In their book, Learning to Love, Heidi and Rolland Baker tag team to tell the excitement as well as the disappointments of Iris Ministries in Mozambique, Africa, where they feed and school thousands of children daily, plant endless churches in remote regions, drill water wells for village after village, and repair houses, all with their practical approach and unstoppable energy driven by their passion of stopping for the one. Together, they are on a mission to not be satisfied until everyone they encounter is saved and healed. Heaven is touching down in their remote spot on the planet as God visits the people of His choice.
The Bakers believe their journey has taken them to those who have fallen over the edge and are in need of rescuing and that their pursuit of the Kingdom has always taken them there, and so they boldly ask of their reader, "What is the edge that God is calling you to live in?" They encourage you to do what only you can do just because you are there. It's your calling and inheritance to bring His life and to share His cup of joy and suffering. God wants to wreck our hearts to change the way we feel and react to the situations that exist in our broken world where the Bakers believe our fundamental problem is not poverty and disease, but rather sin, and Jesus is the only answer for that problem
This book has compelled me to have more compassion toward the endless needs around me everyday and the desire to make a real difference in those needs. In essence, doing what Jesus would do. I would highly recommend this book for those who want to truly be like Jesus when He was here, meeting needs and setting people free, because ultimately sin has driven them to that place of need and that is what He came to free us from.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Chosen Books for review purposes.
Title: Learning To Love: Passion, Compassion, and the Essence of the Gospel
Author: Heidi and Rolland Baker
Date I Finished Reading: July 22,2013
My Rating: 3/5
I have always loved to hear missionaries' stories. They are always inspiring, encouraging, and enlightening. They always motivate my thoughts and prayers. Which is why I was excited to read this book. I was eager to read and to learn about Heidi and Rolland Baker and their ministry to the unreached people in Mozambique.
I enjoyed reading about the many people who were moved by the gospel through their ministry as well as how God worked in and through the Bakers as they shared his word. From reading of those who were brought to Christ, to the struggles that these missionaries overcame, to hearing of miraculous healings that occurred, I was encouraged by the faith and the love that God grew inside of Heidi and Rolland because of their passion and their ministry.
There were a couple of aspects about this book that I did not like, however. For example, I found that they were very repetitive in their story-telling, yet at the same time, it seemed as though they almost took for granted the miracles and wonders happening. It seemed as though they occasionally would say "many deaf villagers were healed", "nearly entire villages were saved" or "a lame man walked for the first time" yet they treated it as a common occurrence. They almost seemed as though they were used to, or took for granted God's miracles.
While I believe that the Bakers had a wonderful heart and ministry, I found the book a bit difficult for me to read due to how repetitive the writings seemed to be. If you can see past that, however, I believe that this is a great book for you to read.
Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.
Heidi and Rolland Baker have learned to make themselves available to the Holy Spirit, to obediently follow where he leads, to open their arms in love, and step out in faith no matter what that looks like. The result is that people's lives around them are forever changed. "Learning to Love" recounts many of their experiences serving Christ in Mozambique and what they have learned in the process. I absolutely loved the teaching and the stories that flow from this book, from stories of practical love shown by things like drilling wells for thirsty villagers, to miraculous healings of people who are blind or sick or emotionally damaged. While the book has several main themes, readers should expect to enjoy the book as a series of vignettes rather than a straight-forward biographical account of the Baker's lives. This is a book that deserves to read through more than once to allow the authors to challenge you in your own faith, and to take risks such as they have done, and see God respond in his power and his grace. I love where the authors write the following:
"Where does the kind of faith that soars come from? It comes from love, from knowing who Jesus is, from understanding what he thinks of you and realizing who he has made you to be. When you are in love you have power. When you start to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, you start to get full of God and full of understanding that whatever He asks you to do, you can do; that wherever He asks you to go, you can go.....Passion: It makes us unstoppable".
If we all lived in radical obedience to God like the Bakers do, the world would be vastly different indeed. Oh Lord, give me that same passion!
I strongly recommend this fascinating and well-written book, and award it 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
While I had a bit of trouble getting started reading it, I do like books such as this one that share stories of God's love at work and in action. This book did almost seem like more of a devotional because of the end of every chapter where there was Scripture, spiritual insights and encouragement.
Three things that made an impression on me from this book:
1. A quote-"Love is as simple as stopping for the one in front of you."
2. Whatever I do for "the least of these", I am doing for Jesus.
3. God is MORE than big enough to do great things through you.
One thing I didn't like was that I wish there would have been more stories about their work with the people in Mozambique and maybe less of the "devotional" parts.
If you like true stories or missionary stories, you may enjoy this book.
Thank you to Chosen Books and Baker Publishing Group for giving me a free copy of Learning to Love in exchange for my honest review.
The Bakers, founders and directors of Iris Ministries, share their passion for missions. They offer gems of wisdom from years in ministry. First-hand eye-witness accounts are recorded in this book making it read more like a documentary. The overall thesis of this book is that "love looks like something." This book is ideal for anyone interested in missions.