Rev. Gerald Archie Mangun (1919~2010)
Pastor of Pentecostals Of Alexandria, LA
United Pentecostal Church
Gerald Archie Mangun stands tall among a company of great men who have been used of God to usher in Apostolic Power in the 20th Century. Few men have impacted more souls for the cause of revival and evangelism than Gerald Mangun. The history of his life seems little less than the history of one unbroken revival.
In 1921, when he was only two years old, five apostolic preachers came to Lapaz, Indiana, and his mother and father heard the Pentecostal message for the first time. The seed of the gospel found fertile soil. His parents were baptized in Jesus name and received the Holy Ghost.
His childhood was then that of a classic pioneer Pentecostal family suffering rejection and denunciation from community and family members but experiencing mighty miracles of healing, provision, and salvation. In 1927, at the tender age of 8, he attended Mattie Crawford’s Miracle Healing Revival in Mishawaka, Indiana, and was baptized in St. Joseph’s River in the Name of Jesus. In that revival, he witnessed miracles of healing people throwing down crutches and getting out of wheelchairs, running and leaping for joy. His sister, dying of diphtheria, was instantly healed. This made a lasting impression on him, and from that day forward he thought, that’s how it is supposed to be.
In 1940, he received the Holy Ghost baptism in a revival in Kokomo, Indiana. After more than two hours of repentance and commitment, he lay flat on his back on the cement floor for 20 minutes while speaking in a beautiful, heavenly language. When he left church that night, he recalls that even the trees seemed to be clapping their hands and the moon and stars seemed to be praising God. Since that momentous day, he has continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine. Along with his Holy Ghost experience came an overwhelming desire to reach the lost, to spare as many as he could from hell. As he witnessed to two athletes from Indiana University (and not even knowing this was in the Bible), God spoke to him in an audible voice and said: This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting. Self-denial became a constant value for his soul.
His family was a proponent of pursuing excellence in any undertaking; therefore, desiring a greater knowledge of the Word, he enrolled in Apostolic Bible Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota. He shoveled snow and performed various other odd jobs to pay his way. While there, he habitually fasted four days a week. During one prolonged season of fasting, at 6-1/2 days without food and water, Bro. S. G. Norris insisted that he eat and drink. It was during this fast that God spoke to him and told him to go pray for Faith Urshan, who was soon to be sent to the hospital to die with tuberculosis. God healed her, and she is alive 60 years later.
He graduated from ABI and was ordained in 1942 by Brother Norris and Brother A. D. Urshan. He accompanied a Bible School classmate, Eldridge Lewis, to McLeod, Texas, borrowing $11.00 so that he could travel by train. While south, he had a mighty revival in Lou-Ann, Arkansas. Occasions to ministry began to open in Indiana and Ohio, then in Louisiana and Texas. He fasted relentlessly, and prayed and studied much of each day, but took time to walk dusty roads inviting people to come to revival services. He preached on the new birth, heaven and hell, and the coming of the Lord, and preached with such fervor that some who heard him sold their cows, horses, and chickens, saying, we won’t need these . . . the Lord is coming. He had unprecedented 50-soul and 100-soul revivals in small towns in Louisiana: Starks,Clarks, Eros, and Hodge, then traveled to Diboll, Texas, where 100 souls were saved and were baptized in icy waters. It was there he met a preacher’s daughter, young Vesta Layne Gibson, and promptly felt she was the one he would marry. From that revival he traveled to St. Louis for a great revival and then came back to Texas to marry Vesta Layne, September 10, 1943. What a team they became, forever linked; one cannot imagine one without the other.
His ministry has been blessed from its inception with great victories. A simple burning desire to see people saved filled his heart. His zeal and consecration were so intense that it often astonished, and sometimes offended, those who called themselves New Testament Christians. Together, this dedicated couple traveled from state to state for seven years, experiencing great revival and miracles, seeing signs and wonders in places like St. Louis, Missouri; West Monroe, Provencal, and Camp Eight, Louisiana; Zavalla and Lufkin, Texas; Dequincy, Louisiana, and in his home state, Gary, Plymouth, and Mishawaka, Indiana; then to Sunberry, Pennsylvania, where, during an extended fast, he received the call from Brother Pardue to hold a revival in Alexandria, Louisiana. God spoke to him then, You’ll be the next pastor of the church in Alexandria, and I’m going to give you the city.
On July 25, 1950, this word of prophecy began to be fulfilled. G. A. and Vesta Mangun became pastors of the United Pentecostal Church of Alexandria, Louisiana. Since that time, they have led that congregation in prayer, fasting, witnessing, and discipling, with phenomenal growth and expansion. Nothing stopped him! In his simple, yet faithful, forceful way, with his heart and soul fixed on Jesus Christ, nothing could quench the ardor of his affection! Revival, souls, and missions, both home and abroad, were his passion; the apostolic, Jesus Name Gospel his commitment! He was always out front first partaker, leading the way. Prayer was his second nature; he often spent days and nights in prayer. Even today at 85 years of age, he still spends no less than two to four hours a day in prayer, ever pursuing a greater degree of intimacy with Jesus Christ! For more than 60 years, he consistently fasted three days each week and went on a seven-day fast at least once each year until cancer surgery at age 80 made this impossible. Revival and missions locally and globally have been his heart and soul. Everything about him is focused with one aim: to preach Jesus Christ and His Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth . . . and influence yet another generation for Jesus Christ . . . contending for the Faith once delivered on the Day of Pentecost!
He is loved by Apostolic Pentecostals the world over. He has served as a Louisiana District Presbyter for the United Pentecostal Church for 53 years (1951-present the longest tenure of any presbyter in the UPCI), as a member of the Foreign Missions Board of the UPCI for 18 years (1986-present), and as Executive Presbyter for the United Pentecostal Church International.
True to his philosophy of reaching out as far as you can while holding on tightly to the truth, and believing Paul’s example of being made all things to all men, that he might by all means save some, he served his community well. For fifteen years he served as chaplain for the Louisiana State Police and as chaplain for the parish Sheriffs Department. He is a longstanding member of the Rapides Parish Airport Authority and a member of Alexandria Port Authority. In March 2002, the Louisiana National Guard presented him with a Civilian Service Medal for his service to the community and nation.
He does not simply believe in the God of ages ago; he believes in the God of today and tomorrow! He believes the 21st Century is destined to be one in which the full life of Apostolic Doctrine, Biblical Holiness, supernatural power of miracles and wonders, and the Shekinah Glory of God will be restored to the Church!
On a personal level, Gerald A. Mangun has been married to his wife, Vesta, for more than 61 years. He, together with Vesta, raised one son, Anthony Mangun, who married Mickey Lumpkin. They have two grandchildren, Miquell and Gentry, both in the ministry, and one great-grandchild, Eva.
In his lifetime, he has brought thousands to the Truth of the Gospel and closer to God, he has expanded the Kingdom of God, and he has strengthened the Church of Jesus Christ. His expressed desire has been to live in the realm of the supernatural . . . in the familiar company of the saints and the angels. It has undeniably been so!
On June 17, 2010, Bro. Mangun, at the age of 91 finished his earthly journey, and went home to be with the Lord Jesus!