Tag: Ray Barnett

It’s Ray Barnett’s 80th today!


Ray Barnett, March 2016, during a visit to his birthplace at Portstewart in Northern Ireland.

Today, Monday 26 September, 2016, Ray Barnett, founder of Friends In The West and the African Children’s Choir, celebrates his 80th birthday. The occasion is tinged with sadness, however, since just over three weeks ago, on 2nd September, Ray’s wife of more than 50 years, passed into the presence of the Lord.

Most people have long retired by their 80th birthday. Throughout his life, however, Ray has always prayed for ‘vision’ in line with God’s will. He firmly believes the Bible verse from Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision the people perish”.

The desire to be part of God’s answer to the problems that exist in this world have given Ray a ‘drive’ that is extraordinary by normal standards. Ray began with Friends In The West, helping Christians who had been imprisoned for their faith behind what was then called the ‘Iron Curtain’.

His vision to help led to trips to Africa when Christians were suffering and being slaughtered under the dictator, Idi Amin. He had a God-given vision to help the many thousands of African children who had been orphaned as a result of what became known as the Uganda Holocaust. This led to the formation of the very first African Children’s Choir in 1984.

More than thirty years later, choirs continue to tour today and the organisation can look back on incredible achievements. The African Children’s Choir, facilitated by parent organisation Music For Life, has provided an education for more than 52,000 children throughout Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. It has also directly impacted the lives of thousands of other vulnerable African children through music therapy and life skills training camps, Music For life centres, and container shipments of food, clothing and supplies.

Over the years, Ray has personally signed on as legal guardian to more than a thousand children who have gone through the Choir program and have been fully supported by the organization to adulthood. With the support and love of the Music For Life staff and Daddy Ray, as he as affectionately called, many of the Choir children have earned their college degrees and have gone on to become doctors, attorneys, engineers, pastors, church leaders, journalists, teachers and relief workers in Africa—realizing Ray’s full-circle vision of “Helping Africa’s most vulnerable children today, so they can help Africa tomorrow.”

Ray is now looking at ways to help Christians in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East who are facing imprisonment, torture and death by beheading because of their faith. Friends in the West has also embarked on a new project, currently being piloted in South Africa, that provides youth mentoring and leadership training. The program 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.

Would you pray for Ray at this difficult time as he copes with bereavement along with other challenges that he’s facing? Would you go a step further and send him a message of encouragement? Maybe you have a Bible verse or other words of comfort. Even if you don’t know Ray personally, it would be lovely to know that people out there ‘care’ enough to get in touch.


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Below you can view Esther Rantzen’s, ‘Hearts of Gold’ programme featuring Ray barnett, founder of the African Children’s Choir.

How The African Children’s Choir was formed


View on Amazon amzn.to/1NDh1qj

The Beginning of Miracles

In the second of a series of new podcasts, Ray Barnett and Suzanne Nelson reminisce about the early days. In this episode, Ray goes right back to his teens and recounts some of the challenges which could easily have stopped him in his tracks. Had he simply ‘accepted’ circumstances as they were, he may have totally missed out on God’s plan and purpose for his life.

Time and time again, Ray had to move way out of his comfort zone in order to achieve what God had called him to do. In this podcast he recounts a very early example of that – a challenge to all of us when we’re faced with something that looks impossible.

Ray’s evolution into a career that would require him to frequently speak in public, didn’t had a very promising start. In fact, at his first attempt, instead of enthralling the audience, he physically fainted in front of them and had to be carried off the platform. But when you’ve just learned that miracles exist and you’ve just read that with God, nothing is impossible, then that gives even ‘disasters’ like fainting in front of your audience a different perspective…

Have you overcome any challenges with God’s help that through human eyes looked impossible? If so, Ray would love to hear about it. Please get in touch with him through the contact page of this website or drop him an email at Ray@raybarnett.tv

How the African Children’s Choir started 1

In the first of a series of new podcasts, Ray Barnett and Suzanne Nelson reminisce about the early days more than thirty years ago, when they set out to find solutions to a major problem in Africa. At the time, tens of thousands of children had been orphaned through war and were facing a very uncertain future.

Ray and Suzanne had a problem of their own in that that they didn’t have any money – only a ‘vision’ to help. But as Norman Vincent Peale said, “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”  So what did they do?  Listen below to find out how the impossible became possible….

Please return to this site for further episodes in the near future.

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.