Christo Marx. Onverwag Boerdery, Bultfontein. 6 March 2020
Herewith some of the amazing testimonies shared by Christo Marx, a corn farmer from Bultfontein, Free State, South Africa.
Most farmers in our part of the country are Christian believers. A farmer knows too well that he does not have control over all the variables that impacts on his business, especially when it comes to the climate and the weather patterns. It is for this reason that we farmers have to believe in a being who is “bigger’ than us; the One who has control over all aspects pertaining to farming.
I like the story that my neighbour tells about him standing on his land during the drought, seeing only dry, desolate brown fields. He looked up and prayed: “Lord won’t you please colour in this land again”. Now, after the good rain that we have had, when I see the beautiful greenery on the fields and the flowers next to the roads, I realise that Father has answered my friend’s prayer and we are all benefiting from that “colouring in” of our landscape. Although we pray for the blessing of our farms daily, God showed us that there is more to it than only our farms.
There was a time when the Lord laid on Matty (my wife) and my hearts to pray for our community. A friend of ours, Thabo, experienced the same calling for intercessory prayer. It was clear to us that we had to perform some prophetic activities like blowing the shofar or to anoint people/places within the communities that we were directed to. God led us to, among others, all the entrances to the town, all the access roads, and even specific streets. We went to these places and we proclaimed the territory for Christ, we bound all evil in the spiritual realm, and we asked God to stop any evil from entering our community and also to stop any evil from exiting our town and thereby accessing neighbouring communities. It was our prayers that God would deal with the evil right there and then. We also sought God’s intervention into things like unemployment, safety and security. It was a wonderful privilege to go into surrounding areas where we would not normally go, and to pray for the people residing in those areas.
I recall that, at the entrance from the Wesselsbron road, there had been numerous incidents of hi-jacking, assaults, fatal road accidents etc. over the past year. We went there to ask God to take care of this area and to safeguard it. As far as I know there have not been any further incidents since we had prayed.
There was a time when people from all the different neighbourhoods, both formal and informal settlements, attended a meeting at the show grounds. The purpose of this meeting was for the various groups to share their respective challenges with one another. In this way people got a better understanding of one another. The outcome was that people could, either on a collective or individual capacity, offer help and assistance to others. Is this not what God wants us to do; to reach out to one another?
I remember another occasion when Thabo invited us to do a prayer walk in a particular street within the township adjacent to Bultfontein. There were a number of robberies, assaults and eventually a murder in this particular street. Something had to be done. We have done prayer walks during other outreaches and we have found that the Lord reveals things to us during such prayer walks. There was a young boy that joined us on a walk and whilst we were strolling down the road, praying, he suddenly stopped and told Matty that he felt demonic spirits roaming at that very spot, so we immediately interceded in prayer against such evil spirits. We asked God to deal with these spirits and to protect those living in that vicinity. My family and I really regard it an honour to be prayer warriors for our community; we understand the blessing of praying for others. Thabo confirmed later that there has not been further incidents in that specific street since we have prayed there.
There was a time when my employees and I started every new work day with Scripture reading and prayer. This carried on for a few years. One day I decided to deliberately stop doing it to see what their reaction would be. I wanted to find out if this was important to them. After a few days none of them queried the stoppage. I was very disappointed and wrestled with God about this. Was it a waste of time? Then God answered me through Jan Stafford, one of the guys. One morning there was a knock at the door. When I opened, Jan was there. He told me that he came just to thank me for introducing him to Christ. He said that the daily devotions led to him committing his life to Christ. About a year later Jan died and I was so grateful to the Lord for using me as an instrument to the salvation of Jan. If it wasn’t for our daily devotions he would probably not have been saved. If we have done it for Jan only, then it was all worth it. All it required was my obedience to plant the seeds – God made it grow. Nowadays we have a Pastor coming to the farm to conduct a short sermon every Friday morning.
Then there was the day when the whole community got together to pray for rain. Farmers brought along their workers with trucks and even trailers. One of my guys, by the name of Petrus, had to come from elsewhere and had to walk a very long way. He shared with us how he was praying to God, whilst walking, to provide him with transport so that he would make it to the prayer meeting on time. Next moment a vehicle stopped and offered him a lift to the venue. He believed that it was an answer to his prayer. Sometimes it is little things like this that helps one grow in faith.
I have also practically experienced what the Bible refers to as “the power of the tongue.” A while back Matty and I were driving along the corn fields. At a specific cornfield she enquired as to what yield I think that crop would deliver at harvest time. I said 4 tons per hectare. Matty then proclaimed 5 tons per hectare over this specific field. I recall saying to her: “I know corn well and that yield was impossible.” She however, was adamant in her positivity. When harvest time came this specific cornfield yielded 5 t/ha whereas the rest yielded 4 t/ha.
I once attended a Christian camp with the theme “Focus on Christ”. One of the activities involved spending time in the bush all alone. I soon noticed a beautiful hawk sitting in a nearby tree. I focused on this bird intensely. Suddenly a noise coming from another direction drew my attention and I looked away for a few seconds. When I looked for the hawk again, it was gone. Immediate God said to me that I should keep my focus on Him and not allow the noise of the world to distract me. I learned in a practical way to remain focussed on Him if I want to experience the wonder of His love and grace, and His beauty.
From experience I know that farmers have many faith-related stories to tell because we live so close to God’s creation and are heavily reliant on His grace and mercy and we are so grateful for all the blessings, perhaps because we are more conscious thereof due to the nature of our work.
As for me and my family we will continue to praise and worship Him, we will not stop praying for our community and we will do whatever is required to glorify His name.
Beyond the Farmer lies a Prayer Warrior
Christo Marx. Onverwag Boerdery, Bultfontein. 6 March 2020