One of the most influential Christian men in South Africa never intended to go there in the first place. Turn the clock back to 1977. Angus Buchan was a hardheaded, hard-driving Scotsman struggling to make his fortune farming. His sudden conversion to Christianity startled friends, changed his life and destiny and impacted South Africa.
Originally from Zambia, in an era of upheaval and unrest, and after years of fighting against the tide, Angus, his wife, Jill (then six months pregnant), and their children moved to a piece of land in KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, South Africa, intending to farm crops and livestock, and which they later called SHALOM. Having sold his land in Zambia for a pittance, Angus couldn't afford a farm with a house on it. But he worked the land with such fervor that his farm hands laughed behind his back and called him "Nkosaan Italiaan," which meant "Mr Italian." Because they said he behaved like the mad Italian workers who spoke a lot and behaved in a funny way.
Yet other, even bigger changes were on the horizon. In 1979, attending a service at Greytown Methodist Church, Angus and Jill committed their lives fully to Jesus Christ. Everything that had been theirs was now His.
In his best-selling biography, Faith Like Potatoes, Angus recounts how he learned to trust that God was at work building something substantial even if he couldn't see it. Much in the way a potato grows underground, out of sight.
In 1980, the Lord gave Angus and Jill a clear vision very simply and clearly through His Word:
1. The Great Commission - Mark 16:15
2. Caring for Orphans and Widows - James 1:27
3. Equipping Saints for the Work of Ministry - Matthew 28:20.
Angus had no formal higher education or theological training, yet he felt called to share his faith and preach the word of God. In November 1989 Angus felt the Lord call him to hire town halls and preach the Gospel, wherever He would lead. In 1990, the first campaign was held in Ladysmith, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Soon whole stadiums were filling to hear him. Doors opened for a ministry to African orphans, left parentless by the ravaging AIDS epidemic. Soon the Buchan farm would host an expanding number of homes for these homeless children, offering them love, spiritual nurture, education, housing, clothes, and fun. A ministry to encourage men followed: the "Mighty Men Conference." From the first meeting of 240 in 2003, it has grown to more than 200,000 men attending.
Now Angus receives invitations to preach in stadiums throughout Africa and the Word is going out worldwide through television outreach. And of those farmhands who thought him "mad?" Simeon, an African who has been with him from the beginning, is with him still, now a brother in Christ who supervises the Buchan farm.
The movie Faith Like Potatoes swept through South Africa in its initial release, becoming one of the nation's highest-grossing domestic films. It has won international awards and touches lives wherever it plays. It is now in 15 different languages across the worldwide market.