Click here to read Episode 9
This is the diary of a Nigerian Christian Girl- Season 1 Episode 10
I felt very sad when I got close to my house after a hectic day at work and found Wale’s car parked in front of my gate.
Why should he appear on the day my boss transferred twenty thousand naira to my account as commission for a travel package I sold? You can call me a ‘bad wife material’ for thinking this way but for goodness sake, I needed this money badly. How long would I continue to wear fairly used dresses and shoes?
You know, I had thought that since this philanthropist lady that paid for the church venue arrived Pure Heaven Assembly, I’d be free to enjoy my money. Remember the lady whose sister’s birthday party my fiancé attended? By the way, I finally got to meet her on a Sunday service. What’s that her name again? Victoria. The moment I saw her, I sighed in relief. I had just wasted my energy worrying for nothing.
Victoria was obviously older than Wale. I’m sorry but the concealer did not conceal anything. You will know clearly that this one is not in our Age group. She should be somewhere in her late thirties or early forties. As I was saying, I thought the new supply of cash from this lady would shift his interest from my purse, but it didn’t. Wale still asked for ten thousand two weeks ago.
I sighed, wishing I could find a place to hide but I knew Wale would have seen me through the outside mirror. I sighed in frustration remembering how my mum had called earlier in the day to inform me that one of my nieces had been rushed to the hospital. I had sent Yewande fifteen thousand naira as my contribution for the hospital bills. Before leaving the office, Yewande had called pleading with me to get fruits and beverages while coming to pay her a visit that weekend.
God, I’m begging you, don’t allow Wale ask me for money today.
When I got close to the car, Wale was jotting on a notepad and a bible was opened on the steering wheel.
‘Is it only reading bible this guy knows how to do?’ I muttered quietly as I tapped on his window. He smiled and motioned for me to get into the car.
‘What a surprise.’ I said, pretending to be excited. ‘You didn’t tell me you were coming to see me.’
Wale closed his bible. ‘I’m sorry. I wanted to see your face before leaving for my ministration tomorrow morning.’
‘Oh that’s true.’ I remembered Wale had told me the previous night about two ministrations he had outside town. One in Ondo and another in Ibadan.
‘I’ll be back Saturday evening.’ He said. ‘Are you going to miss me?’
I chuckled. ‘Of course. Just make sure you bring something back for me.’
It suddenly occurred to me that it had been a long time Wale got me anything. Not even five hundred naira airtime. I was always the one giving to him. I’m not saying he should get the whole world for me but at least something nice. I can’t remember the last time we hung out and enjoyed some of the nice places in Lagos. Discussions had become boring too. We are either talking about ministerial expansion or strategies to get more members. There was nothing about our future or the family we were going to raise.
‘I don’t trust Seun anymore.’ Wale said to me
Seun was the church’s financial officer. ‘What did he do?’
‘I asked him to send the financial statement for last month and I was shocked when I saw that we have only one thousand naira in our account. I asked him for the one million naira I sent to him at the beginning of the month, he started giving me some useless excuses. I have told him he must cough out that money!’
I was upset. Where did Wale get one million naira from? Why didn’t he tell me? Who knows how much he had locked up somewhere that I had no knowledge about and he had the guts to still drag the little money I was managing with me?
Wale looked at me, concerned. ‘Are you okay?’
I flashed him a smile. ‘Nothing.’
He continued. ‘I don’t trust Williams too. Last week, he said I know nothing about starting a church. Can you imagine? He said that to my face. I don’t know what’s wrong with him these days. He talks to me anyhow.’
I couldn’t hold back my anger. ‘When you hired choristers and a music director, how do you expect them to feel? They’ll also feel entitled to earn from their work. They want their salary too.’
Wale flared up. ‘To hell with them! If they want to leave, they should go! The church will go on without them.’
I shook my head. Wale didn’t know what he was saying at all. These guys had been with him from the first day he started the church. They were the ones who believed in his vision and sacrificed so much to see it come into reality. Wale had better tread carefully.
‘Can I get some money from you please?’
The moment I heard that, a nut loose in my head but I pushed the anger down and kept a steady gaze on Wale.
He continued, his eyes pleading. I was not moved at all. ‘Someone promised to send some money to support our work. I’m still expecting his call. But as it is, I don’t even have the money that’ll take me for my ministrations. I’m expecting something huge as honorarium from Ibadan. I’ll pay you back when I return.’
I opened my purse and brought out two thousand naira. ‘That’s all I have for now.’
Wale looked from me to the money. ‘Am I a beggar? What’s wrong with you? You are giving me two thousand naira Yemisi. How much fuel will it buy? I’m not even asking for money for my own personal needs. This is the work of God for goodness sake. I must confess, the way you’ve been holding your money so tightly I don’t understand you anymore.’
I lost it at that moment. If Wale thought I was a fool, he messed with the wrong person. ‘Wale, I am not father Christmas! Be reasonable for goodness sake. I send money home every month. As I speak, my sister’s child has been admitted in the hospital and you know that she is not working. This is all I can afford to give you.’
‘Spare me that trash.’ Wale barked. ‘How much do you send to your parents? How much does the hospital bill cost? You don’t pay rent. Your office is just a stone throw from your house. At most, your monthly transport fare is six thousand naira. Your feeding can’t be more than twenty thousand naira monthly. You earn one hundred and fifty naira Yemisi. Your commission every month is between twenty and forty thousand naira. That’s almost two hundred thousand naira monthly. Don’t give me that bullshit. Just say you don’t want to support my ministry rather than stretch out a miserly two thousand naira to me. Get out of my car!’
I grabbed my handbag and stepped down from the car, tears welling up my eyes. Wale drove away angrily, leaving dust behind as he sped away from sight. I wiped my tears and entered the house. I couldn’t eat the food I had bought. I left it on the kitchen sink and went to my room.
Wale was cruel, that was my conclusion. I was still owing a colleague a hundred thousand naira because Wale needed money urgently to settle ‘ministerial needs.’ Why had he forgotten the times I emptied my account to see to the progress of the church? I remember the time Wale invited a guest minister to the church. I’d kicked against that decision but Wale convinced me that inviting the man would make the church grow numerically. He said it would bring the right people to our church.
We spent almost four hundred thousand naira on the guest minister. At the hotel room, when the Pastor counted the honorarium, there was a look of dissatisfaction on his face. After counting the money, he said the only reason he’d come back if we invited us was because we were a growing church and he loves Wale very much. But on a normal day if the two hundred thousand naira had been given to him elsewhere, he’ll never set his feet there again. He looked at my fiancé and said,
‘Be wise with your ministerial call. Forget all the nonsense some of those preachers say about taking whatever is offered you when you are invited to preach. I’m not saying you should argue with them over the honorarium given to you but have a standard. From the honorarium, you should be able to tell if you’ll accept another invitation from them.’
Wale had stood there smiling. He bowed slightly. I was fuming seriously. Whoever this guest minister was, did he know how we got the money?
‘Yes sir. Your words are duly noted sir.’ Wale said.
The man was not done. ‘If you are not wise, people will use and dump you. Have you not seen pastors who walk around in rags begging for food? Ignorance caused it. We are not asking people to pay for the anointing of God over our lives. Of course that’s a gift but preachers should be paid properly for their sacrifice and diligence to the word. Do you know how many hours it takes a preacher to spend time preparing a sermon?’
‘Exactly sir.’ Wale said. ‘Even the bible says we should not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. A labourer is worthy of his reward.’
I stood there beside Wale, stunned for words.
‘As you grow in ministry,’ the man continued. ‘You raise your standard for honorarium. The more your name is fanned abroad, the greater your value increases. That’s the first lesson in ministerial prosperity.’
Wale prostrated on the floor. ‘Thank you sir.’
I went on my knees too even though what I wanted to do was walk out of the man’s hotel room. While we knelt down in front of him and he prayed for us, I wondered how Wale would return the money he borrowed to feed this greedy guest minister. You won’t believe I was the one he ran to when the lenders came after him. I had to empty my account again and borrow another one fifty thousand naira from Taiwo.
Wale didn’t remember all this before making calculations of how I spent my monthly income. I opened my wardrobe and threw all my bags and shoes to the floor, standing over them while my blood boiled. I couldn’t even buy new shoes and bags because the bulk of my money went to Wale’s ministry.
I was done with the relationship. Yes, it was freaking me out! If this was what it took to be a Pastor’s wife I wasn’t interested again. This was my fault. If I had listened to my mentor, maybe I wouldn’t be going through this.
I felt cheated and used. I sent Wale a text message that night and told him I was tired of the relationship and wanted out.
After I did that, I cried myself to sleep.
Wale was in my house saturday night. I’d just returned from my sister’s place and was sorting out my clothes for the week when I heard the knock. Standing at the door was Wale holding a gift box.
‘What do you want?’ I said, frowning.
‘Can I come in?’
When I didn’t move away from the entrance, he dropped the wrapped gift on the floor and stepped closer to me. ‘Yemisi, please. Just hear me out.’
I allowed him in and led him to the inner sitting room. He dropped the gift on the table and sat beside me and then reached for my hands.
‘I’m very sorry for all I said to you on Friday. I shouldn’t have taken my frustration out on you. I’m sorry Yemisi. You have been there for me. You believed in my dreams and visions yet I took you for granted. What will my life have become without you by my side?’ He paused. ‘Yemisi, I didn’t expect this turn of events in my life. I thought with the kind of influence I had, my first service would have hundreds of people trooping in. I have been asking myself, where did I go wrong in ministry. I’m really sorry for the things I said.’
I looked into his eyes and knew I couldn’t let him go. I loved this man so much. We are not without our flaws right? What was important was that we own up to them and trust God to work in us. I was happy I sent that text. It had got me a repentant man and a gift too.
‘Will you forgive me?’
I had already forgiven him but I didn’t want to sound excited. ‘Yes I have. It’s fine.’
‘We are still together?’
‘Yeah.’ I said. ‘So how did the ministration go?’
He stood up and pulled me to my feet. ‘Let’s hang out somewhere. I want to give my girl a real treat.’
It was then I spilled the news I’d been hiding for a long time. I told him mum had approved our relationship. I said we could fix any date we wanted for our wedding and my family was looking forward to receiving his family.
Wale’s eyes widened in surprise but behind them was a doleful look. I wasn’t sure if I was just thinking it. I expected him to jump for joy or shout ‘glory!’or do a ‘dance in the Holy Ghost’ like he usually did when he was excited about anything. Wale just grinned and said,
‘We have to celebrate this.’
I wasn’t convinced that Wale was happy about the news. No matter how much he tried to hide it, I could tell. That left me very confused. If he didn’t want the relationship, why did he come back seeking to mend our relationship? Why would he ask me to take pictures of his apartment and send them to my mother? Was I just assuming things? I looked at his face again and noticed the worried lines on his face. He quickly flashed me a smile and began to talk about his trips.
Something wasn’t right here. But what could it be?
Just as we got to the eatery, a text message appeared on my notification screen. I tapped to read the message.
Miss Yemisi, I miss you. I just wish I could talk to you but Phebe tells me you are always very busy. I miss you. Adesuwa.
At that same moment, Wale tapped the table to get my attention.
‘What will you like to eat?’
As I stare blankly at his face, my heart pounding from the words I’d read, Abigail’s words returned to me.
Yemisi, it is by obedience that we step into the things God has planned to do with our lives. If you continue to disobey the leading of the Holy Spirit, you will not be entrusted with kingdom work. You have to let go of sentiments and step into the instructions He is laying down for you.
I swallowed hard, remembering how my negligence to God’s instructions had dulled out my sensitivity to know that Dotun wasn’t alright. He had slipped right from my hand into eternity. Would I lose Adesuwa too?
‘Yemisi, are you okay?’ Wale asked. He was looking very worried.
I shook my head. Wale leaned forward, waiting for my response. ‘No, I’m not. I’m not feeling too well. I want to go home.’
Click here to read Episode 11