Compelled by Love: Heidi Baker
I had the privilege over the weekend to hear Heidi Baker speak, in person, in Singapore. I only heard of Heidi Baker a few years ago when I heard stories that thousands of churches were being started in Mozambique. One of my great passions is church planting, so anytime I hear about thousands of churches being started I want to find out more.
I have listened to podcasts and watched DVD’s of Heidi ministering as often as possible over the last few years. The first time I saw her she was kneeling on the floor, hugging a microphone praying and teaching at the same time. My first thought was, “that is very odd”. My second thought was, “I would never do that; how embarrassing!” Later, after listening to Heidi, I found out that was the whole point: We can never have enough humility. Heidi has said again and again, “The only direction for a minister to go is down!” We are all in need of more and more humility. As we humble ourselves, God will do great things through us.
Mozambique has a similar history to Cambodia. It has a AK-47 on its flag if that gives you some idea of its values! Civil war has abounded as has communism, drought, famine and a culture of systematic abuse of its people, especially children. It was here that Heidi Baker and her family were called of God to go and serve. They had previously ministered in Indonesia and London and have been missionaries for nearly thirty years now. Their focus has always been the discarded of the society such as street people, garbage collectors, squatters and the poor.
She went to Mozambique about ten years ago after both her and her husband finished their doctorate degrees in theology. What was their first position after attaining such a prestigious degree? No, it was not First Church in some big city, it was not even a professorship as a prestigious theological institution, it was the garbage dump in Mozambique. There is but one direction a minister of the Lord needs to go: Down. The Bakers have modeled this with their lives.
Since then, what has happened? Thousands of miracles including the dead raised, blind see, deaf hear, cripple walk and even creative miracles such as multiplication of food. The by-product of a life humbled to Jesus Christ in utter dependence of him has led to now more than 12,000 churches started. More than 1,000 churches started among a people of a radical and violent faith. They are feeding and caring for more than 10,000 children in dozens of children’s homes in Mozambique and other nations in Africa. They are even sending people into Asia now as well.
Being a missionary myself, when I had the opportunity, I personally thanked Heidi for being a role model and encouragement to other missionaries like me. Serving far away from where we were born, speaking a new language and adapting to new cultures is very difficult. The times of discouragement and frustration often far outnumber the moments of joy. Heidi has seen more evil attacks than most. I have found in ministry, that the more fruit for the Kingdom a person has it seems they have an equal increase in attacks (both from non-believers and especially painful attacks from fellow believers). Many of her pastors have been killed; brutally martyred. She has had innumerable personal attacks on her, both physically and through media, yet she keeps a smile on her face and the joy of the Lord bubbling out of her. She knows there is only one way to go, down. As she daily humbles herself, she is compelled by the love that Jesus has given her for the poor of the world.
It seems an odd concept to be compelled by love, but as you look at the life of Jesus, the apostles and the Bible in general, you see the overarching theme is being compelled by love. Heidi and her ministry certainly have shown the power of love in their lives and it is reflected in their fruit in ministry.
Heidi Bakers ministry website is: www.irismin.org I would urge you to follow her example, as she follows our Lord Jesus Christ.