35 huge semi-truck sized containers to 10 different countries: Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Greece, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zaire and Kibuye.
Over 20 years ago God sparked the imagination of a group of men including Lucien Behar, Past Executive Director and Bob Couch, Project Barnabas Director. This group of men wanted to make a physical difference in the lives of their brothers and sisters in other countries in need of encouragement, hence the name Project Barnabas.
It was at this time that a partnership was formed between Men's and Women's Ministries International to send containerized shipments of bandages, medical supplies, ministry and educations materials including quilt blocks to help teach the people how to sew and Sunday School materials to use in ministry. Even some food staples such as rice and flour were sent in the early years. Project Barnabas provided a more secure, cost effective and guaranteed method of sending certain kinds of "gift packages for missions," relief and medical supplies and equipment along with supplies to the missionaries and the people to whom they were ministering. This was all in addition to the gift boxes the Women's Missionary Society (now WMI) was faithfully sending overseas to the missionaries.
In 2004 we shipped our first container to Hope Africa University and the Free Methodist Church of Burundi. With this partnership we began receiving donations of text books of all kinds as well as everything else a university needs. The university now has 5,000 students, a great library, a medical school, a teaching clinic in town and the rural Kibuye Hope hospital several hours from Bujumbura and the main campus of HAU.
Recent containers sent to Hope Africa University and the Medical facilities in Bujumbura and Kibuye have included boxes of bandages, sheets, hygiene, dental care and school kits in zip lock bags to be distributed to patients and at surrounding churches. A recent container included supplies for 4 full Dental offices.
In July 2015, a container loaded in Michigan was sent to Kibuye Hope Hospital. We are thrilled that a complete Optometry Office, to be used in the Optometry School that will be developed was in this container.
We are most grateful to the many people and WMIs across U.S. and Canada which send in their boxes and send their contribution to assist with the shipping expenses of these containers.
We do have a real problem however. Many of the donors of these very large items are donating large amounts of books, medical equipment, office equipment and supplies and so much more, BUT they cannot always include a donation of cash to help with the shipping. YES, we are very grateful for these materials, but we still need to raise the funds to help with shipping of the containers. We always encourage people to add extra to their donations above and beyond the $20 per cubic foot OR take a special offering to help us share in the cost of these containers. These costs are anywhere from $10,000 - $15,000 just for shipping. In more recent years, Project Barnabas and Hope Africa University have shared in the cost of sending these containers, with other groups coming alongside to assist as well. But there is always a need for financial assistance!
Our next shipment is scheduled for this fall, 2016 from Sharpsville. As details are available, we will share.
Thank you for your interest in Project Barnabas. We are grateful that we can help provide for others in need around the world!