Tag: leadership

Treehaven4: Devotions with Pastor Isaac.

This is part four of our series of short videos from Treehaven, South Africa, during the Friends In The West, three day African Odyssey leadership and mentoring course in December 2015.

Today’s morning devotions are being led by pastor Isaac and his theme is spiritual growth. He quotes from the apostle Paul in 1 Cor 13: 11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. Isaac outlined four stages of spiritual growth that will lead us to maturity, with an emphasis on prayer.

Due to the glorious sunshine, devotions were held outside, beside the swimming pool. Isaac used it to illustrate the point that if you are a ‘pool’ type of Christian, things can easily become stagnant in your life. What is needed is to get into a ‘flow’ of the Holy Spirit, just like the flow of a river. Making ourselves available to be used by God is part of growing in our faith, and developing our prayer life is an essential part of that.

Isaac talked about a ‘prayer of war’. That’s where we have a determination and focus to put God at the centre of our lives. It’s where we decide that we won’t allow anything to distract us from what God has called us to. It may require putting studies before a boyfriend or girlfriend or in some other way sacrificing hardship in the short term. But by walking in obedience to God’s we will be rewarded and bring a greater blessing to others and ourselves in the long term.

Treehaven3: Africans love to sing

Africans love to sing! Here at Treehaven, South Africa, during the three day African Odyssey leadership and mentoring course, singing was part of a daily routine in the glorious sunshine and peaceful atmosphere. Here’s a flavour.

Leadership does not come from lists, formulas, prescriptions, etc. Leadership is INSPIRING OTHERS. Taking a course or reading a book will not make you a leader. To crack the code on leadership, you need to realize that you must INSPIRE others to follow you. Your direct example is the first place to look. Are you showing people the way, or are you telling them what to do? Hard work and determination have made many leaders; barking orders alone has not.

From the Bible, we can learn about the greatest inspirational leader who ever lived, Jesus Christ. Crowds flocked to hear him speak and even if he went into the desert, thousands followed him there. Today 2000 years later, His words inspired through the Holy Bible, continue to act as guideposts for how we should live our lives.

Treehaven 2: Induction

In the second of a series of short videos shot on location at the Treehaven retreat centre in South Africa, it’s just a few hours after arrival and leader, Jennifer Marino, welcomes the students and give them some guidance with regard to the program over the next three days. They’re here to take the Friends In The West, leadership and mentorship course, African Odyssey, which has been specially adapted for these young African students. She explains that the overriding theme and an important leadership principle is, “Life is a Team Event”.


This is the motto of African Odyssey. Working well as a team will be the path to success in many areas of your life. Sharing ideas and strengths with one another will make any task easier and more successful.

Even our Lord Jesus Christ didn’t attempt to fulfil His Father’s plan by just working by Himself. He chose a team of twelve. They weren’t ‘perfect’ by any means, but rather than walk away or get rid of them, Jesus worked at helping them develop, teaching them to pray and showing them how to face life’s challenges with an attitude of faith.

In this course, our students will learn the importance of operating as part of a team, and how that team is only as strong as the weakest link. They will have the opportunity to partake in practical demonstrations that will show how one person not pulling their weight, can let the whole team down.

“The one thing all famous authors, world class athletes, business tycoons, singers, actors, and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they all began their journeys when they were none of these things. Yet still, they began their journeys.” — Mike Dooley, author of Infinite Possibilities

Treehaven 1. Arrival and greeting by Daddy Ray.

In the first of a series of short videos, Daddy Ray (Ray Barnett) greets South African Music For Life students as they arrive at Treehaven, a former bird park, now operating as a ‘retreat’ facility, in an initiative run by Music For Life and Friends In The West.

The students have come to Treehaven to undertake the Friends In The West, leadership and mentoring training programme, ‘African Odyssey’ – a course that promotes personal and spiritual development with an emphasis on leadership and teamwork. Friends In The West and Music For Life have sponsored this course as well as the normal academic education program for these students. This is because they regard an investment in their education as the most effective way to help them achieve their God-given potential in the long term.

These students have the potential to become leaders in their country, even though most have come from a background of poverty. In a world where too many children are being trained to kill and spread terror, our aim is to develop young leaders that will positively influence their generation for good. But we can only help them if people like you help us. In the first instance would you consider picking a student from the video and committing to praying for him/her.

Our aim is to see these students become self sufficient in the not too distant future, but for now they’re not in a position to pay for their education and development programs like African Odyssey. Therefore, we have to find ways to raise funds to cover these costs. Please help us if you can. You can donate via Paypal through this website. And please drop a line to Daddy Ray at ray@friendsinthewest.org and let him know if you are praying or giving. He loves to encourage the students and would love to pass on your messages, and he will request that they pray for you. Also please get in touch if you’d like to explore if Treehaven might be a suitable venue for your group to hold a retreat or conference, etc. Hiring out the facility helps pay for its upkeep and development.

Please return to the website for further videos and updates in the near future.



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.