The second Mighty Men gathering on local farmer, Jan Fourie’s potato farm in Tosca greeted all that attended with a ‘furnace’ like welcome. To say that it was ‘hot and dry’ there would have been an understatement!
Indeed on the evening of Thursday November 8, the night before the bulk of men even began to arrive, a nearby farm in Tosca ignited into flames, which lit up the night sky for many miles around. It was as if the devil himself was putting his mark on the earth trying to dissuade anyone from partaking in the Glory of God through the forthcoming gathering of Mighty Men.
With dawn breaking on Friday the 9th, the fire at that said farm had burned itself out and thank the good Lord no one was injured either.
A fresh, but warm breeze meandered across the Mighty Men Camp as last minute preparations took place before the men started arriving (one or two had already camped overnight Thursday into Friday) and it was nice to see the ‘odd’ (meant as ‘here and there’ and not strange) Mighty Man was already up and milling about amongst the locals, who were busy with their tasks at hand.
The camp slowly began to fill up and the excitement grew steadily throughout the day with men meeting and greeting each other; many had come from far off places, and were there to not only hear the word but also to support each other and the organisers too.
A large and extremely well ‘put together’ and ‘permanent stage’ was the centrepiece of the event. The stage from last year had been extended and adapted to give shade for those that would use it. There was also a prayer tent for prayer and testimonies from men as and when they wished to convey such.
The layout was also not the same as last years event with a clear ‘down-scaling’ of marquees, fencing and other areas that had been put in place last time around. The wonderful thing about these events is that they themselves are ‘live’ so to speak and as time goes on the whole thing adapts to the needs of those organising and attending.
This time all the food and cool drinks and including the Mighty Men Tartan had all been placed under a huge single marquee set off to one side which allowed people to sit in much needed shade and also see and hear what was happening. Last year’s positioning of this huge Marquee allowed sand and wind to whip up at its door. This time around the wind and sun was at its back.
Dewald Gouws and his band, Johnny Louw, Dawie Spies, Dudley Mans and Elzabi Buek all brought ‘throughout the event’ meaningful music and the Word which was very well received by all in attendance.
‘Here I am’
As the music carried through the darkness on Friday a lightening storm some 20 miles North, on the Botswana border could be seen and from where the people in the Marquee sat, it looked as it if it was directly above the three crosses that had been planted in a new location just off to the side of the stage. Last year the crosses were right at the bottom of the field. Amazing to see such a display and it was as if God was now saying ‘Here I am!’
It was also nice to see fresh faces such as Dudley and especially Elzabi, who brought a ‘softness’ to the air as she sang beautiful ballads across the still and open sky of the Kalahari. Fellowship in the many camp areas followed when the men dispersed and the camp fires started to crackle into the night. Singing and laughter could be heard all around.
The generator closed down at 11 that evening and at half past, and in total darkness, the lone piper could be heard lamenting the men before the night’s end.
Saturday morning at five saw the camp literally emerge all at once as the men began preparing for the day. The morning service was scheduled for about seven with Elzabi singing to the men before prayers and the main speaker Dawie Spies.
Many answered the altar call and after getting the necessary support from all there it became so hot that it really was a blessing to have this part of the service early on. The rest of the day was about keeping cool and in the shade. Men sought out watering holes and dams to cool off in and some were baptised in a local family’s swimming pool.
Saturday night came about and the air was still, as in the sense of ‘no movement’ (but still very hot) and all enjoyed the music of Dewald and his musicians. The technical staff also managed to put some amazing images up on the screen; merging images of the crosses with the musicians as they played.
More Word was given and the men retired with further melodies from Elzabi. Long into the night the men chatted and enjoyed each others’ company.
At five in the morning the pipes were piped throughout the camp and all were up and packing their belongings away. This is normal on the Sunday as many need to get going once the service is over.
Johnny Louw spoke again and more people gave their lives to the Lord. Families attended as is usual in the programme and again the heat became unbearable.
The general consensus was that we had partaken in a hot and hard fought battle on the front line of Tosca, but that all in all it was well worth the hundreds of miles to get there to support to others seeking salvation.
No doubt the sands of the Kalahari will still be found amongst camping equipment and personal clothing for months to come; a reminder of another ‘baton having been passed forwards from Uncle Angus’ and of the sizzling hot weekend in which many men joined the ranks of Jesus Christ in His glorious Army.