In reading through the book, There is Always Enough by Rolland and Heidi Baker, the circumstances and difficulties that they endure are immense. Sometimes the events seem to be more than anybody could bear, while other times the sheer exhaustion of what they are doing would overcome many. So when asked about this, their response is as follows:
We are asked how we can continue doing such tiring work. How do we put up with such poverty and stressful conditions? How can we deal with so many people and needs? How long can we do this? Be we have nothing to gain by slowing down and trying to hold onto our lives. We give ourselves as a fragrant offering of love to Jesus, and in return He gives us His supernatural life. We have to stand up and face some of the poorest people on earth, who suffer, starve and die as most of us cannot imagine. Yet we can confidently preach:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39)
We have His love. We have Him! This is no time to be conservative. This is no time to let our hearts be captured by this world. We cannot imporve on His will and His life. Let’s concentrate on what captures God’s attention, and spend ourselves as He spends Himself. He knows what is worthwhile to do, so let’s learn from Him and not waste our lives. We will never run dry. We always have His resources, because He died for us. Let’s run the race to win, and never stop bearing fruit. (p.158)
Rolland and Heidi Baker (more info here) sum up the Christian life here:
But more deeply, in order for you to be useful to the Master… you must be close to Him and in love with Him. To the degree that you are intimate with Him, you will know what to do, what you must do. Jesus says drastic things in Scripture, such as,
“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)
We need to know what He is telling each of us specifically… Here in Africa, He is all around us. He is poor, sick, naked and hungry. And as we get intimate with Him, we find ourselves taking care of Him, and He will say on that Great Day,
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:34-36)
Our faith and religion are worthless if we do nothing about the physical needs of those who suffer from poverty (James 2:16). We preach the Word, we bring the gifts of the Spirit, we celebrate and worship, we press on toward eternal life fishing for the souls of people everywhere, but Jesus can tell if we love Him. Will we even bring Him just a cup of cold water when He is thirsty? (p.154-155)
Rolland and Heidi Baker of Iris Ministries (see this post) talk about when they went to a new province of Mozambique to hold a conference there. The hunger of the locals to travel the distances they did under the conditions they endured is incredible. And the response of Rolland and Heidi is so refreshing. No lectures, no ideas, only pure scripture. As they say, the only reliable thing they could offer:
They were hungry tired and penniless. This was our first conference in Nampula Province, a major event. Some of our pastors had walked for two days without food from their villages to get here, just sleeping on the dirt by the side of the road at night. Others walked four days, and one six days – to learn from us. All came with only the poor, threadbare clothes on their backs. Now they were all waiting to see what we would do. Guy asked them, "What are you most afraid of?" "That our children will starve to death while we are here," they answered simply. They didn’t even know how they would survive going home. What did we have to say?
Heidi and I came to Mozambique deliberately to face situations like this. We came to test the Gospel, and strip from our preaching everything that didn’t work and wasn’t the Truth. We came to give people the Living Jesus, not to try out our mission strategy on them. We came to love the poorest of the poor into the Kingdom, not to promise them a cheap road to health and wealth. We came asking Jesus to kill us, destroy us, and remake us however He wanted so that we would be useful to Him here. And now we faced the test.
These people were suffering. They were sick and weak. They had seen their children die in their arms. Moslems persecuted them. They saw no hope outside the Good News we brought. So we preached the purest, simplest messages we could, straight from Scripture. We had no confidence in any other ideas we might have. They needed words that the Holy Spirit would back up. They needed to know what Jesus will bless and support, what will attract His company and presence. They needed content they could depend on to the death.
How many times has the Gospel been altered and changed. Modified and "fixed" so that it is less offensive, less difficult to obey, easier to understand. But anything less than the pure Gospel is not the Gospel at all. We cannot lose even one tiny part of this essential truth.
In reading this quote from Heidi Baker (of Iris Ministries) in her and Rolland’s book called There is Always Enough, I felt really challenged to consider at what point would I stop, or where would I consider that this was enough in what I am doing for God? Would I turn around and stop because I felt uncomfortable or things weren’t going as I wanted them?
She says of the times that they were living in Mozambique during the days of the floods:
With our tent blown down and sagging into the swampy ground, we packed into our makeship dining room for worship, tracking water and mud everywhere. Bugs crawled in our hair. We were all hot and wet with perspiration. When the power went off, we carried on against the roar of a generator…
We were taking care of about seven hundred people daily at our own center, including our Mozambican staff, workers and students. And every day, even until late at night, the poor and desperate around us came for more – food, jobs, medicine, cement, money. We were crowded. Our hygiene was marginal. Our food was basic. We did the best we could medically… (p.82)
And then she ends all of this with:
And still God chose to love us and show Himself, filling our community of faith with the good things of His Spirit. (p.83)
It seemed to me that she understood the circumstances and did not deny them, yet was able to look beyond them and see the wonderful things that were also happening during the time, and acknowledge the awesome things that God was still doing in the midst of the difficulties.
I want that sort of faith. That sort of life.
Pastor Rego speaks in Rolland and Heidi Baker’s book, There is Always Enough (see this post for details)…
When I saw the first major miracle in my church, it really grew. I had a lot more power in my ministry when a mother was raised from the dead. And every day the sick people come and they are healed, and they go away and tell others.
A missionary built very close to our church, but he has left because no one went to his church. He made mahaya (a drink Mozambicans love made out of cornmeal), and he cooked for all the Christians hoping to bring them in with the things he could offer. But they came to the church where the miracles were.
We don’t have anything to give to people that would attract them, but we saw more happening than he could ever give. People left the food and drink so they could come to our church and be healed. And so our church is growing very quickly. We are walking in the ways of the Bible. (p.74)
For those people to not go to the church offering the drink and food was a significant thing in the poverty and hunger stricken outback of Mozambique at the time. It was not just that it was food, which many were lacking at the time, but it was one of their favourite foods. And yet they still did not go… because they wanted God more. Why? Because they could see through the miracles that He was real.
Pastor Rego continues…
I got next to this dead mother. I took the cover off her head and began to pray. I prayed for over an hour. She was very cold. The second hour I started to feel warmth coming into her. I could feel her body warming up. I prayed all the way down her body. When I got down to her legs, the bottom of her legs were still cold.
I picked her up, and then her eyes were open. She began to vomit and vomit. I can’t explain it. She spat up white sputum, white and yellow vomit.
I told a woman, "Sit here and hold her," because she could see everybody now. "Let’s keep praying," I said. Her legs were beginning to get warm. We prayed some more. The third hour her whole body had movement. She was alive!
…[s]o we took her and carried her to church. It was Saturday and we spent the whole night in prayer. She began to speak… Our church is full now! This is a wonderful miracle in our church that helped it to grow. (p.75)
Jesus Christ did it when he was here on the earth. Peter, his disciple did it. Many others have done it before, and her Pastor Rego also does it. Through prayer and faith in Jesus Christ anything is possible. Are we ready to pray that much? Most people I know struggle to pray 10 minutes. What about an hour? Two? Three? A whole night?
I have been reading this book called There is Always Enough recently by Rolland and Heidi Baker about their amazing ministry amongst the poor of Mozambique in Africa and it has really challenged me to the core of my Christian faith. The following number of posts will be about quotes from this book. I hope that you too may be challenged by each one.
When Heidi had an amazing encounter with God where he totally changed her, she writes:
[God] brought me to a place of utter dependence on Him. When I returned to Mozambique I began releasing people in ministry. I began to recognize potential ministers even in children as young as eight. I began relinquishing control and delegating responsibilities. The Lord started bringing missionaries from many nations to help us. Young men and women were called into ministry from all over Mozambique. I saw that it wasn’t important if I spoke, but that I could release others to fulfill their potential in God. As I became less and He became more, the ministry grew at a phenomenal rate. (p.70)
Heidi and Rolland Baker from Iris Ministries, in their book, There is Always Enough…
No matter how big the revival is or how many thousands of churches there are, we hear the Lord’s voice again: stop for the dying man, the dying woman, the dying child on the road. Pour my oil and wine into their sores. Pick them up and bring them home. He wants to put eye salve on the eyes of the Church. He wants us to stop for the one. He wants us to see the one. The face of revival! This is His heart. Let it beat in you. (p.175)
Heidi Baker from Iris Ministries, in her and Rolland’s book, There is Always Enough, tells about her response to prophecies…
Probably, like many reading this book, I have received prophecies for years that in our ministry the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the crippled will walk, the dumb will speak, the dead will be raised and the multitudes will come to Jesus. As time went on it seemed these prophecies became stronger. People began to minister those words over me more and more. I especially remember Randy Clark prophesying over me in 1998. After that I would literally go out and look for every blind person I could find. Living in one of the poorest nations on earth, they’re pretty easy to find. There are blind people all over, so I’d go up and just grab them and say, "I know you don’t know me, but I’d just like to pray for you." I’d pray for them and I’d lead them to Jesus. Every one of them would get saved. I never felt like I failed because they came to Jesus, every one, but none of them saw. I must have prayed for twenty blind people, and none of them saw. But I kept praying. I kept remembering those prophetic words that the Holy Spirit poured into my heart. There was such a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit as those words were spoken over me. I just said, "I’m not giving up. I’m not giving up. One day they’re going to see."
Tanneken Fros, one of our long-term missionaries, and I were in a little mud church up north. We began to pray for another blind lady, and she fell onto the ground. Her eyes went from white to gray to brown, and she was healed and seeing. Her name was Aida, the same name that I have in Mozambique. We were so excited. We could hardly wait to pray for the next blind person. As we were left that little mud church, everyone was singing, dancing and jumping. They were so thrilled…
This dedication. Her faith in those prophecies that they would come true. Her determination to continue against all of the failures that faced her. The certainty in her heart that she would see it come to pass. It made me think. What prophecies do I have over my life? What have I done about these prophecies? What has been my response to them?
Quoted from There is Always Enough by Rolland and Heidi Baker.
Many people in the Church are frustrated because they don’t see a harvest. They’re frustrated because they have so little fruit, and they wonder why. They keep going to the same people. In the parable of the great banquet in Luke 14:15-24, the rich didn’t want to come. They were busy enjoying their money and possessions, and made excuses. The poor can’t do these things, and they are eager to come to the banquet when they are invited. God says there are no excuses, but the Church keeps going to the wealthy and well-fed, and wonder why they don’t respond.
God is saying, "Wake up, Church! Wake up, Church! The Church isn’t ready for the wedding feast. The poor need to be called." The Lord is looking for servant lovers who are passionate for Him, who are filled with love for Him, who are longing for the Bridegroom’s return, who can taste the feast and know it’s about to begin. They can’t stand any more to stay in their comfort, to wait around for someone to be saved. They will literally run out and call in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. If we will go, they will come. (p.165)
In the two years that I have been living in Argentina, my hard heart toward the poor and the needy has softened. For too long my attitude was of "us" and "them." Now I see all people as "us." There are no "them’s" left. When approached by beggars my thoughts have changed from giving by guilt to deciding how much I should give and wondering if it is enough. Sometimes I put my arm around them and we walk somewhere that we can eat together. But this is not enough.
To palm off our responsibility as Christians to care for the poor with a coin or note is not enough. It is not what Jesus told us to do. We were told to love and care for them. Not push them away with hardly enough to buy their next meal while we spend dozens of times more than we have just given them on just one meal. We must do more. We are commanded to do more.
The Lord is calling for servant lovers who will call in the outcasts, who will go into the dark corners of the world and compel the poor to come. And they will come. They’ll come by the millions. Who will go and leave their life of comfort and call in the broken? Who will go and be a learner? Who will go and lay their life down for Jesus among the poor? The Lord Jesus wants His house to be full. It’s time for us to go out to the poor, to the broken, to the homeless, to the dying, the lonely, and call them to come in. Thousands and thousands of missionaries and ministers need to go out to the darkest places, to the poorest places, to the forgotten places, because the wedding feast is about to begin and so many of the poor haven’t been called. Rush out and call them. They will come.
Quoted from There is Always Enough by Rolland and Heidi Baker.
So as we were praying for a pastor to help these street girls, the Lord just spoke to my heart, "Louis." He’d never been to school. He couldn’t read or write until we got him into one of our literacy programs. He never had a Bible school class. He was just working in our construction department. I went over to him at campismo and said, "Louis, do you think Jesus could use you to help pastor these girls with Lucia?" Louis began to weep. He just began to cry in the sand. We don’t have buildings. We were out there in the sand under the trees, and he began to cry, tears dripping into the sand, running down his face and down his scarred hands. And he said, "Oh, Jesus would honor me with such a thing? Jesus would let me do such a thing for Him? Of course. What joy, what great joy! Of course I’ll go. Oh, I would love to go. I would love to pastor these girls and the orphans from the floods." And Louis is out there with Lucia ministering.
As I read this I wondered how I would react if offered such an opportunity. Would I think something like, "Oh at last they have recognized me, at last I can do something better than this!"? Or would I react like Louis, with humble gratitude to serve and honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?