Compelled by Love — Heidi and Rolland Baker documentary: Review

PHOTO: Screenshot from Compelled by Love.
PHOTO: Screenshot from Compelled by Love.

DVD Review by Andre Viljoen


Compelled by Love, a new, feature-length documentary about legendary Mozambique missionaries Heidi and Rolland Baker, lives up to its title as it portrays God’s unfailing love working in desperate situations through people who are deeply in love with Jesus and fully yielded to Him.

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“When you discover the beauty of who He [Jesus] is, then nothing’s hard,” enthuses Heidi, co-founder of Iris Global, in an appearance in which she gives Jesus all the credit for the ministry that cares for many thousands of orphans around the world, has established 10 000 churches in Mozambique and inspired thousands of people to give their lives to mission.

Beautifully made by Shara Pradhan who served as a personal assistant to Heidi for five years, the documentary includes footage shot on location over a period of 20 years in 10 countries. An interesting touch is the use of another ministry legend, evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, as a voice-over narrator. His familiar strong and passionate voice adds weight to the production and his participation certainly honours the Bakers.

‘Infectious’ life
The world premier of Compelled by Love was held at Bethel Church, in Redding California on January 5. In one of several brief appearances in the documentary, the church’s Senior Pastor, Bill Johnson, says that Heidi’s life is infectious, causing many people who hear her preach to discover their purpose and destiny and to hunger after a life that is as abandoned to the call of Jesus as hers. I expect the documentary, which can be purchased online, will have a similar contagious influence on many viewers. Watch at your own risk!

The documentary gives some interesting insight into the early lives of both Heidi and Rolland. She grew up in a privileged environment in Laguna Beach, California but always loved Jesus. She had an experience at the age of about 16 that set the course of her life. And Rolland was inspired by his grandfather who was a servant-hearted missionary in China and at the centre of a revival that still influences the underground church in that nation more than 50 years later.They were married in May 1980 and two weeks later were on the mission field under harsh circumstances.

The documentary provides further glimpses into the couple’s extraordinary journey, featuring various key events along the way and memorable testimonies of destitute and abused Mozambican children’s lives being transformed under their ministry.

Sons and daughters
All they [the rescued children] need to know is who they are: that they are sons and daughters and not orphans, says Heidi, who shares that her vision is for Iris Global to take in a million children in her lifetime.

The high personal cost of the Baker’s ministry journey is also discussed in the documentary. They have endured poverty and hardships. They have been shot at and stoned. They both suffered life-threatening illnesses and were healed by God. Indeed, miracles of healing and provision are a daily feature of their lives in Mozambique.

Towards the end of the documentary the narrator says that despite their incredible faithfulness and fruitfulness the Bakers have never allowed ministry to be a substitute for their focus on Jesus. The truth of this statement is confirmed by Heidi and Rolland who are quick to testify that all of their success flows out of intimacy with Jesus. Bonnke’s stirring narration builds on this revelation, declaring that God is calling forth a new breed of missionaries to live a life compelled by love that the Lamb might receive His just reward for His sufferings.


  1. Oh would not have known this was available had you not shared with us Andre. As soon as I heard Reinhard Bonke’s voice, I am moved!

  2. Completely amazing and wonderful – thank you God.