KARNES CITY – There are some that catch a vision in their hearts and determine to leave all that is familiar and to sojourn to those places of a higher calling. There are those who choose to venture far beyond the limitations and confines of their own culture and country.
Former Kenedy resident Kimberly “Kay” Barton drew inspiration and guidance to go on the journey of a lifetime from a New Testament verse in the Bible where Jesus admonishes a certain rich man to sell off all his possessions, give his money to the poor, and to follow Him.
“In the Book of Matthew, Jesus tells a rich man: ‘…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor . . . . Then come, follow me (Matthew 19:21),’” said Barton. “Although I’m far from rich, that is exactly what I’m doing: selling my possessions, giving the money to a nonprofit, and going on an 11-month Christian mission called the World Race.”
The World Race is a challenging Christian missionary journey that Barton hopes to embark on where she will go to 11 different countries in Central and South America in the span of 11 months. Throughout that time Barton and other fellow missionaries will work with the poor, the forgotten, the downtrodden, the sick, and the infirm, and other people who are often suffering and neglected.
Barton will do humanitarian work such as teaching and helping impoverished children and orphans, visiting and caring for the sick, and other acts of love and compassion that heed the words of Jesus when He said, “Whatever you have done to the least of these…you have done unto Me (Matthew 25:40).”
Barton plans to depart from the United States on Jan. 9 of next month and fly with her World Race missionary team to Puerto Rico, which is the first country of the mission journey of sharing the love and compassion of Jesus. She will also then travel to the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Barton now currently resides in San Antonio where she works for a small family-owned business called Industrial Communications, and also moonlights as a writer, using the pen name Kay Em Evans.
Barton grew up in Kenedy and was a 1999 graduate of Karnes City High School, where she was a standout athlete and was heavily involved in extracurricular school activities.
“I grew up in Karnes County and went to school in Karnes City. I was really big into extracurricular activities: cheerleading, marching and concert band, UIL. I was also big into sports: basketball, softball, and track and field,” recalled Barton. “I really loved going to school at Karnes City.”
Barton was a very decorated and accomplished athlete at KCHS, setting a school record for shotput and discus, winning the regional championship in shotput in 1999, and placing second in the state championships for shotput in that same year. Barton was also voted All-Regional in basketball one year, and was voted All-Tourney in just about every tournament she played in varsity basketball from her freshman through senior years.
Barton still has family that currently lives in Kenedy. Her late grandfather was Harvey Turnipseed, who was a man that was well-known and respected throughout all of Karnes County.
The years brought their inevitable adversity, an adversity that helped shake Barton forward and free to obey God’s calling in her life.
“I first discovered the World Race in 2010. Back then I was in an abusive relationship,” Barton explained. “My ex was against missionary work and opposed the Church. He was controlling and negative, and I never thought I would have a chance to go on a mission. I didn’t even believe overseas travel would be a possibility for me. Jesus Christ changed that.
“After a house fire, and during a time when I was becoming frightened of my ex, I reached out to Jesus Christ for the first time in my life, asking Him to help me and give me courage and strength to leave. He delivered. I left that relationship and never looked back…”
Barton experienced her first mission trip this year in the spring when she was a part of the relief effort for the areas that were devastated and destroyed by tornadoes in Moore, Ok. It was at this area where Barton heard a sermon in downtown Oklahoma City that touched her heart in a profound way.
“The pastor talked about the apostle Paul and how Paul ministered to the nations,“ she said. “I can’t express to you how moved I was by that sermon. Holy Spirit was really moving that day, and I broke down crying two different times.”
Barton knew that God was calling her to help bring hope and love to the nations of the world.
“I am thrilled to do the Lord’s work, to be His hands and feet and to help people who are truly in despair. And although I don’t have all that many personal belongings since that house fire two years ago, what I do have I’m selling in order to fund this mission.”
More funds are needed for Barton to meet the expenses of her long and expansive missionary journey. The World Race is $13,500, plus pre-trip expenses for vaccinations, travel insurance, kit and gear. Barton is responsible for raising all of those funds.
“With God’s help and many blessings, I have raised close to $6,000 in just 3 and-a-half months,” said Barton. “But I still need to raise $7,500 more to reach my goal, and I’m asking anyone -churches, local businesses, individuals- anyone looking to give a tax-deductible gift before year‘s end to be a part of my mission. They will be able to follow along on my journey, watching as I live out Matthew 19:21 and seeing how I’m changing lives by sharing the love of God with those far less fortunate than we are. I’m giving up everything, my entire life, to serve others. I’m so happy to do it.”
For more information and to contribute to Barton’s mission trip, contact Kim Barton at 210-630-5390 or visit her World Race blog at KayEmEvans.TheWorldRace.org (click SUPPORT ME to make a tax-deductible contribution). Those wanting to support can also send a check to: Adventures in Missions, PO Box 742570, Atlanta, GA 30374-2570. Please include name “World Racer Kim Barton” on the memo line.
“I’m not afraid to venture onto the dark parts of the world to help the poor, the deprived,” concludes Barton. “I just need a little help to get there.”