Written by Heidi & Rolland Baker
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 on my shoes, clip my fingernails. I didn’t know what country I was in, and couldn’t remember anything from the day before. Heidi built a room for a full-time caregiver for me in Mozambique. Doctors said I wouldn’t live long, and family was called.
I had friends who wouldn’t give up on me, and they sent me to a Christian center in Germany where I received incredible medical care in a faith-filled environment. Today I am back in Pemba ministering the Gospel, ready to fly my plane again, and reconnected with our friends and staff here. I look forward to pushing back the frontiers of missions in Sudan, DRCongo and wherever the need is greatest.
We cannot function in this world without the power of our God. Some of us haven’t yet been brought to our extremity, and so we aren’t fully and forcibly aware of our dependence. But our time will come. We need Him to stay alive. We need Him for our health. We need Him for our healing. We need Him for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
We need more than talk. We need Him more than church, a missions program or financial support. We need more than any human being can do for us. We need sheer, raw power in the goodness and love of God. We need power to appreciate our God, to make Him the greatest pleasure in our lives. We need power to rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. We need power to experience His Kingdom, to move in His environment.
How do we get power? It is the grace and gift of God. He plants in us a hunger that will not be denied. He opens our eyes to our poverty without His powerful Presence. He grants faith where there was none. In His power we can rest even while under demonic attack. His power fixes our eyes on Him. In His power we are able to discipline ourselves in everything. We can cast our cares on Him because He is willing to use His power on our behalf.
How can we be sure He cares for us? The cross. We go to the cross always to find confidence to approach Him. We will not empty the cross of its power. There and only there we find salvation of every kind. At the cross we come to know our God and His heart toward us. At the cross we learn to become utterly dependent on His power.
HIS POWER IN THE BUSH
We are driving to another village outreach, the joy of our lives in Mozambique. The road is dark. Traffic is very occasional. Our Land Rover is loaded on top with tents, sleeping bags, everything we need to stay overnight. We are carrying as many as we can. Along the way we explain to our visitors how we operate, planting churches every five kilometers along the roads. Now in seven years we have planted well over one thousand churches among the Makua, an “unreached and unreachable” people group in our Cabo Delgado province. Our destination appears in the night, marked by bright lights, a screen, and a whole village of people gathered together. As we draw closer we see that many have come from neighboring villages. Our advance team has gone before us, setting up a generator, sound system and video projector. We have been here before, and many know our worship songs.
Two languages are needed because of the diversity of the crowd, Portuguese and Makua. Heidi preaches and many are added to the faith. We pray for the sick, and two deaf people hear. The people sing and dance their hearts out. Clouds of dust rise in the floodlights as they exude the joy of their salvation. Heaven is touching down in this remote spot on the planet as God visits the people of His choice. The power of God is transforming hearts and giving hope. The Kingdom of God is advancing yet again.
Late into the night our Makua team have prepared dinner for us: spaghetti! We have a pile of plastic plates, and they eagerly and proudly produce a feast for us, dipping into a big pot of plain spaghetti which we eat with our fingers. Village children come streaming in to eat with us. There are no latrines in the village, so we fend for ourselves in the sticks and bush. We manage to put up our tents with a few flashlights. Heidi and I bring cots, since we do this so frequently. With city lights nonexistent around us, the stars are magnificently and densely scattered across the sky, its southern constellations so unfamiliar to us from the northern
We squeeze into our tents, change into shorts to beat the heat, and drift off to sleep as we pray. The village is up and lively at daybreak. Heidi has Starbucks coffee for our team. Mozambican friends enjoy the new experience of drinking this new treat. We start our service in our new church plant, a reed-and-mud simple little room. We have three weddings to perform. Our visiting friend Terry speaks to the couples. Again the villagers erupt with singing and dancing, and the joy is infectious among us all.
The village is building a new church structure, but the people are almost penniless. We give them enough money to buy roof material as they have already built the walls. They are thrilled. Next our Mozambican team teaches AIDS awareness seminars and more Bible studies. We bless the people with final words of teaching and encouragement, and amid a laughing, running crowd of children pull out of the village onto the road. We will be back!
On the way home we reflect with our visitors on the people movement we are witnessing. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to the number of churches we can plant if we have enough provision and people to help. The whole province is coming alive. Everywhere the poor are hearing the Good News and running to the Savior. We are just beginning to see what is possible in the Lord. Bless you for supporting us, praying for us and visiting us! The best is always yet to be.
THE POWER OF BIRTHDAY JOY
The glittering blue-green ocean couldn’t be any more beautiful. The gleaming wet bodies of children are energetically running, leaping and cartwheeling all up and down the beach. Many others are splashing and diving in the water. Palm trees and lazily moving cumulus clouds complete an atmosphere of freedom, peace and joy. Today we are celebrating with our children all the birthdays of the month, and our students’ success in our school. After hours of play we all gather to distribute gifts. Each birthday child and top student gets a colorful bag full of simple presents. Then we line everyone up for cake and soft drinks. From two-year-olds to teenagers, everyone is enjoying a very rich day together.
It is our calling and heritage to bring such life to the homeless, the desperately poor and forgotten beggars of the street. Their flashing white smiles are a reward Jesus gives us. We love bringing salvation to the least of these. Without the power of God we could not exist here. Our every Coke and bag of gifts is made possible by the miraculous generosity of God’s people. Our missionary and Mozambican teams are heroes to us. Our passion and compassion are ignited by the Holy Spirit. Our health and sustenance come from Him. Our hope for all these children comes from the Gospel alone. For us every day is a celebration of our life in Jesus. Thank you for celebrating with us, and for pouring your lives and resources into the work of the King!
Lots of love,
Rolland and Heidi