The Karoo Mighty Men Conference (KMMC) has given life to a prophetic dream that the farm on which the gathering is held, Renosterfontein, would become a place of rest and healing, according to Jannie and Marlize Moolman who host the event on the outskirts of Middelburg in the Eastern Cape.
Marlize says about seven years before KMMC was even thought of they had to decide what to do with the old, dilapidated Renosterfontein farmhouse, which either needed restoration and repair or demolition.
“At the time, I attended a church conference in Pretoria for the weekend,” explains Marlize.
“While I was there I had a vivid dream of how Renosterfontein should be restored to be a place of rest and healing for people in need of quiet and restoration.
“This was confirmed for us when we found out that after Jannie’s grandfather had purchased the farm he had changed the name from ‘Bowden Hall’ to ‘Rusoord’, which means ‘a place of rest’ and in which we could see God’s hand at work,” she adds.
True to Marlize’s dream, but to a much larger extent than she ever anticipated, Renosterfontein has become a place of rest and healing.
“The Lord manifested the dream to a supernatural magnitude. We never envisaged that something like KMMC could happen in the rural Karoo, let alone on our farm,” says Marlize.
Situated near the foot of the majestic Renosterberg Mountain on the edge of the Sneeuberg range in the heartland of the Karoo, the KMMC venue on Renosterfontein farm is a picture-perfect setting in which to find rest in the presence of the Lord, to worship Him and experience His glory.
Seemingly monotonous and bare when speeding by in a vehicle, it is a setting that once you stop, stand with your feet on the earth, relax, and take in the timeless silence, speaks of the everlasting fullness of the Lord’s immeasurable majesty.
The vast space, sense of freedom, dramatic sunsets, beautiful cloud formations, clarity of the countless stars in the heavens at night, and the tranquillity of the environment, all combine to create a deeply humbling impression on those who attend KMMC.
Any person, even a non-believer, would be inclined to be overwhelmed and awe-inspired in relation to the mighty amphitheatre formed by Renosterberg rising grandly out of the arid plains of the Karoo that stretch seemingly forever to the distant horizon.
Jannie says for many visitors what differentiates KMMC from similar gatherings is the limitless feeling of open space in the Karoo, which makes the event a special place to worship Lord God Almighty surrounded by His glory.
How the site was chosen
Looking back to how the site was chosen for KMMC, Jannie informs that after the 2010 Mighty Men Conference at Shalom farm, Oom Angus announced there would be no Mighty Men Conference at Shalom in 2011 as he would be concentrating his efforts on holding gatherings at soccer stadiums throughout the nation and that regional conferences should be held instead.
“After speaking with fellow Christians in the nearby towns of Cradock, Somerset East and Graaff-Reinet we decided to present a regional Karoo Mighty Men Conference and that Middelburg, because of its central location would be a good choice as a location for hosting the event.
“It was decided to have the event on a farm, because part of the experience of attending a Mighty Men Conference at Shalom was the camping and resulting fellowship.”
Jannie explains that after viewing a number of possible venues the organising committee returned to Renosterfontein and prayed at the site at which the cross is now erected at the top of a koppie overlooking the stage area.
“The presence of God’s Holy Spirit, His peace, the restfulness of the environment and its serenity made a deep impression on all present — many of us were reduced to tears.
“All of us just knew it was the right place. The KMMC organising committee was unanimous in their choice of site for the conference.
“It is an environment in which people can rest and deepen their relationship with the Lord in quiet and calm,” says Jannie.
Many return to farm after event
In fact, many who have attended KMMC have found the venue to be so conducive to worship that they have returned again after the event to fellowship with the Lord.
Shaun Slabbert from Port Elizabeth, who has attended four of the five KMMC events explains that while driving to Kimberley on business he was nearing Middelburg when he felt the urge to spend time with the Lord.
“I was able to locate Jannie’s telephone number and phoned him to see if it would be alright to go onto his farm and spend some quiet time at the cross on the koppie at the KMMC site, which he said would be fine.
“It was a full moon and sitting up on the koppie by the cross was so beautiful that I had to catch myself and concentrate on not being distracted by the magnificence of the setting and taking pictures of it, instead of spending time in prayer and fellowship with the Lord.
“On my way out of the farm I phoned Jannie again to thank him, but he said I should not leave without stopping-in for coffee, even though it was already quite late at night.
“Once I arrived at the farmhouse, Marlize also offered me a meal and then they would not hear of me travelling so late at night and provided a room and bed for me.
“I left very early the next morning before the family was awake. Jannie phoned to apologise for not having seen me before I departed and wished me well on my journey.
“The whole experience was really affirming of Christian Karoo hospitality,” says Shaun
Jan Richards from Aliwal North first attended KMMC in 2014. He was so profoundly impacted by the experience that when he returned for the event in 2015 he arrived weeks before the start of the conference to prepare himself spiritually and to be at the venue in solitude with the Lord.
Peace of the Lord
“The atmosphere of the Karoo environment, the restfulness and the calm make KMMC special . . . the peace of the Lord is there, you can feel it,” says Jan.
“The big thing is the way in which one is able to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit,” he adds.
When asked why he went back to the KMMC site so long before the start of the conference he answers: “God called me and I wanted to honour Him”.
“I was alone there and the Lord spoke deep into my heart. I had been sick, I just could not eat, but the Lord said to me that He was calling me back to Him and that I should place my trust in Him.
“I can’t tell you how much I cried during my time there, because the Lord revealed and released me from things in my life that had held me back.
“He empowered me to forgive people that I thought I could never pardon,” says Jan.
The strangest thing, according to Jan, is the small advert for KMMC that caught his eye.
“I don’t know how it got my attention, but I am so grateful, because my experience at KMMC not only changed me and my relationship with God, but my relationships at home have also changed for the better.
“God is great,” says Jan.
He says it was fantastic to see the number of men at KMMC double from about 15 000 in 2014 to around 30 000 in 2015.
“The Lord is wonderful, it is wonderful to see how He is calling men from all over the country to KMMC; from big cities, small towns, the rural areas and from all walks of life,” he adds.
Jannie and Marlize say they are blessed to be able to provide the opportunity for people to revisit the KMMC site and spend time with the Lord.
The KMMC organising committee invites men to encounter the Lord God Almighty and fellowship with like-hearted children of God at KMMC 2016 in the specialness of the Karoo.
Jannie says the purpose of KMMC is for men’s lives to be changed by God’s grace, allowing them to return home with softened hearts to love and serve their families and neighbours in ways they have never done before, which glorifies the Lord.
KMMC 2016 will take place from the 29th April to 1st May on the outskirts of Middelburg in the Eastern Cape on Rusoord Farm.