In the fall of 1991, Heidi and her family answered the call to travel to London England so that she and Rolland could pursue degrees in Theology. They arrived in England and Heidi and Rolland went to university at King’s College London. During the time they studied at King’s College, “they planted another church, Believer’s Centre, and continued to work especially with homeless street-sleepers, along with university students, lawyers and business people. It was a small but beautiful cross-section of the Body of Christ, and all worshiped together as close brothers and sisters in the Lord” (Irisglobal.org). Heidi graduated with her Ph.D. and followed the Lord to Mozambique while Rolland stayed in London with the children to finish out his doctorate.
She got to Mozambique with no plan and no money. She sat on a street corner and waited for the Lord. The more she observed, the more she saw children walking alone and in rags. They were very sick and starving. Mozambique had suffered a horrible civil war for nearly twenty-five years. It ended in 1992, but the devastation was paramount. The economy was suffering, families were torn apart, mothers and fathers were dead, nearly 12% of the population had AIDS, and the children that had survived up until this time were mostly abandoned and starving. Her heart went out to them, and she joined them under the bridges because she, too, had nowhere to sleep. Heidi has reflected back on this time in this video, saying, “There I am, just God and me and these street kids. [God] says to me, ‘Take them home.’” She was confused because she was willing, but she had no home to go to. The Lord continued to speak, “You learned about My kingdom from the poor, now I want you to learn about My kingdom from the children.”
Rolland and their two children joined Heidi on the streets, and soon, they were offered the opportunity to oversee a government orphanage in Chihango, just fifteen miles outside the capital of Mozambique, Maputo. The Bakers visited the orphanage and were shocked to find children who “defecated on bare floors. They were bloated and covered with sores. They yelled, kicked, and fought.” Despite the obstacles facing them, they agreed and moved in. They had no funding but had made the orphanage a home. They took in any child that needed help. They knew the Lord would provide. Quickly, their number grew from 80 to 350, and you could hear the children calling Heidi “Mama Aida.” Not only that, the children were walking with the Lord, and they were worshiping together. The Lord was transforming these children as the Baker family loved and served them through the power of Jesus.
The stress from these years began to take its toll on Heidi. She became very sick with double pneumonia, and her body became severely infected. After months of struggling, Heidi spent eighteen days in the hospital. While in the hospital, she remembered how Rolland spent time in Toronto receiving inner healing. He came back a changed man and told Heidi about incredible physical healings he saw take place, too. She set it in her mind to get to Canada.
She checked herself out of the hospital and got a one-way ticket to Toronto with money that God lovingly provided last minute. Upon arriving at the church and entering the worship service, her body was quickly healed. As she began breathing in and out normally, she received a vision from the Lord. She saw herself surrounded by thousands and thousands of children. She exclaimed to the Lord, “There are too many!” She was overwhelmed at the thought of feeding them all. He told her, “Look into My eyes. I died that there would always be enough.” He then ripped a piece of flesh from His side, handed it to Heidi, and said, “Eat this. Give it to the children.” In this vision, as she stretched out her hand to receive His side, it turned to bread, and she took the bread and began feeding thousands upon thousands of children. He said to her again, “I died that there would always be enough.”
Upon her return to Chihango, the government ordered them to stop preaching the gospel or face eviction, so they chose to be evicted from the orphanage. They moved into a tiny flat in the capital of Maputo. They also lost almost 90% of their financial backing from a church in the US, and Rolland contracted cerebral malaria. Despite all this, Heidi chose to believe the words of the Lord: there would always be enough. The neediest of the orphans lived with the Bakers in their flat, but more and more of the children came. There were fifty children living with the Bakers when they received a knock on the door. A friend had brought chili and rice, but there wasn’t enough for the orphans. Heidi opened a small tin of cornmeal and started serving it with rice and beans in faith. Everyone ate, including the fifty orphans and the friend who came. This was the first of many experiences where the Lord multiplied to meet needs. Nearly three months later, she was given fifteen acres of unused land, and everyone moved out of the flat. They set up army tents and moved in. Heidi wrote a book about this season of life and seeing God pour out provision by multiplying. Read more about this experience in her book Always Enough.
The ministry to the orphans of Mozambique was growing, and children were being rescued and healed, many of them from sexual abuse, starvation, and severe sickness. In an interview with Charisma Magazine, Heidi speaks of her life saying, “My life is very simple. I just pick up abandoned, dying children. I love the garbage dump. I hang out there and go to the alleys and back roads, and I see who’s dying, abused and alone, and I say, ‘Come, live with me.’”
With the Lord’s provision they planted four churches, and shortly thereafter, Heidi and Rolland found themselves back in Toronto for healing and guidance. The Lord showed them that their four churches would turn into thousands. In Toronto, the presence of the Lord fell so hard on Heidi that she was completely unable to move. She talks about this experience as though she were paralyzed. She was fully aware in her mind, but her body was unable to cooperate with anything she wanted to do. She remembers that she wouldn’t eat or drink unless someone thought to feed her. She wouldn’t use the restroom unless someone took her. It was a huge, humbling experience. She needed God for everything because she could do nothing in her own strength, and she also needed the body of Christ to flesh out the solutions to those needs. God, through His people, was how the ministry would survive feeding all those children. He was showing her how their ministry would succeed, and it had nothing to do with their abilities.
Watch below to hear Heidi tell about her vision from the Lord.
Continue the Heidi and Rolland Baker life-adventure in Heidi Baker: Thousands Upon Thousands.
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