[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n one hand, Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world with reputation ofa long civil war, communism, drought, famine, HIV, unimaginable abuse of children and women and an AK-47 on its national flag. On the other hand, it is one of the richest countries in the area of extraordinary miracles according to the reports and testimonies coming from members, partners, witnesses, friends and the indigenes of Mozambique.1n 1995, Heidi Baker, co-founder of Iris Ministries, along with her husband Rolland, daughter Crystalyn and son Elisha, left their comfort zone in California to fulfill the last leg of a divine prophecy. This was not their first time on the mission field. Years ago, Heidi Baker, who was raised in a wealthy family in Laguna Beach, California, sold everything and gave all to the poor. She began trading the things of the world for the presence of God at an early age.
After she gave her life to Christ at 16 years old, the Lord spoke to her in a vision that she was going to minister and be a missionary to the continents of Asia, England and Africa. After years of ministering to the poor, homeless, needy and hurting in Asia and London, she and her husband obtained their PhD in theology from the University of London and took time out to wait for further instructions from the Lord. They were directed to go to Africa and in no time they settled in the poor town of Pemba, Mozambique. A small team of Iris staff from England and South Africa joined them. One would have thought that with graduate degrees from a prominent school and a wealth of missions experience under their simple belts, the Bakers would seek for a position in an establishment that compensates handsomely. That was not the case; they chose to walk along the path of service to “the stones that a lot of builders had rejected.”
Although the beginning of their stay in Pemba was physically and financially rough, Heidi and Rolland were determined to make the most of an uncomfortable situation. When a few months later, the government offered Iris Ministries a dilapidated orphanage in Maputo without any support, they welcomed the opportunity to minister and change the lives of 80 children with reliance on support from God in Heaven. These were children that had serious medical, emotional, mental and physical issues ranging from sexually transmitted diseases, to gang associations and experience in theft. The act of undertaking such a responsibility was daunting but the Bakers were sure about one thing – with the love of Jesus Christ, they will conquer the unconquerable.
On Heidi’s first visit to the orphanage, she was horrified to see the children riot and attack each other for a bag of potato chips she gave to one of them. They fought hard and dug into the dirt for the last piece of chip. What she witnessed broke her heart but prepared the ministry for an inevitable task ahead.
In taking over the orphanage, the stories of the lives of the children were rewritten with the pen of transformation through the Word of God. In as much as the civil war had created many abandoned orphans on the streets of Mozambique, Iris Ministries began picking them up, clothing, feeding, housing and praying for them. In a short time, the children grew to 320. The first church was planted in the community and the fruits of the Spirit were beginning to manifest in unexpected ways. Where the light of God was and still is, darkness could not and still cannot comprehend. Iris Ministries faced a lot of open confrontation and opposition from several witch doctors, corrupt officials, armed robbers and the sounds of gun shots ringing in the air. Some staff members were mugged, harassed and eventually Heidi, her family, the Iris Ministries staff and her “extended” family of orphaned children were forced to vacate the orphanage in Chihango.
It was a political blow in their face but the Lord opened a door for an undeveloped land in a place called Machava which also led to a new compound in Zimpeto – a few miles from Maputo. It is here that the greatest miracles have been witnessed.
This was the genesis of the birth of a divine impact that has brought about the feeding and care of 10,000 children, 4 children’s feeding centers, raising people from the dead, instant healing of diseases and the supernatural miracle of 2 loaves and 5 fish repeated on a number of occasions. There are also 5 Bible schools, 8000 churches in 20 nations, free health clinics, well drillings, primary and secondary schools, 7000 “bush churches”, and many trained “bush pastors” some of whom have been killed and brutally martyred.
Heidi Baker has had innumerable personal attacks on her, physically, through the media and a number of doubting Thomases. Even then, she constantly maintains a smile and never ceases to attribute her peace to the “joy of the Lord.” In her own words, she sums up what is happening in her ministry as “Jesus works here because the people are poor in spirit, humble, desperate and dependable. They need God 24 hours a day because there is no backup plan.”
For some people, Heidi Baker is the modern-day “Mother Theresa.” For many children and adults in Africa, she is known as “Mama Aida” and her husband as “Papa Rolland” because of the love of Christ that is reflected in their lifestyle. Despite her good looks, educational accomplishments and fluency in several languages, the aura of humility is known to surround her wherever she goes. From Africa, Europe, America to Asia, people marvel at her mode of worshipping God; on her knees, or lying on the floor with the microphone, praying and teaching at the same time during a huge or small conference. For some people, her hysterical laughter and body movements are weird and indicative of “a drunken state of mind.”
In taking over the orphanage, the stories of the lives of the children were rewritten with the pen of transformation through the Word of God. In as much as the civil war had created many abandoned orphans on the streets of Mozambique, Iris Ministries began picking them up, clothing, feeding, housing and praying for them. In a short time, the children grew to 320. The first church was planted in the community and the fruits of the Spirit were beginning to manifest in unexpected ways. Where the light of God was and still is, darkness could not and still cannot comprehend. Iris Ministries faced a lot of open confrontation and opposition from several witch doctors, corrupt officials, armed robbers and the sounds of gun shots ringing in the air. Some staff members were mugged, harassed and eventually Heidi, her family, the Iris Ministries staff.
The Lord continues to use Heidi Baker and Iris Ministries to spread the message of true love and humility in order to experience the presence of God on a constant basis.For more information, visit www.irismin.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May Olusola – Publisher of MannaEXPRESS