God may love others, but He surely doesn’t love me or my children, thought Juliyasi, an impoverished widow from rural Malawi trying to support her 6 children by growing maize.
Juliyasi’s husband died 3 years ago, but she finally felt that hope had sprouted in her life, just like the maize crop she’d recently planted with the new Farming God’s Way principles we taught her. Maybe now I really can earn enough to support my family, she dared to believe.
But early last year when severe historic floods washed away her new crop and meager material possessions—including her house, clothing and a few livestock—they also threatened to wash away Juliyasi’s faith. All seemed lost.
But Farming God’s Way is so much more than just a method to help poor farmers produce more crops. First and foremost, it’s a discipleship program that teaches believers how to truly love and care for each other. When we teach FGW principles, we help local farmers form what we call God’s Love Groups. GLG members pray and study the Bible together, work their fields together, and help each other when they are in need. When one member is sick, other members tend that member’s field.
Juliyasi wasn’t the only member of her God’s Love Group hit by the floods, but those less affected rallied around Juliyasi and her young children. These friends invited the whole family into their homes until Juliyasi’s home could be rebuilt. They also provided her family with much-needed food, soap, clothing, and even the necessary uniforms so her children could attend school. And Juliyasi is just one of dozens of other poor farmers in this community who were helped by GLG members.
Through contributions to the Farming God’s Way Ministry, Heaven’s Family helped Juliyasi and her fellow GLG members replant their flood-devastated fields—even though it was the dry season when all other fields turn brown—by providing them with additional agricultural training, seeds, fertilizer and watering cans so they could restart their lives. With that help, Juliyasi was able to grow enough food to feed her precious children, and earned enough profit to care for their other needs.
But it wasn’t easy. Irrigating their fields during that time by hand-carrying water from local streams and wells was a backbreaking work of faith for Juliyasi and her friends, but it paid wonderful dividends. On top of that, they had to go against hundreds of years of agricultural tradition in Africa that said planting in the dry season was crazy—a true violation of the “We’ve not done it that way before” conventional wisdom. But together, GLG members stood strong in the face of ridicule they received from traditional farmers in their community.
Juliyasi and her friends were finally rewarded for their faith-filled labor. The fields of the GLG members grew healthy maize stalks—out of season—while their neighbors’ fields were brown and fruitless! All that their hungry neighbors have to hope for now is that government food handouts will arrive soon.
These God’s Love Group members are now filled with joy and hope. Most importantly, Juliyasi’s faith in God was restored as she experienced Jesus’ love through her GLG brothers and sisters—and Heaven’s Family—during a time when darkness flooded her soul. This is the true church in action!