Ron Barnard – Southern Africa Mission

In 2006, Ron Barnard darted into traffic to prevent a friend’s 4-year-old son from being hit by an on-coming truck. successfully pulling the child to safety, Barnard took the brunt of the impact himself. The minister’s life- transforming moment of bravery resulted in long-term chronic pain.

I suffered a concussion, a severely broken left femur, a contused left lung, significant trauma to my neck and spine, a fractured right wrist, a sprained right ankle, strained pulled and torn muscles in my back and leg, and damage to my sciatic nerve, says Barnard.

“Though the injuries were significant, the grace of God was obvious. There was one major answer to all the prayers that were immediately prayed. The most immediate danger was the lung contusion that was causing internal bleeding. But before the helicopter could get me, to the hospital I had already stopped bleeding.”

Read more of Barnard’s story in the March 2012 issue of Arizona Pain Monthly here

Treated by Arizona Pain for his on-going pain, Barnard has been able to resume his life’s passion: missionary work in Africa.

“My wife Karen and I founded an organization called the southern Africa Mission network,” he says. “In a few weeks, my 21-year-old son Jacob and I leave for a trip to an orphan village in western Zambia. We provide training for university student ministries in south Africa.”

Barnard says treatment for his pain is critical; traveling alone to remote areas of Africa is not easy.
“The flights are long and challenging for someone with back and neck pain,” he says. “However, we’ve been partnering in southern Africa for many years and when we go all those who contribute to my health and recovery go as well.”
The Barnards’ organization – SAM – has several specific objectives in their African outreach. Their primary mission is to connect people and resources with mission and ministry in sub-saharan Africa. They are able to accomplish this mission by:

  1. Mobilizing short-term teams and individuals to strategic partnerships in southern Africa. “We are active on university campuses, and in social justice and compassion mission opportunities. Last year, we had 90 students from the us serving in southern Africa, as well as four other volunteer teams totaling another 55 people. We put health care professionals, teachers, engineers, agriculturalist and anyone else willing to serve in short, mid and long-term mission assignments in southern Africa. Currently, we have eight people on assignment, for terms ranging from 3-12 months. We have placed volunteers in south Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Zambia, with invitations to Swaziland, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
  2. Working to plant student ministries on university campuses in south Africa and across sub-saharan Africa. “We believe if you can reach a student, you reach a future leader. If you reach leaders, you impact culture,” he says. “I serve as a student ministry mentor, working along side six student ministries and with some of the most amazing people from either side of the ocean. I travel often to train and to speak at conferences and campuses to reach students. We are about to help launch three new student ministries in 2012.
  3.  Working along side churches in south Africa to impact mission and missions’ efforts in southern Africa.“We work closely with multiple churches that are on the ground everyday making a change. I’m an advocate for Jesus, his church and his mission.”
  4.  Working directly and personally with the Zambia Project.“The ZAM project’s mission is to plant churches in rural western Zambia. This is a mostly forgotten and extremely rural region where many villages have yet to hear an accurate telling of Jesus story. I personally lead a team each summer alongside church leaders from the project to plant a church in the bush. These journeys to reach the inconvenient lost are some of the most challenging and rewarding days I’ve ever experienced. Additionally, the Zambia Project (operated by close friends from South Africa) ministers to the everyday needs of western Zambians. You can’t be the church and not care about the AIDS crisis, the subsequent orphan crisis, malnourishment and related poverty issues. The project includes a clinic that is yet to be sourced, an orphan school and is in the process of building an orphan village.”

For those interested in helping with the SAM project, Barnard says it is easy. There is opportunity for anyone, with any ability.

How can you help? Go. Give. Pray.

For those interested in seeing Africa first-hand, Barnard says there is opportunity for volunteers to travel.
“Everyone can and should consider going on at least a short- term mission trip,” he says. “Taking a trip isn’t nearly as important as choosing to live missionally. However, going is a part of being missional. We’d love to chat to anyone and everyone about how to participate by going!

For those unable or unwilling to travel, the organization can always use financial support. “It takes significant finances to make this mission happen,” he says. “You can give online via PayPal, or through our mission board. You can also invest via snail mail. No matter how you give, your giving is tax deductible and greatly appreciated. Thanks for considering helping us do what we do.
And finally, for those who are interested in supporting the work spiritually, prayer is always requested. “Jack Hayford says, ‘Prayer is invading the impossible.’ The challenges are real, the warfare is intense, but God is
faithful! We need and appreciate you caring and praying.”
To learn more about the Southern Africa Mission network, visit: www.thesamnetwork.com. Readers may also connect with Ron personally at here.