We are thankful to the Lord for the past 25 years through which He led us without fail and has blessed the ministry of Operation Barnabas to be a blessing to thousands of our commended workers and assemblies. All glory to Him. We would like to acknowledge the tremendous amount of help and prayer support we have received from many of you, without which we would not have reached here. As we celebrate 25 years of God’s faithfulness, my memories go back to the humble beginnings of a successful story. It was while my wife and I were waiting for a flight back to our home in Regina, Canada after a successful job interview that the call of the Lord came to us through Jeremiah 42: 15-16. It did not surprise us as it was the “Rhema” that we were seeking and praying for the past seven years. So right there we prayed and committed our lives to serve Him in India. But the great dilemma was: how can a man with “stammering tongue and few words” be of any use to God in India?
So we prayed about the Lord’s mind and He revealed to us the ministry that He wants us to shoulder. It took almost a year of planning, seeking and knowing His mind before we finally arrived in India during March 1994. The vision God gave me was to be a source of encouragement to God’s servants in India. Prayerfully we named our ministry “Operation Barnabas” and started visiting the commended workers in India. Our first visit was to the North East. Our medium of communication was the magazine “Insight India” through which we introduced lesser-known commended workers to the general body of believers. The first issue of Insight India came out in October 1994. Another giant step in introducing the workers was the “Prayer Handbook” published in 2002. We did not want to restrict our ministry and service to the Lord’s servants to any one particular area and sought other areas of ministry but were very reluctant in launching into something in a hurry. As we saw the Lord is leading us into diversified areas, we decided to register the organization. Thus “Operation Barnabas” became a registered religious charitable trust in 1996 with four trustees. The original trustees were Bro. V. S. Mathews, A. D Rethnakara, Roy T. Daniel and Bizy Elan Daniel. After dropping one of the original members, Bizy Elan Daniel in 2017, we increased the numbers of trustees to seven in 2017 and later to nine in 2019. As the Lord pleased to give us more responsibilities, this led us to seek a FCRA permit which was granted in 2002. Later, this became an important aspect of our ministry and continues to be. This was not something we desired or sought after but it came to us as an added responsibility by the commission of the Lord. To align with government regulations, we follow a need-based approach in extending help based on valid documents to support the need. The journey had not been easy. Except for the strong conviction of God’s call and commission we would not have survived. Though we had to tread against the odds, and had to overcome skepticism and prejudice, the Lord gave us strength and led us through. But in the course of time many understood us and joined hands and helped us. The Lord called me alone and has given this commission and so it had to begin at some point. I did not feel it right to abandon God’s commission just because none understood it. If we go back to the roots of any other organized ministry, we will find that all of them faced the same initial resistance. Since I could not find any one in India with the same vision and passion or one with a word of encouragement, I had to do it alone, in obedience to His plan and purpose. But it is not so now. In the due course many of those who have seen our work and its effect, especially the younger generation were challenged and joined us. So now the leadership is in the hands of younger generation and I as the founder have taken a backseat. Many of those who were skeptical also saw the ministry and its impact and began to appreciate and acknowledge the same. The commended workers in India as the beneficiaries of this ministry are the happiest of all. As I close, it is only appropriate to remember those who stood with us and supported this ministry in many practical ways. Mr. Babu K. Varghese, Mr. Johnson C. Philip, Mr. George Mathew, Mr. Babu George and Mrs. Vani Gojer. We thank the Lord for the valuable contribution they have made to this ministry. May the Lord count it worthy of great reward. Finally, we want to give all glory to the Lord for who we are and what we are. It is the doing of the Lord and proves that He can do wonders when we are obedient to His call and the vision imparted on us irrespective of man’s approval. Let this short testimony be an encouragement to someone who may be waiting to launch out into a new area of ministry.
Operation Barnabas: Rejuvenated & Re-energized The endeavor and purpose have been that how we could re-invent the wheel to be more effective by aligning ourselves with the latest rules and regulations and at the same time be more helpful to the beneficiaries. To improve is to change; and to be perfect is to change often in line with upcoming needs and challenges. This stands true for everything in life. Change is always difficult and has been the case always, but the need of the hour is to step up to each of these changes & challenges in a positive manner and continue to be more fervent in our mission. OB has moved from a fund distribution model to a need-based support model. This model we believe will be extremely helpful and is more transparent. It works clearly to meet the major needs of the workers. To make the case in point a medical need, education need or a social need (house reconstruction due to calamity) has the following characteristics:
It can come up anytime; it has a deadline for payment ; and usually it needs a bigger absolute amount. Keeping this background, it is very important that we have a structured system to meet the needs of the workers as it fulfills the need of the worker and meets all regulatory requirements from the fund inflow and outflow perspective and its objective. Medical Aid Plan has been a key area of focus for OB for last 5 years and we have seen a steady increase in the number of beneficiaries and the amount disbursed has doubled in 5 yrs from INR 61 lakhs in 2015 to INR 1.06cr in 2019. The point to be noted here is that these amounts have reached them beneficiary during the exact point of time and has helped them to get treated for the medical emergency. Mission going ahead is that we are burdened to cover all our workers in this Medical Aid Plan in the coming years. We also endeavor to use technology to create a more easy and transparent system to help both the donors and the beneficiary. The sponsorship programme under MAP is something we request all to take note and your active prayer and support is requested. Education Aid Plan has been another focus area where the objective is to support the education needs of the worker’s children and we strive to build upon this each year. We are of strong conviction that the children of Lord’s workers should not be deprived of quality education. In this segment our support has been building up, but we have long way to go as we are not able to meet all requirements that come to us. In last years there has been manifold increase from 21 lakhs in 2015 to 41 lakhs in 2018. The burden going ahead is to build up this segment to cater to almost all needs of children’s education and ancillary needs. The social welfare plan swings into action to meet all other kind of lively hood needs of the workers and their family. The needs arising is from natural calamities like Tsunami, earthquake, flood, pandemic and other specific family needs like borewell, aid to widows, marriage of daughters etc. OB has also been continually active on the Literature & Publishing front with various translation and publishing work of Bible and Christian books. Another area we would like to draw attention is the new initiative on the training segment.To equip our workers on specialized ministries and to sharpen their skills in teaching and pastoral ministry. This financial year we are initiating such workshops under Equipped-to-Serve(E2S). Along with this we also have a strong burden that all workers who are called for ministry should be skilled in any vocation. These can be of varied forms like mobile repair, electrical, plumbing, new techniques of farming etc. A short course to train them in this area is also in the thought process under Barnabas Centre for Mission Exposure and Training. OB would have a new look on the website and would be available under the domain obindia.in. The thrust and focus are to use technology to help all registered users (individuals & institutions) have access to latest information on the work and its needs, and mainly to avoid duplication of support system. Let me summarise by saying OB is dedicated to the mission work in India with a very specific focus on its implementation at the ground level and to make sure that any disbursements of funds from OB has a definite objective. We request your earnest prayer and support in this as we all are called together for this Great Commission.