Rolland & Heidi’s Newsletters

Sign up to receive newsletters from Iris.
January 2016 25 January 2016

A Pure Heart

“The human heart is the very throne and citadel of God. When he moves in, heaven begins.” –Sadhu Sundar Singh I want to write about the heart. That’s what determines who we are, what we’re worth to God, what we mean to God–and what we mean to each other. It’s not about who’s the smartest, or the most educated or even the most anointed. None of the above. We look on the outside; Jesus looks on the heart. We look at ability, leadership, skills and power, but he looks on the heart. You can’t hide it… More

Jesus our life in Mozambique Our ministry outlook at Iris Faith in the Flood Relationship in the Kingdom Thanksgiving in the bush Onward and upward in Jesus! Confidence in Him Five Essential Core Values A Missionary Legacy A Pure Heart


December 2015 16 December 2015

A Missionary Legacy

[Every few years I have been re-posting this newsletter I wrote in 2001, and again I would like to remind those interested in the work Iris Global about one of the great catalysts of our ministry–my heritage from my grandfather. During this Christmas season may we delight continuously in the coming of our Savior, for whose sake we have become missionaries to the ends of the earth…. –Rolland] I knew my grandfather until he died in 1971, and reveled in his stories of his life and ministry in old China where… More

November 2015 2 November 2015

Five Essential Core Values

Hi everybody! A lot of people want to know more about our Iris values and “DNA.” I know I’ve written about these before, but I think in the Lord that it would really help if I sent you this. It’s a very fresh and to-the-point description that is a transcript of an interview I gave awhile ago. May Jesus take these words and richly touch you. More power, love, peace and joy for you today in the Holy Spirit! These five core values have been absolutely necessary for Iris to continue to… More

February 2015 12 February 2015

Confidence in Him

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:9). Faith and joy are rare commodities among us, but valuable and precious beyond words. How extraordinary that we chase after other things in our meetings, at the expense of these. Our salvation is complete in Him, and we honor our God by not detracting from the all-sufficiency of the Gospel. In faith our desperation gives way to… More

February 2015 1 February 2015

Onward and upward in Jesus!

Twenty years ago Heidi and I landed in Mozambique with a vision: to see what only God could do in the worst circumstances we could find in the world. We wanted to prove that the Sermon on the Mount was as valid there as anywhere. The blessings of the Beatitudes apply not just to the wealthy and sheltered, and those who are at ease, but to the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers… More

November 2014 27 November 2014

Thanksgiving in the bush

To our worldwide Iris family! This week, like every other week, on Thursday afternoon we piled into my Land Cruiser with four bright-eyed children, joyful Mozambican leaders and friends from around the world uncertain of what they were getting themselves into. We bounced along dusty dirt roads, and even our guide got lost trying to find the proper winding pathway barely wide enough for our truck to pass through. We were off to share the Gospel. We will go anywhere and do anything to spread this deep gift of love that… More

July 2014 16 July 2014

Relationship in the Kingdom

Our years in Pemba have been tumultuous, intense, filled with demonic attacks, violence, threats, opposition from the government, discouragement, theft, loss, disappointments, failures, staff turnover, and the constant, unrelenting demands of extreme poverty and disease all around us. It almost always seemed that our capabilities and resources were no match for the challenges we faced every day, resulting in a level of chaos and stress that literally threatened our health and lives. Intense witchcraft and a lack of exposure to familiar standards of right and wrong made our work in… More

April 2014 10 April 2014

Faith in the Flood

First, here’s a Facebook quote written by one of our staff members. Dawn Wilk: Feeling very thought provoked after our staff meeting today… There I was, sitting in a room full of people who were just resurfacing from massive flooding; people who have lost their homes, friends, husbands, wives, children and some who have lost their entire family. People left with whatever clothes they have on their back and maybe in the sack they carried out on their head; people who were already living in poverty, already fighting just… More

November 2013 9 November 2013

Our ministry outlook at Iris

We love video newsletters, but we also want to communicate more verbally and thoughtfully as well. For this reason we will start again to send out written newsletters along with more still/video galleries. Recently I completed a Doctor of Ministry project titled, “TOWARD A BIBLICAL ‘STRATEGY’ OF MISSION: THE EFFECTS OF THE FIVE CHRISTIAN ‘CORE VALUES’ OF IRIS GLOBAL.” It was written for seminary professors, but I realize now that its conclusions could be useful to anyone wanting to know us and our Iris “DNA” better. And so we provide in… More

February 2013 10 February 2013

Jesus our life in Mozambique

Dear friends of Iris around the world, We in Iris continue to face more need, challenge, opposition, helplessness and perplexity than we can bear, yet daily God shows up and we soldier on. We are jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Cor. 4:7). We often feel under great pressure, condemned to failure. But we have learned that this happens that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9). We cannot overstate how much… More

November 2012 19 November 2012

Iris India & Village of Joy

During this Thanksgiving holiday season God’s glorious love is being poured out on the poorest of the poor, and we want to thank you for your part in remembering the least of these! Here are two more Iris Media videos. In the first, Iris Missionary Lyle Phillips shares a few of the stories of rescuing over 1,600 children from sex trafficking and forced labor in India. Also, listen as Mama Heidi shares about our full time care program for those children that we call our own. You are invited into the colorful… More

October 2012 23 October 2012

So much good news! New Iris Media Video Updates

One picture is worth 1,000 words, and we want to invite you to come and experience the beauty of God’s goodness in our lives in Mozambique. We have created an Iris Media team to produce video updates that will be posted on our website so we can celebrate the goodness of God together. God is on the move, as He is transforming lives through the love of Jesus. The Gospel is perfect! Our God is worthy! Thank you with all of our hearts for your support, love and prayers. Thank you… More

July 2012 24 July 2012

Flying and bush conferences again!

Travel by Iris Air! Thursday, July 22. It’s been a peaceful flight so far, flying at 10,500 feet westward toward Malawi from Pemba on our first long trip in our new Kodiak. The air is smooth, the sky cloudless. Our passengers are reading or dozing in relatively spacious comfort. We are covering a three-day road trip in two-and-a-half hours. We have been praying and waiting for trips like this for years. Now all of east Africa is reasonably accessible to us, and even the rest of Africa. We can take a… More

March 2012 30 March 2012

Another day at Iris

Outreach! THURSDAY AFTERNOON, February 16! Time for outreach again! We do this every week! And we take all our visitors, ready or not, on the Iris version of an African bush safari, hunting for souls and the glory of God. Packing starts early in the day. Tents, sleeping bags, headlamps, bug spray, water bottles, toilet paper, cameras, sandals, lots of deodorant(!)… All the essentials. And it all goes on top of our Land Rovers, which sway dangerously under heavy loads. So fun. By 5 o’clock we are almost ready to head out of town… More

December 2011 21 December 2011

Christmas with Jesus

Christmas in Pemba THIS IS WHAT Christmas week looks like in our part of the world from our front yard, far from snow and sleigh bells. Even in the squelching heat, we revel in beauty all around. Ocean ripples arrive softly on the shore as the tide rises. Fishermen glide by, paddling their dugouts lazily. Women are wading on the reefs, gathering long nets. Children are racing, flipping and diving on the beach. The slight breeze is so pleasant and welcome. Protected and refreshed under spreading shade trees, we look out… More

November 2011 24 November 2011

Dreams becoming reality.

What a great time it is to be alive! Testimonies of the goodness of God flood our conversations and the experience of His goodness fills our lives! God is moving through the lives of a beautiful team. The following includes some of our stories. Enjoy! DREAMS BECOMING REALITY A dream come true-After five years of prayer and planning, November 4th marked the date of a beautiful dedication ceremony. The first cornerstones were laid on the grounds of Arco-Iris’s first hospital! Annelie Basson, director of our Pemba medical staff and visionary behind this… More

September 2011 7 September 2011

Jesus our perfect Savior!

South Sudan WE ARE IN AFRICA among the poorest of the poor because we love seeing what our perfect Savior can do! For example, here’s Elaina, a fifteen-year-old when she was brought to our Iris base in Yei, Sudan, by the UN. She escaped to the Sudanese border after she had been abducted and brutalized by the LRA in the jungles of DRCongo. She was tortured, saw people killed in front of her and was left for days tied to trees. When she arrived she could barely sit up, had no… More

June 2011 5 June 2011

Children’s Day at Iris!

OUR CHILDREN could hardly sleep last night. Today is their day! Our magnificent staff in each base in Mozambique have been working for months to prepare for this fabulous day. Each center has a giant “festa,” a feast of feasts, to celebrate like never before Mozambique’s national holiday, Children’s Day! Presents, food, dancing, games, singing, worship, love and prayer — all to rejoice at the life Jesus has brought to our revival center, our Village of Joy in Pemba! He has done great things among us, and we are thrilled… More

January 2011 29 January 2011

Another day in the life of Iris!

THE PHOTO GALLERY This time my latest gallery has over 100 new photos showing you everything I can of our recent activities and ministry world. You can see more ocean baptisms, village outreaches, Mozambicans of all ages in their cultural glory, children at play, intense worship in meetings, beautiful weddings, and just the plain love and joy of our Iris family’s life in Jesus! You can use these photos however you like, and I can supply higher-resolution files if necessary. Previous news and galleries are at They go back to 2001, with… More

September 2010 8 September 2010

Core values at Iris: simple, controversial and not optional!

IRIS GLOBAL LEADERSHIP MEETINGS IN PEMBA It was an unlikely spot for a leadership conference aiming for global revival! Hidden away in our cozy little African prayer hut on the beach, with stiff ocean breezes whipping our crude canvas walls, we gathered together to represent our worldwide Iris family. Far out of town on a rough, sandy road under clear, brilliant African sky by day and under a starry southern array with a bright moon by night, we met with God and melted together in His Presence. The natural ambiance felt… More

June 2010 25 June 2010

Revival as missions, pure and simple!

JESUS OUR FOCUS “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3 NASB). We stay on track through all the differing ideas and streams in the church by maintaining our simplicity and purity. We fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. When pressed to the absolute limit, as was Paul, we determine to know nothing but Jesus and Him crucified — the only basis of… More

May 2010 8 May 2010

Enjoying our God!

IS REVIVAL NORMAL? The Westminster Shorter Catechism, written in the 1640s by English and Scottish divines to educate lay persons in matters of belief, is part of the grandest doctrinal statements to come out of the English Reformation. It is composed of 107 questions and answers, and the most famous is the first: Q. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. After thirty years of missionary work, Heidi and I understand more than ever that God wants to be our greatest… More

February 2010 27 February 2010

Pressing on to the best yet!

Heidi and I are back in Pemba after traveling since January on an intense ministry schedule that has taken us all over Asia, to Europe and across Africa. It has been a thrill to see the power of God fall on hungry believers all over the world. The Body of Christ is getting more and more desperate for God, willing to pay any price to experience His presence and companionship. There is no pleasure like walking and talking with Him, leaning on Him alone for every possible care and desire… More

December 2009 21 December 2009

Christmas in Pemba

It’s a dark, rainy day, unusual for Pemba. The southern hemisphere’s summer is upon us, and our fans feel so good in the heat and humidity. No white Christmas here, but we have been celebrating the season in our own way, and spirits are high. In a few days Heidi and I leave for California to spend Christmas with our own children, but now it is a joy to reflect on how the Lord has blessed our Iris family here in Pemba as we celebrated Christmas early. The ocean spread… More

December 2009 8 December 2009

The spreading kingdom

NEW LIFE AT LONDO The water is warm and clear, absolutely beautiful, lapping quietly on the sandy beach. Rich green trees line the shore, trunks half-covered by the high tide. The sounds of splashing and the laughter of children are all around. Beautiful faces are bobbing up and down. One by one African children are diving into this ocean paradise and swimming out to deeper water with their beloved Mama Heidi. Her blonde hair stands out among all the black children and contrasts strikingly with our blue-green watery world over the… More

September 2009 24 September 2009

Pressing on

PRESSING ON Heidi and I would both be dead by now if our doctors had been right. A few years ago Heidi was in the hospital for a month with a staph infection that went out of control. The doctors gave up on her and told her she could write her tombstone. Then suddenly, while preaching in a lot of pain, God healed her, and the next morning she was out jogging! Four months ago I was diagnosed with terminal dementia, and was barely alive. I needed help to shower, change clothes, put… More

September 2009 11 September 2009

Well drilling and a new children’s center!

WELL DRILLING PROGRAM I want to give you a quick update on our well drilling program. There has hardly been a week that goes by without something happening in this amazing journey. As you probably know, one of Iris’s core values is “going lower still.” We feel that applies in the spiritual as well as the natural…as we have certainly been going “lower still” in the well drilling department over the past few months. We have had many trials and every one of them “has worked together for the good” as… More

July 2009 19 July 2009

A Day in Our Lives

A DAY IN OUR LIVES We went out on outreach again last night. It was a perfectly normal outreach. Which is to say, practically the entire village gave their lives to the Lord on the first night, and one young boy who had been deaf received his hearing.We fell asleep happy in our little circle of tents. The next day started for us at 3 a.m., when the children sleeping in the nearest mud-walled hut scrambled to sweep the dirt around the tents and peer through our netting. They were ecstatic… More

July 2009 5 July 2009

July Iris Update

Dear Friends of Iris, Four years ago, in the South of Mozambique, one of our African youths shared his dream to see Mozambican worship music change the world. At the time, no resources were available for that music to be distributed, but his vision reached far beyond the present circumstances. Last year, that same young man was part of a pilot project in Pemba, Mozambique that captured some of the raw, Makua-language sounds in an original music CD, “Voice of the One.” Armed with new recording equipment, made available through a number… More

May 2009 23 May 2009

News From Pemba Video, Heidi Introducing New Childrens Program Building Dear Friends of Iris, God is moving in the hearts of many children at the Pemba base. Some of you may already know that we feed the children lunch every day from the surrounding village. Jesus has shown Heidi that “love has to look like something.” These children come from very poor families, and in this culture’s pecking order, the kids receive last priority on everything. So, our program targets children up to age 13. Many are hungry, but in more ways than one. When… More

March 2009 20 March 2009

Unstoppable Love and a Boat

Greetings from Iris to all our friends and family around the world; blessings, joy and peace. As another wonderful outreach in the north of Mozambique concludes, I want to thank all of our amazing donors once again. Your love for the poor and your remembrance for the downcast, the orphan, and the widow are enormously appreciated. Without your generosity, it would be impossible for us to continue reaching the lost and feeding the hungry. You have a great part of all the fruit from this Iris family. We have just returned from… More

December 2008 28 December 2008

Thank You! We Have Been Blessed!

Followed By Reports From Base Centers In Pemba; Zimpeto; Lichinga; And Chimoio, Mozambique; Iris Madagascar; Iris Sierra Leone And Iris Sudan God has been blessing us at Iris. We wanted to send you some testimonies from a few of our Iris bases around the world. We are so thankful that you care, and bless us to continue this awesome mission. Because you have walked with us, we have taken in and educated even more beautiful children, reached more villages with the love of Jesus, drilled more wells and trained more pastors… More

September 2008 12 September 2008

Ground Breaking News!

Victory: after years of praying, planning, crying, working and networking, today — Friday, September 12 — we broke ground with our enormous well drilling rig in Pemba, Mozambique! Rejoice with us! We want to thank everyone who has been involved in this incredible well-drilling water project. We know hundreds of thousands of people will be affected by this development as we can now bring water from the earth as Jesus brings living water from heaven to the desperate people of Mozambique. I cried today as the huge drill rig broke through… More

September 2008 7 September 2008

Living on the Edge

These are exciting times. Despite the worst Satan can do, we and our churches in several provinces continue to grow in number and strength. The Kingdom of God is upon us. The power of the age to come is breaking into our world on earth. We stay filled by feeding on the Word of God, and then doing what it says. In so doing we draw close to our Savior, so close that even all our imagination cannot keep up with the wonder of our connection with the Son of… More

July 2008 18 July 2008

The Great Wedding Feast

FROM HEIDI: THE GREAT WEDDING FEAST Thank you for remembering us as we stay hidden in our beloved Mozambique. Thank you for supporting all the hungry people Jesus has asked us to feed spiritually and physically. Even though months have gone by without as much communication as I would like, it amazes me how faithful you are to this ministry. You are our family. We so appreciate your prayers, extravagant gifts for the poor, and your love. Recently, the Lord has been speaking to me from the parable of the Great Banquet… More

December 2007 24 December 2007

His Presence in the fire

FROM ROLLAND: HIS PRESENCE IN THE FIRE The cool wind of the dark night blustered against our faces, and most of us were wrapped up snugly with jackets, sweaters, blankets and wool hats. We were gathered up on a little hill, and so felt exposed to the wind all the more, but we felt especially secure. It was the coziest, safest spot on our main Iris base in Pemba, and all who were there didn’t want to be anywhere else just then. We considered it our hiding place in Jesus because… More

March 2007 6 March 2007


MORRUMBALA, SATURDAY, 3 MARCH 2007 Heidi and I have one more day in the flood zone before we fly our Cessna back to Pemba. So we are up early at the World Vision compound in Morrumbala, loading our Land Rovers and big trucks for a trip to more refugee camps. We would especially like to get to the flooded Shire River and paddle our way in dugout canoes to people stranded on isolated islands. Our little convoy heads east on a dirt road through the pristine African bush. The mountains and skies… More

December 2006 22 December 2006

Christmas in Revival

SOMEWHERE IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: FRIDAY, 8 DECEMBER 2006 The spinning wheels are spraying mud as once more we push and try to get the old Toyota Prado to move. Wiping globs of mud off my glasses, hat and shirt in the cold night air, I take another look with my dying flashlight. Need to dig more. Find more rocks. The seven of us slip, slide and fall in the deep, heavy muck as we try to figure out what to do. All of us are praying. No one… More

September 2006 27 September 2006

Overnight in the Bush

Village outreaches are Iris at its most basic. This is the core of what we do. Here is where we meet the poor, the remote, the forgotten lost sheep of the world. Here the Gospel shines deeply into the darkness, facing head-on our frail human predicament, and all the despair and damage that Satan and his demons can cause. Our province of Cabo Delgado, classified by missiologists as unreached and unreachable, has been a land of syncretism and witchcraft famous for its resistance to the Gospel. But the power of… More

May 2006 29 May 2006

African Diamonds in the Making

The sparkling edges of the Indian Ocean are rippling gently on the rocky sand before me at low tide here in Pemba. The brilliant noon sun is accenting ribbons of green, turquoise and blue tropical water with intense flashes of reflected light that add dazzle to the shimmering surface. The restful sound of surf is mingling with the rustling of shade trees that form a rich green canopy over our yard and simple, funky house. From my table on our roof under some African thatch, I look out over grass… More

January 2006 10 January 2006

Christmas In Revival

26 DECEMBER 2005 I can hear the waves of the Indian Ocean softly wash up on the rocks and coral of Pemba’s beach out in the dark. The air is warm and still. All is peaceful at our funky, thatched house far to the north in Mozambique. And it is three a.m., time to rise. I have more than a thousand miles to travel today on a tight schedule. Soon headlights are shining through our gate through the trees. My ride to the airport is here. I quietly load my baggage into… More

September 2005 14 September 2005

Revival Fire for the Poor in Spirit

LILONGWE, MALAWI, 8 SEPTEMBER 2005 I’m back in Africa after weeks of conferences in the West. And I’m facing another kind of conference: a gathering of the poor, hungry, ragged, barefoot and sick from among our churches in the central region of Malawi. Carpets, air conditioning and chandeliers have given way to dirt, blowing dust and the hot sun overhead. Hospitality rooms and coffee shops are replaced by iron pots of milled maize cooking over open wood fires. Hotel rooms with soft beds, clean sheets and warm showers have become grass… More

June 2005 7 June 2005

Congo and Beyond!

SOMEWHERE IN CENTRAL AFRICA, 27 APRIL 2005 Dark rain clouds loom on the northwest horizon, directly in our flight path. Row after row of mountain ridges stand before us. We have no weather briefing. We have never flown this route before. We are heading for yet another country, but do not have a landing permit, or visas. No airlines fly where we are going, and the journey by road through the forest below is long and dangerous. Air traffic control in Kigali clears us to eight thousand five hundred feet on… More

April 2005 23 April 2005

Nias Island: Onward and Upward!

SUMATRA, FRIDAY, 15 APRIL 2005 Our Merpati Airlines Fokker F-27 is old. The interior is faded and stained. The seats are frayed, and tiny. My briefcase won’t fit under the seat. But at least I am on the plane, along with Steve Lazar, director of our children’s center at Maputo, and Mel Tari, my evangelist friend of almost thirty years and best man at Heidi’s and my wedding. We are headed for Nias Island off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, departing from Medan. But Nias is an earthquake disaster zone… More

April 2005 8 April 2005

Glory from Village to Village

Kakala is grinning broadly, so excited. Heidi is prompting her syllable by syllable, and she is answering perfectly into the microphone. This stirs the whole watching village, which knows that Kakala has been a deaf mute all her life. They run to get Kakala’s mother, and soon the two of them are beaming as they stand together on our revival platform — the flat bed of our 3-ton truck. The mother confirms to the whole crowd that she has never heard Kakala speak before (More

February 2005 5 February 2005

Khartoum to Chennai: Jesus on the Move!

SUDAN The children’s voices are strong, determined, fervent. I hear them all around me. Down myself on dust and dirt, I look up briefly and realize this is no ordinary children’s church. Eight-year-olds are pounding their fists on mud-clay walls crying out for God’s mercy and power. Some are bowed to the ground, others kneeling on benches. They are connecting with God Himself. In childlike simplicity and purity they excitedly seek Jesus for love and fruitfulness. They want to pray for the sick. They want to preach the Gospel. They want… More

November 2004 16 November 2004

One Night in Pemba

SOMEWHERE SOUTH OF PEMBA… TUESDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2004 The night is so dark. The road south of Pemba is finally paved, but the villages we drive through are the same as they have been for centuries. Each seems still, quiet, lifeless, almost ghost-like in the night. With no electricity, or even candles and lanterns, they melt quickly away into the darkness as we pass by in our Land Rover. We are headed fifty miles out of town for yet another outreach in a Moslem village untouched by the Gospel so far… More

June 2004 29 June 2004

Faith, Love and Joy in the Bush

Francisco is smiling, seated comfortably on the platform in a coat and tie, obviously very special for him. And this is a very special day — Resurrection Sunday! It’s Easter in this poor township in South Africa, and today Francisco is getting married. His bride is beside him in white. All his church friends are singing and dancing before him in their Sunday best. The weather is beautiful. The music is spine-tingling. These people know how to celebrate, even in poverty. But this is no ordinary wedding. We leave room for… More

February 2004 28 February 2004

Faith and Revival

The rain is beating on the windshield of our little Cessna. Five of us are packed in cozily together cruising along at eight thousand feet. The heater is on. My daughter Crystalyn, my niece Marissa and one of our boys are in the back, wrapped in sleeping bags and sleeping on soft pillows. They are totally at peace listening to worship music on their headsets. But deep inside the storm cloud it is getting very dark, and the pounding of the rain is fierce and loud on our plane’s aluminum… More

October 2003 21 October 2003

On we go in Jesus!

What does revival look like among our churches here in Africa? Big crowds, exciting meetings, singing and dancing until all hours? Sometimes, but here’s one portrait that focuses clearly on what is different about the heart of our God. Iris Africa has hundreds of churches in South Africa, mostly among the very poor, and a few weeks ago we were having a youth conference in the town of Slauslau, just east of White River near Mozambique. Surprise Sithole, our African director, and our five South African commissioners were holding three days… More

August 2003 27 August 2003

Pressing Toward Revival

Friday, 4 July — The quiet little town of Chimoio is getting dark. Cool wind is gusting in from the lonely hills, and the sun is disappearing over nearby Zimbabwe to the West. Heidi, Surpresa and I just flew in to encourage our believers here, and we are setting up for a local conference meeting in a brand new church we just built. The floor is still dirt. Rough wooden pillars hold up the simple tin roof. We raised a wall of mud bricks just halfway up to the roof, so… More

June 2003 22 June 2003

From Glory to Glory

Tuesday, 3 June — Silver streaks of smoke lie painted over the marshy plain before us. They stream north against us from dozens of fires, held low by strong winds. We descend through hazy, gray skies in the sunset, straining to see our dirt airstrip ahead. The headwind slows us down, and we will barely make it to our unlit field before Malawi’s official last light. We sink still lower, and in the dim light we can see canoes floating on the small ponds and streams of the lower Shire River… More

April 2003 16 April 2003

The Chicken Church

Our churches in Niassa Province wanted another conference, this time somewhere we had never been before, like Mocuba, in the center of the province. There was serious food shortage in Niassa, and many of our people in the bush had not seen a good crop in a year or two. They were surviving on leaves, roots and worms, or just eating handfuls of ground maize once in awhile. We always fed everyone at our bush conferences, but this time we wanted to do something really special: cook chicken for all!… More

December 2002 24 December 2002

Gathering the Harvest

It’s Christmas Eve tonight. Maputo is hot. Thunderstorms gather and darken overhead. My fan is blowing on me full strength. We are far from a white Christmas Western-style. But through my office windows I can hear the shouts of our children playing. They are excited. Tonight at seven we will pass out five hundred candles for them all, and they will join in caroling and worshiping our Savior and King, their faces glowing with smiles and joy in flickering candlelight. Even in this dusty, poor corner of Africa, Living Water… More

November 2002 4 November 2002

Revival in Heat and Famine

We have a thirty-knot headwind, adding an hour to our flight to Beira up on the coast of central Mozambique. The turbulence is rough. It’s a hot day, even at seven thousand feet, and our air vents are fully open. There’s four of us, Steve, Gordon, Anton and me, and we’re trying to get north where we can see the latest famine conditions. Mozambique has had almost no rain all year, and yet again instead of brilliant clouds and distant vistas we see only haze and smoke from hundreds of… More

August 2002 13 August 2002

More than Conquerors

3 AUGUST, MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE Surpresa Sithole, our Mozambican national director, seems incapable of a negative thought. Brimming over with the Holy Spirit, he grins broadly and laughs easily in all circumstances. He is my constant companion in the bush, and we go everywhere preaching together. Jesus supernaturally called him away from his village witch doctor parents and has made him a powerful leader among our churches. But for a moment today he is more serious. He is on the phone from South Africa, and again we face a test of faith. Simon… More

June 2002 4 June 2002

Rags and Riches in the Bush

16 MAY 2002, BANGULA, MALAWI Again I am racing for time. Malawi does not permit night landings in the bush, and I have only minutes before official last light. I just left Blantyre and am sinking down toward southern Malawi’s sea level plateau, an area stricken by both floods and drought this past year. I can only stay a few days with our pastors there, and I want to get to Bangula tonight. We fight against a strong headwind, marked by low streaks of smoke from cooking fires scattered across the… More

April 2002 30 April 2002

Jesus on the Move

PEMBA, MOZAMBIQUE It is late Saturday night, and again we are meeting in the moonlight among the poor in a far corner of Mozambique. A crowd is gathered at the front of our unfinished mud, stick and rock church watching the Jesus film. Children are sitting in the dirt in front of the screen, squeezed in by adults straining to see over each other. This is Pemba, a strongly Moslem town on the northeast coast, but everyone we talk to is hungry for Jesus once they hear about Him. The film… More

March 2002 25 March 2002

Revival and Famine in Malawi

BANGULA, MALAWI The full moon is bright, casting sharp shadows from the thick trees overhead. The warm night air is loud with the cries of hundreds of voices. In the dirt alongside the road, without lights or sound equipment, village pastors are on their faces calling out to Jesus, “Be with us! Stay with us! Never leave us! We have to have you! We want you! We love you!” They are shaking. They are crying. Their wives are there too, tears running down their faces. Even their little children, barefoot and… More

January 2002 14 January 2002

Back from the Dead

Lino is intense. His eyes are wide and lit up, his hands are waving and gesturing. He turns and shifts excitedly. He can’t be quieted. He knows what he’s talking about, and he sounds like it. He speaks with authority, and I am listening, taking down every detail. I hit him with every question I can think of, and he answers me transparently, effortlessly. He has been raised from the dead, and I want to know all about it. Pastor Lino Andrade is one of our more than one thousand pastors… More

December 2001 12 December 2001

Jesus in the Heat and Dirt

“We have to go to the east bank,” Surpresa tells me. “Nobody ever goes there. The people need to see you. We must encourage them.” And so we plan a bush conference in a tiny village across the river to the east from the main road leading down through southern Malawi. Actually, our believers all over this part of Malawi are desperate for visits, and are asking for conferences in every possible place. Hundreds of churches have been added to our movement here this past year, and all are intensely… More

November 2001 21 November 2001

A Missionary Legacy

The rocks are slippery in the dark. I slide, catch myself, and notice with my dimming flashlight that I’m at the edge of a cliff. The footpath gets steeper and even rockier. I come to streams and choose stepping stones carefully. I and half-a-dozen others press on down the mountainside, and I just follow the leader. It’s late and getting very cold. We crash through bushes and inch along, carefully keeping our balance as the trail gets narrow. The ground rises comfortingly on our right, but disappears into blackness on… More

November 2001 5 November 2001

The Face of Revival

Night is falling. Towering rain clouds threaten across the horizon ahead. Lilongwe has been reporting an intense downpour all afternoon. Our pastors have been waiting for us there, patiently and eagerly, for days. We’ve been promising them a conference all year, and we keep getting delayed, but we are finally on our way. I keep heading north in our Cessna 206 at nine thousand feet, two hours out of Beira on the Mozambican coast. Dark bands overhead streaked by the storm shroud a full moon breaking through a few seconds at… More

August 2001 22 August 2001

What Happened at Morrumbala?

Here’s the sequel to our last newsletter, “HOW TO HAVE A CONFERENCE (for the poor)”: “Nothing’s getting across the Zambezi,” Darryl announces over the phone. “The ferries aren’t running and I had to drive my Isuzu back down the Caia road. The truck got so damaged I barely made it home!” Our Morrumbala conference plans are already in pieces. Without our trucks, we’re going to have to fly all of us and our equipment across the river. We get our team of pastors past the Zambezi to Quelimane by commercial plane, and… More

August 2001 5 August 2001

How to Have a Conference (For the Poor)

Zambezia Province wants a conference. Our hundreds of churches there are far away and have been left out of previous conferences. They don’t have telephones or post offices. The people live in mud huts. Heavy rains have washed away their crops. Their children, thin and covered with sores, wear filthy rags. They hardly know about the outside world. But they want Jesus. They know He is their only hope, and they want us to go north and minister to them. They want to be taught. They want prayer. They want… More

June 2001 16 June 2001

I Was Thirsty and you Gave Me Drink

Nampula’s lights finally appear dead ahead in the fading sunset as we descend out of the clouds. We followed the coast up from the Zambezi, then turned inland, and now we see the rocky hills of Mozambique’s northern interior, a thousand miles from our base in Maputo. The runway lights blaze brightly, standing out from the town’s dim streets. I circle our Cessna 206 to land into the wind and we settle into yet another airport, saving days and days of struggling through deep mud and torn-up roads with a… More

May 2001 3 May 2001

Easter in Marromeu

The East is glowing. Resurrection glory is painting itself steadily and irresistibly across the Mozambican sky. Dark, gray layers of cloud low over the sea yield one after another to color and warmth, and then pure, fresh brightness. The air is still. The fields are wet and glistening with dew. Morning is here, and I am ready to fly. My Cessna 206 is packed with heavy sound equipment, bush supplies and a generator. I have my worship CDs for the flight, and my breakfast of local cashew nuts. I taxi past… More

March 2001 25 March 2001

Jesus is in Marromeu!

The rain is pouring down. It’s pitch dark. Mud and water are all around. Clouds of mosquitoes are biting. The air is steamy hot. Heidi and I are tightly packed on a little cement platform under a tin roof along with hundreds of villagers. Our sound system is turned up high and our generator is laboring under the load. We are preaching our hearts out. There are ten thousand people out there listening to us, not moving in their wet, barefoot, ragged misery. They have been streaming in all day… More

February 2001 28 February 2001

Dangerous Cholera Outbreak / God’s Response

The rivers of central Mozambique continue to rise, cutting many thousands of our own church members off from food supplies and medical help. Upstream dams are being opened up to prevent them from overflowing and breaking. The rains continue, and now again Mozambique’s government is helpless without international assistance. Challenges to our faith in Jesus do not stop. Last week, even as we received daily reports of desperation from the flooded north, a terrible outbreak of cholera hit our center at Zimpeto near the capital city of Maputo. We now think… More

February 2001 21 February 2001

Disastrous Flooding Again this Year

God isn’t done with his drastic dealings with Mozambique. Almost ceaseless rain for the last month up and down the country has resulted in the overflowing of major river systems again this year. Last year’s incredible flooding, the worst in memory anywhere in the world, affected one million people. Already the current flooding is “affecting” 390,000, and the weather forecast is for much more of the same. This time, however, because of our tremendous church growth over the last year, we are personally involved with many thousands and thousands of suffering… More

December 2000 26 December 2000

Christmas for the Poor

“When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14 We gave a Christmas banquet at our Zimpeto center, and to us it was a foretaste of the King’s great… More

September 2000 2 September 2000

Crusading in the Bush

MAPUTO, SEPTEMBER 2 Malawi stretches ahead, its hills rising seven thousand feet below us from the Zambezi River valley of Mozambique. Pure, dazzling cumulus clouds add grandeur to the fresh, clear air of the north, far from the smokey brush fires that have polluted the skies of Maputo around our center in the south. Heidi and I are squeezed into our Cessna light plane, sharing precious space with everything we need for a crusade in the bush: sound system, generator, tents, sleeping bags, lights, tools, lots of water. With worship music… More