Passion to lead women closer to God

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By BRIANA DALTON
For the Muleskinner
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — Compelled by her calling to help young women in their spiritual journey, one local citizen started her own ministry and is building a sense of community.
Gwyndelon Harrington is known by young women around campus to be a pillar in her community. She sets aside time each week to manage her several social roles, from being a pastor, a wife, a mother and an office professional in the chemistry department, not to mention her work as an author.
“I have found Gwyn to be hardworking, thorough in her work ethic and she works well with all the students faculty and staff,” said Kate Kuhlman, Gwyn’s co-worker in the chemistry department.
Gwyn was born and raised in Warrensburg as one of eight siblings. Though Warrensburg is a small town, this is where she feels at home the most. She said she’s proud of her small town.
“I moved around quite a bit, but I always wanted to come back home, and Warrensburg is home,” Gwyn said.
She had her first child at the age of 17, but she said that didn’t discourage her from completing her education and achieving her professional goals. She still graduated from high school, and in her last year of school, she met the man whom she never knew would be her husband. She met John Harrington at the age of 17, but she said it was not the typical love at first sight moment at all. She said the feelings she has for him now are not the ones she had when they went on their first date in high school. However, the love grew and became more prevalent throughout their relationship. They married when she was 19, and have now been married for 39 years.
During the course of their marriage, the Harringtons have had three kids together. All of their children, including the one prior to their marriage, followed in their father’s footsteps by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. John was an active duty member of the Air Force for 23 years before he retired.
All four of their children are stationed across the country as a result of their military assignments. Jonathan has two children and lives in Oklahoma; Erica has three children and lives in South Carolina; Jeffrey has two children and lives in Hawaii; and Jamie has three children and lives in Germany.
Since Gwyn has always had the passion to touch and impact lives, she started a young women’s ministry as well. Gwyn has been leading ALMS Central Ladies Ministry since 2006. She said she received a state moratorium from Missouri Senator David Pearce for her work in the community with her young women’s ministry.
“My wife has always had a passion for nurturing young women in Christ and helping them become even greater women,” said John. “This is something that she is truly passionate about, and I see the passion in her face every time she talks about those young girls.”
Within this young women’s support group, topics such as abstinence, seeking God and chasing dreams are among the many discussed.
“I started this group because I was once a young girl who wished someone older had told me the things I know now and had to learn on my own,” Gwyn said.
Maisha Harlan, a student who participates in the young women’s ministry, said Gwyn is a counselor to her.
“Momma Harrington, which is what I call her, is someone I aspire to be like in life,” Harlan said. “She is compassionate, and she is a God fearing woman. She has taken me under her wing and treated me like her own daughter.”
While working for her women’s ministry, she also completed her degree in administrative support in May 2009 from UCM.
In addition to her roles as a wife, mother and young women’s ministry leader, she and her husband are in ministry together. They own and operate Abundant Life Ministries located here in Warrensburg. The vision that the Harringtons have for their church is to “fulfill the great commission to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to make disciples from all nationalities, teaching them to walk in spiritual excellence, integrity and Kingdom authority,” according to Abundant Life Ministries’ website. They started off in 2010 preaching services in the Alumni Chapel on the UCM campus, but as of August 2014, they are located at 607 Burkarth Road, north of Western Missouri Medical Center.
Gwyn is also a writer, in addition to her ministerial and professional work. In her book, “Damaged But Not Destroyed,” Gwyn said she reveals troubles in her life that she encountered, and many of the topics discussed in ALMS are ones mentioned in her book.
From the looks of things, Gwyn seems to have the rest of her life all planned out.
“I foresee my ministry growing larger and another book on the way,” Gwyn said.
The new book, titled “Lost in My Father’s Arms,” is about the need for young women to have father figures in their lives.
“Everyone has to follow their own path in life, and I believe I have found mine, and I am living it out for the rest of my days.”