VISIONS BEYOND THE VEIL
I cannot remember a time when I was not aware of the things of God, of angels and demons, of heaven and hell, of judgement and the life to come. I have never been able to imagine a life without Jesus. I never had to be convinced of the supernatural, or that there had to be more to life than could be found here on earth. I was simply introduced to the spiritual world by being born into a Pentecostal missionary family in the town of Kunming, China, where the events of this book took place.
My father and mother were both born in China too. They returned after World War II to found a Bible school in Kunming, where my father had spent his childhood years. He in turn was there because a generation earlier my grandfather had determined to obey the Great Commission and journey to the ends of the earth to tell the Good News of Jesus.
H. A. Baker, as my grandfather was always known, chose the furthest reaches of southwest China as his field of service. He was dedicated, persevering for years with little fruit until he nearly gave up. But the Holy Spirit came into his life with power, he continued on in China, and then he saw with his own eyes one of the most wonderful outpourings of the Holy Spirit recorded in all of Church history.
To me it seemed natural. If the Bible was true, why shouldn't God confirm His Word through such visions, revelations and spiritual gifts? Why shouldn't we experience the reality of God if we seek Him according to Scripture? Why shouldn't the supernatural things of God become increasingly normal as we draw closer to Him?
I heard more of these things on every occasion I spent time with my grandfather. I first remember him in Hong Kong, after we had all been forced to leave China soon after the revolution of 1949. I would sit on his lap, and he would pour his memories into me -- new stories every time -- of angels and demons, miracles, power encounters, infillings of the Holy Spirit, winning the lost, serving the King. What a normal way to live!
Later we, and many other China missionary families, moved to Taiwan. Of course my grandfather gravitated there to a minority group, learning a new and difficult dialect of Chinese, and continuing his long pattern of reaching lost sheep wherever they could be found. He and my grandmother lived simply, as the Chinese did. He did not appeal for support. He gave away what he did not need. He earned the love and respect of missionaries all over Taiwan, even those whose methods were very different from his. And I could never forget his witness, even for a moment.
My grandfather's ministry represented a blend of Word and Spirit that has carried my faith all these years. He never let miracles and manifestations divert him from the teachings of the Bible, nor did his faithfulness to the Word become a hesitancy to drink in the realities of all that is testified to in that Word. He was careful. He searched the Scriptures to verify what he heard and saw, and he found that living God in those Scriptures. He made sense to me; he shaped my life.
He also intimidated me. For a long time I never thought I could carry on a ministry like his in any way. It was wonderful, but such work was for unusual saints, not ordinary people like me. But over the years my memories of Visions Beyond the Veil continued to fuel the hunger for revival in my heart until I could not longer be "ordinary." Living in revival, around the throne of Jesus, thrilled with Him and anything that has to do with Him, has become the only appealing way of life to me.
Now my wife Heidi and I are in Africa, working among the poorest people we can find, taking in orphaned and abandoned children and looking for lost sheep everywhere we can. And Jesus is again revealing Himself to "the least of these," just as he did in Kunming, China, so many years ago in my grandfather's orphanage. That outpouring was not in vain; it was not just for the benefit of a few isolated people in a faraway country. Its story has fired hearts among the spiritually hungry around the world for two, and now three generations, and it is being continued today in those who will be like children in His sight.
My grandfather saw among his beggar orphans how the Holy Spirit could graciously bring the delights of heaven into even the most miserable hearts. He saw the heart of Jesus, who can and does wipe away every tear from the eyes of those He rescues from the hand of Satan. And if He can transform illiterate, wretched and forgotten orphans in remote China into monuments of His grace, and pillars of His church, then He can redeem us in every way too. He is good, and we will love Him forever!
Rolland E Baker
Africa, April 2000
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