“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.
From 1997 to 2004, I was in the information technology field; I earned good money but lacked peace of mind. The hours were long, traveling had become a burden, and a general audit of my life suggested it was time to move on. I longed to do something that employed my passion for writing, although I didn’t think I had what it takes to write for a magazine.
I had gone to Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, Texas, for an Encounter conference in January 2006. Cindy Jacobs of Generals International ministered on the first night I attended, and after a very powerful prophetic session, I waited in a long line to speak with her. When my turn came, I was hoping she’d give me something from the Lord about my personal dilemma, but instead she grasped my hands and said, “The Lord is about to use these hands to do something in this country.” I didn’t understand, and I left more than a little disappointed that I didn’t hear what I wanted. Two nights later, a different pastor held my hands again and said that the Lord was about to use them for writing. I was dumbfounded.
Shortly after, I met a gentleman who had a Christian newspaper and needed a lot of help but didn’t have the money to pay me. “I will still work for you; after all, it is kingdom-related,” I told him. I volunteered for three months without a cent going into my pocket. I viewed it as a random seed I was sowing for something in the future. He published one issue and fizzled out of business because of circumstances beyond his control. I was dumped back into the valley of confusion where I came from.
But during my fast in June 2006, 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 was speaking to me through Scriptures. I would turn to a random page in my Bible, and the first verse that jumped out at me would be like the Lord talking to me one on one. I read these verses in Daniel 2: “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.” I was convinced that my exercise was not in vain.
But on Saturday, June 24, I got something altogether different. The Lord gave me a vision of starting a Christian publication in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to fill a gap in the Christian community. “Is my imagination doing a number on me?” I wondered. I hadn’t heard anything about the problem that brought me into the hotel in the first place, and the Lord was telling me to do what?
He went on to tell me that the publication must reflect 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 the Lord had left me with.
For the next four days after the fast, I didn’t have the appetite to eat anything. The anointing of the Lord was so strong. Looking back now, I am convinced the Lord wanted me to be emptied so He could fill me with something new and fresh. I continued fasting till 6 p.m. each day and broke my fast with a glass or two of orange juice. 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. 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 baby. Despite all that I was facing, I had an obligation to the people emailing and calling me for their monthly manna.
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. Once again, when my friend and sister hinted months before that I had what it takes to be on TV, I looked at them with ridicule. “Me, on TV? How can that be?” was my response. Time proved me wrong. Without any training or even a producer to guide me, I started the MannaEXPRESS TV show under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The show features people with outstanding testimonies that have given me the hope and courage to hang in there. It is available online at www.mannaexpressonline.com.
Three and a half years later, the Lord heard my cry for help and moved supernaturally. Starting in November 2009, he sent 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. Hence the birth of the “MannaEXPRESSOnline dream team.” The Lord sent a Gideon’s army of professionals to further His work. I am in awe of all that the Lord is doing. I want to seize this opportunity to welcome Julie Lyons, Lori McColl, Lauren D’Avolio, Pastor O. J. Kuye, Pastor Phill Longmire, Dr. Renee Hornbuckle, Camille Graham, M.D., Dr. Charlene Bordeaux, Mary Babin, Mr. Bill Chaffin, and Eva Laoye on the team. I welcome back faithful laborers: Pastor Hank Lamb, Pastor Ayeni, Tobi Itegboje, Dr. Stan Harris, and Eva Thomas. I bless the Lord for all of you. As you are laboring in this vineyard, the Lord will send divine helpers to catapult your dreams and visions to unimaginable levels, in Jesus’ name.
With the dream team on board, we decided to relaunch MannaEXPRESS with a global audience in mind. We also added “Online” to the end of MannaEXPRESS, since technology is our future. From now on we are officially MannaEXPRESSOnline. Can you see what the Lord has done?
Thank you for taking time to read my testimony. Looking back, I’d like to share what I have learned so far with MannaEXPRESSOnline:
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.
Until next time, stay blessed and keep us lifted in your prayers.