Mighty Men Conference Central South Africa (MMC Central SA) plans to build on the strong foundation of faith in Jesus, which was laid at its first event at the Bundu Game Lodge between Riebeeckstad and Odendaalsrus near Welkom on the weekend of June 27 to 29, 2014.
“Like a wise master builder we have laid the foundation, and there is no other foundation except Christ,” says Piet Jacobs, who was one of the speakers at the event and is also a member of the organising committee.
He says audiences of between 1 000 and 2 000 men attended the different sessions and travelled from as far afield as Tosca, Nelspruit and Durban, as well as a large group of young men from North-West University in Potchefstroom.
The organising committee, which has become a close-knit and united team, is already planning for next year’s conference and is reviewing the past event to see where improvements can be made. However, Jacobs says the real success is not measured by the organising committee’s unanimous decision to hold the event again or by the number of men who attended the event, but rather by the men who were reconciled to the Lord and by those whose lives were changed in relationship with their families and neighbours.
“I have just received a call from a woman thanking us, because her husband is changed man who appreciates her, which relates to an important theme of the conference – ‘being a man for God, a husband for my wife and father for my children’.
“It was an awesome weekend with speakers also touching on sensitive but important issues like overcoming racism in our lives, relationships and country,” says Jacobs. He says the event made a big impact on the town of Welkom with people still talking about the event and giving positive feedback.
Garth Batteson, also a member of the conference organising committee said the event ran smoothly and committee members’ belief in how faithful the Lord is to those who step out in faith with Him was reinforced.
“An example is that we had not found a doctor for the event in case of emergencies, yet after the Karoo Mighty Men Conference a few of us were travelling home together and stopped in Colesburg for fuel when a vehicle pulled up next to us.
“I asked the occupants if they were also coming back from the Karoo Mighty Men Conference. They replied, yes, and as they were from Bloemfontein, I asked the driver, Dr Alfons de Wit, whether he would be able to do some work marketing the MMC Central SA in Bloemfontein.
“However, he said unfortunately he was too busy as he was a medical doctor running two practices.
“I said to him, ‘you know we are still looking for a medical doctor for our event’.
“He looked me in the eyes and said: ‘How can I say no?’.”
“So, in Colesburg in the Karoo, God provided us with a doctor from Bloemfontein for an event in Welkom. God is faithful indeed!”
Presence of the Lord
Likewise, Batteson says everyone who undertook to play a part in providing a service for the MMC Central SA lived up to their promise and the event went off smoothly. “A remarkable aspect of the conference was the noticeable Presence of the Lord throughout the weekend; to such an extent that a member of the audience said he saw images of angel figures, who were holding swords, positioned around the crowd and when praise and worship leader Franna Benade blew the shofar they kneeled,” says Batteson.
Chantelle Fritz, whose husband Lafras attended the conference, agrees that the conference has had a strong impact on Welkom. She says the event has been the main topic of conversation in the town, particularly in terms of changes it has brought about in the menfolk.
“I went to the Sunday family day of the conference with my husband and although both my husband and I have been saved for a few years, being at the conference strengthened our personal relationships with Jesus.
“An immense sense of gratitude just flowed out of me with the renewed realisation of the price that Jesus paid on the cross for the cleansing of our sins and of how much more He also did for us by setting us free – the freedom that comes with knowing that Jesus is enough and everything from the past has become irrelevant, because He has redeemed us, and now we must just enjoy each day as a gift from God,” says Fritz.
Marie Baumgarten concurs with Fritz saying her husband, Leon, returned from the conference lightened and excited, because he realised that the Lord is not waiting to punish him, but loves him and wants him to be holy as He is holy. “When Leon came home his faith in his relationship with the Lord was strengthened. He said to me that he felt like he could just relax, serve God and try to walk in His path, which has also impacted on our relationship positively,” says Baumgarten.
She attended the family session of the conference, which she says was an eye-opener; seeing the hunger for Jesus in the men and how so many men were overcome by tears.
Tinus Barnard, who attended the MMC Central SA with a group of men from Bothaville, says it was a wonderful experience that touched his heart and humbled him to tears. “I joked with my companions that I would need to drink water for two weeks to re-hydrate and replace the tears that I shed.” Barnard says the Friday night set the tone with the presence of the Holy Spirit, which lasted the entire weekend. “I think every man there was impacted by their experience of the conference.
“Our group spoke about it afterwards and we all agreed the event will grow and become an annual fixture.
“In fact, after experiencing how many men stood up and gave their hearts to the Lord and how much of God’s Word was opened up to us, we all want to help MMC Central SA by offering our services to market the event in our own areas so that it grows next year,” says Barnard.