Written by: Dr Marion Rankin 
Article source: JOY! Magazine

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.

Coming to Christ
My personal new life began in 1977. I was in my bedroom one day when I knelt down and invited Jesus Christ into my heart, and turned my life over to Him. 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 revolutionised. I devoured scripture, and responded to the new life that Christ had given me with great passion, enthusiasm, and total devotion. For 5 years, God took me on a journey of ministry that involved up to 8 meetings a week. It was the beginning of the Charismatic renewal that was being sparked in this area at that time, the trail led through White River and into Hazyview, Malelane, Hectorspruit, Sabie, Ngodwana, Barberton, Ermelo, and Swaziland.

What an exciting time! Full of surprises, highs and lows, challenges, victories, amazing testimonies, healings, miracles, and 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.

We believe in the Great Commission and are preparing for it!

The start of the ministry
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. Within 5 weeks, our lounge had become far too small for the 50 passionate souls who came faithfully. We hired a hall in town, and after yet another 5 weeks had to look for bigger premises. The land that we are now on caught our eye. Hectares of nothing but a few trees, rocks, and a very old farm cottage. Through a series of amazing happenings and intervention of God, we purchased our new home and moved in.

God’s firm placement
A whole lot of the Kingdom of God “Fruit” happened in that first year, with many souls being saved, baptised, filled with the Holy Spirit, healed, delivered, and all the wonderful etcetera’s.
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, even calling two qualified male pastors in to do the job for me! However, this was a disastrous decision and resulted in 200 people leaving in two weeks; a very hard lesson. As always, God had the last word, and the rest is history.

Humble beginnings
From the little house at the bottom of the land, which has now been renovated and serves as our Children’s Square; we expanded and built another place of worship.
Sometime later, the Lord gave me instructions for a new building; this time a 2000 seater auditorium.
Today we’re praising the Lord in this wonderful new auditorium, and all the glory goes to our Almighty Father. Heartfelt thanks and appreciation to His many children who responded in obedience to His call, and have come to help fulfil the vision.

Why such a big auditorium?
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 been obedient and kept busy with our Father’s Kingdom, we have not limited Him, and we’ve learnt a whole lot, and had a whole lot of fun).

We’re building for future generations. Our vision and mission will be ongoing until Jesus comes.

The start of missionary work
In 1989 we began to reach out into the villages in the greater White River areas, touching many lives with the power of the Gospel, seeing countless souls born again, healed, delivered, and following Jesus. We ran soup kitchens and crusades, established home cells, and began to train leaders. In the same year my husband started a feeding initiative.
In 1997 God instructed us to make available busses to bring our outlying congregation – without personal transport – into Manna for services. Because of the language barrier, we had to do this at a second service with an interpreter. In this way we built people as God had directed us. At the end of 2002, with a 100 trained leaders, 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.

Jumping into real time
We have built 8 new churches in each of the areas and have 9 feeding points. The feeding initiative my husband began has grown into a well-established NPO called Children in Distress, through which we’re currently assisting 3408 orphaned and vulnerable children. We serve a hot meal every day after school. 31 000 meals are served monthly. Other initiatives include organic gardens at each of our centres, early childhood development, and much more. We have just acquired a mobile clinic and are working towards assisting the community’s health needs. We have trained leaders who pastor these churches, and continue to train and equip leaders in our outlying areas as an ongoing initiative establishing more pastors.

Where we’re going?
The appointed time for completion of the vision is not yet, and I believe it will be ongoing until Jesus comes, because God is a God of multiplication and progression. We will never get to a place of comfort and convenience because we live in a troubled world, and it surrounds us with challenges to be all we’ve been designed to be every day. This challenge for each of our lives will be ongoing until our earth journey is over.

Dr Marion Rankin is the co-founder and senior pastor of Manna Family Church. Her beloved husband Tony passed away in 2016. Visit mannacf.org.za

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Date published: 17/11/2019

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