Friends In The West founder, Ray Barnett, with some of the team at the launch of African Odyssey (working title) in South Africa

Friends In The West has embarked on a new project, currently being piloted in South Africa. It has a working title of ‘African Odyssey’ and involves youth mentoring and leadership training.

This complements the work Friends In The West is already involved in, adding another dimension to its work of raising awareness of Christians under threat, and encouraging prayer and practical support for the persecuted and displaced.

It has long been the vision of founder Ray Barnett, that Friends In The West should have a special training and mentoring program that addresses some of the major problems that exist in areas of need.

Whether it’s a refugee camp in Jordan, or a poverty stricken remote village in Africa, Ray knows from experience that ‘aid’ alone is unlikely to bring a long-term solution. However, if potential leadership from within those affected communities can be identified and then nurtured with training and mentorship, permanent solutions are possible.


The team building (outdoor) section of the course is both practical and fun.

Empowered leadership from ‘within’ a community or organization can bring direction and a focus on solutions. Ultimately, changed mindsets can lead to transformation, even in the direst circumstances.

The program is aimed at breathing new life into disadvantaged communities, underperforming organizations, schools, or even commercial businesses.

It’s an approach that allows Friends In The West to give a hand up, not a hand out; to come alongside to help find solutions, but not impose them. Underpinning all of this is the biblical principle that ‘without vision, people perish’. Conversely, where there is God inspired vision, along with the right leadership, miracles happen.