Can a community be saved in a day? Can it be brought forth in a moment? Accendo Ministries witnessed just such a phenomenon on a miracle-filled day on September 12 when most of the residents of a hopeless, poverty-stricken Mpumalanga village gave their lives to Jesus in a day.
Now a programme is being launched to transform the village of 800 people, Holfontein, near Trichardt into a prosperous, sustainable Kingdom community, says Andy Mahlagaume, an evangelist and founder of Accendo Ministries whose guiding Scripture is Isaiah 66:8 — …Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?. ..
In an interview this week, Mahlagaume, who is winning souls for Christ and helping believers to carry out the Great Commission, told me about the life journey he has travelled to get to the Holfontein miracle.
He grew up in a Christian home but after he matriculated and went to university he found himself involved in a lifestyle that did not resemble his upbringing. He slept with many women and drank alcohol.
“Until one time when I was sleeping a strong wind hit my room in varsity and God visited me in a form of a wind and started to talk to me about my calling and what He is about to do through me. When I looked into His eyes, even though I don’t how His eyes looked like, but all I remember is that I looked into His eyes — at that moment I saw love towards me in those eyes. There was no condemnation and it looked like I never sinned at all. That evening changed my life and I understood that it is not by works that we are saved but by the grace of God. I then decided to give my life to Jesus and that was early 2015,” he shares.
Later, while working as a mechanical engineer in Pretoria, God told him to leave his job and move back to Embalenhle, Mpumalanga where his parents live.
The Holy Spirit also spoke to him one moment as he was worshipping the Lord, saying: “I am doing a new thing, there is a community I am sending you to start with the model.”
Mahlagaume said he founded the non-profit organisation Accendo Ministries in August 2017 and God gave him a model to bring transformation in South Africa — starting with transforming communities into Kingdom communities that will lead to South Africa becoming a Kingdom nation.
Only Jesus can transform the heart of the person, therefore soul winning is imperative for community development, he said. While distributing food is good, the greatest gift you can give someone is Jesus, he said. Accendo’s God-given model includes bringing spiritual. economic and social transformation — starting in South Africa and then extending to the world.
He said that he had travelled with Christ for All Nations (CfaN) on some of their crusades in Africa which had exposed him to soul-wining methods which equipped him for what God wanted him to do.
He had also served with Angus Buchan’s Shalom Ministries team in putting together the It’s Time prayer event in Pretoria in 2018.
“Two days before the [It’s Time Pretoria] prayer I was on the field in the evening praying for the prayer meeting. I saw a vision of millions of people kneeling before God and worshipping Him. In that moment God told me, I have called you to achieve this in the nation of South Africa in one day.
“I then asked God how can it be done? He gave me a scripture in Isaiah 66:8 that says: Can a nation be born in a day? Can it be brought forth in a moment?
“Then He gave me another scripture in Acts1:8 that says: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Mahlagaume said that during an online meeting with a few local pastors in April this year he shared the community transformation model God had given him and the vision for transforming a community in a day. One of the pastors mentioned a small village, Holfontein, 30km from Embalenhle where they could start implementing the model.
“We then applied for a permit from CIPC to do essential work then travelled to Holfontein after getting the permit. When we got there, that is where God spoke to me that this is the community I want you to start with the model. This community will be an example of what I want to do all over South Africa and the world at large,” he said.
They found that more than half of the people at Holfontein lived below the poverty line, 80% were unemployed and 90% had not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
A high level of teenage pregnancy, prostitution linked to poverty, and gender-based violence were some of the problems in the community.
Mahlagaume said Accendo Ministries decided to do a project called “When Love Leads” to show the community of Holfontein the “greatest display of love”.
The project was divided into three stages: first was to collaborate and work with local churches, recognising that the church is an agent of change that can bring transformation and development in society. Pastors were trained and the strategy and vision was shared with the church community in Holfontein.
The second part of the project involved reaching out to the community with the evangelistic campaign. Winning souls is imperative in community transformation, he said and different groups of the community were ministered to using tools that would best communicate to them.
Sharing on the September 12 outreach, he said: “90% of the community was not born again, we reached out to the community to preach the message of salvation. We reached out to different markets simultaneously. Some of our evangelists preached to the kids using the Jesus Film, some evangelised to the women in the community, some went house-to-house and some [ministered] one-on-one.
“At the end, we closed with a crusade in which a total of 70% of the 90% not-born-again gave their lives to Jesus. Our strategy was to reach the whole community in one day and we saw that happening. We gave over 450 food parcels, including 2 100 sanitary pads to women and baby clothes for women that are pregnant and expecting in the community. The Bible says when one soul repents the whole of Heaven rejoices. We rejoice with the heavens for what happened. All glory to Jesus!”
Mahlagaume said that Accendo Ministries worked with a number of other ministries and key individuals on the Holfontein campaign. Dr Arno Van Niekerk from Christian Consensus and Project SA worked very closely on the project together with Charmaine Mahlagaume and Rev Deon van der Berg from Beginet.
They also collaborated with Global Outreach Day and Every Home for Christ in the evangelism and discipleship training of pastors and church members.
The next phase of their evangelism strategy is to implement entrepreneurial and community development projects in the Holfontein community. This is part of Accendo’s Leadership 63 Nation Building Department to see economic transformation in Africa.
Currently there is no economic activity in the community but Accendo Ministries wants to change that and create a sustainable economic system that will touch even the next generation.
Mahlagaume said that farmers; the private sectors and non-profit organisations have joined hands to see the quality of life of the Holfontein community improved. One farmer has given the community land for farming. The vision is to tackle basic necessities such as food, electricity and housing.
Quality programmes will be done to deal with eradicating all forms of social ills and for skills transfer for entrepreneurial development. A current daycare centre and school will be revamped and infused with Kingdom principles.
Accendo Ministries’ goal for the community of Holfontein is to see it transformed into a Kingdom community, with a huge population being saved, churches united and working together, everyone involved and participating in the economy of this country with their God-given gifts.
As one who experienced the love and grace of God in a profound way Mahlagaume extends this love to others. Love is what compels the Accendo team to be involved, he said.
He shared that as God ministered to His people through the evangelistic campaign in Holfontein on September 12, there were a number of other testimonies of God at work — such as a pastor who had his faith revived after He witnessed God multiplying food for the community.
Mahlagaume shared the story: “One of our project partners who committed to handle the part of food parcels pulled out of the project at the last minute and we, therefore, did not have enough food to give out. We had 100 food parcels and we decided to divide them so that it can at least get to 200 food parcels.
“On the day of the campaign when we were offloading food from the trailer and packing it on the ground, we were shocked that somehow the food multiplied and we had over 500 food parcels and gave out 450 to the community.
“The pastor said to us that his faith detoured because of problems that he faced over all the years but after he saw the miracle of multiplication his faith in God was restored and therefore he believed that God exists and He is still God of miracles.
“Another testimony was of a woman that was ready to commit suicide because of problems she was facing in her family and also the level of poverty. She said she had a lot of heaviness in her heart but during the meeting of the women, as one of our team members was ministering, she felt the heaviness leaving her heart and she felt peace and hope that she never felt before. She gave her heart to Jesus.”