Rob and Patti Baker: Testimony
It was my privilege to sit down with Former BHM Director Rob Baker and his wife Patti to talk to them about their 12 years of ministry in Haiti. As they recounted story after story, I was struck by their humble devotion and faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ and sharing it with the people of Haiti. The following excerpts are derived from my interview with them.
The Heart of Baptist Haiti Mission:
As I talked with the Bakers, they explained that at the heart of Baptist Haiti Mission is the local Church. There is nothing more important to the leadership and mission of BHM than the individual community of believers spread throughout the country. Missions is not just about helping the physical needs of individuals; its priority is first and foremost the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The thing is we can have people come to the hospital and help their physical needs, but we if we do not share the gospel they are still going to hell,” Rob explained to me. What a hard yet powerful truth. BHM’s priority is not building churches or schools; but rather to build up spiritual communities and real relationships with God. Relief work is a part of that, but if the gospel is not at the center of the relief, then we are only making people’s lives a little easier before they are condemned. Commitment to the Church is fundamental in any ministry that is going to further the kingdom of God.
How did they Teach about the Church?
“When a chicken gives birth, what does it bear? A chicken. If a goat gives birth what does it bear? A goat. Therefore, if a Christian gives birth to a baby, then that baby is a Christian. Right?” Rob Baker explained that many people fall prey to this “chicken mentality”. They assume that their child is a Christian because they are a Christian and that they are a Christian because their parents were Christians. Witnessing to people who assume that faith is transferred through generations is tough work. The Bakers had to approach the way they shared the gospel in a new way. They emphasized that faith comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and focused on explaining that salvation is not a community event but rather it is a personal one and you can only inherit salvation through Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bakers time in Haiti, BHM focused on training pastors to teach Romans 3:23, 27-30 where Paul reminds believers that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. Rob and Patti had to carefully communicate what it means to be a Christian and how is it that God saves individuals for others to understand the gospel.
1. Do you believe the church is important in the life of a Christian?
2. How do you minister to those who believe they are saved yet still living in sin?