By May Olusola
MannaEXPRESS marked 13 years this week. Look at God! It has been an interesting journey blessed and plagued with excitement, hope, testimonies, discouragement, tears and resignation. How it has impacted my life and the lives of others is nothing short of a manifestation of the authenticity of the promises of God. I will seize this occassion to revisit the genesis and revelation of MannaEXPRESS
“Reveal deep and secret things to me about my life, dear Lord!” This was the desperate plea in my heart as I checked into a hotel in DeSoto, Texas, early in the morning of June 22, 2006. I paid for three days but was prepared to stay more. My Bible, a notepad, a bag of toiletries, and a fierce determination to hear from the Lord accompanied me. I declared a three-day dry fast – no food, no water. Like Jacob in the Bible, I wasn’t going to let the Lord go until he blessed me with the solution to the problem I came with.
Something had happened in my personal life the night before that grieved me beyond my ability to cope. I was at my wits’ end emotionally and mentally. A tide of frustration, mixed with bitterness and anger, was threatening to engulf me. I knew something had to give way or I would retaliate. Either I drew a line or permitted the line of life to draw me into a contorted shape. The time for a change was now.
During the fast, the more I prayed, the more I felt the sweet, calm presence of God in that hotel room. I felt warmth distributed all over my body, as though freshly pressed oil were being poured on my head. The Lord spoke to me through Scriptures. The second day into the fast, the Lord gave me a mandate to start a Christian publication that reflected the the demographics of heaven by covering all races. I didn’t immediately take this into my heart. “Maybe He’s telling me this for someone else,” I thought. I had so many reasons to disagree with what I was hearing. Like Moses in the Bible, I protested. How on earth was I going to arrest people’s attention with my foreign accent? How was I going to dethrone my shy nature overnight? How could I dare to enter the realm of publishers, editors, and reporters when I had never been trained in journalism? And where was I going to get the resources to finance this vision, which seemed rather pricey? These questions tightened the rope of fear around my neck and almost strangled me out of my earthly purpose. It wasn’t until I stepped out of the hotel room at the end of my fast that I felt I could remotely carry out the Lord’s instructions.
Mind you, the solution to my own problem was still nowhere to be found. All I had was a big, scary vision and a handful of biblical promises. Thank God for family and good friends that believed in me. They assured me that I could do it. These special people, as well as the promises and grace of the most high God, paved the way for my entrance into this divine assignment. Who says the Lord does not give provision for the vision? Show me that person, and I will show him the authenticity surrounding that statement. No sooner had I accepted my fate with much trembling about the next step, the Lord showed up through a good friend of mine. She showed me how easy it is to create a newsletter using Microsoft Publisher.
I summoned enough courage and started looking for people with testimonies I could feature. The Lord started opening unimaginable doors for me, and six weeks later, the first issue of MannaEXPRESS newspaper rolled off the press. It was the Lord’s doing, and it was very marvelous in my eye. After the first issue, I started publishing with the help of the Holy Spirit because I did not have the experience or a human mentor to guide me. I learned how to use the software for laying out a newspaper and started to produce MannaEXPRESS myself. It was rougher than I imagined. I wore many hats in order to get the word out. My family, friends, and I joined in the distribution; I covered events, wrote articles, and went out to get ads. Talk about a “Jack of all trades.”
There were times I put out an issue from start to finish single-handedly. On a number of occasions, I wanted to quit. After all, I did not ask for this, and I did not see why I had to pay the sacrificial price I was paying. In 2007, I was heavily pregnant with my second child, but that didn’t change anything. I went out to distribute papers the day before I went into labor. My mother died in Dallas three months after I gave birth to my son. Despite all that I was facing, I had an obligation to the people emailing and calling me for their monthly manna. I was in awe of all that the Lord was doing.
By 2009, I was financially and physically drained, but the vision had to go on. In the midst of so much hardship, the Lord miraculously blessed me with a TV show on Access local channel 34 and another slot on Time Warner Cable TV. Without any training a producer, a mentor to guide me or even a Makeup artist, I started the MannaEXPRESS TV show under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The show featured all kinds of ordinary people doing extraordinary things (celebrities, homeless, recovering addicts and survivors) with outstanding testimonies.
A 2009 MannaEXPRESS Show featuring Tawana Williams.
I was still printing the newspaper and doing the show when the Lord heard my cry for help and moved supernaturally. In 2011, he sent invaluable laborers to assist me with the vision. Out of the blue, I got calls from people saying, “The Lord asked me to come and help you.” When the first call came, I was skeptical, but by the time the second, third, and fourth calls came, I was elated to have the “MannaEXPRESS dream team” – An unrivaled Gideon’s army of professionals committed to writing nothing but the truth. We decided to relaunch MannaEXPRESS with a global audience in mind. I cannot end this paragraph without specially acknowledging Julie Lyons, Chuck Goldberg, Sharifa Stevens, Stephanie Graves, Pastor Taiwo Ayeni, Pastor Hank Lamb and Jason McFarland for their amazing efforts. I pray Jehovah Jireh will manifest His power and glory in their lives like never before, in Jesus’ name.
In 2013, I decided to take MannaEXPRESS to the “next level” and redesign it in a magazine format. This was short lived because it was too capital intensive and not the right time. I attended the School of hard knocks during this phrase for looking up to the heels of man and not the Hills of God from where my help cometh.
In 2015, I decided to go online full time. It was the most feasible and best decision. I could reach a global audience through technology without breaking the bank. It has been so heartwarming to take MannaEXPRESS to the ends of the earth with the vehicle of technology. To God be the glory! I don’t know what tomorrow holds for MannaEXPRESS but as long as I have breath I will continue spreading manna from the bakery of heaven.
Looking back, I’d like to share what I have learned so far with MannaEXPRESS:
1. If you labor in someone else’s vineyard, the time will come for others to labor in yours.
2. The Lord will unfailingly meet your needs if you run with the assignment He has placed in your hand.
3. Just do it. If the Lord tells you something, don’t look down but up and start from there.
4. Obedience opens unimaginable doors; simply obey before you start complaining.
5. No matter how difficult it seems, keep on doing it. His thoughts of you are thoughts of good and not evil.
6. If the Lord has not ordained it, it will fizzle out in no time.
7. If you stay focused and resist peer pressure, even though the vision tarries, it will surely come to pass
Until next time, stay blessed and keep us lifted in your prayers.
May Olusola is the Publisher of MannaEXPRESS and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.