“Because he died for us, we’ll ride for Him”
Tens of thousands of men will travel in cars and busses, on bicycles, aeroplanes, motorbikes and even on foot from all over South Africa to converge just outside Middelburg in the Eastern Cape on Renosterfontein Farm for the Karoo Mighty Men Conference 2016 (KMMC) next weekend.
Although diverse in every way from method of transport to race, class, church denomination, hometown and language, they all share a common desire to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth in the wide open space of the Karoo.
Furthermore, they all have the united hope of experiencing a life-changing encounter with their Holy Father in Jesus Christ’s name through His Holy Spirit.
Last year a group of eleven men walked the 410km from East London with a two-and-a-half metre, hollow cross in which they collected thousands of prayer requests along the way.
Another group of six men cycled from Despatch and handed out Bibles at each of their stops along the route.
Thys Fourie walked to KMMC from Oranje, and the year before Theo (Vlooi) Terblanche undertook a 500km “Celebration Journey” on foot from his home in Plettenberg Bay to glorify the Lord’s name and praise God’s grace by which he experienced salvation.
This year Johan Faber and Pastor Shawn Warren will make the journey from Grahamstown to KMMC on horseback with the hope of collecting more riders along their way through the dusty backroads of the Karoo.
They will be carrying flags with a KMMC motif, together with a picture of a horse, a man kneeling at a cross, and a windmill, all set against a sun situated low on the horizon and the wording “Because he died for us, we’ll ride for Him”.
Little did Faber and Warren know it, but their desire to travel on horseback to the Middelburg event will bring to fulfilment a prophetic dream, according to Jannie Moolman who hosts the event on his farm, Renosterfontein, on the outskirts of Middelburg in the Eastern Cape.
Dream of men on horseback carring flags
“I only remembered a while after Johan had phoned to ask for permission to bring horses to the event that my mother, who died nine years ago and had a deep and close relationship with the Lord, told us of a dream she had of revival in Middelburg connected to men arriving in the town on horseback carrying flags.
“The memory of my mother about 15 years ago telling us of her dream and the knowledge that the dream was materialising filled me with mixed emotions of excitement, joy, sadness, and gratitude.
“I was brought to tears as I remembered my mother sitting up late at night studying her Bible and the godly example she set for our family teaching us about the Lord from when we were little children.
“I know that if she were here today, she would be both thankful and pleased that our farm is hosting so many men who have the desire to worship the Lord and enjoy Christian fellowship with each other,” says Moolman.
Although he did not realise it at the time, the seed of the horseback journey to KMMC was planted when Warren, who is pastor of the Pentecostal Protestant Church of Grahamstown, started spending a week each month on horseback doing missionary work among people who live in isolated areas of the Karoo.
He says the Holy Spirit spoke to him and told him not to do the missionary trips in a car as he would move too fast and go past “the precious ones”.
“Travelling on horseback makes me more accessible to people along the way and somehow it has worked well.”
Warren, who has never been to KMMC, was asked by Faber, who has been to KMMC every year, to accompany him this year.
Since it coincided with Warren’s horseback missionary trip, the two decided to extend the horseback journey to the KMMC event.
Faber says KMMC has been the highlight of his year since 2011.
“I would not miss it for anything. Although I did not want to go to KMMC the first year and only went to enjoy a camping weekend, KMMC has come to mean a lot to me, because I go home revitalised in spirit each year.
Relationship with God
“Although I was a church-going Christian I did not have a relationship with the Lord outside of my weekly visits to church until I went to KMMC in 2011. I realised that while I was living in a religious way, I was not living in the way that Jesus would like me to live.
“Today, my relationship with the Lord is not restricted to Sundays, I am aware of God’s presence all the time and everywhere. My relationship with Him is something that is with me continually, it defines my life; I speak with Him often during the day.”
Faber says it has been a dream to ride on horseback to KMMC.
“Every year I have spoken about it, but this year Shawn said he wanted to attend KMMC for the first time and he would like to travel by horseback so I was quick to join him.
“I’ve contacted my horsey friends and told them about the trip, so we might collect quite a group by the time we get to Middelburg,” says Warren.
“We will travel from Grahamstown on the Kwandwe Road to Adelaide, and then we’ll take the Makazana Road through the Winterberge to Tarkastad from where we’ll go to Hofmeyer, Conway and Middelburg,” adds Warren who will be conducting missionary work along the way.
He says the most rewarding aspect of his week-long missionary trips on horseback is meeting people three or four months later who tell him they are still serving the Lord and are not using alcohol anymore.
Another joy is the off-the-cuff marriages that he has conducted setting couples’ relationships right in the eyes of the Lord.
Warren says he is looking forward to attending KMMC of which he has heard so much about, from the camaraderie and fellowship to the presence of the Holy Spirit.