A Historical Heritage
Camp Barkeley is located eleven miles southwest of Abilene, Texas near the pioneer town of Buffalo Gap. During World War II, Camp Barkeley was built and became one of the nation’s largest military training centers. At its peak, it housed more than 60,000 men on over 70,000 acres of land. The base was named in honor of Private David B. Barkeley, a native of San Antonio, Texas. The story of David Barkeley is one of selfless courage. Barkley served as a scout behind enemy lines in France and lost his life gathering critical information on the movement and strength of enemy troops. Barkeley was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in World War I. Barkeley was the first American of Hispanic decent to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, and Camp Barkeley is one of only two U.S. bases named after an enlisted man.
During the war, infantry and armory divisions trained at Camp Barkeley. Soldiers who trained at Camp Barkeley served in a number of critical roles during World War II. A Camp Barkeley distinctive is that soldiers were trained here to liberate Nazi concentration camps. On April 30, 1945, Camp Barkeley was deactivated and sections of the base were dismantled and returned to private ownership.
A Family is Called
Dr. Norm and Angel Poorman are native Texans and have lived their lives enjoying the wide Texas skies and warm culture. After Norm received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery and a Certificate of Pediatric Dentistry, the Poormans opened Children’s Dentistry of Abilene. For the Poormans, dentistry is a family affair. Not only is Angel a Registered Dental Hygienist, but Hunter and Hayden, the Poorman’s two sons, hope to follow in their father’s footsteps and become dentists someday.
The Poormans have been engaged in their community and active members of their church, Beltway Park, for years, but in 2010 the Lord gave Norm and Angel a new vision for their lives.
A New Vision is Given
In 2006, a section of Camp Barkeley went to auction and Norm and Angel purchased the land with the intent of using the property as a home site and cattle ranch. Rarely do we know all the Lord is up to, but while listening for His voice at a Catch the Fire conference, the Lord gave Angel a glimpse into His plans for their family. God had given Norm and Angel Camp Barkeley for much more than the American dream. The Lord revealed to the Poormans His desire to create a training and retreat center on Camp Barkeley. After this encounter, God continued to lead and affirm the Poormans in their desire to see Camp Barkeley as a facility to train men and women once more.
With a heart for the nations and an emphasis on healing ministry, the Poormans began networking with others to transform Camp Barkeley. This dream center would be a place where individuals and groups could come to be restored physically, spiritually, and emotionally; equipped with the tools needed for sustained ministry; and be mobilized to serve in locations all over the world. Over the next few years, the Lord continued revealing His plan to the Poormans through personal dreams and visions and prophetic words of confirmation from other believers.
Original Mess Hall
Remodeled Mess Hall
A Partnership Begins
Once the Lord’s plan was revealed, the Poormans quickly connected with Iris Global and began establishing a dental clinic in the Village of Joy in Pemba, Mozambique. In partnership with Global Samaritan, two shipping containers with supplies were sent to Mozambique to develop the clinic and equip Iris’s primary school. The Poormans have traveled to Mozambique multiple times as short-term medical missionaries and have participated in Pemba’s Harvest School.
A Ministry is Established
In 2015, Camp Barkeley Training and Equipping Center (CBTEC) was created to provide a location for education, retreat, networking and preservation. Created as an apostolic event complex, CBTEC offers training, retreat and facility rental opportunities, and is dedicated to the preservation of the historical and environmental resources God has provided at Camp Barkeley.
In partnership with Iris Global, Iris Abilene, Partners in Harvest, Restoring the Foundations and Catch the Fire Ministries, Camp Barkeley Training and Equipping offers times of retreat and respite and training events and schools to raise up leaders to be sent to the nations.
The CBTEC leadership values the history of the land and has taken intentional steps to preserve and restore elements of the base and the integrity of the native habitat. The original Camp Barkeley Mess Hall has been restored and is now used during schools and retreats. The Camp Barkeley Retreat Center has been built on the foundation of one of Camp Barkeley’s original buildings. Wildlife surveys and invasive species removal projects have taken place at Camp Barkeley in an attempt to steward the resources that God has given this ministry. A worship center has been built on Camp Barkeley and has been dedicated as a Partners in Harvest Church. The Iris Abilene Camp Barkeley Worship Center fulfills its role as a Partners in Harvest Church by offering an International School, a missions training program and hosting community worship events.
The Lord has expanded Camp Barkeley Training and Equipping Center and cast His vision to others. An amazing board of directors and local team have been established that share the heart and vision that God has implanted in this ministry. We believe this is only the beginning and know the Lord has great plans for this land, the team He has gathered, and those who will come and be blessed by this ministry.