'Praying for Peace': Heidi & Rolland Baker Staying in Mozambique Despite Nearby Violence
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Iris Global ministry has released an official statement saying the ministry's work in Mozambique is continuing even as violent attacks are taking place in nearby regions of the country.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC) alerted followers that Heidi Baker was requesting prayer for Iris Global in Pemba, Mozambique.
"Terrorist(s) are attacking villages in the Pemba area... numerous people have been killed in last few days. They are beheading people and burning small villages and more. She has to move 250 students out of Pemba to Johannesburg in next few days," IHOPKC's Mike Bickle wrote.
CBN News spoke with Joy Ercoli, the vice president of operations of Iris Global, to confirm the report.
She said that although the news has gained international attention, there is a sense of peace over the ministry and its International Harvest School.
"There is not a sense of panic...the reality is it has been going on for quite a while," she said.
Laura Taranto, the executive assistant to Heidi Baker, wrote to CBN News explaining that several attacks have occurred within two hours of their base in the rural village.
"There have not been any attacks in Pemba, where we live. We have not received any threats against our base or the city of Pemba. The attacks were against villagers of all faiths including families of some of our friends here, and we mourn with all those who have lost family."
According to a statement released by Iris Global, a group of militants has been attacking villagers in the area since last fall.
"Since October 2017 there has been a group of militant extremists responsible for scores of attacks against government institutions and civilians in the north of Mozambique where we live," reads the official statement. "They are targeting anyone who opposes their brand of terror."
"In the last few weeks these attacks have intensified in frequency and brutality," it continued. "Each attack has involved killing and burning houses. People were beheaded in at least six villages, two of which are within two hours drive of our Pemba base. Villagers are fleeing for their lives, carrying nothing with them, and have become refugees in the bush or on offshore islands."
Ercoli told CBN News the Mozambique government is being cautious and has made the decision to cancel the visas of Harvest school students.
"The government has canceled visas for our international Harvest School students for security reasons, and they are having to leave within a few days for South Africa where the school will continue. They will fly out this week on commercial flights," Taranto confirmed in a statement to CBN News. "The airport is still running flights as normal."
"Our ITC Harvest School is half Mozambicans and half internationals," Taranto added. "The Mozambican pastors in training will continue school here in Pemba. The international students will complete their school in South Africa."
Ercoli said the ministry's decision to send students to South Africa is to ensure compliance with the government.
"They are just going with their plan to move students out and to get started in South Africa," Ercoli said.
Ercoli confirmed that despite the danger, both Heidi and Rolland Baker would be staying in Pemba for the time being. The ministry said they would continue to pray for the country they love.
"We are praying for peace in Mozambique and our hearts mourn for the families who have lost loved ones," the statement reads. "Our leadership team is in constant prayer, daily evaluating the situation to determine the best precautions for our staff."
Heidi and her husband Rolland have been missionaries since they were married in a small charismatic church in Southern California.
They spent 12 years in Asia and saw thousands come to Jesus. In 1995, Heidi and Rolland moved their family to Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world. The government offered them a horribly dilapidated and neglected "orphanage."
They started caring for 80 children and watched God pour out his love and provide food day after day. The Bakers now watch God provide miraculously for well over 10,000 children every day and have a network of more than 10,000 churches, Bible schools, primary schools, and remote outreach programs.
Today Heidi and Rolland's ministry "Iris Global" has networks of churches and church-based orphan care in all ten provinces in Mozambique in addition to their bases in main cities. In recent years they have concentrated on the Makua, a people group of four million in the north who were listed by mission researchers as "unreached and unreachable."
With tremendous help from missionaries and nationals, around two thousand churches have been planted among these people in the last eight years.
Heidi spoke to CBN News in April about her vision of revival she has seen that she called the Glory Wave.
"I saw the wave and it's full of faces. And I thought, 'Lord, what is that? Are those the ones coming home or the ones going out?' And I saw they were the faces of these radical lovers of God, every tribe, tongue, and nation, who are going to go to the ends of the earth, carrying the Glory," she stated.
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