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Two types of rains are pouring over the nation of Mozambique right now – the sweet rain of revival, since God is saving, healing, raising and restoring thousands of lives through Iris Global, but also the devestating rains of flooding, that are destroying people’s homes, food and income. Iris is sending out a desperate plee for help, so please pray for them and give them something if you can. God bless you!
Wow, wow, wow. Compelled by Love is seriously one of the best films I’ve ever seen. It’s radical, passionate, moving, inspiring and awesome, it combines joyful happiness with serious pain and sorrow, and in the end I just sat in awe agreeing completely with Heidi Baker when she said that it’s all about Him – what this film portraits is nothing else than the life of Jesus today in one of the poorest nations in the world. It’s a film about an amazing missionary couple and their organization, yes, and for that very reason it is a film about Christ, because Christ is all they stand for in an amazing way.
The film is 100% Iris. It’s emotional. It’s beautiful. It’s messy. Some professional film makers would perhaps react to the patchwork-style; the film is chronological for only 30 minutes or so, and then holy anarachy is released with a multitude of different messages, themes and stories presented, some of which have already been published in YouTube clips. I love it! Shara Pradhan and her team simply takes the best Iris have directly from the field.
The Bethel and Iris culture (those ministries are basically “married” by now) talk a lot about honor, and this film truly wants to honor the life of Heidi and Rolland Baker. Bill Johnson is interviewed when he states that he simply knows no one who has constantly said “yes” to God the way Heidi has, and while she and Rolland are so extraordinary in that they always, continously, give everything to Him, their passion is multiplied to so many others that see that they are not superheroes but carrier of the divine presence of the Holy Spirit that are available for all of us. The film carefully emphasizes both sides of this paradox – the Bakers are amazing saints and should be recognized as such, but their gifts are not excluded to them but constantly multiplied to those who follow their example as they follow Christ. After all, it is the Mozambiqan bush pastors that have raised over 100 dead people within Iris, not the Bakers.
On greatnonprofits.org, there are 31 reviews of the charismatic missionary organisation Iris Ministries, or Iris Global as they nowadays call themselves. Everyone have given five out of five stars. Here are some of the reviews:
Iris Global wholeheartedly beats with the heartbeat of God. They move to bring the love of Jesus to not just the poor, widowed, orphaned but also and always to the person that stands right in front of them. It’s incredible to see and organization recklessly abandoned to take the love of Christ to every single heart that they encounter, without a secret agenda but to solely love! The experience I had with Iris was life-changing, I can never be the same.
My life was personally transformed in immeasurable ways through Iris Global. Never had I been so powerfully and overwhelmingly loved. One thing is being personally changed by a non-profit, but another is witnessing the trustworthiness and reliance one can have in KNOWING so beautifully that every penny invested towards Iris’ work is exponentially having life-giving impacts to both individuals and corporate masses.
When I spent time in Mozambique with Iris ministries I saw the lives of many many precious children, mamas , papas, young men and young woman being changed daily! Not only did I witness a love that was so transcendent I found I was the one that was being blessed by These incredible villages full of transformed people living in poverty but having a richness that could not be added in dollars! I saw children with no hope being given a hope for the future! The work iris is doing worldwide is in my opinion some of the most important work of our lifetime! I believe that through the laid down love of the body of Christ serving with Iris Global we will see an end to world hunger in our life time! Hearts yielded to love.
On the third day of my visit at Iris Ministries South Africa, I was helping the men and children to cook food on a women’s conference. Suddenly a jeep with the Iris logo appeared, and out stepped a man whose big smile I recognized so well. “Surprise! Wow, I’m so glad to meet you! I’ve read your book!!” The smiling apostle shook my hand, told me I was welcome, guided some ladies to the jeep and then pointed at me: “Micael, get into the car!”
We dropped off lady after lady until we arrived to the house of the last one, where all three of us entered. There was a very, very thin and weak man. I didn’t catch what condition he was suffering from, but I eagerly joined Surprise in praying for his healing. Then we left, and Surprise drove me back to the conference.
I met this man’s wife last Thursday. He has had severe problems with his liver and kidneys as well as TB, and has not been working since October last year. However, now he started to feel much better, he went to the doctor last week – and the doctor pronounced him 100 % well. He started working again last Wednesday. Glory to God!
This first meeting of mine with Surprise Sithole was very Surprise-ish. In his book Voice in the Night, he shares his amazing life story. He was born in a family of witch doctors in a small village in Mozambique. At the age of 15, he heard a booming voice in the middle of the night: “Surprise! Get out of the house! If you do not leave, you will die.”
Dear friends of Iris around the world,
We in Iris continue to face more need, challenge, opposition, helplessness and perplexity than we can bear, yet daily God shows up and we soldier on. We are jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Cor. 4:7). We often feel under great pressure, condemned to failure. But we have learned that this happens that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9).
We cannot overstate how much more help we need in every way. We need administrators, organizers, technicians, engineers, mechanics, builders, doctors, nurses, teachers, farmers, computer and Internet geeks, donors, etc., ad infinitum, along with every kind of spiritual gifting. The reason is that Iris is not simply a church, or a children’s center, or a relief effort, or a Bible school, or a mission training base, but all these and more as one example of an entire Kingdom environment. We exist to demonstrate an all-encompassing love that flows from God’s heart, a love that the unsaved have never seen before. We are here to seek and save the lost, and in the process give them a foretaste of heaven and our unshakeable inheritance that is to come.
We came to Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, to prove the Gospel, both in our own hearts and lives and among the neediest people we could find. And the Gospel has taken root all around us. Churches are being added to our number weekly, mounting into the thousands. After so many years of cruel colonialism, communism and civil war, the overall climate of Mozambique has changed, deeply affected, we believe, by the Gospel. It has recently been voted one the most peaceful countries in Africa. Its economic growth rate is amazing. Major energy resources are being discovered.
“The flood was causing vastly more than homelessness. Corpses were floating in the floodwaters. Helicopters rescued ten thousand people from treetops and roofs along the Limpopo River, but ninety thousand more were stranded and in immediate danger of being swept away and drowned. Most could not swim, but the current was so powerful and deep that even strong swimmers could not last long. Each day those trapped in tiny areas grew weaker from hunger and exposure. Small children were affected quickly by malnutrition, so they were rescued first, leaving their parents behind.
Those rescued were deposited in isolated areas, still wet and miserable and without food or services of any kind. Children were hungry, sick and crying, with high fevers, and left without mothers and fathers. International aid was on the way but greatly delayed by red tape, and it was far less than what was required. In this huge country with so many orphans and children in distress, there were pitifully limited facilities for taking care of them. In the Lord we tried to fill a vacuum among the neediest of them all.”
This is what missionary Rolland Baker writes in his book Always Enough (Chosen Books, 2003) about the devastating floods that hit Mozambique 13 years ago. His organization, Iris Ministries, did their best to alleviate suffering and save lives in the midst of disaster. In the book, he expresses the joy of seeing happiness returning to those who recieve the aid, but also the pain of knowing that there were many they didn’t were able to help. Today, he and the other Iris missionaries will have to experience this all over again.
Because of extremely heavy rain the last week, southern Mozambique has been struck with the largest flood disaster since 2000. UN OCHA reports that 250 000 are affected, of which 146,000 have to be housed in temporary shelters. These people are in desperate need. Katherine Mueller from the Red Cross says: The main needs are tents and clean water, but they basically need everything.”
Iris Relief has sent a team to the areas affected by the floods to bring humanitarian aid and the power and love of the Holy Spirit. Please support this, go here and scroll down to “Iris Relief: Responds to Mozambique Floodings”. Or you can give to World Food Programme, Unicef or some other organization that are active in the area. Thank you, and God bless you!
Acts 3 is one of my favourite Bible passages, since it presents a great example of how the gifts of the Spirit are tools both for evangelism and activism. When Peter and John went up to the temple to pray, they passed a lame man who was begging for money. Peter said to him: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (v. 6).
The man, who had been lame from birth, gets completely healed and starts jumping and dancing. People wonder what’s going on, Peter preaches the Gospel and explain that God did this miracle in order to give glory to His Son, and many of the listeners get saved. This single healing both rescued a man from the boundage of poverty and made it very easy for Peter to evangelize.
Heidi Baker, a charismatic missionary to Mozambique, shares a modern example of a similar event in her book Always Enough (pp. 167-9). A woman asked her to pray for her husband, named Carlos, who had been lame in his legs for two years. Heidi came home to their mud hut where the man was sitting on a reed mat with a pair of scissors in his hand, cutting up little pieces of paper. He sold this to the local matress vendors, earning just a couple of cents a day.
The Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) is a revival sermon. It wasn’t delievered in a cathedral to a bunch of silent church-goers, but in the midst of a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit where mighty miracles were occuring. Matthew describes how people came from far away in order to be blessed by the miraculous power that was flowing out from the hands of Jesus (4:23-25). I imagine the scenery as in the clip above, but even better. Every single one got healed: those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed. Revival fires were blazing!
But when Jesus starts to preach, He doesn’t talk about “the anointing”, “open heavens”, “glory invasion” or some other Charismatic cliche. He talks about Kingdom lifestyle and holiness: doing good deeds, loving enemies, giving to the needy, fasting, praying, not storing treasures on earth, not judging people, doing to others what you would have them do to you, and so on. As I’ve written in a previous blog post, it is unfortunately unusal in many parts of the church today that faith healers speak about enemy love and denouncing wealth, or that Christian activists conduct healing crusades.
This is a shame, because I am convinced that not only does the Sermon on the Mount contain instructions for living an activist life that makes the world a better place, it is also a key for Charismatic breakthrough. Immediately after Jesus has delivered His sermon, He heals a guy with leprosy (8:1-4), then a paralyzed boy (vv. 5-13), and after that a whole group of sick and possessed people (vv. 14-17). Directly after stating that the Father will give us good gifts when we ask for it, He tells us to do to others as we would have them do to us (7:9-12). The gifts of the Spirit are given by grace, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for holiness. On the contrary, if we do not act according to the commands of Jesus, our spiritual house may fall “with a great crash” (7:24-27).
One of the most amazing books I’ve read is called Voice in the Night by Surprise Sithole. It’s an autobiography where Surprise tells about how the external, audible voice of God saved his life as a young man and called him to go and preach the Gospel in his homeland Mozambique as well as other nations nearby. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the poor and planted churches, just as Jesus had told us to do. Later on he became a leader in Iris Ministries.
In the video above Surprise shares a few of the stories that can be found in his book. Not only has he raised eight people from the dead, he has also seen a lot of food miracles. Like many other saints, he combines signs and wonders with poverty reduction. I think he is a wonderful example of a humble and joyful leader with really strong faith and burning compassion. We need to listen more to these guys also in the Western church!
I am extremely inspired by Iris Ministries, which is why the background image of this blog comes from them. It is a ministry led by saints like Heidi Baker and Surprise Sithole, which is a ministry that have planted thousands of churches, taken care of thousands of abandoned children and experienced thousands of miracles, including raising of the dead. This is happening all over eastern and southern Africa, but especially in Mozambique, where the ministry is based. While the Western church is experiencing lack of Kingdom and abundance of money, the Mozambiqian revival experiences the opposite, and the thing I love with Iris Ministries is that they combine miracles with poverty reduction. The following text is taken from a newsletter sent last year by Rolland and Heidi Baker, founders of Iris Ministries:
In the last few years we have seen more than two thousand churches planted in this one province of Cabo Delgado. More spring up every week and we cannot keep count. Our “technique” is simple: all that counts is faith working through love (Gal. 5:6).
Every week we send truckloads of leaders, students and our own children to three villages. So many have opened up to the Lord that we are now often welcomed excitedly as we come back to love and encourage the people further. It is glorious to see the Kingdom spreading through the isolated and forgotten countryside of this land as village by village the power and love of our King is becoming known.
No carpets and air-conditioned sanctuaries here. We meet outside in the dirt and in the dark with hundreds and even thousands of villagers. In wind, dust, heat and rain they stand in their rags for hours, absorbing all they can. There is almost no resistance to the Gospel in this environment. Everyone wants Jesus when they feel His love through us all and see what only He can do. Of course they will need much more teaching, and more sanctification by the Spirit. But it is thrilling to see great crowds jumping and shouting “Yes!” to Jesus and His gifts. Every time our teams spread out and pray for everyone possible, resulting in tremendous testimonies. And in the morning we serve food for everyone, make friends, honor the chiefs, visit houses and families, pray for the sick, disciple the elders, preach and teach in simple mud churches, and just keep pouring out all we have. (more…)