“Suddenly I was a millionaire!” The words bubbled forth from Victor Masangano as he spoke to a small crowd of poor believers on a warm afternoon last December in rural Malawi. He got their attention—and mine too!
When I first met Victor five years ago, he was struggling with profound poverty and hunger because his small farm of a little more than an acre could not produce enough to feed his family. That same year Victor received Farming God’s Way training, and I was delighted to hear reports in the years following that his maize crops were producing more each year and that his family’s needs were well met.
Last year he decided to experiment with a cash crop, planting 3,000 cabbage seedlings. His cabbages grew and grew, and they become the talk of the village. His faith was rewarded when a man with a large truck came by his house at harvest time and offered to buy his entire crop for more than 1 million kwacha (about 1,500 USD)—making him a Malawian millionaire! With his windfall, Victor purchased a dress and some cooking pots for his wife, and two small farms nearby, on which he plans to grow more cabbages next season.
Ganiza is a single father with two children. He’s a first-time Farming God’s Way farmer who had planted his crop just before my visit, so he had yet to benefit from the harvest still months away. But as a new member of a God’s Love Group—the spiritual component fundamental to FGW’s success—he benefited immediately when other members of his group, all very poor, joined together to help him with a sacrificial contribution of maize so his family could survive until harvest, and they also gave Ganiza money to pay the fees necessary for his children to return to school.
These two men illustrate the perpetual challenge most African farmers face as they try to grow enough food. Traditional farming techniques slowly destroy the soil, while entrenched tribal superstitions and beliefs doom the vast continent’s millions of subsistence farmers to an endless cycle of meager harvests and hunger seasons, which are caused when the food supply runs out before the next crop arrives. And during periods of drought, such as is now occurring in many parts of Africa, people die of starvation.
The testimonies of Victor and Ganiza also demonstrate the power of God and offer hope to millions ignorantly using counter-productive farming techniques. One way the Lord is doing this is by raising up a team of Farming God’s Way trainers, once subsistence farmers themselves, to change the grim reality faced by so many!
But my “Dream Team,” as I like to think of them, is, even more importantly, being used of God to teach poor farmers how to love and care for each other in God’s Love Groups, and disciple them in Christ.
This godly group of men “band of brothers” comes from Malawi, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. I traveled with them to Malawi and Rwanda last Decem-ber to help unite them as a powerful, international force for good as we coached and encouraged FGW farmers by day, and spent time together in prayer, worship and fellowship at night.
I am truly blessed to see such fruit springing forth from our efforts in Africa. I stand in awe each time I strain my neck to look at the tops of healthy maize stalks 10-12 feet tall in a mature Farming God’s Way field—right where sparse, sickly stalks 3-5 feet “short” were once the norm. And I stand in even greater awe of the healthy crop of indigenous leaders God has raised up to transform villages across Africa through Farming God’s Way training and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ!