“Taste and see that the Lord is good” — Psalm 34:8
In addition to the growing and flourishing children at Agape Village, God blesses us in other ways too.
A ridiculous, seemingly impossible miracle that occurs at Agape Village is the beautiful garden and farm that grows out of Zambia’s harsh landscape.
A food garden to help provide vegetables and fruit for the children has been well-established. There are onions, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, eggplant, cabbage, zucchini, orange sweet potatoes (something new to Zambia), bananas, pawpaws, guavas, etc. — all grown to feed Agape Village children, and to share with employees as well. The large garden is irrigated with a drip line system, as well as hand watered — especially during the dry season when the area will go eight months without a drop of water.
Orphanage Director Nyawa and House Mother Annie are prolific gardeners and this has been a blessing to the children. Both have horticulture experience, and we are so fortunate to have such knowledgeable leadership in keeping Agape children well-fed and nutritionally stable. Additionally, the Agape staff works diligently to nurture and take care of the bounty in the garden and the fields.
A few years ago, over the course of a few growing seasons, Agape employees cleared 20+ acres of land behind the orphanage. Agape employees now grow 10 acres of soybeans and 10 acres of corn. There is also a smattering of groundnuts grown.
Another way Agape has been blessed is with the gift of a tractor from Rocky Mount Rotary, in partnership with Rotary International. The tractor enabled Agape to move from just having a garden to, also, having a farm. Agape has a corn sheller and a hammer mill, also provided by Rotary, that use machine power to turn corn into mealy meal. No more doing all of this by hand!
Seventy-five percent (75%) of the food consumed by the children at Agape Orphanage is grown on the premises. The surplus of soybeans and corn grown is sold to offset some of the additional food costs. God is good!
Agape Village recently had a display at the Chitambo District Agriculture Show put on by the Ministry of Agriculture. We are so very proud of Nyawa – it is not common for a woman to be in charge of a display at one of these shows – who developed and oversaw a display representing Agape Village so that others could see we are doing and growing to provide so abundantly for our village.
The bounty at Agape reminds me of the story told in Matthew 14 about Jesus and his disciples and the large crowd of hungry people following Christ as he preached. He instructed his disciples to feed the crowd, but they were a little doubtful those two fish and five loaves of bread would go far enough. Annie, Nyawa, Jackie and Mickey have all told me of moments in the beginning of Agape Village, when they would look out at the barren landscape and the job in front of them, and think, “God, are you sure about this?”
Their faith always got them through their doubtful moments and God provided — more than anyone ever dreamed possible. Agape, like in the story in Matthew, has leftovers. The village shares its bounty with others, when needed.
We thank God for his attention and love to Agape Village and his continuous, beautiful, glorious blessings!