Click here to read Episode 10
This is the diary of a Nigerian Christian Girl- Season 1 Episode 11
I called Adesuwa when I got home, she didn’t pick my call the first time and I tried it a second time. She answered it.
‘Hello Miss Yemisi.’
She sounded like she had been crying.
‘Yes ma. I-’ She stopped talking and burst into tears. I told her to let the tears out and waited until she was calm.
‘What’s going on?’ I asked finally.
‘Please don’t be angry with me. I know I’m a failure. God must hate me right now. I know he doesn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore. My life is a mess.’
‘Adesuwa, God does not hate you. I don’t know what is going on, but one thing I’m sure of is that God loves you very much and he wants to help you.’
She didn’t say anything. I waited again while I prayed silently. I was not going to lose this one. Whatever was going on, we would get to the end of it together.
‘For a week now, I’ve been feeling quite ill. Mum travelled to Aba to get undies to stock her shop. My elder sister had to take me to the clinic.’ Adesuwa paused. ‘They ran tests on me. I’m pregnant.’
‘Oh no.’ I muttered underneath my breath. I didn’t know when I stood up and began to pace the room. I had seen this coming. I had seen Adesuwa pregnant in that revelation. Oh Jesus.
‘I don’t know what to do Miss Yemisi. My sister has been sad since we returned from the clinic. She doesn’t know what to do and she is afraid of telling my parents. My father will kill me if he finds out about this. I can’t even tell my friends. They’ve been complaining that I am too serious with my studies. I can’t even imagine the shock on their faces when they discover I’ve been messing around in secret. I don’t know what to do. I wish this could all go away.’
I was muttering tongues as I paced the room. I asked God to teach me what to do. How do I handle this case?
‘Who is the guy responsible for this?’ I asked.
‘Samuel. He lives with us but he’ll be returning to school very soon. When he came into Lagos, he couldn’t get a place for his one year industrial training. His father pleaded with my dad to take him in his farm. Dad agreed and said he could stay with us.’
I remembered the presents Adesuwa’s mother gave me during the open day at Corner Stone College. Large tubers of yam, potatoes, onions, a bag of rice, beans, two live chickens. I had to share some of the gifts with other teachers.
‘Does he know about this?’
‘I told him this morning.’ Adesuwa replied. ‘He said we have to get rid of it. I don’t want to do this. I’m afraid. What if I die while the doctor cut me open? I’m really scared.’
I sat down on the bed. ‘Adesuwa, stay calm okay. Don’t go anywhere with that guy. If he keeps threatening you, call me. I’ll come over this weekend to see you. I know your mother very well. I’ll speak with her.’
‘I just wish this can just go away. I’ll not allow any man touch me again.’
‘The painful truth is that it can’t go away. However, God has a great plan for you as much as he does for the life growing in your womb.’
‘I love you Miss Yemisi.’
‘I love you too dear. I’ll be praying for you and I’ll call you again.’
When I ended the call, I went on my knees and prayed. My heart not only ached for Adesuwa, it cried for the woman I had become.
‘God, please.’ I started and couldn’t get any more words out. Right there on my knees, I decided I was done trying to do things myself. I have had enough of doing things my own way. I would trust God and just allow him do whatever he wanted with me.
‘Oh dear Father.’ I said, with tears running down my face. ‘Help me Lord.’
In the course of the week, I had gotten two packs of soft drinks and biscuits for the love feast due to hold after service at Pure Heaven Assembly. I had also bought envelopes for the church and made customized pens for the first timers.
I decided that Sunday would be my last in that church. I would tell Wale I was done with the relationship. Even though the future seemed bleak, I decided to trust God and allow him take charge of my life.
My phone rang. Wale.
I turned off my ring volume and prayed. The more I prayed, the more I felt new strength envelope me. An hour passed while I continued to pace my room, praying and singing.
When I got ready to sleep, I checked my call history. Wale had called seven times. Someone else called. The Pastor of my former church. I was surprised. He had not called since I told him I had left for Pure Heaven Assembly. I noticed there was a text message from him.
Yemisi, how are you? I just want to check up on you to see how you are doing. This scripture comes to mind as I prayed for you. Proverbs 4:18. The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. Take one step after the other towards the light and every other thing will align. Good night daughter.
I had a sound sleep that night. I dreamt I was running on a beach, screaming excitedly. I heard a voice behind me, laughing. The voice said,
‘Go daughter. I’ve got you.’
I woke up laughing.
Sunday Service. Pure Heaven Assembly.
Something happened in church while the worship was going on. I sincerely believe that God prepared me ahead for what I was going to discover that day.
I sat in my usual place behind the Pastor’s ‘throne.’ Elizabeth sat beside me. I noticed she looked agitated and was muttering words that I couldn’t exactly place. She kept looking back at the entrance. At this point, it was clear she was obsessed about Wale. From the day she rolled her eyes at me at the ministration I followed Wale, I already knew she saw me as an obstacle to getting the attention of the man of God.
She’ll be free to have him, I whispered. I couldn’t wait for the service to end so I could get out of the church.
As the service progressed, I noticed that the other seats behind us were filled up and the ushers wouldn’t let anyone sit on the last seat on our row. The evangelism co-ordinator wanted to sit there but this usher directed him to another place. It was just myself, Elizabeth and the church financial officer. I kept wondering who they were reserving the last seat for. Wale never said anything to me about inviting a guest. Anyway did he really tell me anything anymore?
While the worship session was still going on, Pastor Wale walked into the church followed by his usher who carried his bible. Then I saw Victoria walking briskly behind them holding a lunch bag. I noticed that the usher smiled at her and made way for her to sit beside Elizabeth.
She was the person the seat was reserved for. But why?
Guess what Victoria did. The moment she sat down, she pulled out two bottled water from the lunch bag and replaced the bottles I had placed on a stool for the Pastor and his assistant. I saw that she took the cupcakes I had packed for the Pastor and dumped them into the bag while arranging hers neatly on a tray on the lower layer of the stool. Even the sweets on the stool, she poured everything out and replaced her with a pack of sweet she had bought. I was surprised that Wale saw what she was doing and didn’t say anything.
Lizzy clapped her hands and shook her head. She looked at me. ‘Are you just going to sit down there and allow this useless woman do whatever she likes here?’
In my mind I thought, how was I supposed to react? Create a scene? Interestingly I was calm but still curious though. I couldn’t just understand why she did that. For me it was very immature. Even if you are trying to get the attention of a man, there is a way to go about it.
Elizabeth hissed. ‘Even old women, awon sugar aunties will still be dragging a young pastor with people like us. Wonders shall never end.’
Victoria must have heard that. She glared at Lizzy who started laughing hysterically. Pastor Wale shot her an angry glance and Elizabeth returned the glare.
I wanted to be done with the service. I was not comfortable there anymore. When Pastor Wale mounted the podium, Elizabeth leaned towards me.
‘I will treat this man’s fuck up. He thinks he can play games with me. I will show him pepper.”
What was she talking about? I tried to concentrate on what the Pastor was saying but Elizabeth kept interrupting me. She hit my shoulder gently and held her phone to me. Reluctantly, I took it from her. It was a screenshot of a conversation from WhatsApp. I could see Victoria’s picture on the display icon and the name saved as ‘My beloveth.’
Hey Pastor Wale
Don’t call me Pastor. I’m a Pastor to every other person, but not to you. You are the woman that makes my heart beat for joy.
Shocked, I raised my head and looked at Elizabeth, She laughed bitterly.
‘You have not seen anything. Swipe to your right. There are more screenshots.’
I swiped to the next slide.
There was a picture of a finger with an engagement ring. Under the picture was a text.
I will never put off this ring. I’m getting married to Pastor Wale.
Wale replied I don’t want you to wear the ring around yet. We’ll do this officially when the time is right. I gave you the ring so you can know I’m serious
‘What?’ I stared at the phone, shocked at what I was reading. Wale had given me a ring too but he’d stopped me from wearing it. He said he wanted my parents to approve our relationship first before flaunting it around. I continued reading.
Fine if that’s what you want. I can’t wait! My dreams are finally coming to pass. Wale, I promise I’m going to respect you all the days of my life. Age is never going to be a barrier to submission. We will grow old together.
Baby, I’ve completed the necessary documentation. You are so lucky. You are a Nigerian and also a citizen of the United States. I can’t wait to be married to you.
Every process will go smoothly once we get married. I have already booked our tickets to Texas.
Oh really!!! Last week when we had that quarrel, I thought I had lost you. I couldn’t sleep.
I’m sorry. I just didn’t like the way you are close to that Yemisi lady.
Believe me Victoria, Yemisi and I had something together but there is nothing anymore. She just likes to cling to me. I just wanted to be sure our tickets were ready before I tell all those sisters to back off.
And that small girl that is so obsessed about you. Elizabeth. Mehn, you have crazy people in your church. So what are you going to do about the Pure Heaven Assembly?
I’m already tired of the place jare. I just want to be with you. Let’s get married and leave this goddamn country. I love you so much Victoria. You are everything to me. Gush! I’m so happy. Can we just get married already?
I was literally shaking where I sat. I looked at Wale behind the pulpit, flipping from one scripture to another. My eyes fell on Elizabeth.
‘How did you get hold of his phone?’
Elizabeth gave me a mocking smile. ‘Before both of you came into the scene, I was Wale’s girl. He couldn’t do without me. There is barely a week he does not come to my house. I know his mumu button. But Wale is covetous. I’ve always known that. Apparently I didn’t have the money he needed to run his ministry so I wasn’t wife material enough. He is looking for a smart wife with lots of cash he can control. I may not be that kind of wife but I know how to handle that man. I am not called a witch for nothing. Legions of demons live inside this body and I’ll unleash them on whoever stands in my way.’
I felt a chill run through my spine. Elizabeth suddenly looked different from the lady I had known to be Wale’s mentee. But with all the power Wale demonstrated, why couldn’t he discern that this lady was evil?
Elizabeth giggled and took the phone from me. ‘Stay out of my way so you don’t get hurt.’
My heart was pounding very hard. I could literally feel fear descend upon me. I had to get out of that church. I didn’t want to be part of whatever was going on there anymore.
I stared at Wale again. He was such a wonderful orator. He knew how to command attention and you could tell from the members who were jumping and shouting for joy when he made some proclamations.
Wale removed his suit and began to go from row to row, laying hands on the congregation. I could see a glow on Victoria’s face. She really must adore him.
How did I get into this mess, I asked myself for the umpteenth time. I felt a strong urge to leave.
‘I’m leaving. Goodbye.’ I said to Elizabeth.
‘I hope we don’t meet again.’ Elizabeth said, looking at me fully in the eyes. The same chill ran through my body. I stepped past some of the people who had fallen on the floor and hurried out of the hotel. I ordered a taxi with one address in mind.
The Transformation Church, Gbagada.
I was ready to see my mentors. The prodigal child was ready to come home.
In the taxi, I sent a message to Wale.
I’m no longer interested in this relationship. Wale, this time I mean it. It’s over between us. I wish you a nice life.
Service had just ended by the time I got to my mentor’s church. I searched for their car hoping to wait for them till they were ready to leave. I was trying to locate the car when someone grabbed me from behind.
It was Kudirat, my mentor’s househelp.
‘How are you Kudirat?’ I asked.
‘I’m fine. I’m so happy to see you. Why have you not been coming to our house?’
How was I supposed to answer that question? ‘Where is Mama D?’
‘They had to rush home immediately after the service. We have visitors. Mama insisted I wait for the youth meeting. We are through with the meeting ma’am. If you are ready, we can go home together.’
I was scared of seeing my spiritual parents. Would they accept me back? Would mummy lash out at me? Whatever she says, I was ready to take it.
We got to my mentor’s house and the living room was packed full with people. They looked like campus students. Young and full of life. There were about four young men sitting in the living room. Three other men were in the dining area laughing. One of them played the guitar while the others sang along with him. On Christ the solid rock I stand rented the air and I felt this joy welling up in my heart.
Papa D was saying something to a fine man sitting beside him. He looked older than the rest, maybe somewhere in his early thirties. Papa stopped talking when he saw me.
‘Who do we have here? Yemisi!’ Papa exclaimed.
I went to him and immediately went down on my knees. Papa D placed his hand on his chin and shook his head.
‘Yemisi.’ Papa repeated
‘I’m so sorry.’ I said quietly. The man sitting beside the Papa smiled at me. His face was familiar but I couldn’t place where I’d met him.
Papa pointed at the man. ‘Yemisi, do you know him?’
I stared long at his face, wondering where we had met. I couldn’t place the face. ‘Papa, he looks familiar but I can’t exactly place where we met.’
Papa tapped the young man as he introduced him to me. ‘This is Ayomide, my wonderful spiritual son. He is a medical doctor and the leader of the Zion medical outreach.’ He pointed at the guys sitting in the living room. ‘Those are the sons he has raised in his ministry.’
I stood up and greeted the others. The name of the ministry rang a bell. I turned swiftly to Ayomide. ‘I remember now. We met once. You spent a night here early last year.’
Ayomide grinned. ‘Sharp memory.’ He stretched out his hand. ‘Good to meet you again Yemisi.’
I shook it. ‘Same here. Welcome.’
Mama came out of the kitchen and put her hands on her waist. ‘Yemisi, you are here. Come to the kitchen my friend! We have plenty of stomachs to feed.’
Papa held my hand as I left to join Mama in the kitchen. ‘When you are done, get ready for your twelve strokes of cane.’
I looked down. ‘Yes sir. I-’
‘Go and help your mother. We’ll talk about your punishment later.’
As I left the living room, I remember one of the punishments Papa had given one of his mentees. We called the punishment, weekend lockdown. That Saturday, Papa ushered Deji into the guest room and told him not to come out of the room throughout the day. A punishment schedule had been drawn.
3 hours prayer.
2 hours study of the word.
Another 3 hours prayer.
4 hours of listening to sermon.
2 hours of prayer.
No breakfast. No lunch.
Papa said he’d consider if Deji would get to eat dinner.
‘If you like sleep all through today. You will repeat the same process tomorrow. I know you cannot lie to me. I did not raise sons who are liars.’ Papa had said before leaving the guest room. That day, I stood at the entrance thanking God I didn’t have to serve the punishment.
Papa continued. ‘I don’t want to see your leg outside. The bathroom is in here. I’ll leave you half bag of water. I’ll be checking up on your progress. Except it’s an emergency, don’t let me see your face outside.’
I wondered what twelve strokes of cane Papa would give to me. He might ask me to fast and pray for three days. Even if he says one week, I was ready for whatever discipline would be meted.
In the kitchen, I joined some of the ladies from the medical outreach to prepare lunch. It felt like I was home. I could see that Mama D was excited to see me. When we finished serving and the team left to continue their journey, she hugged me close and pecked me on my cheek.
‘I have missed you so much.’
Tears welled up my eyes. ‘I missed you too.’
The punishment came that night after I opened up about Wale and all that had happened. I told them everything.
‘For the next three months, I want you here in this house every weekend. If you miss a weekend without any cogent reason, you’ll be in trouble. You are going to study the epistles of Paul starting from tomorrow. I want a daily report of your study sent to my email every day. I don’t want to hear any excuse that you couldn’t study because you were tired from work. I will not take any excuse.’
‘Can I add mine?’ Mama D said.
‘Sure.’ Papa looked at me. ‘Don’t think that’s all o. When you come this weekend, we’ll talk about the weekend lockdown.’
My eyes widened. ‘Please Papa D.’
Papa turned his gaze from me. ‘My dear wife, you have the floor.’
Mama D looked at me. ‘Daddy gave you an assignment to pray one hour every day for forty days. You refused to listen. I’m tripling it.’
‘That’s my wife.’ Papa grinned.
Mama D continued. ‘For the next one hundred and twenty days, you will pray one hour daily and produce a weekly report of the time you started praying and when you finished.’
My eyes welled up in tears. Why were they doing this to me? I could not remember the last time I prayed thirty minutes talk less of an hour. When would I have time to study for an hour every day and still pray for another one hour every day? Papa still had the weekend lockdown for me. More prayers and study? Couldn’t they just forget about what I had done and move on?
When they finished, you won’t believe they started talking about something entirely different. Papa brought up a gist that was really funny. I tried not to laugh because I wanted them to see that I was upset but I couldn’t help it. I laughed so hard my body shook. How could this people be stern one minute and be so warm the next?
On my way home that night, Wale called me. I ended the call and blocked his line. This was a new start and whatever it would take, I was going to get this right.
Click here to read Episode 12