On Friday morning the rain poured down in solid sheets on the farm Mooi Uitsig, Jeffreys Bay, as we prepared for the opening of the Mighty Men Conference that evening.
The roads were a sea of mud as heavy earthmoving graders and trucks struggled to repair them just hours before thousands of visitors were due to arrive for the conference.
But by evening time, as cars and bakkies began to arrive in their thousands, the rain suddenly lifted and all the months of intelligent planning really paid off because the well-designed roads and the parking fields made it easy to accommodate so many people.
The main field facing the giant stage rapidly filled up with grandfathers, fathers and sons and friends who had travelled from all over South Africa just to seek the presence of the Lord Almighty, just to hear something of value, something good, something true.
We were blessed with state of the art sound equipment and multimedia screens that made it possible to see and hear what was going on from hundreds of metres back from the stage.
Eugene Genis, executive leader of the MMC opened in prayer: “I just want to thank the Lord for the magnificent rain, and I would also like to thank our huge team of men who have spent a year preparing this farm for the event — just so that many, many other people would be blessed and encouraged and refocused in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We just want to give Jesus Christ all the honour as we open this event.”
Retief Burger was the main worship leader during the three-day conference, and I was so impressed by the way he led worship. There was no spirit of performance or self-glorification, but instead, Retief was able to gently usher us into the presence of the Lord and focus us on the greatness of God.
He took us out of our preoccupation with ourselves and our problems. Interesting that he chose a mixture of ancient songs in both English and Afrikaans as well as modern Bethel and Hillsongs. Some of his own material came from his new album Alles, which was available to purchase from the vendor stalls,
Johnny Young was the main speaker on Friday evening. Johnny is a rough diamond who used to be a train driver in the old Transvaal and who lead a very rough life before he came to know Jesus Christ.
Johnny’s personal testimony was a huge encouragement to all who are struggling to put their faith into practice in their daily lives. His battle with alcohol and cigarettes and swearing and mistreating his family spoke very deeply into our hearts as the day faded into night time out on that beautiful farm.
And then, up on the hill behind the stage, looking down on the valley, the solar lighting kicked in on the new giant Cross of Hope and over everything and everybody came this splendid presence of Jesus with this magnificent 14m m high cross shining in blue LED light.
On Saturday morning, I saw so many men and boys climbing the hill up to the cross to spend time with the Lord and ponder on the wonder of the cross. People started to place their own little stone at the base of the cross as a sign of their commitment to the Lord Jesus.
Down in the valley, the worship started to gather momentum as Retief took us into Raise a Hallelujah and Forever before Neville Goldman came up on the stage as guest speaker. Neville spoke to the hearts of fathers to make them realise that they are responsible for teaching and guiding the next generation so that sons will grow up with godly hearts.
Neville invited a young boy, Tristan to come up on stage, and started praying with young Tristan into all the good things that God has in mind for him.
The rain held off and we took a break till late afternoon for the evening session with Afrika Mhlophe. What a powerful man he is! Afrika is deeply concerned for the coming South African general elections in which there are no less than 32 “Christian” political parties.
Afrika was scathing in his contempt for all the political corruption and hypocrisy inside Christian organisations. His main challenge to us all was to become “real” Christians — to live out what we believe, to become more honest, to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
As the evening deepened into night, again the beautiful cross lit up the valley with this lovely warm, blue glowing light — a huge comforting presence of the Lord Jesus was everywhere.
Joe Niemand took the stage, singing worship songs from his new album The Presence of the King. What an inspiration he is.
Gifted with a fantastic voice that is unique and a heart sold out totally for God, he told us that after two years of not being able to write songs, the Lord asked him to write and prepare an album this January with full choir and orchestra specifically for the conference.
Joe explained: “It was an absolute miracle how this new album got made in only two short months. Everyone told me it was impossible, but with God all things are possible and I know He wanted this album to come out to encourage us all today.”
And then Joe did an amazing thing. He gave out thousands of copies of his new album for free to everyone who wanted one! It must have cost a small fortune and he did that just to bless strangers!
The Sunday morning family service was, of course, the highlight of the weekend, when thousands and thousands of men, women and children packed the fields and eagerly awaited Mighty Men founder Angus Buchan.
Angus arrived in a light aeroplane which touched down on a neighbouring farm. He was driven to the venue where he was invited to mount a horse and ride across a field with a band of horsemen carrying flags in honour of Jesus.
Retief and Joe ushered in the presence of the Lord with some really noble worship and then Angus took the stage. Wow! What a man! He doesn’t beat about the bush, but he shoots from the hip! He gets you to look in the mirror and examine yourself.
Angus said: “We are called to be ambassadors of Christ, but just how good ambassadors are we in our daily lives? How do you treat your wife? Are you kind or are you rude? and your children? Do you listen to them, or are you too busy making money to have time for them? And your business? Are you honest or do you cheat just a little?”
Backed up by a great knowledge and love for God’s Holy Word, Angus preached the message that “It’s Time”. Time to change the way we do things, time to try and live the life that Jesus would want us to live.
People were fascinated by this veteran, 72-year-old preacher — the same man who led historic prayer sessions in 2017 and last year in Bloemfontein, Cape Town and Pretoria, drawing some of the biggest crowds ever seen at prayer gatherings on our continent.
And suddenly it was time to leave that wonderful conference. So many people have asked me: “How many people were actually there? 10 000? 15 000? 20 000?” I don’t know. What I do know is that the Holy Spirit arrived big time and made a huge change in the lives of thousands of men, women and children!