God's Word is Changing the Community of Barr


The first time I ever went into the community of Barr, I could feel the oppression and see the hopelessness in the people’s eyes. The lack of schools, churches, and medical clinics was astounding, as was the absence of any opportunity for economic activity. Already by ten in the morning, men had gathered around pots of homebrew, drinking from what looked like gigantic straws. Many of them had either grown up in refugee camps or lived through the terror of Joseph Kony rampaging up and down their land throughout the long years of war. Whatever their past, they hadn’t moved on, and maybe it was because they didn’t have anything to move on to.

Jasper and Magdalene were one of the families who lived through those dark years. When the war was over, putting the pieces back together proved to be much more difficult than they thought. So, like many others, they drowned their problems with alcohol and lived in daily chaos.

But one day, we went to their home to tell them that their son had been selected for child sponsorship. I’ll never forget their excitement and the encouragement it gave them. Soon after, they joined one of our discipleship clusters, where they encountered someone who would redirect and change their lives. It was Jesus Christ.

Recently, I sat down with Jasper and Magdalene at one of our community celebrations. Together we heard testimony after testimony of how God’s Word was changing that place. Magdalene couldn’t stop beaming as she said, “God has changed us. We are not who we used to be.”

By Betty Jo McLelland

Read testimonies of other people in Barr:



“Before studying the Bible, my husband and I were very good drunkards. Our children would come home and would run in bushes to sleep so not to be beaten. I went to Bible study and changed. My husband and I knelt together and gave our lives to Jesus. I challenged my husband to remember how we used to be. My husband said, ‘Thank you so much for reminding me. God has changed Us.’”



“Before, people in my village used to insult one another and fight and abuse each other. Now we are so joyous. There is so much unity. People love each other.”

Betty McLelland