“Holy Spirit, pick me up like a paint bush and paint a picture…”
I’ve been missing my sister this week. She went a few weeks ago to serve with her husband and 4 children in Mozambique with an organisation called Iris Ministries. They’ve gone for 6 months…
Recently they sent a picture of them watching the Premier of the film ‘Compelled By Love’ the story of Roland and Heidi Baker and the global impact they have had together through their mission work. So, the next available opportunity I had to watch the film I took it and now having just watched it I had to share some of my thoughts about the film. In so doing I hope I may encourage you to watch it too and hopefully catch hold of some of the beautiful themes woven throughout. All the info on the film can be seen following this link.
I must admit, I am slightly emotional and weepy, not only as I miss my sister, but also due to the stories I have just watched of changed lives and the selfless devotion to Jesus and the lavish love poured out through people who were willing to simply take God at his word and do something to change this world for his glory. The film has made we want to do so much more!
You can watch a trailer here of the film:
I was gripped right from the start of the film with Reinhard Bonnke’s opening words: ‘God is looking for friends…’ It is this delicate yet deep narrative throughout by him that holds together what could otherwise be 90 minutes of soundbites, small films, interviews, clips and examples of amazing missionary endeavors.
Alongside the narration a painting emerges intertwined within the well chosen chapters of Heidi’s and Roland’s life and journey to Mozambique and the subsequent global impact of Iris ministries. (By impact, I really do mean impact. In less than 30 years in Mozambique alone, over 10,000 churches have been planted and 9 Bible schools established.)
The blank canvas at the start of the film is eluded to throughout as the painter layers colour upon colour and the close detail doesn’t reveal who or what the picture is of, until the end. This for me served as a beautiful metaphor as to the life and selflessness of Heidi and Roland as they have simply sought to ‘get close to Jesus, and then closer still.’ (I wont spoil the film for you, but you may guess what the picture may represent!)
The film, quite rightly, can not help but focus on Heidi. You can almost feel the tension of ‘this film shouldn’t be about one person, but it also really needs to be.’ The film makers must have had a dilemma on their hands: Heidi is such an inspiration and role model of what it means to do the kind of things that Jesus taught us to do, yet her own story is one of “I am nothing at all, but He has captured my heart…” The film shows the impact that someone can have on an entire nation, but then looks beyond that and shows how now the ‘Sons and Daughters became Fathers and Mothers’ and many more like minded projects have emerged throughout the world inspired by Heidi. It is necessary to highlight her life, but having sat with her over a meal time a few years ago and seen first hand her self-effacing meek personality I can imagine how much this film may have been hard for her to see released. I am thankful that it has been, as yes, there is lots of endorsements and soundbites about Heidi and Roland, but more so, Jesus is seen wonderfully through their lives.
This journey hasn’t been easy and the film captures well the pain and suffering involved in mission. After serving in Indonesia and Bali they went to Mozambique with very little support or resources. Soon after arriving $20 was the bounty for Heidi’s life in Mozambique and they were forbidden to share Jesus. But they pressed on… Another poignant part of the film details how Roland was only given weeks to live, and then was miraculously healed.
Healing and miracles feature in this film unashamedly. Bill Johnson comments in one of the mini interviews on the ease of miracles in Mozambique, you can see some testimony of people dancing who have been crippled and one lady whose eyes were opened from being partially blind. The story that really gripped me, and one that I can not help but weep at is of the children who are welcomed in one of the Iris homes. The most vulnerable desperate children, all of whom have to be tested for H.I.V and AIDS.
Dr Ken Kantel retells the story of when the test results came back from the hospital, they had prepared themselves for more children in their care to be affected, more than the 16% of the general population who have H.I.V. Many of their children came from parents who were drug addicts and parents who had died of the disease. The tests came back: 100% H.I.V negative. This story is beyond ‘powerful’ for the sake of film and promotion, it just simply blows me away and the film at this point captures something so beautiful it is very hard to convey through a blog post.
For me, this story revealed something so tender and lovely of the work that Iris engages in Mozambique. Another insight from the film was the way teams had changed tack from ‘flying into a village to loud shouting preaching’ to honoring the village and the leaders. ‘Honor is the currency of heaven,’ Reinhard narrates as scenes of people from all over the world like my sister and her family bow low and show respect and honor to the leaders and their families. They then ask, ‘teach us something beautiful from your village.’ This opens a door for good news to be shared and shown.
Heidi declares throughout the film that what she has done is not complicated. “It’s just stop for the one.”It’s story after story of what love looks like as she has loved and shown good news to the most desperate and abused people in Mozambique, one by one.