Click to read Episode 17
This is the diary of a Nigerian Christian Girl- Season 1 Episode 18
The meeting with my Cornerstone College students was awesome!
It went far better than I expected. Come to think of it, a week before the meeting, I didn’t have the balance payment for the hall we were to use. We had only sorted out drinks and snacks. Every time I went into my place of prayer, God kept reminding me of the words I was to say to the students and at a point, I almost wanted to scream,
‘God! we don’t have money!’
Why would God keep pouring words into my heart while I was having sleepless nights thinking of how to raise money to pay that mean manager at Desuite Event Center? I tried not to be anxious but as the day drew near, I couldn’t help it.
The mentees at Mama’s place were supportive. The female mentees had all gone and I was the only lady amidst men organizing prayer vigils and making strategic plans for the meeting. One would think we were preparing an event for a thousand participants.
Daniel, one of Ayomide’s guys made beautiful ‘Permission for release’ cards for the parents of the students. I love those cards. The principal of Cornerstone College loved them too.
Yes, we had a breakthrough with their parents, but the question still remained. What about the balance fee for the venue? Would I have to send another message saying the meeting wouldn’t hold again at Desuite? But God had given me the specific location for the meeting. Had I heard wrongly?
I remember sitting outside thinking of every possible way to raise the balance fee when Ayomide came to sit beside me.
I turned to him. ‘How do you guys do this? How do you trust God for your needs especially with the little money Zion Mission pay you monthly. How do you raise money to run your projects?’
Ayo chuckled. ‘We trust God. He has never for once disappointed us.’
I wished he could say something more practical. Sometimes I got tired of hearing same line of, ‘trust God.’
His steady gaze met mine. ‘Zion Missions will train you to depend on God for your needs. ’
I’d not even started fully with Zion Missions and I was already feeling overwhelmed. ‘I don’t know what to say.’
Ayo smiled. ‘Yemisi, when you are in God’s will, He’ll provide for your needs. You need to learn how to trust God absolutely. Yeah, there will be rough times but they never lasts for long. God will take care of you.’
I sighed. ‘I believe.’
Ayo continued. ‘The Toyota Camry I used two years back was given to me when I least expected it. The medical supplies for the last outreach, a man I had never met called to say he was praying and the Lord asked him to contact Zion Medical Outreach. He gave us the exact amount we needed. Since I got here, we’ve been praying for funds for our next outreach. As I speak, we’ve gotten half of our budget sorted out already.’
‘I wish I had that kind of faith.’ I muttered.
Ayo looked at me and didn’t say anything for a while. ‘You have the faith of Christ. It’s at work in you. Relax Yemisi. We’ve been praying about this meeting. We cannot be stranded.’
As he stood up to leave, I pulled his hand back. ‘Can we pray together again?’
He smiled. ‘Sure.’
You won’t believe the balance came in the next day. I was mopping the bedroom floor when I received a call from one of the parents of my students. He had read the note on the permission for release card and felt led to send some money to support the meeting. He transferred the exact amount we needed to complete the payment for the hall. I’d screamed in excitement and dashed out of the room to look for Ayo.
I found him outside the house cleaning Papa’s shoes. I ran into his arms and stayed there, tears pouring down my face. When I finally pulled away, I couldn’t speak. I showed him the credit alert.
Ayo grinned broadly. ‘You’ve not seen anything yet. This is just the beginning.’
On the morning scheduled for the meeting, I had an extra hundred thousand naira sitting in my account. We got more than what we needed. I couldn’t believe it. That experience would be my first big move of faith. It gave me confidence to trust God for other things.
The meeting took another dimension. Many of my students got saved. There was wisdom to answer every question they asked and at the end of the meeting, we agreed to open a WhatsApp group to keep in touch and follow up with their growth.
You remember Debby the Pastor’s kid who was a pro at dancing shaku shaku? Oh yes, she got saved too. At the end of the meeting, as we got ready to leave, Debby came to meet me.
‘Miss Yemisi, thank you for organizing this meeting. My parents will scream for joy when I tell them I’ve accepted Christ. Can I ask you a question?’
She looked in Ayo’s direction. Ayomide was discussing with two boys and they were engrossed in whatever he was saying. ‘Are you going to marry Uncle Ayo?’
I laughed. ‘No! He is a very good friend of mine.’
She folded her hands and looked at him again. ‘I see. There is something about him that is so powerful. He makes me want to know more about God.’
I touched her shoulder. ‘Once we kick off that group, we’ll be sharing resources that will help you grow spiritually. Believe me, there is so much to learn.’
‘I can’t wait!’ She exclaimed as we joined the other team members who were already getting into the bus. It was time to go home.
I was so exhausted when we finally left Desuite Event Center. The guys were at the back laughing while I sat beside Ayo in front with the driver.
‘You must really be tired.’ Ayo said, passing me a bottle of cold pepsi.
I took a few gulps and covered the bottle before reclining on the head rest. ‘Virtue has left me. I feel very happy and fulfilled.’ I turn to Ayo. ‘I don’t know how I’d have handled this meeting without your help. Thank you.’
Ayo smiled. ‘You are welcome.’
I looked him over. Ayo needed to add some flesh to his slender body. ‘You’ve only eaten two slices of bread today.’
He rolled his eyes playfully. ‘I’m fine. I’ll eat when I get home.’
I didn’t know exactly when I slept off but when I woke up, we were close to the house. Papa, Mama and Wale stood on the veranda as the bus sped in. The man who had driven us was Papa’s mentee. He got down quickly and prostrated before Papa. The others got down from the bus.
I was about stepping down when Ayo stopped me. I sat back and waited for him to speak.
Ayo sighed. ‘We are leaving tomorrow morning.’
I stared at him in unbelief. ‘What? Why are you just telling me?’
‘I’m so sorry Yemisi. The initial plan was to return to our base next week, but an urgent instruction came from the headquarters. Some of our missionaries are in Onagunte right now and they need help with their medical services.’
Wherever Onagunte was, I didn’t really want to know. I just felt unhappy that Ayomide was leaving Mama’s place. I imagined how boring the house would be without him and the other guys that had come with him.
‘Will you be coming back soon?’ I asked him, praying he’d say Yes.
He shook his head. ‘I won’t be coming back anytime soon.’
I climbed down from the car, heartbroken. Ayomide came to my side and held my hand.
‘I’m sorry. If I knew earlier, I’d have told you.’
I told him I understood. When ministry calls, how dare we disobey. As we walk together to join the others at the veranda, my eyes caught Wale looking in our direction. I waved at him and he hurried quickly towards us. He shook Ayo’s hand and pulled me close to his side. When Ayo was out of earshot, Wale touched my chin.
‘Just few hours away from you, and I’ve missed you this much.’
I chuckled. ‘I missed you too.’
‘I’m sorry I couldn’t go with you.’ Wale said.
‘You already told me you had to attend a ministration with Papa this morning.’ I said, although I wished he had seen me preach.
‘How was it?’
‘Awesome. I’ll chat you up later at night.’
He grinned. ‘I can’t wait. You are a powerful woman. I’m so proud of you.’
I smiled and snuggled closer to him until I caught Mama frowning at me. Slowly, I pulled away from him. .
Ayomide left Papa’s house early the next morning. I cried when he got ready to leave with his other team members. Ayo had become my support system. There was barely any decision I made without his input. He was my friend. He was one of the highlights of my stay at Mama’s place.
‘I’ll call you Yemisi.’ He said as he stood beside Papa’s car, holding my hands.
I hugged him and tears ran down my face. I made no attempt to stop them. I was going to miss my friend. I held on to him and wouldn’t let him go.
‘Yemisi, I have to go now.’ Ayomide said, softly. ‘The others are in the car already.’
I turned towards the car. Wale was behind the wheels watching us. Ayo’s team members were clustered at the back seat, talking to Mama D.
I released him. He squeezed my hands gently and climbed into the car. I stood with Mama, Papa and Kudirat, my heart was torn as the car sped out of the house. Suddenly the house felt empty. Mama held my hand and together we walked back into the house. Mama was unusually quiet and I could tell she was already missing her boys.
Festus called me about an hour later while I prepared for church. He wanted to remind me of the lunch I promised to have with him. In his words, I had no excuse anymore. The meeting with the students was over.
‘When are we seeing?’ Festus said.
Call me carnal if you like but I don’t have any connection with this guy. I can’t even imagine Festus kissing or cuddling me in bed if we ended up getting married. The very thought of it was repulsive.
His jokes were not funny and many times I’ve had to force myself to laugh just so he doesn’t feel bad. Each time his call came in, I was restless and unhappy. The only comfort was that he had the resources I needed for my ministry, but was that enough reason to marry a man?
Festus kept talking and since I had to prepare for church, I left the phone on the bed and continued to brush my hair.
‘I’m sure you pulled off that meeting powerfully.’ He said. ‘Women like you are scarce in our society. When I told my friends about a woman of God I cherish, I could tell how much they longed to meet you. You are a mother in Isreal. I’m super sure that when you stood in front of those students to release God’s word, they couldn’t resist the word in your mouth. You see…..’
I was bored. That’s the truth. I don’t know if Festus expected the accolades to get to my head. If that was his intention, he simply had poured water into a basket. I was tired of listening to him. There was no way I was marrying this kind of man.
‘So let me ask again, when are we having the lunch we talked about?’
My eyes fell on an expensive perfume he’d sent through Ebun. On the table was a beautiful journal he had gotten for me from his trip to China. Even the wristwatch in my jewelry box was a gift from him. I got gifts delivered to Mama’s house almost every week.
Mama had been so pissed when I told her who the gifts were from. She ordered me to stop collecting them.
I told her Festus and I were just friends but Mama didn’t agree.
‘Can’t you see the way he is treating you specially? Would he do that to every other friend he has?
I pleaded with Festus to stop sending the gifts but he didn’t. He insisted he had no ulterior motive and we were just friends.
I wanted to come out bluntly today. I had to let him know I was not interested in a relationship with him.
‘Festus, I just want to say I’m sorting things out with my ex. We are getting back together.’
Festus went quiet. I could tell he was struggling with the information I’d just given him. It was better to let it out now and allow him move on to some other lady.
‘Why did you break up with him if… Are you really saying, both of you are getting back together?’
‘Yes. I just got reconnected with him recently. We’ve been talking and ironing out things.’
Festus sighed. ‘Why are you just saying this?’
I threw up a defence. ‘I didn’t think the relationship could be mended until the recent events in his life. I’m sorry if I led you on but a relationship between us cannot work.’
He sounded frustrated. ‘Okay. Thank you for letting me know.’
‘The lunch won’t be necessary, I guess.’ I said.
‘No it won’t.’ Festus answered coldly and ended the call.
As much as I hated seeing Festus’ heart break, I felt relieved.
My phone beeped. It was a message from Wale.
Hi dear. Where are you? It’s almost time for church. Just wanted to let you know that I’m back from dropping off Ayomide and the others.
I smiled as typed on my phone. I’ll be out soon.
Wale was leaning on the dining table dressed in a clean black suit. His gaze was fixed in the direction of my room when I came out in a kneel-length Ankara gown over black heels. He straightened and walked towards me.
‘You are beautiful.’ He said and gave me a side hug.
How many times have I longed to hear Wale say those words every night? I only got to hear sweet words from him when he was in the mood and that wasn’t frequent. I still remember days when I had to beg Wale to affirm his love for me. Since we got talking again, guy had spilled romantic words like a running tap that has lost its cap.
The way Wale looked at me was different. I saw love. I saw respect. I saw a man who would allow me be the woman I was called to be.
I looked him over. ‘Nice suit.’
He bowed slightly. ‘Thank you ma’am.’
While we waited for Mama and Papa to come out of their room, we talked more about my meeting with the teenagers. He narrated the lessons he got from Papa’s ministration in a church he was invited to. We were so engrossed in our discussion that we didn’t notice our mentors had come out of the room and were watching us.
Papa asked me to see him in his study room when we return from church. I was still wondering what Papa wanted to say to me this time when I received a message from Wale during service.
Hey Yemisi, Just thought you should know this. I told Papa I loved you very much and that I still felt led to you. I think that’s what he wants to talk to you about.
If Papa asked me if I wanted to get back in a relationship with Wale, was I ready to say Yes? I knew I wanted to get back with Wale but somewhere in my heart, there was still this image of the old Wale that made me afraid.
Papa D’s study was the biggest room in the house, or so I thought. I’d never entered my mentors bedroom before so I couldn’t say specifically if it was bigger than the study.
Rolls of shelves lined one side of the room and close to the window was a high rolling chair. Many times I’d seen Papa sitting there, praying. That spot was his ‘war room.’ At another side of the room was a large polished table where Papa did most of his writing. Bibles and commentaries were arranged on one side of the table. A clean grey furry sofa stood close to the entrance while on the other side of the entrance were few white chairs stacked against the wall.
This was Papa’s sanctuary. At least every week, Papa had private discussions with me. I loved those sessions but this time, I sensed it won’t be relaxing moments as usual.
When I entered, Papa was sitting on the sofa reading E.M Bounds’ book on Prayer. He closed the book and tapped the empty space beside him.
‘How are you?’ Papa said. I burst into laughter.
‘What’s funny?’ Papa had a curious expression on his face.
‘Papa, we both know you didn’t call me here to ask about my welfare. Okay, I’m sorry I laughed. I’m fine.’
Papa leaned forward, smiling. ‘Since you prefer that I go straight to the point, let me throw the preliminaries aside. Is there any brother you are interested in? Someone you want to get into a relationship with?’
I placed my head on the sofa and folded my hands. ‘Papa, I still think Wale and I can work things out. He is a different person now and we have talked a lot about the past. There is a chance for us. I still love him.’
Papa didn’t say anything for a while. He stood up from his chair and went out. He returned with Wale.
‘Pick two chairs over there.’ Papa said, pointing to the white chairs. When Mama entered, I knew this meeting was going to be a serious one.
I got up from the sofa and settled into a chair beside Wale. Mama sat beside her husband. I was tensed even before Papa opened his mouth to say anything.
Papa looked from me to Wale. ‘My wife and I have been watching the two of you for a while. We think we have to make a quick move before things get messy again.’ Papa paused and glanced briefly at his wife. ‘Apart from the normal perfunctory greetings, I don’t want to see both of you talking alone again. This includes calls and whatsapp chats.’
Mama turned her attention at me. ‘No hangout. Don’t come and tell me you are going out with him to a nearby eatery. I will not allow that.’
I looked at Wale. Had he told them about our plans to spend time away outside the house next week? He smiled sadly and returned his attention to Mama who was still talking.
‘Both of you shouldn’t even be talking about relationship now. Concentrate on the spiritual training we are giving to you. This is the time you need to develop yourself spiritually.’ Mama aid, sounding rather harsh.
I was annoyed. When will my mentors ever understand boundaries? Why were they treating us like horny teenagers? We were both of marriageable age for goodness sake.
Papa clapped his hands slowly. ‘We love you both and we are praying for you. God will perfect all that concerns you. Please, stay with the instructions we have given you.’
I raised my hand. ‘After now, please can I have just one more call with Wale?’
Mum frowned. ‘Why? What do you want to tell him that you can’t say here?’
Papa touched Mama’s arm, while he addressed me. ‘Yemisi, It’s fine. You can go ahead and talk to him.’
I was still boiling with anger when the meeting ended. I couldn’t sit still in my room. If I was still staying at Jide’s place, this wouldn’t be happening.
Nothing will destroy the love I have for Wale, I muttered.
I dialed Wale’s number. I didn’t even wait for him to speak before I started ranting.
‘Why are they doing this to us? It’s clear they are rubbing your past in your face. For goodness sake, we are different now. Can’t they just forget the past and allpw us move on? Where’s the place of forgiveness? I don’t like this!’
Wale sighed. ‘Yemisi, I don’t think they are deliberately coming at us for selfish purposes. I know Papa loves us. I am very sure about that. I just think they are watching out for our emotions and don’t want us to get hurt again.’
He hesitated. ‘We’ve never really spent time seeking God concerning what we want to get into. Yeah, we are cool with each other but only God knows what’s ahead. Let’s just be grateful we have people to call us to order. I think about you every night Yemisi. I really care about you but feelings can’t sustain a marriage. We need to know if God is in this so we don’t get bitten a second time.’
Those words quenched the anger in my heart. I felt ashamed of myself. The outburst was unnecessary. Wasn’t it my mentors who’d come to my rescue when things had become sour with Wale?
‘Thank you Wale.’ I told him I’d apologize to Mama. It was wrong for me to have stormed out of that meeting the way I did.
I had just ended the call with Wale when Mama D rushed into my room, laughing and dancing. She held my waist.
‘Adesuwa has given birth to a baby boy.’
Mama. That woman would never stop to amaze me. One minute, we would be having a hot disagreement and the next time, she’d be laughing with me as if it never happened. It was one attribute I prayed to God daily: for a heart like Mama’s that forgave easily.
‘Get dressed. I’m leaving for the hospital in thirty minutes.’ Mama said.
Three mentees showed up in the house when we got ready to leave. Two ladies and one man. I had never met them before but I was not surprised to see them anyway. That’s how Mama’s house was. People appeared unannounced at the house at anytime of the day.
Wale smiled as I walked past him to the car. Who wouldn’t want a man like this? He had gone to hell and back and returned a different man.
‘Let’s go!’ Mama barked at me at the same time dishing out instructions to Kudirat on what to prepare for dinner.
When we got to the express road, I turned to Mama D.
‘Mummy, I’m sorry for acting disrespectfully at the meeting this evening.’
She glanced briefly at me. ‘Ehn..Omo mi…You have no idea how much I love Wale. I love you too. Right now, there are wounds that must heal. There is a growth process to be followed. You are stepping into full ministry in a short time. Yemisi, ministry is no child’s play. You should be agonizing in prayers and birthing things forth. If God says Wale is your husband, who are we to stop it? But all these emotional gummy-gummy that both of you have started playing, we won’t take it.’
‘Thank you Mama.’ I said.
I sat back enjoying Bola Are’s collection playing on the stereo and allowing my mind drift to different things.
Ayomide. He had not called me since the morning he left. I overheard Papa saying they had arrived safely at their destination.
Why has he not called me? Has he quickly forgotten about me?
Click to read Episode 19
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