Spiderman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman… who’s your favorite superhero? They may be fictional characters, but they certainly have the power to fill theaters and make millions of dollars!
For me—and a lot of poor farmers in Malawi, East Africa—Pastor Charles Mithowa is a bit of a superhero. He’s a mere mortal who derives his power from the God of the Universe, but unlike those on the big screen, this superhero is as humble as they come.
But Pastor Charles’ ability to transform lives for the kingdom of God would make any comic book superhero envious.
Just ask a destitute widow named Elisabeth Benjamin. When her humble home was destroyed in a storm, she and her grandchildren were forced to sleep outside. Her plight did not go unnoticed, however, by a God’s Love Group in Baluwa, her home village. Pastor Charles helped organize the group in the summer of 2016 to provide support and discipleship—a church in the truest sense—to poor farmers he’s taught to use Farming God’s Way methods.
Farming God’s Way, for folks who don’t know, is a highly scientific agricultural technique transforming lives throughout Africa that can easily be implemented by poor farmers. And Malawi is filled with poor farmers who, even in their best years, never have enough food to make it till the next harvest.
The GLG in Baluwa, which has been faithfully shepherded by Pastor Charles, saw Elizabeth’s need and decided they could do something about it. As lovers of Jesus, it was quite natural for them to obey His words about demonstrating love to others. Group members also decided to invite Elizabeth to join so she could find the love and comfort she needed.
Next they stepped in to help Elizabeth care for her grandchildren. But then something really big—and unprecedented—took place. Members sent word to other God’s Love Groups in neighboring villages, and one day dozens showed up in Baluwa, ready to get their hands dirty for Elizabeth—literally.
Some made mud, others pressed it into forms, while others put new mud bricks in the sun to dry. A foundation was dug. Wood beams and metal roofing sheets were purchased. A house was built for Elizabeth.
The village head sent word to other village chiefs, saying, “You won’t believe what’s going on in our village…come and see!”
You could also ask a barber named James Mpopo how his life was transformed. He lost his Baluwa barbershop business—and hope of supporting his family—when his hair clippers burned up. Depression set in. James began to contemplate suicide as his only way out.
But James’ wife was a member of a local God’s Love Group, started and overseen with the help of Pastor Charles. Knowing her husband’s distress, she asked the brothers and sisters in her group to pray. In faith, they also took up a collection amongst themselves and bought James not one, but two new electric hair clippers. James is now happy to have his business restored, and eagerly joined the GLG that helped him. He earns enough now to provide for his family, as well as give to his church so that others may be helped.
God’s Love Groups can do these things because members are growing 3 to 10 times more food than previously—thanks to Farming God’s Way. Their increased harvests are providing them with enough food until the next harvest, plus extra crops they can sell to help provide for their families in other ways, such as sending their children to school.
But wait! You can also ask 100+ orphans who live in Baluwa and other villages. Now that Farming God’s Way farmers are no longer destitute, they can show their love for Jesus in other ways, such as taking children without families into their own homes.
All these testimonies have a common thread: poor farmers joined together in God’s Love Groups and grew closer to Jesus; they dared to step out in faith using Farming God’s Way techniques and grew better crops; and they stepped out in love to serve others and grew better communities.
Perhaps the most powerful superheroes in this real-life drama are the God’s Love Groups Pastor Charles helped create. They get the most credit in this story of faith, and Pastor Charles would like it that way.