Dear Abby

Dear Abby

Barnabas Center Intern Abby Swartzendruber reflects on her experience providing mental health care to the community.

Barnabas Center Intern Abby Swartzendruber as picture in the Peoria Rescue Ministries chapel recently

Each of our counselors at Barnabas Center have been blessed in their journey to have more experienced, effective, and Godly counselors pour into them and their development process as helpers. At some point in their careers, it becomes their privilege to “pay if forward” by helping to raise up the next generation of Christian counselors and social workers by inviting “Christian-counselors-in-training” to join them for internships or practicum experiences as part of their educational experience.

From January through July of this year, we are blessed to have Abby Swartzendruber joined the Barnabas Center team from Dordt University in Sioux City, Iowa. She is working toward her master’s degree in social work and becoming a licensed social worker. Earlier this year she married Seth Swartzentruber from Morton. Seth is currently serving as a resident intern at Newcastle Bible Church in Mackinaw.

Please pray for Seth and Abby as they move to Louisville in August where he will be taking his next step in ministry by getting his Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

We asked Abby to share a little bit about her internship experience below.

Barnabas Center Intern Abby Swartzendruber as picture in the Peoria Rescue Ministries chapel recently

What did you expect as an intern?
To be honest, I didn’t have too many expectations as an intern. My background with counseling and social work was primarily secular. As you can image, the world’s motivations behind serving others are vastly different than how Christ’s calls us as Christians to serve others. So, I was excited to grow in how to use faith as a foundation and driving factor in counseling. And I truly can’t put into words how much the Barnabas Center has taught me.

What things threw you for a loop?
Because I didn’t really set any expectations with my internship, I didn’t really get thrown off by much, so I hope you don’t mind me changing the question a little bit to “what things was I presently surprised with?”

I was blown away at the amount of support, encouragement, and love I got from the staff at the Barnabas Center. The staff not only poured into me as an intern but personally as well. When I began seeing clients for the first time, they showered me with prayer, advice, and helpful resources. If I ever felt stuck with a client, each of them left the door wide open for me to come process things through. Each one of the counselors have such a passion for doing God’s kingdom work for His glory. Their example in that was invaluable.

I’m so thankful the Barnabas Center took me on as an intern. I praise God for the role the Barnabas Center has had in not only shaping me professionally but personally. 

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