• Ray's Books
    Ray's autobiography 2018, available from Amazon
  • Treehaven3
    Treehaven, South Africa: International Retreat and Training Centre
  • Treehaven1
    South African Students Undergoing Training at Treehaven
  • Ray
    Ray Barnett, founder, Friends In The West
  • Corrymeela cross
    Prayers and practical help for those suffering through violence and war.

Monthly archives: May, 2015

Disastrous 1st attempt at public speaking provides an important lesson for life

It’s probably not a very promising sign of future ‘leadership’ when someone get’s up to speak in public for the first time, but instead of giving a compelling speech, they simply ‘faint’ in front of the audience and have to be dragged off the stage. This is exactly what happened to Ray Barnett in the Guildhall in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, when he was a teenager and attempting to speak in public for the first time.

Ray’s embarrassing incident turned out to be a small price to pay in terms of the lesson learned. Ray gained a valuable insight into the limitations of his own ‘natural ability’ but more importantly, he discovered Mark 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God: all things are possible with God. Ray realised that if he was going to achieve anything significant for God, then he would need to look beyond his own resources and depend on God.

Ray decided not to allow his first bad experience at public speaking ‘define’ him. Although he suspected that maybe he wasn’t being called to speak in public, he determined that if God did call him he would obey – even if that meant fainting again and again until such times as he learned how to operate in God’s strength.

As it turned out within a short space of time, Ray became a much sought after public speaker and was able to address thousands of people without fear or dread. But that important lesson of trusting in the God of the impossible also became the reason he was able to believe God for miracles in the Soviet Union, Africa and the Middle East, when time after time he encountered situations that in the ‘natural’ were impossible with men, but possible with God.

Prayer encouragement




A 17-year-old Texas high school student claims he saw Jesus after he collapsed in gym class and was without a heartbeat for 20 minutes.

Zack Clements suffered sudden cardiac arrest at Victory Life Academy on May 5 and was unresponsive. But just as doctors were about to declare him dead after 20 minutes, he revived.

He was airlifted to the hospital and woke up in the intensive care unit days later.

Even more incredible than Zack’s recovery is what he said he saw.

“When I was out those 20 minutes, I saw a man who had long ruffled hair and kind of a thick beard, and it didn’t take me long to realize that that was Jesus,” Zack said.

“I went up to him and he put his hand on my shoulder and told me everything would be alright.”

Zach and his family are saying that they can’t explain what happened, but they’re calling it a miracle.

Burundi Coup fails

Fear and uncertainty in Burundi as coup fails and army general goes on the run. Radio station was torched last night and water cut off.  This unrest has already forced 105,000 people out of the country according to the BBC.

Below is a link to the latest report from Simon Guillebaud in the capital Bujumbura. Please pray for Simon’s safety and for peace to return to Burundi. Also for reconciliation between supporters of the president and protesters who are opposed to him standing again for election for another term.



Army general declares coup in Burundi! : Urgent prayers for peace requested

This is a critical time for Burundi as an army general says senior officers are “dismissing” President Nkurunziza, amid unrest over his re-election bid.

Godefroid Niyombareh announced that a national salvation committee had been set up to run the country, but it is not clear how much support he and the other officers have or whether this will simply turn out to be an ‘attempted’ coup.

President Nkurunziza is currently at a summit in Tanzania discussing his decision to run for a third term, which critics say is unconstitutional.  Earlier today, police fired tear gas and live ammunition on protesters as they came within a kilometre of the presidency in the capital Bujumbura.

Simon Guillebaud is in Burundi, and living right where the recent protests have been taking place.

Simon is an author, speaker, and founder of Great Lakes Outreach, with a commitment to seeing Burundi transformed. He’s married to Lizzie and they have three children, Josiah, Grace and Zac, who are 5, 7, and 9 years old. Lizzie and the children travelled to England last week, ironically, not because of the unrest, but because Josiah (5) choked on some popcorn and requires a bronchoscopy as soon as possible to get the popcorn out of his lung – treatment that can’t be performed in Burundi.

(This is 200m from our house, and 20m from our partner New Generation)

(This is 200m from our house, and 20m from our partner New Generation)

In the past two weeks there has been serious rioting in the country as demonstrators clashed with police over the President’s re-election bid. Simon picks up the story from last week, the morning after his wife and children left to travel to England.

“I awoke this morning and it’s deathly quiet – not just because last night’s half-hour gunfight about 1km away has ceased and there’s hopefully an agreed day of peace for people to restock with food, but also because the usual hubbub of my kids playing in the next room isn’t taking place. I’m home alone now, but feel relieved that they are gone, safe, and untraumatised. So many others aren’t as fortunate. Please keep praying for our friends here; for our precious colleagues, partners, neighbours, leaders; for God to do a miracle for beautiful Burundi”.

A protester runs past a Burundian police riot van in Musaga, on the ourskirts of Bujumbura, on April 27, 2015. Police and opposition activists clashed on the second day of protests against a bid by the central African nation's president to seek a controversial third term in office, witnesses said.  AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

A protester runs past a Burundian police riot van in Musaga, on the ourskirts of Bujumbura, on April 27, 2015. Police and opposition activists clashed on the second day of protests against a bid by the central African nation’s president to seek a controversial third term in office, witnesses said. AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA

Simon Guillebaud has been out and about on his motorcycle this afternoon (Wed 13th May) and has witnessed jubilant crowds on the streets celebrating the news of the coup that was announced just a few hours ago.  In one place there appeared to be a dead body with a crowd gathered around it and lots of alcohol was being consumed. Although huge celebrations of the coup are taking place in the capital right now, Simon has deep concerns over how President Nkurunziza’s supporters will react in the coming days.

Simon requests your prayers for peace in the country at this critical time.

Please pray for Simon, Lizzie, Josiah, Grace and Zac during this difficult period. At the time, Josiah’s popcorn incident seemed like something bad had stricken the family, but in retrospect, the children were spared the worst of the rioting and gunfire, etc. So what looked like a bad situation has turned out for good.  Simon also reports, “mercifully few people have died in the last four days of rioting, and I want to encourage you that I believe your prayers are being answered”.

Just very recently, Simon has had discussions with radio and TV outlets with a view to “maximise the media to sow hope, peace, reconciliation – to bombard the country’s captive audience with truth and seize this critical opportunity to influence the course of history in our nation. I cannot think of anything more strategic to do in Burundi right now”. There is currently an open door for this media venture in Burundi if sufficient funding can be raised. £30/$50 would pay for a 1-hour programme that might get heard/seen by 100,000 people with repeat playings. Please pray that this badly needed venture will succeed and please prayerfully consider helping to make it happen. You can keep up to date with Simon through his blog at http://www.simonguillebaud.com