What you’re about to read is a very brief overview of how and where Manna began, where we are right now, and where we’re headed in the future! My personal new life began halfway through 1977 in my bedroom, when one day I knelt down and invited Jesus Christ into my heart, and turned my life over to Him. Some days later I was filled with the Holy Spirit in a dream, and went out to buy a Bible and find out what had happened to me!
Before this I had never read the Bible. My life was completely revolutionized, and I devoured scripture, and responded to the new life Christ had given me with great passion, enthusiasm and total devotion. For 5 years God took me on a journey of local and itinerant ministry that involved up to 8 meetings a week in order to get through the task at hand. It was the beginning of the Charismatic renewal that was being sparked in this area at that time, and the trail led through White River and into Hazyview, Malelane, Hectorspruit, Sabie, Ngodwana, Barberton, Ermelo & Swaziland.
What an exciting time! Full of surprises, highs and lows, challenges and victories! Amazing testimonies, healings and miracles, and standing in awe of the work of the Holy Spirit. I often wondered why I was so privileged to be part of what God was doing in and through my life in these places.
The vision for Manna Christian Fellowship was conceived in my heart in the middle of 1982. It was birthed at the end of 1982 in our lounge, with 13 people present, my husband and our 4 children and 7 friends.
Within 5 weeks our lounge had become far too small for the 50 passionate souls who came faithfully to everything that was happening. So we hired a hall in town, and after 5 weeks had to look for bigger premises. The land we are now on came to our attention. 14,5 hectares of nothing but some trees, rocks and a very old wattledaub farm cottage. Through a series of some amazing happenings and intervention of God, we purchased our new home and moved in!
Then all hands on deck! Everyone did something! Even the kids were part of the painting squad … enough said in that department, but those who weren’t painting were cleaning or supplying “sarmies” to feed the workers who were fixing windows, ceilings or just generally being part of the great adventure!
Obviously a whole lot of the K.O.G. “Fruit” happened in that first year, with many souls being saved, baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit, healed, delivered, and all the wonderful etc.’s
A whole lot of church family “stuff” also happened. Too much to mention here. But the big picture that came out of it all, was God very firmly placing me in the office of Senior Pastor, (Which I had fought against, and avoided like the plague, calling 2 qualified male pastors in to do the job for me … as I didn’t want to mess up God’s plan by standing in the pulpit as a woman!) However as always God has the last word, and the rest as they say is history.
From the little house at the bottom of the land, which now serves as class rooms, we levelled ground and began to build what is now housing the Teen Church, and Admin block. It took one year to get to roof height, debt free, and one afternoon a freak wind blew through the valley and flattened it all … except for the 4 corner pillars! So we cleared the rubble and began again…
Today we’re praising in a wonderful new auditorium, and all the glory goes to our Almighty Father, and heartfelt thanks and appreciation to His many children who responded in obedience to His call, and have come in to help fulfill the Vision, People often ask, “Why such a big auditorium?” Simple to answer. We believe in the great commission and are preparing for it! We’re building for future generations. We will leave a legacy and fruit for our children’s children. (If Jesus doesn’t come before then, and if He does, we’ve kept busy with our Father’s Kingdom, we have not limited Him, and we’ve learned a whole lot, and had a whole lot of fun. (Also, it’s kept us out of a whole lot of mischief!)
In 1989 we began to reach out into the outlying areas around White River and touch many lives with the power of the gospel of Christ, seeing countless souls born again, healed, delivered, and following Jesus. We ran soup kitchens, and crusades, and established home cells, and began to train leaders.
In 1997 God instructed us to make available courtesy buses to bring our outlying congregation without personal transport, into Manna for Sunday services. Because of the language barrier, we had to do this at a 2nd service with an interpreter. For 5 years we as a ministry paid for buses at no extra cost to our congregants. In this way we built people as God had directed us. At the end of 2002 the Holy Spirit led us into the next step of the Vision, which was to “sow” those we had impacted with the gospel back into their communities, and establish permanent structures to house the present congregation, and make room for exponential growth. Well this is where we are now. Already with 7 new churches built in one 7 of the areas.
On a Sunday morning our “Frontliners”, those with evangelistic gifting, go out to our out stations and take the meetings in the different areas. We train and equip leaders in our outlying areas as an ongoing initiative establishing point people and pastors.
Those with teaching gifts stay at home base and do the training. Our home cells are a very vital and integral part of our vision at Manna, and this is where the pastoral gifting gets developed. Every one of our partners needs to be part of a home cell, in order to be cared for properly. Where we’re going? Towards establishing permanent structures that will become our future Family Care Centres. We’ve established 9 centres, and from these and 1 other point we feed over 3000 children in distress and 262 caregivers a hot meal from Monday to Friday, as well as numerous other programs eg. Computer and maths classes. At these points the children are also ministered to spiritually and monitored for any health problems.
Vegetable gardens have been established at all feeding points to provide fresh vegies on a daily basis.
The caregivers are also visited regularly and ministered to.
Future plans for Manna are a Frail Care Centre as well as about 30 Cottages for our Senior Partners.