After receiving a prophecy in Toronto that their four churches would turn into thousands, Heidi and Rolland Baker returned to Mozambique in 1998. Upon returning, they were approached by Surpresa, an evangelist, and were asked to oversee ninety churches in his ministry. The Bakers agreed and began visiting the churches. They held training schools where the pastors would come and stay for three months at a time. During these three-month periods, the pastors would rise early in the morning and spend hours worshiping and praying. They learned how to eagerly seek the Father’s heart. They experienced the miraculous and were learning from the Bakers and Surpresa how to live surrendered to the Spirit. This continued for two years, and growth continued to happen. The Lord was showing up, and people were being reached.
Watch Heidi and Rolland’s daughter, Chrystalyn interview Surpresa and her father in the following video.
In 2000, a massive flood wrecked the country. Entire crops were ruined, bodies of water were contaminated, sickness was rampant, hundreds of thousands of people lost everything. The flood had devastated the country, and the Bakers knew it was an opportunity to meet needs and show Jesus to their nation. The government began grouping people into large camps. Iris Ministries and the new pastors they had brought in moved out in droves, visiting these camps. They brought food and provisions. They shared the gospel. The people were so hungry for the hope of Christ. Their churches began to grow by leaps and bounds. The vision Jesus showed them in Toronto was coming true, and all they were doing was loving people into the Kingdom.
The massive growth can be attributed to the miracles that Heidi and her team prayed for and saw God do. Heidi and Rolland continued to have training seasons for the pastors of the churches, and during these times, they were known to challenge these pastors to ask God for the miraculous. As a ministry, they have seen over 100 people raised from the dead, thousands of blind eyes open, and deaf ears released to hear.
Watch below to hear Heidi share about a tent worship service and how two blind men received their sight, got baptized, and accepted Jesus as their Savior.
These happenings are common in Iris Ministry culture. Often, Heidi will take teams into new villages, and the first thing they will do is gather a large crowd and ask if anyone has an illness or disability. That person will come to the front, or, sometimes, people will run and bring someone from their home who is disabled. The team will pray for the person, and they will be healed. Then, they share the good news of Jesus and usually entire villages come to the Lord! They will build up a church in that village and begin discipling anyone and everyone. Matthew 11:5 says, “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor”(NIV). These words were true in the ministry of Jesus, and they are true today. Heidi shows us that we, too, can rely on the Holy Spirit to bring people into the Kingdom. Jesus’s power is available to all of us.
By October of 2000, Heidi and Rolland had 400 churches. In August of 2001, they had grown to 5,000 churches! These churches continued to grow, and by 2011, the reach had gone global! Please visit their ministry website at www.irismin.org to begin discovering all this organization has to offer. They are in over fifteen nations, feeding 10,000 children a day, and are supervising over 10,000 churches. They host missionaries who serve in their ministries for a few weeks or up to a number of years at a time. Click here to read more about that experience and how you can get involved.
There a lot of resources available to help you hear more of the Baker’s story, as well as grow deeper in your own walk with the Lord. They have authored dozens of books. Please click here to see these books as well as DVDs made about Iris Ministries, CDs of soaking prayer that can lead you deeper in your walk with the Lord. Heidi also has a YouTube channel where you can experience her teachings first hand, as well as Iris Global’s YouTube channel where they post videos of behind the scenes discussions and happenings within the ministry.
The Bakers are a family, just like yours. They have brazenly stepped out in faith to believe God for the impossible. They have pressed into the seasons that are hard rather than run from them, and they have allowed the Lord to lead their steps. Their lives are a huge testimony to God when He says in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (NIV). God also says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV). We can all reflect on the way the Bakers are showing us how to follow the Lord. Their lives invite us into a way of living that bears witness to His immense nature and love.
Feature Image by Seth Doyle