Karen Barnes's picture

This last February, I spent two awesome weeks in the Andaman Islands off the coast of India ministering to adults and children, leaders and everyday people, men and women, in city and country areas. It was amazing and historic! God moved in ways I had seen before, but also surprised me with new tests and new concepts at the same time. It was an incredibly full two weeks.

I went with a small team of three other folks from the Chicago area (I’m from Nashville, TN), and we were based in the coastal city of Port Blair, the largest city in the Andaman Islands. Our hosts were Pastors Raja and Sheeba Wilson of Mercy Mission International ( They are an incredible couple, caring for widows, orphans, teaching Bible students, pastoring a large church, have the only Christian television program on the island and reaching out to the thousands on the island who don’t know Christ.

While there, God moved in so many ways, whether it was the Hindu widows who came to hear about Jesus and were moved by the meal prepared for them and the sarees (dresses) given to them, or the several hundred children who showed up for the children’s conference and enthusiastically learned songs about Jesus and received gifts, food, crafts and prayer after hearing and receiving the message of new life!

Our team traveled 8 hours by van north into Middle Andaman to become the first ever to hold a Christian conference in that area, and I was privileged to be the first woman to ever share encouragement and the word of the Lord with leaders and pastors from the many islands surrounding that place. What an awesome time we had, as God’s presence filled that tiny church, and they learned about how to hear God’s voice and wait in His presence for the encouragement and direction they so longed for! It was amazing to see the tears and testimonies of the leaders as they heard God speak to them and felt the incredible presence of God move on them! Thank You, Father God, for Your Presence!

worshipping kids in India

We spent so much time with the Love Children’s Home kids and the workers who care for them. These 90 children, some of them orphaned after the 2004 Indonesian tsunami that also affected the close by Andaman Islands, are being lovingly cared for and raised by Pastor Raja and Sheeba. It’s obvious, after seeing them both hold and love on these children, that this is a God-ordained call on their lives. It’s also obvious, after seeing these children worship, how they are being raised in the fear and admonition of their heavenly Father! They so love Jesus!

We sometimes get lost in our own world, with the cares and pressures that come with living this life. We may see God move in our world, but because of the focus we place on our own concerns, don’t take the time to look BEYOND and see what God is doing in the bigger picture. This is one reason I love missions! It gives me a wider vision of God’s heart – who He is and what He loves – WHO He loves and why! There is something about taking yourself out of your comfort zone and giving not of what you have, but of what God gives you – because after  hours of flight, umpteen time zones, unfamiliar food and surroundings and a whole different time schedule, that may be all you have to give! You see things in a new light, and a new light shines on you, revealing not only those things around you, but those things in your heart – that need to be changed by the Father. He lovingly and patiently brings about these changes for His pleasure and good will to shape us and make us one with Him to the glory of His Kingdom!

This is one reason we take children on mission trips here in the States. It’s so important for them to begin to get a picture of who they are and what Christ can do in their lives BEFORE corruptive attitudes and practices take their place. It’s so much easier to “train up a child in the way he should go” than to “fix an adult” later! Missions is just another tool in the toolbox to help shape and mold kids to learn about themselves and their destiny in the Kingdom! 

We’ve seen kids start a trip one way, and 10-12 days later come home a different person. One night in the presence of Jesus can change your life forever! Sometimes, during a program or ministry time, a child’s life will be changed by that one person they pray for who gets miraculously healed, saved, or they give a word to and the power of God flows through them. That can rearrange your DNA in an instant! These kids always come back asking God for MORE – and He joyfully says YES!

The presence and glory of God is not defined to just America. It goes around the world! II Chronicles 16:9a says “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may STRONGLY support those whose heart is completely His” (emphasis mine). Looking at those children worshipping in the Andaman Islands, I can see Him supporting them with His spirit! Their hearts ARE completely His! You wanna see that too? God is calling some of you to the same thing – to go BEYOND where you are now and to reach out to that bigger vision! Take that first step and try something you’ve never done before – go further outside your “box” and see what God has to show you! Oh, and don’t forget to take your kids – they may show YOU a thing or two!


Karen’s calling is to bring children into the manifest presence and glory of Jesus, lead them in experiencing His deep abiding love, clear unmistakable voice, wise Godly direction for their lives, and to ignite a spirit-led passion for serving Him in many ways at any age.

She is available for children’s and adult conferences, retreats, church dates, camps, leadership training and regional equipping sessions. Fire For the Nations hosts a summer camp for kids and periodic kids mission trips during the year. Her first book, KIDS CAN is now available in both the CWG and Fire For the Nations bookstores. For more information on the book or to schedule dates, check out the website (, or email her at [email protected].