It’s going to be very hard to express the experience of being in Gusu Village. We turned off the main road an hour outside of Lilongwe, and followed a rutted dirt road for another 45 minutes. We passed hundreds of brick and thatch roof huts, dozens of running, waving, barefoot children, hundreds of square miles of open brush land and arrived in Gusu around 1:30.
There was a noticeable difference to this place compared to the other villages we had passed.
There were the school blocks,
The Multi Purpose Building,
The composting toilets,
And most of all, a variety of crops growing in the beds around these buildings. One would need more training than Sesame Street provides to see that, “one of these villages is not like the others….”
Onions, sunflowers, lemon grass, tomatoes, maize, yes…pumpkins (though struggling a bit) borage and more. For miles in every direction around Gusu there is nothing but bare fields of reddish dirt waiting for the first rains of December to come and the single crop of maize to be planted for the entire year.
Look up “poverty” or “subsistence farming” in the dictionary and you will see pictures of these villages.
Gusu is different.
Yes, fundamentally its a series of brick and thatch huts, goats, barefoot children and an agriculture economy – but is becoming a sustainable and holistic community.
Like the variety of crops, there is a variety of people. MP Sam Kawale, who leads E3 here in Africa, the Epperson family, American founders of E3 along with Sam, Peter Tang, E3 Board member, Nevison, all-around get-it-done guy, Davidson our cook, and many more whose names I don’t have room to list.
Like the varied crops, thse people are being gently tended into a unified (not uniform) whole: the body of Christ, where each part serves the other and the whole body benefits.
If I were not before, I am now convinced that Gospel work (in order to BE Gospel work) must touch an entire person, not just a soul, as well as touch the entire community in which that person lives…
That’s not to say that every person must do all things, or that every church must have a food bank, a free clinic AND Bible classes, etc. I’m saying that we have to recognize our PART in the larger Kingdom game, whatever it is, and then connect with the OTHER parts, in harmony and cooperation…no matter their pedigree.
So if Jesus is behind it, So am I.
I finally met Dennis, the Permaculture practitioner at Gusu, the man responsible for seeing to the transformation of this particular plot of land from monoculture (slowly degrading fertility which propagates poverty and environmental degradation) to permaculture (working with the systems that God has provided so that all systems benefit each other and flourish)
Sound familiar? Permaculture in the church