Friday, September 18, 2009


Wow...... Its great to be back home, sorry it took so long for me to update my blog because of some problems with my password last week. It was hectic at work after being gone for 2 weeks and then I was traveling to NY for the weekend for my little cousins, Madison Grace baptism on Sunday. On Friday night I had a little birthday party @ Savannah, then on Saturday I made 6 quick stops to my family's houses to say a hello..... and flew back to Florida Monday morning.

Finally I have the time to tell everybody what my experience was like. So much to process it's hard to get started, so let's start from the beginning. My cousin Eileen and I landed on Sunday night approximately 9 pm. We were met at the airport by Solomon, Mesganaw, Mesganaw's father Tesfaye, Briana and Peter. Solomon is the young man we came to see graduate and help get established after moving out of the Kolfe Orphanage.

My cousin's Eileen & Jerry unofficially adopted him. He is the oldest out of the 6 adopted kids. They have 5 kids under 6 years old, a 16 year old daughter, Ellie, 19 year old son Jonathan, and their oldest, Melissa. She is 27 years old, married to Randy and they have 2 young children. Solomon turned 18 last May so he is too old to be legally adopted and brought back to America. Knowing she can not bring him to America at this time, Eileen was praying to find a Christian family to take Solomon in to live with them in Ethiopia. One Sunday at Open Door Church in NC, she met Mesganaw, an exchange student from Ethiopia. Her daughter Ellie saw him walking in the parking lot after the service. She said to her Mom, "Doesn't he look like Solomon". Mesganaw is a student from Ethiopia in the Cherokee foreign exchange program. His host family lived about 10 miles away from Open Door. He usually attended another church, but on that Sunday he went with one of his friends to visit their church. Long story short, Eileen and Mesganaw had a conversation and she invited him for lunch. A couple weeks later he came to her house. After speaking for a couple of hours she asked him if his family could possibly take in her son Solomon. He said he always wanted a brother and that he would ask his parents. He had an appointment scheduled to call his family in a couple of days. When he spoke with his father he asked him and he said, "YES". (1 miracle)The Tesfaye family lives 15 minutes from the Kolfe Orphanage.

Briana is from NY and was working as the assistant manager of the Cherokee House for the last year. This was the house were we would be staying for the next 2 weeks. This was also the program that brought Mesganaw to the states . Eileen already had a relationship with Lyston Peebles, the head of the Ethiopia division of Cherokee Gives Back, because she was trying to get Solomon in the program last year. Unfortunately it didn't work because of his age. Peter was Ethiopian and he was picking up Ginna who was also on our flight. They work for a company called The Childrens Hopechest. Childrens Hopechest is a company that helps coordinate sponsorship for orphanages around the world and they are working with the Kolfe orphanage as well.

After leaving the airport we rode in Peter's Van to the house. The roads were very dark and bumpy. Some roads were OK but others were unbelievable, big cobble stone rocks, ditches and pot holes bigger than anything I've ever seen on Atlantic or the Van Wyck. We pulled up to the house which had a 10 foot Brick wall, barb wire across the top and a big metal gate. Peter honked the horn and the security guard opened it up to let us in. We went into the house and met J.T., a 23 year old American, who is the manager of Cherokee House. The house was pretty nice considering what we had seen on our drive from the airport. Once we brought our luggage in and talked for a little while they told us that Eileen would be staying in the main house, and Solomon and I were staying in the bunk house. OK, No problem, they said take your flashlights cause the power is out. I made a joke about the food that I brought from the US in my suitcase and they said I shouldn't worry that the rat's don't usually come in the bunk house but you will hear them running across the roof...... I was like no way, that's terrible.

The bunk house had a metal roof and six bunk beds with foam mattresses. The bathroom and shower were in the area before you walk into the bunk house. I was looking forward to using the bathroom after traveling for 24 hours to get there. I looked at the toilet on my way in and saw that there was a puddle of water next to it. Because of this I decided to wait till morning because of the lack of lights at that time.

In the morning I woke up about 5 am to dogs barking outside the compound like they were wolves looking for food. I fell back asleep, woke up about 8 am and I went into the bathroom. It was the worst bathroom and shower I had ever seen. The shower had mold all over the walls and the floor was concrete. The toilet still had the puddle right next to it. After you flush the 1st time the water does not come back for almost 10 minutes before you can flush it again. Then you brush your teeth with bottled water because you can not drink any of the water, not even to rinse and spit it back out. (Before we left for the trip we received emails from the U.S. Embassy about the sickness from the water and to make sure we did not drink the water.) While I was getting ready my cousin knocked on the door and said the driver was here, I was still shaving and in a towel, so now I have to rush and get dressed for our 1st day in Ethiopia. Most of you know I need my time to get ready. So now I come out like 15 minutes later, say good morning and meet the driver. He is a taxi driver that Cherokee uses.

Now we start on our way going down roads that I would not even ride my mountain bike down and there are people everywhere-- kids, adults and animals... Yes, live stock everywhere-- sheep, chickens, goats, cows, bulls, wild dogs eating garbage and donkeys with stock on their backs. Such a very poor, very dirty and very sad environment. These were the back roads down to the city. We were in the city Addis Ababa it is the capital of Ethiopia. A lot of people thought I was going to be in the tribal villages that you see on TV with kids that have flies around them. Thank God that's not where I was because this was hard enough. As we are driving down to get breakfast I looked in the air. It was thick with smog and fumes. Most of the cars are old and use diesel fuel. There are a lot of blue taxi cabs and blue shuttle vans. They are owned by the government. People have cars but they charge you 220% tax if you own a car so most people can not afford it. The average salary is $350 per year. There are no emissions rules like here in the U.S. and no yearly inspections. As we were driving around I was asking myself what am I doing here? Did I make a mistake by coming to a fourth world country? I am used to living a very good life, enjoying the pleasures of traveling and to top it off, I volunteered to come here! Wow, was I confused at that moment! It was caotic because the cars drive fast and there are no traffic lights. You either have a police officer directing traffic or it's whom ever can get by 1st. So the cars just creep out until the other one stops. Yes, for real! I've seen crazy drivers in Spain, Mexico and Germany but the difference here is there are so many people walking in front of the cars. It was just nuts and they have no lines in the street to separate lanes, its a free for all.

We went and had breakfast at a cafe. While we were eating I was observing my surroundings as thinking about the car ride. The place was cool and everybody looked okay but I was looking out the window, watching the caotic traffic, the fumes in the air were horrible and all I kept thinking is, "This is CRAZY". I told Eileen that I had to get a couple of things. I needed a broom so that I could sweep around my toilet in order to be able to go to the bathroom without my clothes being in a puddle and get some kind of shower mat so I didn't have to stand on the cement floor. I like to go camping and do outdoor stuff but this was not cool.

We drove around the city sightseeing and bought the things that we needed but I was not feeling so hot. I literally felt like I was sucking on a tail pipe. I felt like the car we were in was worse then outside. Here I am cramped in this little front seat with fumes in my face and the worst poverty I have ever seen everywhere. When you stopped in traffic, beggars came to the car and asked you for food or money. It's not your normal beggars like we have here. It's mothers with babies on their backs or in their arms crying and looking really sad. There were crippled people literally crawling in the traffic to the car, blind people with someone leading them to the car and when you looked at some of their eyes they were just white, no eye balls. One guy came over to my window, pulled his jacket sleeve up and had 10 fingers on one hand. Yes, he had 15 fingers total. I didn't even know how to react, I felt so bad and so sad to say disgusted at the same time. I said, "Eileen did you see that?" I reached in my pocket and gave him a couple of birr (Ethiopian money). As soon as I did that the car got rushed by other beggars. We learned our lesson that as much as it hurts and you want to help, you just can't because you can not afford to give to everybody. We got the things we needed and Eileen asked me if I was OK because I was nodding out in the front seat. I said I am not sure if I am tired or it's these fumes but I am done, let's go back to the house.

When I got back I went to the bunk house and took a nap. After the nap I felt better. We had dinner with everybody staying at the house. There were 2 other young Americans staying at the house who were volunteer teachers at the children orphanage; Scott who is 23 from another part of North Carolina and Brittney, 21 years old from California. Two great young people trying to make a difference. We ate home made pizza and shared our stories and got to know each other a little better.

This is just day 1. My first post on this blog was July 17th only 2 months ago. My family and friends chipped in and supported me financially and made this trip happen. This trip definitely changed my life. Trust me I will never be the same after seeing and experiencing what I did. These are the families that I want to thank for their donations (aka Fazalino's) THANK YOU all for helping make a difference. God Bless all of you. The Albano, Altimarano, Barnes, Behan, Benedetto, Berkowitz, Bertolini, Brower, Canales, Cantave, Capace, Cerese, Constantin, Conza, Cornish, Damkohler, DeMarco, Delahunty, Devito, F.Delucia, Festa, Folise, Gordon, Greenstein, Guida, Hasset, J.Jenkins, James, Jiminian, Johnson, L,Jenkins, Linz, McDermott, Medina, Monteleone, Murphy, Novoa, Olivares, Paiz, Peranzo, Pfeiffer, Pinto, Pisani, Puig, Ramprashad, Ruffilo, Shwan, Troisi, Tsikitas, Wilson, and Zwang. I also want to THANK everybody for your prayers.

More to come....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Georgie's Coming Home !

For those of you who have been wondering how Georgie is doing, he is fine and is amazed at the work that God is doing in Ethiopia. He is getting on a plane right now and will be home tomorrow afternoon.

If you would like to see some of what God has done in the lives of Georgie and Cousin Eileen during the past two weeks, go to the Mestas blog at

Friday, July 17, 2009


Hello Everybody

As most of you know, my life has been dramatically changing the last couple of years. It has been changing in great ways. I really have been blessed to have the family and friends that I do. I've had an amazing life with all the traveling I've done and all the events I have had the opportunity to attend Superbowl's, Pro bowls, All Star games, World Series, concerts and spring breaks for over a decade. LOL. It's been incredible and that is just a few of the things that I have been lucky enough to experience.

Almost two years ago, I made a major decision in my life to make it better. I opened my heart to GOD. Growing up I really didn't have much religious education. I always believed in GOD and tried to be a good person (most of the time). I would talk with my dad and tell him I felt I was missing something. At the time I was not sure what it was, however, I've since realized it was GOD.

In 2006 I began to pray occasionally and started to do a little research on religion. Then in September 2007, I was driving to Florida with my dad in a moving truck, it was 1:30a.m. and while he was sleeping, I received a text from one of my brothers, Craig. It was hysterical and it was about me. I was laughing because the text said, "Where's Barnzy?" and then gave a bunch of examples of where I could have been at that moment. There was a list of fun and great places where I regularly spent a lot of my time. Later as I was driving, I realized that if I died at that moment in my life, to a lot of people, that would be the memory of me, my legacy. Not that it was incredibly bad, but it just was not how I wanted to be remembered. While I have a lot of great memories and would only change a few, not everybody knows that "Crazy Barnzy guy". But the truth is that GOD knows him and so do I. So, while I was driving on that journey to Florida, I had a lot of time to think about my past and my future. When I was in Florida talking with my sister, Lyn, about making some changes in my life, she gave me good advise... "Pray and follow your heart." That Sunday I went to church with her and my brother Phil. I then drove across Florida about 1200 miles visiting family and friends for the week. While driving I had a lot of time to think and pray. I also had many enlightening conversations with my cousins and friends all throughout that journey.

After going to my parents the following weekend I headed back home to NY. On my way, I decided to stop in North Carolina to visit my cousins, Eileen & Jerry Mestas for a couple of days. While I was visiting, I had the opportunity to ask them a lot of questions I had about the Bible, Jesus Christ and GOD. They are born again Jesus Loving Christians for over 20 years and were very helpful. I knew it was up to me to do some soul searching and praying to figure out if I was ready to make this commitment to Jesus Christ and God. I called my Mom and Dad and then my brother and sisters, Darlene, Lynann and Stacey to tell them I was ready to make some major changes in my life. My sister Darlene said "How are you going to do that if you're in the music business? Meaning the temptations will always be around you." I replied "Doll, I'd rather be in heaven then the music business." We had a couple of laughs and everybody was supportive. My mom was so funny when she said "Is this something you can get out of later on?" I laughed and said " I'm not joining a cult, I am making a commitment to Jesus Christ and GOD, nobody else, and I'm not looking to get out of it." LOL.

After spending many hours in deep discussion and prayer, I decided I was ready. I prayed with my cousins and asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into my heart and take over my life. I was baptized the next morning on 10/14/07, in a beautiful lake and it was amazing. I knew instantly that I made the right decision. See the video below of my baptism.

Later that night I drove back to NY. When I started to tell my friends and family about my decision to start a new life, I had a lot of great responses and a lot of very surprised responses. I knew that it would be a difficult journey but I also knew that it would all work out. It definitely was not an instant transformation into a new person, but it was the beginning of a great and long process that I am now embarking on. For the last 14 months, I have intentionally been striving to grow and learn more about our great creator God and his son, Jesus Christ. I prayed for Him to help me start my life over and make decisions that would enable me to journey into the life that HE wants me to have in order to bring honor and glory to HIM! I want my life to fulfill the purpose that HE created me for, to make a positive difference in this world and to serve Him now.

This prayer resulted in my move to Florida on January 1, 2009. It was very hard leaving my family and friends in NY, but I knew I had to do it. I've moved a couple of times since I've been in Florida and now live in Pompano Beach. I am currently working in a real estate investment office. I am doing great and am stronger in my faith then I have ever been. I have been intentionally building my foundation on the word of God and my relationship with Jesus Christ is getting stronger. I am ready to start spreading the word. As I said before, I have been blessed and now it's time for me to help others and share the blessings.

I have been praying for the Lord to show me an opportunity to serve Him in missions and believe HE has also answered this prayer. I am now planning to go to Ethiopia,( a 4th world country) at the end of August for 10 days with my cousin Eileen. Eileen and her husband Jerry have 3 biological children, Melissa-26 yrs, Jonathan -19 yrs, and Ellie -16 yrs old and have recently adopted 5 more children. The twin boys Jeremiah and James, 6 yrs. old are Mexican and Josiah, 4 yrs. old and his little twinette sisters Keren & Keziah, 2 yrs. old, are from Ethiopia. When Eileen & Jerry were in Ethiopia in November 2007 to adopt my 3 little cousins, they visited the Kolfe Boys Orphanage and had a life changing experience.

The orphanage housed more than 150 boys ranging from 10 yrs. to 18 yrs. old. They live in a compound that has not been maintained, or even noticed by the outside world for over 30 years. Broken windows, raw sewage seeping through the ground, broken and deteriorated beds to sleep on and absolutely no furniture anywhere in the compound were some of the conditions that broke their hearts. As a result of their visit and much prayer, they started a blog and a speaking ministry to tell God's people about the plight of these orphans that they witnessed first hand. James 1:27 says...pure and undefiled religion is to care for the orphans... They met a young man while at Kolfe named Solomon. He has lived in the orphanage since he was 7 yrs. old and has not one living relative in this world. He is all alone except for the other orphaned boys. For the last year and a half, my cousins have established a relationship with Solomon via letters, the Internet and have unofficially adopted him as their son. They have also been instrumental in helping raise over $50K to help renovate this orphanage. Windows have been replaced, new beds, bedding and mattresses were purchased, plumbing and new kitchen was installed as well as much needed food, clothing and supplies were purchased.

The policy of most orphanages in other countries is to release the kids when they turn 18 yrs. old. They basically give them a small amount of money, if the government has it, and put them out in the streets. These kids have no one to help them, no place to live and often wind up homeless and in very dangerous situations. Well, Solomon has just turned 18 and this is his situation. He is graduating from school in August and then they will open the gates and put him in the street. This is why my cousin has been called by God to go back to Ethiopia. She is going to be there for a young man, an orphan that has nobody in his life to give him help, love and support. Over the last year and a half amazing things have been happening for Solomon because of Eileen's trust and faith in Jesus Christ. People from the United States have visited Solomon and the Kolfe Orphanage, and several people who were on mission work also visited them. Through the fervent prayers from Eileen's heart and through a series of miraculous events, she has found a family in Ethiopia that will take Solomon in to live with them. While she is in Ethiopia she will help Solomon get established in his new life outside the orphanage and see for herself the work that has been accomplished at the Kolfe Orphanage since her last visit in 2007. It is also apparent that the Lord has more on HIS agenda to be accomplished while we are there.

I have been in the front row seat of watching God work in their lives and in Ethiopia. I have been praying for God to use me and show me where I can serve him. I really believe in my heart that God wants me to travel and help people but I didn't know when it was going to happen. I spoke with Eileen last night around 7:30 and she told me she is being called by God to go back to Ethiopia in August. I knew then, immediately, I would go with her on this trip. We are going to help an orphan young man start a new life, visit the other boys in the orphanage, bring them supplies and try to bring them some hope.

This trip will enable me to make a difference in some people's lives that I don't even know. I have been fortunate all of my life to have family and friends help me grow, get stronger and get established in my life. I have also been told by other people that I have helped them grow and become better in life. When they tell me this, I not only feel honored but I realize this is how I want to live the rest of my life. Now is the time to spread the Barnzy out. LOL.

So here is where you come in..... I need your help to make this trip happen. I can not afford to do this alone. I know that things are hard for all of us, but together we can make a difference. If you could come along side and help me to help others by sending a financial donation, I would greatly appreciate it. I need to get my flight, a place to stay for 10 days. After the traveling expenses are taken care of we will buy food for them to eat, grain, seeds for them to plant and other supplies that they need desperately. I am also going to see if I can break the Guinness book of world records for the most sweat that one human can do in 10 days.... LOL Please don't hesitate to give me a call and please keep me in your prayers.


Thank You for your time.
God Bless You and have a great day!!
George Barnes "Barnzy"