Ray’s mission, to transform the lives of thousands of African children through creating music has been manifest in the most glorious of ways. I feel so honoured to have had an association with this gentle man.” – Annie Lennox (Singer/activist/philanthropist)
Grit, faith-based action theme of gripping autobiography by Irish-born minister
As a young boy struggling to find his way through the immense poverty, secrecy and war-time suffering that gripped his life in Northern Ireland, Ray Barnett dreamed of a life of adventure and travel like that of his hero: famed missionary-explorer David Livingstone.
As an adult, he has lived that life—leading a human-rights based ministry that has brought hope, healing and humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.
In his riveting autobiography, Don’t Tell Me It Can’t Be Done, Barnett takes readers on a rollercoaster journey through his childhood in the rough, working-class neighborhood of Killowen—a childhood marked by loss, abuse, learning disabilities, rejection, and the crushing discovery that the family who raised him was not his own.
The turning point happens for Barnett when he devotes his life to God as a teen. Driven by his faith, Barnett pursues a career as a human rights minister and sets out to accomplish what seems like the impossible—from securing the release of Hezbollah-held hostages and imprisoned Christians in the former Soviet Union and Africa, to launching the world-renowned African Children’s Choir. Along the way, he also manages to unravel the life-long mystery surrounding his identity.
Barnett, who has committed his life to fostering hope and healing for those in need—regardless of faith, skin color, lifestyle choices or political views—hopes his story will inspire others to do the same.
“My story is a testament of the miracles that can transpire when we put our faith in God and take action—believing if we do everything that’s in our power to do, God will take care of the rest,” notes Barnett.
“There’s so much suffering and need in the world today, and it’s up to each of us to make it happen—one step, one shovelful, one person at a time.”
Ray Barnett, a Northern Ireland-born minister who immigrated to Canada in the late 1950s, has devoted his life to helping suffering and persecuted people around the world.
He is the founder of Friends in the West, a Christian based human rights organization that has helped secure the release of numerous Christians imprisoned for their faith, and has spearheaded humanitarian aid missions in volatile regions across the globe.
He is also the founder of the African Children’s Choir, a world-renowned organization that has provided an education, healing and hope to thousands of African children, including nearly 1,200 who have gone through the African Children’s Choir program. With “Daddy Ray” as their advocate, these children have been cared for as one of his own, receiving the love, support and education they need to succeed and give back to Africa and the world.
Ray has received numerous honors and recognitions for his work including the prestigious “Cross of Nails” award issued by the Coventry Cathedral in England as well as the “Heart of Gold” award bestowed by Esther Ranson at BBC. In early 2019, he was crowned Maasai Elder in Kenya in honor of his contributions to Maasai children. His lifelong work has also been spotlighted in Daddy Ray, a documentary produced by acclaimed BBC producer Desmond Wilcox
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