Almost ten years ago, while having lunch in Northern Iraq, I met a spirited woman full life and love. She immediately connected with the vision of the Chinese underground house church and began assisting believers wanting to serve in the Middle East.
Barbara White, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, moved to Iraq as a widow woman ready to give her life to share the name of Jesus Christ. She was no stranger to ministry, having served as a pastors wife and servant of the poor in the remote streets of the United States. “My husband and I preached to the drug dealers and prostitutes,” Barbara remembered. “They used to call us the black Ken and Barbie!” She explained her late husband dramatically died one day while preaching in church. “I remember my husband Ken preaching and then he stopped and looked up to heaven and said, ‘I love you Lord!’ Then he looked at me and said, “I love you Barbie,” then he fell over and died right there.”
Barbara grieved while giving herself completely to ministry. She went to Mexico and shared the Good News. She then returned to the US and ran a congressional race against the first Muslim to run and win in American history named Keith Ellison. “I knew that his race would change American history forever and ran to save our heritage.”
The calling on Barbara’s life however proved too large for domestic matters. As a single widow, she left America and preached the Gospel alone in the People’s Democratic Republic of Congo, Eastern Africa, Ethiopia and Somalia. She didn’t have a lot of financial support and had no one to protect her, but she never let that stop her.
When ISIS invaded northern Iraq, she hopped on a plane with only a few dollars in her pocket and headed to Kurdistan where she started a ministry called Light Foundation Ministries. She built a language and leadership training school called The Dream Center where she invested into the lives of young people in Iraq.
She quickly became known in all of Kurdistan and was respected by the top elected officials. Although she came as a vulnerable widow, God was using her like a roaring lion in Iraq. She boldly proclaimed the Gospel message throughout the entire region and was greatly respected by all.
BTJ hosted vision tours in Iraq where Barbara led prayer groups that supported the vision of Chinese missionaries called Back to Jerusalem. She deposited her vision of completing the Great Commission into the hearts of believers from around the world and sent them back home with a fresh desire to see the return of Jesus Christ.
Last week, our dear friend Barbara suddenly went to be with the Lord. Her departure was unexpected and her absence is felt in our hearts. The Lord will truly never make another like her again and though she is missed, we know that she is rejoicing with her Father in heaven.
She is the Author of Nadja: The Pearl of Sinjar that can be purchased here.