STORY SERIES: IBADAN CHANGED MY LIFE EPP 10

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          'I think my pastor likes you', bola said as we strolled back to the hotel.

          'Oh please!', I scourged. 'I'm not into Pastors. Besides, why will he like me? He doesn't even know me'

          'I'm just joking jor', she said and wrapped her hands around me. 'You know I like teasing you'

          'Better', I said.

We said our 'Bye - Bye' when we got to the hotel gate. I went straight to the restaurant. I was really famished. Akinola came over. I scanned through the menu and requested for Ofada rice. The other things on the menu weren't appealing to me.

          'What's wrong with Nigerian food?', I asked Akinola when he served me. He seemed baffled.

          'Excuse me?', he said

          'Like, why is the menu filled with chinese, indian and lebanese food? Aren't we no longer Nigerians? What happened to Yam and Egg? Our own Jollof rice? Spaghetti?'

He didn't say anything for a second.

          'I'm sorry ma'am. We'll work on it', he finally said.

          'Please do', I said and was about eating when I noticed he was still standing before me.

          'Yes?'. I asked.

          'About the other day. I apologize', he said

          'Oh please, don't!', I said. 'I should be the one apologizing which I have done'

He smiled. I began digging into the ofada when I noticed he was still standing before me.

          'Excuse me?', I said. I was uncomfortable now.

          'I'm so sorry but I was thinking about uhm...we...like...we hanging out one of these days. That's if you don't mind'

I became more uncomfortable and for a second, I couldn't believe my ears. This cute dude was asking me out on a date. However, once beaten twice shy. The whole memory of Timi came flashing before me. I closed my eyes immediately and breathed hard.

          'Are you okay?', he asked.

          'I'm fine', I said, catching my breath.

          'I'm sorry if what I said made you feel uncomfortable. Forget about it. Pretend I said nothing', he said and was about leaving when I called him back.

          'I really appreciate you reaching out to me, Akin', I said and sighed. 'I'm a bored working class lady and wouldn't mind us hanging out one of these days'

I watched as his lips tilted into a nice curve. He had a really cute smile.

          'That's great. I would write out my number on a little sheet and drop it off for you when I come back to carry your plate.',

          'Alright', I said and he left almost immediately.

I lost my appetite. I guess I was too forward. I shouldn't have accepted his offer immediately. I barely know him. I know I like him but after this bad experience, I should have given myself enough space. And let's not even talk about Bola. She would literally shoot me in the head. I ate a little more and left the rest. Few minutes later, he came to pack the plates and slid a white folded paper close to the tray. I looked around and picked it up and he nodded.

Immediately I got into my room, I stored his number on my phone to avoid me loosing it all of a sudden. I lingered on the thought of calling him. I didn't want to appear desperate. So, I assured myself that I wouldn't call him in a long time.

I had a very busy day at work the next day. There were so many files I needed to attend to as well as so many clients I had to pull a call through to. At the end of the day, I was so worn out and stressed that I slept off immediately I got to my hotel room. The rest of the week went on this way. My entire week was very busy due to the overload of work I couldn't attend to while I was away in the hospital.

Saturday came quickly. I told myself I was going to simply eat and sleep the entire day. I was busy sleeping when my phone began to ring. I intentionally refused to pick it. It rang and rang and rang. It kept ringing to the extent that I had to wake up to silence it. I was too sleepy to even check who it was. After a while, I continued my sleep. Few minutes later, I heard a knock on my door. I wanted to pretend not to hear until the knock intensified and I had no other option than to sluggishly get off bed and check who it was. It was Bola.

          'Don't tell me you forgot the meeting with Pastor today', she said as she walked in.

          'Truth be told. I absolutely forgot. My week has been very busy and I've had little or no time for myself. Today is the only time I get to myself. I really want it to be about me and me alone. We could always postpone the meeting', I said and sat on my bed.

Bola was quiet for a while.

         'What?', I asked.

         'Nothing; she said. 'Just that Pastor has been in church all day long all because of this meeting. I'll tell him you are tired and need to rest', she said and stood up to go.

          'Common!', I shrugged. 'Don't make me feel guilty now. It's not like I don't want to go. Just that I'm very tired'

I sighed when Bola didn't respond. She simply stood by the door and I wondered what was on her mind. Her phone rang and she picked it.

           'Yes, Pastor. Okay, Pastor', she said and hung up. 'Harriet, I think I should take my leave now'

I starred at my cold feet. Nothing seemed right and I felt like a devil in this situation.

          'I'll go with you', I finally said. 'Give me a minute'

She didn't smile but I could feel happiness wind up within her. I had a quick shower, freshened up and wore something very basic.

          'Do I need to use a scarf or something?', I asked

          'It's not necessary. Today is Saturday', she replied.

As we entered the church, we could hear the choir rehearse. They sang sonorously and I really wished they wouldn't stop. The ushers were busy cleaning the church while some kids roamed around. Bola greeted the people around as we walked to the Pastor's office. When we got to his office, she gave the door a soft knock and he urged us to enter. There were three different Bibles on his desk and from his countenance, one could tell that he had been praying before we came in.

          'Bless you, sisters', he said as we entered and nudged us to sit.

He sighed and spoke in tongues for a few seconds. He brought out his handkerchief and wiped his face. The A.C was on but he seemed like he was hot on the inside.

          'Let's pray', he said and led a brief prayer.

           'Amen', we all said after the prayers.

          'Sister Harriet, it's great to see you again. Thanks for honoring my invite. I know you must have been very busy but you made out time for this meeting. I pray God Almighty bestows upon you honor and favor in Jesus Name'

         'Amen', I said even though I wasn't sure if I was supposed to say so since I didn't come on my own accord.

          'Sister Bola has told me a lot about you and when I say a lot, I mean, a whole lot. I'm a very inquisitive pastor. So, I ask questions a lot. However, she cannot know more than the surface. You alone can make us aware of what's innate. Permit me to ask, are you born again?'

Okay. I've heard this question a million times and I always reply affirmatively. Surprisingly, right now, I'm more confused than positive.

         'I don't know', I said with a straight face.

He smiled. 'You know what? I like that you are very honest and blunt. That way, it would be very easy for the light to pierce through your soul if you let it'

          'But, I'm a Christian', I quickly chipped in. 'The fact that I'm not born again doesn't make me less of a christian. I'm just not ready for any reincarnation of any sort. I pray, I believe God, at least to some extent and I have faith. I believe these are the three things that mark us as Christians'

I could feel Bola's amazement. Pastor John simply laughed and wiped his face again with his handkerchief.

          'I really don't want us to debate your status as a Christian, sister Harriet. Only babies who are still been fed by milk would do that. However, I want us to focus on your salvation. True salvation'

          'And the next question you would ask is if I'm saved, right?', I said. 'Well, I'm far more saved than many men of God in the world today'

           'Harriet!', Bola exclaimed

          'Sister Bola, please let her. Allow her express herself', Pastor John interrupted.

           'This is not expression, Pastor. It's me being factual. See, I have two degrees, one masters degree and planning to run my phd degree as soon as possible. I'm very smart and intelligent and that's why I was called upon to manage my company's branch here in Ibadan all the way from Lagos. Looking at what I and my team have been able to achieve within a few months shows my level of IQ. It also says something - Harriet Ugochukwu is no dummy. I cannot be brainwashed. I'll tell you a short story. My father used to be a worker in the church we attended while I was little. Soon, he and the pastor had a little fight and my father decided to pull out. However he was called, I don't know. All I know is that he started his own church five months after. I was always with him and I understand every dynamic you pastors do to get members and stay fired up with the excuse of being God-sent. Still, my father would drink and womanize. Yet, he healed the sick and performed miracles. He was able to pay our school fees through the offering and tithe of the dumb church members. Presently, my mom and dad are separated and his church is waxing stronger in Iyana - Ipaja in Lagos. All these things, I've been there. I've passed through them and experienced it all. Pastor, it's not for you to question my salvation but for everyone to do what they think is right while God do the judging'

Bola had broken down into tears already. Being a very emotional person, she could hardly hold herself together. I didn't feel wrong for all I said. I felt very right because I thought it was all right.

Pastor John closed his eyes for almost a minute. When he opened it, he kept saying

          'Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus. That you would show yourself manifest this day, Thank you, abba father'

He kept on saying these words and started turning the pages of the Bible. I began to feel very uncomfortable now and I swallowed hard. I wasn't nervous or scared but for no reason, I felt heavy.

           'The word of God is clear', Pastor John said finally after some minutes. 'It is Yea and Amen. It is light unto our hearts and feet. Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life. Nobody can reach the father except through Him. He is the innocent lamb slain for the sins of the world. In Him was no sin. He knew no sin but still, he bore all our sins and gave us salvation. He gave us Grace. He took the keys of life and death and gave us a choice with a hope that we choose life. He died and rose up on the third day that we might have life and have it abundantly. He gave us authority and the capacity to communicate to God without waiting for any judge or prophet. He urges us to come boldly before the throne of Grace that we may receive and obtain mercy. Jesus, our Savior and redeemer. While He was on earth, the spirit of God was wholly upon Him and did great things even without measure...'

As Pastor John spoke, I could feel a burning sensation from within me. He wasn't speaking like someone keeping a normal conversation. He was speaking like he was been spoken through. And when I couldn't take it anymore, I blurted out,

          'Please stop!', I cried and fell on my face.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

[Read Episode 9 HERE]

(Image Source - Google)

EMETE

4 comments:

  1. Wow. I felt like the pastor was speaking to me. It touched the deepest part of my soul

    ReplyDelete
  2. This post is amazing. I liked the series before. But I absolutely love the way it's been tilting recently. You got the dilemma of a supposed Christian who isn't quite born again. That's very prevalent nowadays. I like that Bola and the pastor are patient. Some people will try to do oversabi and castigate Harriet at that point and push her further away.
    Good work Emete .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @abisola, I'm glad you liked it and are enjoying it even more. Although, the series is just starting. In Nollywood's tone 'THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING'

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