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Heidi Baker
2019

Heidi Baker

The David Chow Humanitarian 2019 Award

Heidi Baker (born August 29, 1959) is a Christian missionary, itinerant speaker, and the CEO of Iris Global, a Christian humanitarian organization. She is the author of several books on Christian spirituality.

Heidi Baker grew up in Southern California, becoming a Christian after hearing a Navajo preacher’s message while volunteering on a Choctaw reservation. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from Vanguard University, and a PhD in systematic theology from King’s College London (1995). She met Rolland Baker, the grandson of missionary H. A. Baker, in 1979. They married six months later in 1980; they left for the mission field two weeks after that. They were ordained as ministers in 1985.

Heidi Baker founded Iris Global in 1980 with her husband Rolland, and began ministering together in Asia. Iris Global is a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to charitable service and evangelism, particularly in developing nations.

In 1995, the Bakers moved to Mozambique in order to begin a new ministry focused on the care of orphaned and abandoned children. A year later, Heidi became sick with tuberculosis and pneumonia, but despite her doctor’s recommendation, she went to a healing meeting in Toronto, Canada. There, she had a vision where Jesus showed her thousands of children to feed; when she exclaimed that it was impossible to help them all, he said “There will always be enough, because I died.” After which, she was healed.

Iris Global negotiated with the Mozambican government to assume financial and administrative responsibility for a former government orphanage in Chihango, near the capital city of Maputo. There were roughly 80 children present. Since that time Iris Global’s operations have expanded to include well-drilling, free health clinics, village feeding programs, the operation of primary and secondary schools, cottage industries and the founding more than 5000 churches in Mozambique, with a total of over 10,000 Iris-affiliated churches in more than 20 nations. Their ministry is known for its reports of miracles, and in September 2010 the Southern Medical Journal published an article presenting evidence of “significant improvements” in auditory and visual function among subjects exhibiting impairment before receiving prayer from the ministry.
Beyond her administrative duties the Bakers are authors and frequent conference speakers, traveling worldwide to speak on Christian ministry and spirituality. Candy Gunther Brown, professor of religious studies at Indiana University, has called the Bakers “among the most influential leaders in world Pentecostalism.”

Heidi is now “Mama Heidi” to thousands of children, and oversees a broad holistic ministry that includes Bible schools, medical clinics, church-based orphan care, well drilling, primary schools, evangelistic and healing outreaches in remote villages and a network of thousands of churches. She has BA, MA and PhD degrees, has authored four books and travels the world as a conference speaker.