Two months after I arrived the National Christian Corpers Fellowship (Nccf) family house in Gboko, a strong wind of attraction for Kunle blew my heart away…
Imagine, it started from a morning devotion. If you are familiar with Nccf, you can tell how terrible we look on those mornings, faces swollen, mouth smelling, eyes dull….and yet that was how I couldn’t get Kunle out of my mind as he led the exhortation that morning. For goodness sake, I had seen him at his best. The Sunday mornings in his lovely Ankara attire, Monday mornings in his crispy ironed shirts and Thursday in his khaki uniform.
‘Lord, what is this? In the name of Jesus, I bring every thought to the obedience of Christ. I destroy every attraction from the pit of hell that wants to distract me. I command-‘
‘Iyabo, what is the matter. Who are you binding this early morning. Are you okay?’
I had forgotten that I shared a room with seven other ladies. I smiled and reached for the broom from behind the door and set to commence my morning duty.
Nothing changed. The more I fought the desires, the stronger it stayed. I was getting really worried. I remember doing something so stupid. Mama, our sisters co-ord, had asked me to tell the brothers in the chapel-a small room where we had our bible study and sunday meetings- that dinner was ready. I stumbled into Kunle at the entrance and suddenly I was tongue tied. He smiled at me.
‘Sis Iyabo. How you dey nao?’
My mouth disgraced me that day. I stared at him and couldn’t talk. He looked at me puzzled.
‘Are you okay?’
‘Ehmmm…Mama say…I mean Mama said the brothers should come get their food.’
‘Alright. I’ll go inform them.’
I rushed into the ladies room and kicked at everything that crossed my path. Frustrated, I grabbed my bag and dashed out of the house. I went straight to my mentor’s house. I was crying as I narrated my predicament. I wanted Kunle put of my mind.
How could I have feelings for a man who didn’t take a little as a glance at me. Was it not last week that my best friend, Ibukun, had broken down on the phone because the man she had been silently praying would make a move ended up proposing to the Senior Pastor’s daughter?
My mentor prayed with me that night but it still didn’t help my troubled mind. That night I lay on the bed and hugged my pillow.
Lord, I am confused. Please take this desire away. Help me to be focused on you. Please Lord. I don’t know what to call this…but my heart longs for him everyday…I can’t help myself.
The day I knew I had to take a decision very quickly was when I noticed Mama’s growing interest in Kunle. She served his food differently and took it to him even though he insisted on getting it from the kitchen by himself.
After dinner, she sat beside him as he talked with the other brothers. When he showed up in the kitchen to help, she worked herself to the bones and refuse help from anyone until she was fagged out… It was glaring to all that Mama was in love. The ladies gossiped about it and the men cheered mama whenever he came around. I felt like a big fat fool.
I still couldn’t get him away from my thoughts. So I decided that for my sanity, I had to move out of the family house to a friend’s place. That evening, I returned from work to hear that Mama had been crying all day.
Chichi, who we called the baby of the house, told me she had seen Kunle and Mama in the chapel talking and after a while Mama returned to the room in tears. She had refuses to tell anyone what had happened.
Lovers fight, I concluded. After all, there was no relationship without misunderstanding.
I began to throw my things into my box.
Just as I stepped out of the entrance when my ‘family members’ bombarded me with questions.
‘Where do you think you are going to?’
When I explained that I was moving to a friend’s place, they grabbed my box and shoved it back into the house.
‘No way! you are staying right here with us!’
Kunle stood afar off, watching the drama unfold.
‘Get back into the house jare. Iyabo, How could you even think of leaving?’
I stood there, confused. One of my roommates wrapped her hand around my neck and playfully pulled me back into the house.
I decided to stay. Thankfully, it was few weeks to his passing out parade. He’d soon be gone before I knew it. I prayed every night asking God to help my emotions and as I turned my attention towards developing my relationship with him, my soul became very calm and still.
One evening, as I prepared dinner, Mama looked at me and said,
‘Iyabo, if you will forget anything, don’t ever forget this.’ She paused. ‘Don’t ever assume someone loves you until they say so.’
I held on to those words as if my life depended on it.
Two weeks later, I was in the kitchen alone chopping onions. A brother was fanning the fire under a large pot outside. Some others were shredding vegetables. Two sisters peeled yams. Two other brothers were at the well fetching water. They were all laughing and chatting as they worked. I stood by the window listening to them and enjoying the conversation.
‘Can I help?’
I froze. My body vibrated. I turned.
‘Can I help you with that?’ Kunle didn’t take his eyes away from me.
I nodded, offering him some of the onions. He stood beside me and we worked in silence.
‘There is something I want to talk to you about.’
My heart stopped.
‘Not here. Can we meet somewhere quiet?’
‘Friday is a public holiday. Will that day be convenient for you?’
I nodded again.
I didn’t sleep well that night and the night afterwards. So many thoughts ran through my mind.
I can never forget the words he said to me that Friday afternoon.
‘Sister Iyabo. I have a strong conviction that God is leading me to you.’
‘Can you give me sometime to pray about it?’
‘Sure. Take your time.’
That night I went back to God.
‘Lord, what are you saying? Is he the one?’
In the quietness of my heart, I heard this; ‘Are you really asking me that? Stop pretending like you don’t know. I will instruct you in the way you should go. I will guide you with my eyes…’
I wanted to give him time before giving a response. Let him wait just as he has made me to wait…
Then one night, I was reading from the bible when I remembered that the following day was the ordination service for new executives. I remembered the NCCF rule. If I become the mama of the fellowship, I must remain in the same state until I step down from my position as the sister co-ord. That means I would never be able to give Kunle an answer until I handed over. I sat up quickly and picked up my phone. I dialed his number.
‘Hello. Iyabo. How are-
‘My answer is Yes. I will marry you.’
‘Oh my- I didn’t- I mean I didn’t expect- oh thank you-I-.’
True to my thoughts, the following day, I was made the Mama of the Corpers fellowship. The sisters were shouting ‘Mama!’ as I walked to the altar to join the other newly appointed executives. I couldn’t hold back the tears. When I raised my head, I saw Kunle leaning on the wall, smiling. I couldn’t help but smile too…
Stifle your urges if you must…Don’t chase love. Let love find you.
Read: For Better or Worse