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Could you change a nation by yourself?

Heidi Baker is doing it – without political clout or decent funding.

When she arrived in bleak, war-ravaged Mozambique in 1995, this American missionary had a few resources, but God told her to give away everything she owned and go sit by the side of the road. (She doesn’t “hear voices”; she just has sharp spiritual ears.)

So there she sat in the dirt, homeless, a 5’4″ blonde with a Ph.D. in systematic theology from the University of London … and little else beside the clothes on her back. “Great plan, Lord,” she grumped to the Father. “Now what?”

It was a hazardous time, barely a year after the 20-year civil war. “They were still shooting at us and stuff,” Heidi casually explains. Even Red Cross trucks would not brave the crossfire at that time.

But after a few hours at the dusty roadside there in Maputo, a white lady came striding by in a great hurry. Without even introducing herself, this total stranger plopped some keys into Heidi’s hands and wheezed, “I’ve got to go to the north part of the country. Could you housesit for me? Eat all the food or the rats will get it. Bye.” Heidi was stunned.

By asking around in her beginner’s Portuguese, Heidi eventually found the house that went with her keys.

That was lesson No. 1 in depending on God alone.

Reaching out with her great, loving heart, she began befriending street people, drug addicts and criminals. People started bringing orphans to her, sometimes by the dozens. Even though she often doesn’t have food or sleeping space, she has never refused an orphan. Somehow, God always provides extra room and food about the time the kids are brought.

Heidi encountered her first convert at the fly-ridden city dump (her favorite ministry spot). A turf-conscious teenager picked up a bottle, broke it and held the jagged edge to her throat, shouting, “Get out of here, you white devil, or I’ll kill you.”

She didn’t budge. She smiled and told him about Jesus and offered to pray for him right then and there. The amazed youth turned his life over to Christ, and today has planted a huge number of house churches and bush churches.

On one occasion, Heidi had five young teen prostitutes in tow, and they were walking down the street singing songs of worship to the Lord. An army truck rolled up loaded with Marxist troops. Pointing their AK-47s at her, they demanded she get in the truck. The petite Heidi just laughed at the ridiculousness of the scene. (Warning: Do not try this at home.) But after further threats, she agreed to walk behind the truck, following it to the police station.

The despairing, wailing girls split to summon their friends. Within an hour, the station was besieged by about 200 robbers, drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps and dump-dwellers yelling, “What are you doing with our Mama Heidi? Let her go!”

They eventually let her go, but not until after she had led the precinct captain to Christ. In response to his irate, nonstop cursing, she simply stood and sang, worshipping God. Soon he was on his knees, weeping and confessing his sins. Now he’s a house-church planter.

Heidi often accompanies her husband Rolland on relief trips into rural areas, taking food and Bibles to people who sometimes have been eating leaves and bugs to survive. Incomprehensibly to the American mind, the Mozambicans often rush past the food and swarm the Bakers as they open boxes, shouting, “Bibles! Did you bring Bibles? For the love of God, at least give us a New Testament!”

As you might imagine, this spiritual eagerness produces thousands of miracles. At the Bakers’ meetings, God heals the blind, deaf, mute, paralyzed and AIDS cases. Also, they have counted 55 resurrections so far, all with witnesses.

Today, they have 2,000 orphans fed day-to-day by faith. Their team has started over 5,000 house churches. Yet they have never once solicited support.

Three times Heidi has met with the president of Mozambique. Twice, this “nobody” has been called into government meetings for advice. She has talked officials into allowing churches to marry people (for free instead of getting a hard-to-afford government license). The result: weddings are up, the AIDS rate down … dramatically.

Mozambique is changing. If you’d like to get a taste of how this process works, make a pilgrimage to join Heidi’s work for three to 30 days. Go to the Iris Ministries website and expand your life.

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