It took just six weeks to put together SA’s biggest ever prayer meeting. A staggering 1.7m people are expected to attend two hours of sharing by 69 year old South African evangelist Angus Buchan on a farm outside the country’s most central city of Bloemfontein. The event starts at noon tomorrow. I caught up with Buchan this afternoon while he was waiting for a plane to take him to the unprecedented event. He is convinced that the power of prayer will make tomorrow a watershed in South African history. With more than a million Christians driving a long way or catching trains and planes to join him at the 2,000 hectare site – and millions more praying in churches elsewhere in the country – there are many who believe it too. Hope springs. – Alec Hogg
How many people are you expecting to come to Bloemfontein this weekend?
Okay, 1.7 million.
That’s extraordinary. What’s the most you’ve ever had at one of your gatherings before?
Look, we’ve had 100’s of thousands of men, it’s very hard to count and I don’t like using numbers because the Lord doesn’t enjoy that either but the Lord gave me a clear word, Alec, that there will be a million people. I hear from Bloemfontein, as I say, I’m standing on the airstrip and waiting for my lift that’s coming from Johannesburg, they’re coming to fetch me. My family is already there and they’re talking now 1.7 million, it’s unbelievable. Everybody in this country, Alec, is talking about it at the moment. Every person that you can… I’m not even talking about Christians. I’m talking about just everybody. There’s just a buzz. You see our country is in such a mess, Alec, and there’s just no hope. Now, all of a sudden, the people are now seeing there’s a glimmer of hope and I think that’s what happened and they’re literally… I mean we’ve got trains coming from Cape Town, Alec. I’ve never heard of that in my life before. Last time I read about that and I study revival, was when D L Moody came to Britain in the 1800’s, but since then I’ve never heard of it. I don’t know if you’ve heard about trains, trains of people going to a public meeting.
Well, I’ve never heard of 1.7 million people in South Africa gathering at one time. Why do you think there’s so little media coverage on this?
Why is there so little? I don’t think there is. I think it’s quite prolific at the moment, Alec. You know what the newspaper people are like. They want to cover the story afterwards and I want them to cover the story beforehand and then afterwards I’m not too keen.
How did you spread the word?
Mainly Alec, (this is the miracle boet), you know I know about revival, it’s my subject. Normally it takes about a year to two-years to prepare for an event like King’s Park Rugby Stadium or Loftus Versveld or one of my ‘Mighty Men Conferences’ but this has taken place in 6-weeks. What’s happened is it hit the social media platform and I think that’s where it’s at. I don’t think it’s about newspapers anymore, I’m sorry to tell you that. We had something like 18 million responses in 2-weeks. Can you believe that?
It’s incredible. As your ‘Mighty Men Program’ has gathered more momentum you would have, I suppose, expected it one day to hit a million-people coming to that function. This one is a little bit different to the ‘Mighty Men.’
Totally different. There’s no similarity, I’m glad you asked that question. There’s no similarity whatsoever, Alec. This is women, children, in fact, I’m going to a ‘Mighty Men Karoo Meeting’ the following Saturday, can you believe it? So, I’m working hard pally.
Just take us back a little, if you would, where did the ‘Mighty Men’ idea come from because already you’re attracting 100’s of thousands of men to that event?
Yes, that started in 2003, when the Lord said to me, “I want you to cancel all your meetings and I want you to go home and I want you to mentor young men.” I thought maybe 5 or 10 men, and we’ve had ‘Mighty Men Conferences’ as you know, in Yorkshire, England, I’ve had them in Brazil, I’ve had them in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ve had them all over the world, and many in Australia, especially on the West side, but this thing that is happening tomorrow is because of the tragic, drastic situation in our country. So, we’re expecting black, white, coloured, Indian, boys, girls, old people, young people – a lot of sick people coming, Alec.
There's festive mood outside Bloemfontein as thousands from across country get ready for tomorrow's prayer meeting, led by Angus Buchan
— SAfm news (@SAfmnews) April 21, 2017
The name of the farm is called Wilde Als, which means wild aloe and it’s got a medicinal value and God always speaks to me through nature because I’m a farmer, and I know that people are going to be healed in their seats tomorrow. Nobody is going to anoint them with oil and nobody is going to pray over them, we can’t with a crowd like that, but God is going to supernaturally touch them. So, we’ve got people coming that are expecting some marrow transplants – they’ve cancelled them. We’ve got kids coming that are terminally ill. We’ve got women coming that can’t have babies and I won’t even be speaking about healing but when the Lord visits a crowd like that… Can you imagine? It’s going to be like Mount Sinai with the Israelites. It’s going to be… Yes, you know I’ve never seen a million people with my naked eye before. I don’t know if you have Alec, but I’ve never seen a million people and it looks like we’re going to see 1.7 million, at the moment (that’s what they’re saying). People have been camping there since Tuesday, now this is for a 2-hour prayer meeting, can you believe it?
What are you going to tell them?
I’m going to tell them that there’s only one way and I’m going to tell them that the power of prayer, when people pray then God moves. Alec, I’m going to tell them that James 5:16 says, “The effect of fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman avails much.’ I’m going to tell them that if we unite as a nation, as the people, and we call out to our living God, He will hear our prayers. He will forgive our sins and He will heal South Africa. That’s what I’m believing for – nothing less.
We had a miracle in the country in 1994, is this time for another miracle?
Yes, but we need a bigger one this time, Alec, that one was in comparison, you’re in the UK at the moment I believe, Alec?
So, you’re not possibly familiar with where we’re standing right at the moment but 1994 was quite crucial but not as crucial as where we are now. Things are really bad hey, and without the Lord intervening I don’t know where it will end but the good news is, the Lord is going to intervene and it’s going to happen on the 22nd April, which is tomorrow.
It’s Time Prayer Gathering Sat 22 Apr 2pm at Harvest Main Campus for those who can't attend Angus Buchan's National Day of Prayer in Bloem.
— Harvest – COTN (@harvestcotn) April 21, 2017
Angus, just going back a little in your story. You came to the consciousness of the public with ‘Faith like Potatoes’ (the movie), was that a conscious idea to make that movie or how did it all come together?
Again, another miracle – it’s just one big miracle. I wrote a book called ‘Faith like Potatoes’ and then Frans Cronje, you know the famous Cronje family, the cricketers?
He came to me one day and I thought he was playing a trick. He said we’re going to make a movie one day of your story. Subsequently he did and then it became a hit. You know that to this day, and that was 10-years ago, we are still selling DVDs, is indescribable. So, tomorrow, Alec, I want to talk quickly for you because I don’t want to disappoint you because I think I can hear my plane coming. Tomorrow we are going to kick-off at 12h00, theoretically, and we’ll finish at 14h00, theoretically but we’ve got 600 speakers on two-thousand acres. Okay, we’ve got the biggest stage, the biggest sound system we could find in South Africa, and this has all been done by faith, Alec. There’s no tickets being sold. There’s no collection being taken, it’s for free. God told me to do it, so I’m doing it.
He did the same with ‘Mighty Men’ – we don’t charge hey! I think that’s a big enough miracle. We’re talking about a huge budget here, so yes, I’ve just covered your prayers, all of you South Africans in the UK – pray for our country, pray for us, pray for me tomorrow, so that I can deliver. I’ve just got to open my mouth, I know that and the Lord will do the rest. It’s quite something. You’ve got me at a good time here, Alec.
How do you prepare for an event like this? How do you personally prepare?
Yes, I spend a week in the closet. I went into seclusion for a week and came out this morning, today. I’ve just been spending time praying, reading the Scriptures, hearing from God – very simple. Remember the emphasis is on prayer here and we’ve got a band. It’s not a Gospel concert. I’m sure if we got Bono and U2 they’d jump on the next plane if they could sing to 1.7 million people because Bono hasn’t even done that, nothing close. There’s no big speakers, Billy Graham is not coming. It’s just the Lord. The whole thing is one massive miracle, from start to finish.
Paraphrase of Angus Buchan quote: "When men work, men work, but when men pray, God works!" (It actually begins "There is power in prayer…)
— Tim Hunter (@Tim_storyteller) April 19, 2017
Is it going to be similar to the way that you organise for the ‘Mighty Men Conference?’
I don’t think so. This is a first ever hey, Alec. We’ve never done this before. There is places for camping. My son, Andy, who’s also a farmer but he’s a stats boffin, and he’s worked out already that on Tuesday, today’s Friday, there was already 400-thousand people who were booked that were coming. So, it’s unprecedented. This has happened in 6-weeks hey! Yes, it’s just a God miracle and I just now that just the presence of the Lord is going to be so strong there, Alec, I might not even have to say anything. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to speak because God is going to visit His people, just like He did when Moses went up Mount Sanai, remember?
He came down, and a cloud came down over the people, approximately 1-million people by the way. I looked it up in Exodus, 600-thousand fighting men from the age of 20 to 60, plus not counting women and children, and a few foreigners. So, I worked it out – it was probably just over a million. So, I’ve got something I want to leave with you… Isaiah 66:8, God asks a question, Alec, and maybe you can answer this one for me. God says, “Can a nation be born in a day?”
Well, it can be reborn, we’ve seen that in South Africa.
There we go.
Can a nation be born in a day? The biggest thing for me and you’ve hit the nail right on the head, thank you for answering that. I am an evangelist, for me to be able to hear a million-people praying the sinner’s prayer together, after that I’m ready to go home.
Where is home?
Home is Heaven for me.
But you’re living in South Africa, obviously.
True man, I’m a farmer man, I’m not going anywhere, Alec.
Are you still farming potatoes?
Yes, my boys are farming. I’m not farming obviously, I don’t think that I could do much more than what I’m doing at the moment, Alec. I’m on TV every single day of the week. I do 10 programs a week, that’s 40 programs a month. I’m preaching full-out. I’m doing columns for Farmer’s Weekly, Landbouweekblad, Vision, Gay Play, I’m still writing books. I’ve written over 35 books, but my boys are farming. We’re farming beef cattle, we farm timber, we farm strawberries, raspberries, kiwi-fruit, [inaudible 0:11:19.8] water. We’re a community, we’ve got a church on the farm. You know I’ve got 27 orphans that I’ve raised, so we’re very much entrenched there. I’m a Zulu man, I’m a white Zulu and I preach in it as well, but I’ll be speaking English tomorrow, only English.
Throw in a few Zulu words for us please.
Okay, you’ll be watching it Alec, or you’ll definitely see it, that I can assure you.
Yes, but I mean now, to our Zulu community.
Okay, I’ll explain to you after I’ve said it.
[Language – Zulu] Does that bring a tear to your eye?
[Language – Zulu]
I said did that bring a tear to your eye?
It certainly did and what does it mean?
Basically, what I said is tomorrow we’re going to have a very big crusade, and we’re going to pray and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come and to change our hearts and to give us a new South Africa. We are believing for nothing less than people to turn back to God.
Well, as they would say in the classics – from your lips to God’s ears. Thank you for the chat, Angus, and may all go the way it should tomorrow.
Thank you so much, Alec. It’s been a joy to talk to you and I think you’ve timed it very well because my lift is on its way.
Cheerio then, bye.