If only for one soul being saved, then all the prayers, sacrifices, time, work and preparation for the Karoo Mighty Men Conference would have been worthwhile — this has been a principle on which the KMMC organising committee has stood in its seven years of bringing the event to the tens of thousands of men.
With more than 3 000 men rising from their chairs in response to the altar call by Afrika Mhlope on the first night of KMMC 2017 everything that went into making the conference take place was more than worthwhile for the harvest was plentiful and glorified God.
To give an idea of the magnitude of the number of men who accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour: it approached the entire number of men who attended the first KMMC in 2011.
Another indication of the success of KMMC 2017 was that almost half of those who attended the conference this year were there for the first time.
The big white prayer tent
In all, about 6 500 men, either having surrendered their hearts to the Lord, or in need of prayer, visited the Big White Prayer Tent, which has become a landmark at KMMC, according to Lance Walton, coordinator of activities in the prayer tent.
The men were provided with the opportunity to be ministered to in the tent through counselling or baptism in water and the Holy Spirit.
Entering the Big White Prayer Tent was quite an amazing experience with the huge pavilion a hive of activity: multitudes milling about; men crying, tears streaming down their cheeks; others laughing; groups hugging; individuals undergoing counselling; some being held by catchers having collapsed under the power of the Holy Spirit; men lying on the ground and being prayed over; and several on their way to the baptism bath.
While the harvest was plentiful the workers were few given that Lance and a team of only about 20 counsellors had to minister to the thousands who visited the tent.
It is not surprising then that the counsellors would arrive at about 8a.m. in the morning and only leave the tent at approximately midnight each night, having ministered to an ongoing stream of men throughout the day.
“The number of men that gave their hearts to the Lord was gratifying, while the number of men who came through the tent to be ministered to was overwhelming at times,” said Lance.
“Our aim was for newly saved men to go home from KMMC armed with knowledge of the road ahead as well as being baptised in water and in the Holy Spirit.
“We also provided literature to help them grow in their relationship with the Lord. Virtually all the literature packages were taken, including about 300 Bibles,” said Lance.
Prayer for relationships and unforgiveness
He reported that many of the men came to the tent for prayer regarding relationships, especially marriages, and as a consequence of suffering from hurt having lost family members or close friends.
“Many men also came to the tent with issues of unforgiveness,” said Loftie Deyzel, a counsellor at the Big White Prayer Tent.
“In fact, driving on our way to KMMC on Thursday, one of my fellow counsellors, Clint Eberhardt, received the name Chris, from the Lord as well as the information that Chris was middle-aged and had a stomach ailment, but that his ailment was due to carrying unforgiveness towards his family.
“On Friday, before the start of the conference two men approached me. I prayed for the one then the second approached and said his name was Chris. He was 51-years-old and had a six-inch scar on his stomach.
“I called Clint and we just started laughing, because all the information God gave us was spot-on.
“Furthermore, Chris told us that him and his wife prayed on Thursday afternoon and asked God to send someone to set him free from his ailment, which was about the same time that Clint received the message from the Lord.
“On Sunday morning, we saw Chris again and he was a changed man, so the KMMC 2017 was very special.”
Unforgiveness towards fathers
Loftie said many of the men’s unforgiveness was due to not knowing their fathers, their mothers dying early and being raised by grandmothers.
“However, Jesus set them free of the unforgiveness towards their fathers,” said Loftie.
He related how late on Saturday night a young man came into the tent that had telephoned his mother earlier in the evening and told her that he was going to become an atheist, because he didn’t believe there was a God.
“It was a miracle that he landed up at the tent with a friend as he had extreme unforgiveness towards his father.
“He started manifesting a demon and while manifesting the demon mentioned the name of heavy-metal bands that had been a door to its entrance into him, together with his unforgiveness.
“He was set free through Jesus.
“There is no question that I have also grown in my faith through seeing how men were healed this weekend in Jesus’ name. There were such strong emotions that with every guy I prayed for, both of us were crying in the end,” said Loftie.
“There are many more similar testimonies to physical, mental and spiritual healing from the weekend that I could give,” he added.
Growth of the prayer tent ministry
Loftie said the prayer ministry in the tent has grown dramatically since he first served three years ago.
“This year we operated from a huge 15-metres-by-50-metres tent that has an all-aluminium frame without interior pegs and poles, which makes for even more space, yet it was jam-packed on Friday night.”
Wayne Hutchison, also a counsellor, reported that men started visiting the tent as early as Friday morning even though KMMC only officially started on Friday night.
“The fact that so many people gave their hearts to the Lord during the KMMC sessions and the healing and counselling that took place afterwards in the prayer tent is not just about the individual men that were involved, but the impact they have on their family and friends when they go home.”
Wayne confirmed that much of the prayer and counselling that took place was to do with abandonment and rejection issues.
“We had a lot of father-son issues. However, many men experienced release after counselling, prayer and baptism.
“Many of the men find it easier to open-up to counsellors, because they know there is no judgment.”
Salvation and baptism
Wayne, who led the baptisms at the tent, believes baptism in water and the Holy Spirit are integral to the salvation process.
“Jesus told us to make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19) and to go into the world and preach the gospel. Jesus said, He who believes and is baptised will be saved (Mark 16:16).
“Jesus received the anointing of the Holy Spirit once He was baptised and thereafter He started doing miracles on earth. Baptism is scriptural and is a sign of the believer dying with Christ and rising with Him, reborn a child of God through Jesus Christ.”
Dave Turner, one of the members of the organising committee of the KMMC who co-ordinates prayer and intercession for the conference explained that the Big White Prayer Tent was also home to intercession for each of the KMMC sessions, which was very successful with a different focus for each of the speakers.
Dave also supported the counselling in the tent by praying with some of the men, many of whom were desperately seeking God.
“The ministering and counselling in the tent developed into an important aspect of KMMC, because men were receptive to hearing God’s voice through prayer from counsellors whom they did not know and were themselves dependent on the Lord to offer the counselling.
“The baptism offered in the tents was also successful, because men could be baptised immediately after being saved, whereas we have found that many men who are regular churchgoers have not been baptised,” explained Dave.