Living on the Edge
Written by Heidi & Rolland Baker
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 God. Each day, and through each trial, the Holy Spirit carries us closer still to our perfect companion, the precise image of the Father, whose Son has become our greatest joy. Yes, Jesus forever will be our destination, our purpose for living. “How can we know Him better?” has become the constant cry of our hearts as we increasingly partake of His heavenly nature. From glory to glory we are being transformed by the power of the Cross, becoming prepared for an eternity of perfect fellowship with our God.
People ask us how to follow us to the mission field, how to be prepared — “how to do it?” Our pursuit of His Kingdom has always taken us to the “edge.” We have never been able to survive by backing away from the edge and leading a more “normal” ministry lifestyle. Sometimes our flesh cries out for more time out, more time to organize our lives and possessions, more time to battle the chaos in our surroundings. But our daily crises demand an awareness of the schemes of Satan and an ever-increasing trust in our perfect Savior. That means time — lots of time — with Him, talking over everything in our lives. And from our walk with Him we receive the urgency to press on, to run the race, to love our God with all our strength. And so by every decision, every expenditure, and by every project we start we move closer to the edge. We already live in an impossible realm. But Jesus sends us teams, support, ideas and initiative, and so on we go, pressing forward to what lies ahead no matter how close to the edge we get.
Our journey takes us to those who have just fallen over the edge and need rescuing. The poor and destitute know they need help; they are not too proud to receive. And once they see love, real love from the Master Himself, in our lives, they will come to the King. Entire villages will come to Jesus when they see that He heals the deaf and blind with just a touch and a word. When we bring a truckload of food for a feast, or solar panel-powered hand-held units that play recordings of the Bible, or new Bibles for the pastors, or clothes, or plastic to rain-proof their thatched roofs, the love of God flows freely. And then Heidi and I can find ourselves right up against the edge ourselves, and our spirits need replenishing again.
We cannot leave the edge because we see that so much more is needed. These villages are parched. People walk for hours to get water, carrying it in jugs on their heads. We finally have well-drilling equipment, but need qualified engineers to supervise the drilling process. One engineer from the States is arriving this week for this purpose. Our older youth need simple block houses to live in now that they have outgrown our children’s homes. We need to buy property and a building in downtown Maputo for a church center. We need honest and capable construction workers who can build our primary school before our rainy season. We need to diffuse and heal the serious tribal tension that exists between northern and southern tribes in Mozambique. And we need to demonstrate to the Moslems all around us that we are here for love, pure love from God. We are here to demonstrate the Kingdom in every way we can. We need to be so full of the Spirit that our service to the King is exhilarating. For that we need provision of every kind, the kind of provision that we don’t see unless we are on the edge.
We invite our readers to live on the edge too. That means something different for each person, but I pray you will know what that means for you. Loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength will take you to the end of yourself, and you will find yourself looking out over a precipice. Only God can keep you from falling. Only faith working through love counts. Let’s never leave the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus. All we know when the pressure becomes great is Jesus and Him crucified. We exist by the power of the Cross, safe and secure. From our position at the foot of the Cross we warn and persuade to the limit of our ability the multitudes that pass by. Those who turn and follow us into the heart of Jesus will be our joy.
We thank you with all our hearts for supporting us faithfully and loving us so much from a distance. We thank and love those of you who have come to visit us in Africa. And we treasure the prospect of seeing you again back on your own home turf. May Jesus bind us together in His service until we are truly one in Him!
Much love, Rolland and Heidi
P.S. For those of you who want to know more about us and our spiritual “DNA,” Heidi has a new book out, “Compelled by Love.” In it she uses actual testimonies from her ministry in Mozambique to illustrate the Beatitudes, and it is a beautiful window into God’s work among the poor. This and our other two books, “The Hungry Always Get Fed,” and “There is Always Enough” are available on our administrative web site . My grandfather’s classic book, “Visions Beyond the Veil,” also at our web site, will reveal much of the spirit behind our work in Mozambique.
We have had a very challenging and powerful month. So much has happened that when I consider the past few weeks it feels like a year has gone by. We have dealt with tribal conflicts and governmental controversies. We have joyfully built and dedicated several new churches and also had a church and home confiscated by local corrupt government officials. Three of our pastors were beaten for the sake of the gospel. A group from another religion was so furious that we were sharing our faith that even though we were ministering just outside our own church on our property, they started to stone our trucks and pulled pastor Carlos off by the neck to beat him! One of our youth leaders, Dilo, ran in front of the angry group coming after me so I could get away with Rolland, Georgian and Winnie in our Land Rover. I felt the power of God’s love through our brave young leaders!
After long hours of discussion and days of prayer things have begun to feel a little more peaceful. Sunday, as I shared how we chose as a church body to forgive those who attacked us because of the love of Christ Jesus, an unsaved man came to the front to say he wanted this Jesus because he had seen this love. He then called his wife and five children in plain daylight forward to receive Christ as their savior. The police later captured some of the angry mob who had beaten our pastors and called us into the station so they could be put behind bars. We let them go instead, pleading with them not to burn our church down. Love covers all things. We believe His love will fill us even in the most difficult of circumstances.
The next night we went right back out on another outreach, and four deaf people were healed. One of the men was older and had been totally deaf for over twenty years. Word of his healing went back to the religious leaders of the village who were astonished by such a miracle. They then welcomed us into their village. Wherever we go in Cabo Delgado the children seem the most hungry for God. The Banovs and their awesome team paid for a big goat feast, and all the children squeezing in the mud hut church enjoyed the tasty meal. There are days when I don’t think I can make it for another moment, and then I build myself up in the Lord by remembering all he has done, and by looking into the eyes of a precious child redeemed by His love whom I have the privilege of holding in my arms. Jesus is good all the time, and he has called us to pour our lives out in this very challenging and fruitful nation Mozambique. Thank you for standing with us dear friends. Please keep praying for us and keep in touch.
Much love in Jesus, Heidi —
Testimony from Juliana Calcado, a Brazilian on staff with Iris, now working in Tete Province, a hot and dry province up against Malawi’s arid southern border:
This is about the village of Thapo near the border of Malawi. This area is very dry and there are no water wells. Water must come from the river, 30 minutes’ walking distance away. The people are extremely desperate for food and water.
Thapo has no electricity or cellphone service, so we couldn’t give notice that we were coming. This is a truly isolated area of Mozambique that is tremendously needy.
We thought we had loaded 18 bags of corn in our truck, but on the way we discovered that we had only 14 because of miscounting. There was no food to buy in Thapo, and we did not have enough fuel to go back to the store house. Being 4 bags short would mean many children would have to go without.
As we started giving out the food we focused on the task at hand. In the act of giving God did multiply the corn and each child received their portion! We even had an extra portion to give to a widow who came up to us begging for leftovers.
It is amazing how God showed up in this desperate situation and how He truly loves His children. His ways are so creative, and He even allows us to be His hands and feet in this world!