In this 2003 article, Heidi Baker has been a missionary for forty years. She writes:
I first received a revelation of Jesus as the glorious Bridegroom in May of 1976. I was in a little Pentecostal church in central Mississippi, and I was just sixteen years old. I had been on a five-day fast to find out more from God about what to do with my life. Following a time of exuberant praise and worship, the Pastor began to preach. I was kneeling at the altar when suddenly I was caught up in a vision and unable to hear the service. I was surrounded by a glorious white light, and I heard the audible voice of God calling me to Africa, Asia and England as a missionary and minister. Then the Lord Jesus came to me in a vision and kissed my left hand telling me I was to be married to Him. It felt as if warm oil ran down my arm.
I knew from that moment that life with Jesus was all about intimacy and that all fruitfulness would flow from being close to Him.
After three hours of kneeling with my hands raised, the heavy presence of God lifted, and I was filled with incredible joy. I laughed for hours with a holy laughter. I was so thrilled that Jesus would marry me, and that He was calling me into ministry. I began preaching on the streets the next day, and I have never stopped.
Without much theological understanding of Jesus as the Bridegroom, I thought I would be single in the world and be married to Jesus alone, but He chose a husband for me. In 1980 I married Rolland Baker, and we went to the mission field. On the field, I grew in my understanding that Jesus is coming back for His passionate, pure Bride, the Church.
We are the object of His affection, and He has fixed His eyes on us. Like us, He loves to be loved. He is after a single-minded, single-hearted bride, a bride who is so in love, so compelled by love that she will go anywhere, anytime to call in the rest of the Bride. I believe that this passionate bride knows who she is. His love destroys fear in her. She is not afraid of persecution, war, famine or hardship. Love for her Bridegroom-King is so strong that nothing is too difficult. She knows He loves her, and she is not a slave. She is not alone. Her heart for Him draws her to others who have not yet found His love. She freely gives her life away for the One she loves.
ANOTHER VISIT FROM JESUS
In 1999 during one of my always-memorable visits to Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, I received a further vision of Jesus the Bridegroom. I was doing my favourite thing, worshiping the One I adore. His weighty glory again fell on me, and I found myself prostrate before Jesus. He showed me a delightful feast, elegantly laid out on long tables which had no end. Jesus spoke to me and said:
“My feast is about to begin! The church is not ready. Wake up, Church! Wake up!”
Then he showed me the garbage dump in Maputo, Mozambique. I was walking with Jesus on mountains of garbage. Jesus and I were calling the people to come. And they came in their rags, with their bloated bellies, open sores and bare feet. As we placed our hands on them, they were healed. Jesus, my Bridegroom, allowed me to participate with Him as we placed stunning robes of blue, red, purple, silver and gold on the people. We began to dance and sing until we danced right out of the garbage dump into the wedding feast. Jesus pointed to our friends and told them to sit in front. The Lord said, “I want my house full!”
For six years now I have been going to the garbage dump in Maputo calling the poor to the wedding feast. Yesterday while I was there, I was struck by the passion and purity in those who gathered to worship and pray in the burning sun while acrid smoke filled the air from the mounds of burning garbage. As they lifted their hands in worship to Jesus, sweat poured off their sooty faces. “Beauty for ashes,” I thought. One day they will surely sit in front at the wedding feast.
I believe that Jesus wants us to know that the wedding feast is prepared. The Father paid for it with the life of His beloved Son. Jesus endured the cross knowing one day He would come back for His pure and radiant bride. He endured the shame for the joy set before Him. The church is not yet complete because many do not even know they are chosen to be the Bride of Christ.
Jesus told me that He is looking for His servant-lovers who will call in the lost.
If we extravagantly, passionately love our Bridegroom-King, we will obey Him extravagantly, too. Every day as I draw more intimate with my Jesus, He leads me out to the lost and the broken. I hear the voice of the Bridegroom calling me to call in His bride. His eyes are fixed on her and his heart aches for her.
It is 5:00 a.m., and I am off to Lichinga in Niassa, a Muslim province in the north of Mozambique compelled to go by passion for my Bridegroom. I know that many people will meet Him in the next few days. He will demonstrate His love. The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the poor will hear the good news. I can feel Jesus’ love for His bride. She is there, waiting in a mud hut hungry and thirsty, still dressed in rags, worshipping in the dirt. Soon Jesus will come and bring her home, inside His huge loving heart. Wake up, Church! It is time to buy oil. The Bridegroom is coming, and He wants His house full!