News From Pemba
Written by Heidi & Rolland Baker
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 my husband, Brian, and I arrived at the Pempa base in June 2008, we, along with some Harvest Mission students, started teaching regular Bible lessons each day to this group of children as they waited for their food. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” With help, we’ve continued this program (similar to “Sidewalk Sunday School”) five days a week and seen incredible growth in these precious children. The numbers have grown as well, from 300 in June to the current 800 or so. Just this week, a new building was completed and dedicated for the program as well as for teaching God’s Word to the Iris Elementary School. It’s positioned at the top of a hill, which Elder, our Mozambican co-worker, now appropriately named “Mount Sinai”. He comments, “The Word of God is emphasized each day, just as God gave his commands to Moses, and Moses passed them on to the children of Israel. Likewise we pass on God’s Word… ”
We trust and pray that His Word and Spirit will grow these children into mighty warriors for His kingdom. Already we are seeing fruit. The following is a testimony from one of the children, translated from Makua, the local tribal language:
“Hello, My name is Tufa. I’m 10 years old and I’ve been going to this program for about seven months. I’m thankful to God for His love and bringing me to this place where I can learn about God and the Bible. I’m thankful because He’s changing my heart. Here I’ve learned how to talk to God. Before I didn’t know how to pray. But now I pray every night before I go to bed. I used to be tormented by evil spirits in my room every night. I couldn’t sleep. But then I learned about God here and I started to pray. Now the spirits don’t come any more. My parents are happy that I’m not afraid to go into my room.
Recently I lost my school uniform blouse at the playground. I started to pray. Then when I went back to the school, I found it! I’m thankful to God for His love, in answering my prayer. ”
In conclusion, I asked Tufa, “What is the most important thing you’ve learned here?” She answered, “To listen to the Word of God and follow it.” I was so excited to hear this answer!
Elder is our Mozambican translator and much more. God has placed a deep desire in his heart to see children come to Christ all over Mozambique. He hopes to attend the internship program with Metro Ministries soon and envisions training many leaders for children’s ministry in the future. God has gifted him tremendously in this area and we feel so privileged to be able to work with him. Following is his brief testimony about the children’s feeding/teaching program.
“What is the best thing you’ve seen come out of this program?” I asked Elder. He answered, “Kids knowing who is the true God and seeing their lives change.”
“Before, the kids who came for lunch each day had no respect, no love, and no obedience. Now I, and many others here, see a change in them. They know the love of Jesus, they sing, they talk about Him, how He is the way, the truth, and the life. They will help impact the villages where they live. It’s fun to be with children that want to know Jesus and accept Him. I love seeing their faces. They have peace and joy. These children are seeds in the community. I believe when they grow, they will produce large trees where others will come and eat the fruit under their shade.”
Because of your donations, we are able to continue feeding this multitude of children every day. On behalf of all those families and the Mozambican team that helps us daily with both the teaching and feeding, we thank you for remembering the poor. We consider it such an honor to be here and minister to these dear ones. Every story and lesson is brand new to them! Most are illiterate or read very poorly, so what they hear is received with eager, hungry hearts as they learn more about their Heavenly Father each day. Thank you for helping us meet both their spiritual and physical needs. God bless you.
Lorena and Brian Wood
Rolland and Heidi Baker