Gastern Phuzo was born into a poor family in Monkey Bay, Malawi. Throughout his life, he struggled with poverty and sank into bad habits, including alcoholism and abuse towards his wife. At one time, for one straight week, he would just sleep outside of his house holding a bottle of beer in his hand.
However, one day he had a change of heart and turned to God for guidance. In 2019, he met Gift Sapemba, a local leader of All Nations, and through repentance and baptism, he fully accepted Jesus Christ into his life. From there he began to break the chains that imprisoned him in darkness for many years. He changed and his life became better, although he was still in poverty. His perspective shifted; from drowning himself in bad things to dreaming about a better future.
Fishermen come to Christ through business and church planting
In 2020, Gastern attended a Pioneer Business Planting consultation and learned the skills he needed to improve his financial situation, including budgeting, saving, and bookkeeping. He also learned how to find a good business idea, how to do research and how to make disciples while he was doing his business. His financial situation changed and now he is living a more comfortable life together with his family.
After the Pioneer Business Planting consultation, Gastern did some research and found out that fishermen from another village, passed through his village and needed a place to eat and sleep. Gastern saved some money and didn’t receive money from the outside. He started to provide them food and a place to sleep in his simple lodge. While these men are eating, he played the audio bible in their local language and shared Jesus with them. He prayed for one of those fishermen whose wife had left him for a few days, the fisherman’s wife came back. He build relationships with them and several men came to Christ and house churches have started. From the money he made from this restaurant he planted a garden and started a small grocery shop.
He built his own house from the profits he gained from his businesses. Every day he also saved some money in a hard to crack wooden box (see picture below). After a year, he was able to save 1,500,000 Malawian Kwatcha (+/- $1,500).
In our training, we teach people to spend money on these 4 biblical ways:
- Eating (spending)
Gastern decided to invest and he bought two fishing boats with fishing nets. He started to make 120,000 Malawian Kwatcha per day from these fishing boats.
In the past, life was hard for Gastern. But now his family lives better. He can pay school fees and he can support his family members. He has helped his mother and his sister to buy iron sheets.
From nothing he became a successful businessman and church planter. Right now, 40 people are working for him and running his grocery shop, local restaurant and fishing company. It is easier for Gastern to do church planting and business because he doesn’t go fishing himself anymore, he has now people working for him. His time is freed up to make disciples starting with the people around him and working for him.
Gastern’s story encourages other people not to let their lives be doomed no matter how poor they are. Open your heart to Christ and you will see that there is a better life waiting for you.
This is quiet inspiring and transformative. May God raise more people like Gastern who can be a living testimony of the true wholistic change in Christ.