July Iris Update
Written by Heidi & Rolland Baker
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 of generous special donations, we are back this summer recording an all-new, full-length album of Makua songs. We hope they will influence the culture here and abroad for the Kingdom, and that they will prove to be the first fruits of far more indigenous and heavenly art to come.
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ROOFS FOR WIDOWS
What does love look like for a widow in an old house? This week love looks like a new roof before the rainy season. Some of our local Mozambican Bible students and pastors helped us find the oldest and poorest widows in Pemba so that we could demonstrate the love of the father for them in a very tangible and real way.
Our team of Mozambicans and Harvest School students arrived to find a roof so full of rifts and ruptures that it couldn’t really be described as shelter. As we tore the old covering off, it crumbled in our hands, brittle from years of sun and rain. Several generations of women were living in the house- the eldest celebrated with a bright toothless smile.
The project attracted neighborhood kids so we split our team- half of us in the dirt dancing and playing with the kids. The Makua widow and I taught the kids a song, proclaiming that no matter where you look you won’t find anyone like Jesus. And to top it all off, just a few dollars bought bread for all the kids!
The message of the gospel is clear: love is not just an ideal, it is action in reality, in spirit, and in truth. How good it is to be with the poor and to pour out simple, practical love. We’ll continue to repair roofs for the next five weeks as often as funds allow.
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Yesterday we celebrated birthdays for all of our children born in June! For each child, a birthday is more than just a fun day, but a reminder of being adopted into a family. They are no longer orphans who don’t have names or birthdays. Our heart is for them to feel a special and renewed sense of belonging at each one of these festivities.
The celebration was held on the serene Wimbe Beach, and the kids had an incredible time. One of our missionaries, Yonnie, is in charge of the “ministry of fun” - a great priority here at Iris. She had the kids split into teams, and we held relay races up and down the beach. Though competing in teams, everyone was just happy to be out having fun, with no concept of prize-winning in evidence. After team “Alegria” won the last relay, all of the kids from different teams erupted into dancing and singing. They are so thrilled to be a family and to be having fun; there is no room for jealousy!
When it came time to pass out the gifts, everyone began with praising and thanking God… and, of course, dancing! Each kid who had a birthday was called into the circle and given a gift bag with toys, and a new outfit. A few other children and missionaries gathered around and prayed a prayer of blessing over each child as they received their gifts. Afterwards, kids and adults dined eagerly on some much-prized cake. Anything sweet is a highly anticipated treat in Pemba!
The children look forward to these celebrations once a month. Each child recognizes and understands God’s provision, and is so thankful to be adopted and surrounded by people who love and support them. We would like to thank our supporters around the world once again for making all of this possible. You are all present with us in spirit, and we thank God for you daily.
Blessings and peace, from all our family here at Iris Ministries.
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STORIES OF OUTREACH
Last Thursday, in true Iris fashion, teams of mission school students, Bible college students, missionaries, and visitors poured into a small flock of Land Rovers, venturing out into the Mozambican bush to wreak havoc on the enemy and see the kingdom of God advance!
In the district of Churie, God healed many of the sick on the first night, including three deaf people who had their ears opened up! God’s presence fell heavily during the worship service the next morning, and afterwards we walked through the village to the local watering hole for an incredible baptism time. Throughout our stay, the Makua and Iris team members remained full of joy and energy. Before we left, the local unsaved family who had allowed us to camp on their land accepted Jesus also.
It seems none of our trips is without certain amusing difficulties, of course. On this trip we lacked the large open-backed truck that we normally used for a stage. Without it, our Harvest School and Mozambican Bible School students struggled gamely through a prepared drama, but without any boundaries to the play’s action. The effect was hilariously chaotic, as the crowds intermingled closely with and around our actors in their excitement. The sound system had to be cranked up to amplify the actor’s sounds over the close-in crowd’s noise; the result was loud, messy… and ultimately beautiful nonetheless.
Heidi received a very generous offering from this village: one fully-grown, live goat, which provided ample sound effects of its own during our return trip as it rode proudly on top of our Land Rover down the dusty road home. We gladly report that he is now safely settled at our Mieze children’s home, with a ever-growing family of fellow goats for company.
One of the most moving parts of the trip happened when a Makua grandmother brought us a beautiful albino orphan named Mariette. Albino children are difficult to care for in the villages, as their skin and eyes require special protection in the hot, sunny subtropical climate. We are now working with officials there to bring this precious baby to Pemba. There is great need for a new children’s home in Churie, as there are 48 orphans in the one village we visited alone. We are in the process of building a hut there, and we continue to believe God for His increasing provision as we take in every orphan we can find, both here and from all over the country.
-Crystalyn Human and Heidi Baker