My Plan and Jesus' Detour: A Tale of Faith on the Open Road

Kalene on the Road

My story starts like many good stories do, with an, “if you had told me...” 

If you had told me ten years ago that I would sell my house and most everything in it, pack up my life to fit inside an SUV, and move back in with my parents until God launches us who knows where ... I think I would have believed you. Because from the time I was a small child, I was obsessed with adventure. I wanted to see the world and everything in it under the banner of God Almighty. I wanted my life to have purpose and meaning with every breath. I still want all these things and more.

A few weeks ago, my husband, dog, and I set out on the road in our packed-full SUV, to launch the “Jesus’ Economy Tour.” We were living our dream. But we were soon shocked, when God told us to turn around again.

We had hoped to not just spread the message of Jesus’ Economy, but also to empower U.S. churches to effectively alleviate poverty in their communities and to equip them to plant house churches. We had a dream of being itinerant missionaries. But no prospects were panning out and something needed to change. God was making that very clear.

After many tear-filled days and nights, John and I decided to temporarily leave behind the dream of being itinerant missionaries to churches around the U.S. and come home. We came back to my parents’ house (we sold our house, remember?). Back to square one. 

The closed doors and high costs we faced on the road were devastating. The plan had seemed so prayer-filled! 

Jesus says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you. For everyone who ask receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7–8 LEB).

We were seeking to do his will with our whole hearts. We were praying every step of the way. But God had another plan in mind.

As our journey shows, God answering your prayer does not necessarily entail him answering your prayer the way you hoped. Sometimes he stops you completely and turns you around, like he did to us. Sometimes it’s only a detour. Either way, his thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways, as Isaiah 55:8 declares.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given in advance to him, and it will be paid back to him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for eternity! Amen” (Romans 11:34-36 LEB).

Looking back, I believe that going out on the road for God was exactly what we were supposed to do for the time. It brought healing and hope to hurting areas in our lives. It brought my husband John and I closer together as a couple. It brought us closer to God. 

We are thankful for the journey and thankful for the return, because the day after we came home, my grandfather died. I was able to be with him in his last hours. I sang by his bedside and comforted his widow. I hugged and kissed his grieving daughter. John read scriptures of hope, and I watched as his flag-wrapped body left us.

It was a beautiful moment that I will never forget.

So what does God have next for us? Who can say? Probably more of the same: Love him more, love people better (Matthew 22:36–40).

We are still deeply passionate about healing the modern church—bringing us all together in unity to reach the hurting in our communities. We hope to see the world renewed for Jesus. We want to see global poverty end.

It’s an ambitious and beautiful journey. Please pray for us—that God would send us to the church communities and the people who need our help. And blessings on your journey too!

Kalene Barry
Kalene Barry


Chief Projects Officer of Jesus' Economy