When Chokkie Dorfling realised that he did not have enough money for transport from Mossel Bay to the Karoo Mighty Men Conference in Middelburg he made a plan. He painted ‘MMC Karoo’ on his rucksack with white shoe polish. Then he hit the road.
Dorfling, who has attended Mighty Men Conferences every year since 2008 was determined to make the KMMC 2013. His journey started quite well when he got a 200 km ride to the other side of Willowmore. But three hours after being dropped off on the open road, some 300km short of his destination, he started to feel despondent — there were very few vehicles on the road and they all drove right past him.
One of the cars that drove past Dorfling that Thursday afternoon (April 25) was driven by Stephan Opperman who was heading for the KMMC with his brother-in-law Gericke Visser and his nephew, Tiaan, 8, who he had collected in George. Opperman said that as a rule he does not pick up hitchhikers and his car was pretty full as they were carrying camping gear for other people. But after driving about 12km beyond Dorfling he sensed that the Holy Spirit was telling him to turn back for the hiker.
“Two or three times the Holy Spirit said to me ‘Turn around, turn around’. I started to discuss it with my brother-in-law and he said ‘No’. So we pulled over and I said ‘Let’s pray for a sign — a Scripture or anything’.”
Opperman said that while they were parked just off the road young Tiaan climbed over from the back seat and started turning the steering wheel around. Convinced that that was a sign to turn back, Opperman started driving back to where they had seen the hiker. He sensed that his brother-in-law was worried about his son’s safety and so he began praying aloud. He prayed that if it was God’s will for them to pick up the hiker, he would still be standing there. He also prayed for their protection throughout their journey.
Dorfling, sensing his vulnerability alone on an isolated Karoo road, had also been praying. He asked God to prevent any would-be-robbers from harming him. When he saw Stephan’s car stopping he thought it was somebody wanting directions because they were travelling in the opposite direction to him. But God had a different plan.
“When we stopped on the opposite side of the road I recognised his face,” said Opperman. “I jumped out of the car, ran across the road and hugged him and kissed him and called him by name. His name is Chokkie and we met two years ago doing missionary work in Zambia.”
Opperman said he has no doubt that God had planned all along for Dorfling to ride with him to Middelburg. In fact, before they even left George, he said, the Holy Spirit already began making space in the car for the hiker. He said his sister, Sonnika, had re-arranged his packing to make more space on the back seat for Tiaan. At the time he was annoyed with her interference but in hindsight he realised it had been necessary to make room for Dorfling.
Dorfling, who relocated to Mossel Bay last year after losing much through a business setback in Bloemfontein, reconnected with old Free State friends at the MMC. He said his lift was a miracle and that he had a fantastic, restoring time at the MMC. The blessings continued: his wife organised a lift back to Mossel Bay for him through the Internet, and a friend phoned him at the MMC and said he wanted him to teach him about Jesus when he got back and he was able to help him with work in an electrical business.