Patricia Barnett - God changed her plans
At 16 years old, Patricia Barnett harboured thoughts of becoming the next dancehall queen, but the God she serves would have none of that. He had completely different plans for this armour bearer to use her talents and brilliance to win souls for His Kingdom. Her parents had just separated and things were tough as she continued living with her mother.
"I took up an opportunity to make dancing my way of earning, and so I started to offer dancing services at a minimal cost, because in my head, I was on my way to becoming the next dancehall queen. I planned out my life and the necessary steps to take as I graduated to go into dancehall and any other quick-money arena. But on the day I was to perform for the first client, it rained so heavily that I couldn't go. I was upset because that stint would have paid a good amount of money. Today, I see that as the hand of God denying and redirecting my path. I may not have been who I am today because the enemy had a different plan for me, of which I was unaware," she explained to Family and Religion.
MORE TO CHURCH
Patricia pointed out that as a child, her parents always made sure that she didn't miss Sunday school or church, and as she grew older, it became clearer to her that there was more to church than just attending, knowing the Bible inside out, or even being present at every service. It was that upbringing that caused her to acknowledge that there was a God and that He must be served in truth.
In chronicling the tumultuous journey of how she became a Christian after the dancehall queen episode, she also told the story of how she was almost killed in bushes by a man wielding a knife. Emerging from that battle against the devil as the victor, Patricia soon found herself at the Voice of Victory Ministries in Denbigh, listening to a pastor preaching.
"While Pastor Annmarie Richards preached, in my heart, I prayed and asked God if it's His will to establish me in this ministry, allow that woman to come for me right now. I didn't utter a word. I was just listening to her, and even before I finished my prayer, Pastor Richards, while still in the middle of the message, began heading in my direction. When I saw her getting closer, I wanted to run. I couldn't believe it! I prayed, but I didn't really expect it. I was shocked. I got baptised that same night in June 2002 at 18 years old.
"When I got home, I couldn't sleep, I was still wondering how did that happen? God heard me and I never said a word. I had so many questions rattling my brain," she added.
Patricia is now a minister of the Gospel, having been ordained in 2012. She has also served in various capacities in ministry, including Sunday School teacher, choir, praise team member, youth mentor and advocate. She was also nominated in 2006 for the Prime Minister's Youth Awards for Excellence in the category of Youth in Service, and she vows to continue to serve because for her, it's never about the accolades, but the impact she is able to make on others to be a better version of themselves.
"In your youth is the time to serve the Lord; don't wait until you are old and grey, weak and unable to work for God, winning souls for His Kingdom. Do not wait until something bad happens to acknowledge him as God. 'Choose this day whom you will serve'," she encouraged.