By December 2012, Leslie Scanlen had been invited to attend Mighty Men Conferences twice and twice he had found an excuse not to go.
“At the time, my son, Richard, had been confirmed at church two years prior, but found it increasingly difficult to attend church.
“He felt that he didn’t belong, and saw attending church as a chore.
“Me, I had simply run out of steam. I was tired,” says Scanlen!
Nevertheless, Scanlen explains how, one evening, sitting around a fire at home, his son Richard walked in.
“I looked up and said: ‘I’m going to the Karoo Mighty Men Conference (KMMC) next year and I want you to go with me!’
“Richard didn’t flinch. ‘Yes Dad, I want to go with you,’ he said.
“Now, I was expecting the response of a rebellious 19-old and was quite unprepared for his affirmative reply.
“His positive response caught me off guard and my backdoor excuse not to attend, which I had kept open for myself was firmly shut,” says Scanlen.
Although the lead up to the father and son’s first Karoo Mighty Men Conference in 2013 was filled with anticipation and prayer, Scanlen says nothing could prepare them for what they were to experience.
“The sights and sounds of the thousands of men that had come from literally all across our country and beyond, and the experience of worshipping together with them still reverberates in my soul.”
During the first evening session at KMMC 2013, Scanlen and his son re-confirmed their lives to the Lord.
“There were no masks, no pretences, just raw emotion. We could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, it was tangible.
“Praise to our Lord,” exclaims Scanlen!
“The momentum just kept on building right up until Uncle Angus’s sermon on the Sunday morning, and what a fitting conclusion it was.
“We live and believe in the ‘One Truth’, my very first KMMC was a ‘Mighty Amen’,” he adds!
This year Scanlen and his son are preparing to attend their third KMMC.
“I have found my place and calling, which I so longed for. My wife’s prayers have been answered and our Holy Father still surprises me daily with his blessings.
“And my son, Richard, well he is part of our Church’s praise and worship team today, actively involved in small groups and a leader in youth programmes at Church.
“Richard is inviting more of his university friends to come along to KMMC 2015, as he did last year.
“Our lives have been touched and changed forever. We have been encouraged to rise up, and be the Mighty Men that God intended us to be.
“We were born for this,” says Scanlen.
Jacques Whittle is another who has been deeply impacted and changed by attending KMMC.
He attended for the first time in 2012.
“I am not a person who is keen on big crowds or large gatherings, and because I travel extensively for work I had not been keen to attend before, but based on the testimonies of my brother and friends I was finally convinced to join them . . . and I have been gathering people to join me on the annual journey to the Karoo ever since,” says Whittle.
“On my first visit to KMMC in 2012, I was walking alone in the veld on the Saturday afternoon and talking to God about challenges in my life and the battles I had been experiencing with regards to living in fullness for Him and breaking away from religion; wanting to experience Him more alive in my life.
“One of the statements that Oom Angus made often and was burning on my heart was ‘not to limit God in our lives’.
“Walking out in the veld I came upon a patch of bare ground with an ant-heap in the middle, out of which a bush grew; suddenly and unexpectedly I fell to my knees and cried so much that I almost brought forth a new river in the Karoo.
“God touched me in a very special way as I laid everything on the altar before Him and admitted that I had allowed my flesh and mind to influence my love for Him, which limited my ability to step out in faith for what He called me to do.
“I realised that my human logic is not God’s divine logic and that I should simply obey, boldly. With that realisation I felt like a huge burden was released and healing was taking place in my life.
“I went running back to the camp where my six-year-old son, Juan, met me, which all contributed to KMMC 2012 being a life-changing event for me.
“The issues that had been holding me back were revealed to me, which I laid at the cross and was then able to move forward in faith.”
In 2012 Jacques attended KMMC with a group of about 20 men and in 2013 the group grew to around 50 and in 2014 to more than 100.
From helping to host the groups at KIMMC Jacques’ calling changed to serving at KMMC in the prayer and baptism tent in 2014.
He is looking forward to serving in the prayer and baptism tent again in 2015.
“It is a very different experience hosting men at KMMC to serving at the conference,” says Jacques.
Dirk van der Mescht also attended KMMC for the first time in 2012. He and Jacques’ were both part of a group of men from the Kragga Kamma Dutch Reformed Church in Port Elizabeth.
“It was wonderful to go to KMMC as a group that fellowshipped and worshipped together, which was almost as great an experience as the event itself.
“You could just feel that God was working in people’s lives in the group,” says Van der Mescht.
Confirmation from Lord
He says it was at KMMC 2012 that the Lord confirmed he should move out of business and into full-time ministry.
Today Van der Mescht is a pastor at Waypoint Community Church in Port Elizabeth.
The next year in 2013, Van der Mescht’s 10-year-old twin boys, Dirk and Gerrit, accompanied him to KMMC.
“I wondered how much they would get out of the experience and if they would absorb any of the content of the speakers.
“On the Saturday they were playing on the koppies in the veld with friends, but listening to Afrika Mhlophe speak on the radio as his presentation at KMMC 2013 was being broadcast.
“Later at the camp site Gerrit said to me: ‘Do you know dad, that Afrika Mhlophe is a really good speaker,’ and he started quoting much of Mhlophe’s talk to me, so I realised they had taken in much of the content and information presented.”
Van der Mescht, who also served in the prayer and baptism tent with Jacques in 2014, agrees that to serve at KMMC is a very different experience than receiving from KMMC.
“I was completely blown away by how powerfully and instantaneously God worked in a lot of men’s lives.
“Although I have been involved in ministry for some time, I had never seen anything like it to compare. People were transformed and relationships restored.
“For example, I met a student from Port Elizabeth whose relationship with his step-father was reconciled at KMMC.
“The young student had not been living with his mother and step-father because of their strained relationship.
“Yet, today, they live together as a family. I have found that as soon as people are reconciled in their relationship with God, they are able to be reconciled in their relationships with family and the people around them.
“Our relationship with God has a direct impact on our relationships with the people in our lives.
“We worship a powerful and a truly living God,” says Van der Mescht.
He recommends that men attend KMMC whether they have a relationship with God or not.
“Just to have a weekend camping in the wide-open space of the Karoo under the brilliant stars gives one a break from the normal routine and allows you to re-evaluate where you are heading and what’s happening in your life.
“So, even if you do not have a personal relationship with God the weekend at KMMC would still mean much to you, because we seldom have the opportunity to step outside of our busy lives and look back into them objectively.
“I would recommend it to anybody and everybody, particularly if you have a relationship with or are starting a relationship with God as it is a great place to grow that relationship further,” says Van der Mescht.
Kobus Prinsloo, another of Jacques’ friends says last year’s KMMC was an unforgettable experience.
“At the beginning of the weekend I laid my whole life before the Lord and asked Him to remove everything that was standing in the way of my relationship with Him or that hindered the Holy Spirit from working through me.
“I surrendered myself wholly to the Lord for service in the prayer and baptism tent at KMMC 2014.
“Working in the prayer and baptism tent, I witnessed the Holy Spirit deliver two men from their Satanic bonds,” says Prinsloo.
Delivered from demons
He says one of the people that the Holy Spirit delivered from demon possession was a man from Cape Town that had no intention of attending KMMC.
“This guy was involved with drugs and because of his addiction was cut off from his family, didn’t have anyone to turn to and was at a low point in his life.
“He was walking past a bus about to leave Cape Town on the way to the KMMC, which was 800 kilometres away, when God compelled him to get onto the bus.
“Although he was completely unprepared for a weekend worshipping the Lord and camping in the Karoo he got on the bus and went to KMMC 2014.
“The first time I noticed him was on Saturday morning when I saw him crying and lying prostrate in front of a cross, which was in the corner of the prayer and baptism tent.
“I went to him and asked if he needed help and ministering. He explained how he had been rejected by his family for 14 years, because of his involvement with drugs, prostitution and gambling.
“After the tenth demon had left him I stopped counting. It was an extremely intense session and as the last demon left him he started praying in tongues and praising the Lord.
“Afterwards, we baptised him and his physical appearance had changed from somebody who looked in a daze to a person with crystal-clear eyes and full of life.
“I was overwhelmed by what the Lord did in people’s lives in that prayer and baptism tent at KMMC 2014,” says Prinsloo.
This year Prinsloo hopes to serve in the prayer and baptism tent again, but is prepared to serve anywhere that he can help lead people to salvation and victory in Jesus Christ, by God’s grace through the power of His Holy Spirit.
“I know how many men are in need of ministering and how great the need is for healing and reconciliation with our Lord is,” says Prinsloo.
KMMC will take place from April 24 to 26, 2015 on the outskirts of Middelburg in the Eastern Cape on Rusoord Farm. For more information contact Ruthi van der Merwe at (M) 0828577839 (F) 049 842 3310 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org WEB: www.karoommc.co.za