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CULTURAL NEWS
Mozambique’s Spiritual Awakening
11 July 2005

MOZAMBIQUE - For nearly a generation, disasters and destruction scarred the nation of Mozambique. A brutal civil war devastated the country for 20 years, and in the year 2000, some of the worst floods in history battered the nation. But a recent spiritual renewal shows signs of change in the character of the country, a renewal that could alter the face of Africa and even the Middle East.

Several hundred men and women, many of them former Muslims, were baptized recently on the coast of Mozambique in the Indian Ocean. It was a powerful demonstration of the impact that the Gospel is having in an area once considered unreached - and unreachable.

Heidi Baker and her husband Rolland Baker are founders of Arco-Iris Ministries and authors of "There is Always Enough." They began ministering in Mozambique in 1995. Ten years later, they are in the middle of what some believe is an unprecedented revival.

"We're in revival. It's amazing. It's a time of glory. We've waited our whole lives for this," Heidi said.

"We come into villages here, and they find out Jesus is real and they're just screaming at us,” Roland said. “They're just demanding - we want Jesus now. We want a church now. We want a pastor now. Not tomorrow. We don't want Islam anymore. We want the living Jesus now. Give us a pastor now. We want a Bible school now."

This intense spiritual hunger has strained the Bakers’ ability to keep up with the demand. They have established Bible schools to train hundreds of pastors, and already several thousand churches have been planted throughout Mozambique.

One of the hallmarks of this spiritual renewal is that many Muslims are accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Heidi said, "It's probably the only place in the world where they are coming so quickly. All I can say is that it must be a Kairos moment - God has just said, now is the time for these people. Many people are having dreams. They see Jesus appear to them. Probably half our pastors were leaders, imans in Moslem mosques. They were leaders in these mosques -- now they're pastors."

"It's incredible when we see the Muslim people taking off their hats, you know,” said Aguinaldo Franca, Director of the Pemba, Mozambique base. “It's very important for them, their hats, and when they take off their hats and raise their hands to Jesus, it's amazing to see."

During this revival, miracles are common. They have seen nearly every miracle recorded in the New Testament.

A deaf and dumb woman was one example out of thousands. The crowd at the outreach roared with delight when she spoke for the first time.

Evangelist Todd Bentley spoke to one village of Muslims who mix Islam and the power of the witch doctor. He told them, “If you’ll ask the Lord to forgive you, I can pray for you and you’ll be healed by Jesus, not the witch doctor.”

Outreaches are frequent and some – like visiting evangelist Bentley – said that the miracles have a profound impact on evangelism.

"We've been seeing a tremendous response to the Gospel as we've been presenting the love and the power of Jesus. In two nights alone, I think we've seen pretty close to 1,500 [respond] -- nearly half of the village," Bentley said.

The signs and wonders include raising the dead. Surpresa Sithole prayed for a dead six-year-old girl, and he was shocked when she came back to life.

"She grabbed my finger,” Sithole said. “I jumped, because I was not expecting it. I jumped in the study there. Amen! When I jumped in the study there, her first words were ‘I'm hungry.’ So right now, in the whole ministry we have a lot of people that rose from the dead, but their first word is that ‘I'm hungry.’"

The roots of this revival in Mozambique began with children. The Bakers took orphans off the street and brought them into their home. What began with a few has grown into an orphanage with hundreds of children.

Steve Lazar, the director of the Zimpeto Center, a Christian mission dedicated mainly to helping needy children, said the biblical command to care for orphans and widows is a key to the current revival.

"Well, we believe that Jesus says that pure religion is to care for orphans and widows,” Lazar said. “So when Heidi and Rolland Baker first came here, the first thing they did was take children off the streets. Looking after children is fundamental to the revival, because these children are the future of the nation of Mozambique. So we see that caring and discipling is the fundamental thing of the revival."

Once a year, the Center celebrates Children's Day, a national holiday in Mozambique, with a special meal, gift-giving and celebrations. Many of the children are orphaned or abandoned.

Some of them carry the AIDS virus. Some came from the nearby dump, where many people survive by living off the refuse of others. Lazar said the compassion for "the least of these" has produced supernatural results.

He said, "Many of the miracles that have begun to happen throughout the revival have begun with the children here in the Center, and children throughout Mozambique…But the greatest miracle we see is the miracle of Jesus transforming the lives of these children. Where they were without love…we're pouring in love and we're seeing them grow both spiritually as well as physically, and we believe that these children really will be the future for sharing the Gospel across Mozambique."

The heart of this movement is to reach the "least of these" and stop for the one.

"You have to see the one. If you don't see the one, you can't see the multitude. You have to see one person in front of you. If you see the one, then you'll understand suffering. You'll see one dying child under a bridge. You'll see one baby with AIDS. You'll see one widow left alone under a tree,” Heidi said.

Throughout this revival, thousands of visitors, mainly from the West, have come to see for themselves what it is like to reach out to "the least of these."

Jacqueline Evans is one of those ministering to the orphans.

"This is definitely a life-changing experience,” she said. “I don't see myself going back home and not being a completely changed person. This also gives me more of a drive to come back here and help out as much as possible."

Another helping to meet the needs of orphans is Alex Kowslowski, who commented, "These kids are showing us so much love. It's not like, you know, when we came here, a lot of people think they come here ministering to kids, but they [the kids] are ministering to us. It's truly the place where Jesus walks."

The Bakers, who began with a just a few, are now seeing the multitudes come to Jesus. But they believe the vision is much more than just one nation.

The vision of this movement is not limited to just taking the Gospel across Mozambique. A major goal is the vision to take the gospel of Jesus Christ through Africa and all the way back to Jerusalem.

"…[for] this revival, we were called to reach all the African nations until Jerusalem…Jerusalem was our goal…Jerusalem was the heart of God, and we would reach Jerusalem," Heidi said.

Some believe that the goal is significant, since it would help fulfill The Great Commission. And it parallels a similar vision of the Chinese church to bring the Gospel through India and the Middle East back to Jerusalem. Currently, the Bakers find themselves in the same situation that Jesus described.

"Jesus said a long time ago, the harvest is ripe, it's ready, it's huge but the laborers are few,” Rolland said. “Pray therefore that the Lord of the Harvest would send workers out into the field. And so that's exactly the situation we have here. We have a huge, huge harvest field where literally millions of people will come running to Jesus if they just know about Him and are given a chance."

Heidi added, "So He's asking, He's looking out there, is there anyone, anyone, anyone -- who will lay their life down to find the lost bride? He's worth it. He's more beautiful than anything we've ever imagined. Give everything to Him and bring in His lost bride."

For more information on Arco-Iris Ministries, please visit their Web site. For more details on the miracles in Mozambique, please visit the In the Name of Jesus Web site.

By Chris Mitchell- CWNews


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