasn’t until I came to The Salvation Army that I really became involved in hands-on ministry—love in action—going beyond speaking about what it means to truly care and love in a Christlike manner and actually demonstrating that in a tangible, tactile and life-impacting way.
“It was during that time that affirmation of God’s calling came to me: ‘This is where I would have you serve,’ I felt him saying. And I became fully a member of The Salvation Army and pursued my calling, head-on with no looking back, with no questions. This is where I need to be.”
The couple were married in 2014, the same year Captain Kendacy entered the College for Officer Training in Suffern, New York. Commissioned in 2016, she joined her husband in the ranks of Salvation Army officership, him having been commissioned in 2008.
Captain Kendacy enjoys the ministry she now shares with her husband, Captain Dwayne, and their daughter, Celine, at North Street Citadel.
“We were stationed at territorial headquarters in the U.S.A. Eastern Territory, and we found out that there was an opening in the Canada and Bermuda Territory in Bermuda,” says Captain Dwayne. “In speaking with the personnel secretary, we thought this would be a wonderful adventure for us and for our little daughter. Though we’ve never had any international appointments, we’ve always had a desire to serve outside of our territory.”
“We had a passion for missionary work, to go beyond the walls and the barriers of our country,” Captain Kendacy agrees. “The opportunity came along and we quickly grabbed it, and here we are.”
Captain Kendacy has no regrets about becoming a Salvationist.
“I knew about ministry,” she says. “I know about sharing the Word of God, but I’ve never experienced living it out in the way I have in The Salvation Army. When I look at the story of my life and how God brought me here, it was a perfect fit.”
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