IT’S SUNDAY MORNING
Ada grew up in a happy and free family where no one took anything seriously. They were liberal and did not have a stance on many things, as far as they were not hurt. Of what importance is it to know the truth about any topic when the truth neither contributed to their happiness or unhappiness? Ada had many times watched her father suddenly going quiet when his friends began the argument about the existence of God. Does God exist? Is He a myth? If He does, why do we have so much evil in the world? If He does not, how is the earth so systematic and perfectly organized? “Well, what’s my business with that? As far as I have money, I live well and I am happy who cares whether there is God or not?” So does Mr. Ozor think every time his friends begin their never-ending arguments.
Ada is not as unconcerned as her father is about the issue of God’s existence. She has heard some of her friends in school talking about God’s power. How he raises people from the dead, how he heals the blind and how he walks on water. These stories make her heart throb, but she wonders if they are really true. Nobody ever talks about that in her family, they only go to church when there is a special program especially the watch night services in which they cross over to the next year. On the average they attend church once in three months or even less. If all Ada had in her mind was just thoughts from the stories she had heard it would have been easy for her to shut down the thoughts and just think about the many promises her father had made to her if she came out in the first position after the promotional examination, but there is something stronger than these thoughts. It was something that happened three weeks ago.
On that day, the sun was shining bright enough to light away all the darkness in the heart of the pupils of Himax Schools. They were so happy, it was a Friday and the last day of the school. The pupils were excited to go on a long Christmas vacation, free from the boring routine of waking up early in the morning at 5, and the many assignments they have to do every day in addition to their chores. But the children did not know what will happen next while they were dancing wholeheartedly to the song
“We give you praise”
On and on they sang, all the different voices were represented even the tall big boys with coarse voices also sang. All of a sudden, Aminat fell down like her life was sniffed out of her in a second, Ada watched her falling but she didn’t know what happened. She was surprised, she has never seen anyone going down like a deflated balloon before. What happened to Aminat? Was she dead or was she hungry? There was chaos in the school almost immediately Aminat fell. The Head Mistress called for water while some other teachers scampered for a metal spoon. They said she was convulsing and her teeth were tightening up. Her classmates were crying, even Ada too was crying. She saw her friend shaking so visibly and wiggling against the sand, she looked like a phone vibrating in the sand. Ada did not know when tears started rolling down her eyes. She didn’t even know why she was crying, she had a mixture of emotions and many questions ran through her mind. Ada was not the only one that felt this way, even the boys including the stubborn Udoh who used to be without feelings were sober and at the same time scattered thinking of how to help the beautiful Aminat. Aminat was indeed beautiful, she was tall and light skinned. She had very long hairs that she weaves into an ‘all-back’ style. The dimples on her cheek were almost permanent. After 10 years of being on earth, her skin was not so much different from how they were when they gave birth to her. Maybe this is because her parents were very rich and they took good care of her. Her parents would be disappointed to see their daughter in this degrading state. Everyone will also wonder why this beautiful damsel whom every boy admired in the school will be shaking on the ground, does disease not recognize beauty? “Do ugly things happen to beautiful people?” Ada thought. By now, Aminat was already stiff, she was no longer moving and the Head Mistress had already called for an ambulance. All of this happened within 5 minutes. Mr. Tolu the Mathematics teacher by now had already ensured every child was in his class except Light. Light was a calm 8-year-old boy, he was very gentle but bold and audacious. He has been the reason why Ada has never hit the first position after the examinations for the past 4 years. His intelligence and character had given him a spot in the Head Mistress’s heart. Everybody knows ‘Light’, they either know him because he represents the school in Cowbellpedia Mathematics competition or because he leads the assembly oftentimes or because of a certain sweet aura that flows to you when you are around him. Light’s parents were also rich but they seem to be good Christians. So why was Light out and not in his class? Was he being disobedient to Mr. Tolu? What was he talking to the Head Mistress about? Ada was just looking out from the window trying to figure out why Light was outside.
“Yes ma. We heal people in our family, and my father told me that I can even raise people from the dead. All I needed to do was to lay hands on the person and command them to be healed in Jesus name.”
“Have you ever done that before?”
“Yes, I have. I healed my classmate of a stomach ache and he was fine, and my daddy had shown me many times where Jesus Christ healed people in the Bible” this was the discussion between Mrs Ufuoma – the Head mistress and Light. Together with the Headmistress, Light walked into the sickbay where they had laid Aminat while waiting for Mr. Stephen to drive in his car so they could take Aminat to the hospital. Light went close to the already dead Aminat, he placed his hands on her legs, her body was stiff and cold. He didn’t know whether she was dead or not, but he would do what he had seen his father doing about two weeks ago. Light with so much boldness shouted:
“I command life to come into you in the name of Jesus”
“Receive life right now in the name of Jesus”
“I command you to be healed…”
Before Light concluded his statement, Aminat sneezed, jerked up and opened her eyes. By now Mr. Stephen was ready to take her to the hospital. Aminat sat up and she was surprised, she didn’t understand what had happened. All the while, the Head mistress was busy staring at Light and saying “Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus”. All the teachers who saw what happened were amazed. They never saw such thing before, if they read it in a novel it would have been a different thing but this happened live in their presence. How could a young child like Light posses such authority? What is the source of his power?
Ada’s class was adjacent the sick bay, she climbed on top of her desk and watched Light praying for Aminat with so much fascination, she saw how the girl sneezed and came back to life. The whole drama never left the mind of Ada. So, when she successfully suppresses the roaming argument of ‘God’ or ‘no God’ in her head, this event pops up in her mind like a movie you cannot resist to watch. A movie that had a play button but no stop button.
Mrs Cynthia Ozor called.
“Your friend is here for you.”
Ada jerked up from her sleep, it was a Saturday or was it a Sunday? Ada was not sure which it was as both of them feel almost the same way to her. But she heard mother say “your friend is here for you” so it must be a Sunday.
Amelia was a good friend. She was so loving and so caring, the only child of her parent. Ada was the only friend she had and she didn’t want any bad thing to happen to her. Ada and Amelia have been friends for only about 3 weeks but they were so close. They do everything together and their love for each other grew so fast, it felt like they have been best friends all their lives or better still friends from their mother’s wombs. Maybe they should have come as a twin, but in whose womb should they have been? Should it be in the womb of Ada’s mother or Amelia’s mother? Amelia likes Ada’s mother because she is open and friendly, she allowed Amelia to come into their house any time she wanted and she fondly calls her ‘my daughter’. In the three weeks of their friendship Amelia and Ada have been together virtually every day. They go out together to the marketplace, they play together often in Ada’s house, and they go to Amelia’s church together on Sundays.
Today, Ada did not wake up early and she is going to be late for church. Amelia was ready to go to church but she had to wait for Ada to get dressed, Amelia’s house was not far from Ada’s and Amelia’s church was just about 5 minutes trek from her house. Ada’s elder brother Emeka watched her as she got ready for church with disgust. Emeka’s routine on Sundays include playing games, watching movies and playing footballs with some friends on the street.
Ada and Amelia got to the church about 9.00 clock. That was pretty late, the service started at 8.00am. Children had their own church and it was usually interesting being there, there were many kids who loved God and were also very intelligent. One Sunday ago, Ada came out when the Children Pastor called for children who wanted to give their life to Christ. Before then, she had never heard anybody preached like this Pastor did. “God loves you so much” he said.
“He wants you to have a good life and be with Him in heaven forever.”
“Heaven is a place of joy, peace, love, and a place of happiness. Only those who accept Jesus into their lives will be there. People who do not accept him will go to hell and be with the Devil. Remember, God does not want anyone to go to hell that is why He sent His only son to die so that you will be forgiven of all your sins” the sermon went on and on till the Pastor asked children to come accept Jesus, Ada and some other kids went forward. She later realized that most of them were first timers in the church. Her friend, Amelia has been a Christian for a long time, but her 17-year old brother hated her for it. He felt that she was too religious, Amelia tells the truth all the times. She could not even still a piece of meat, just a little one. “What kind of sister are you self?” he would say when he is annoyed, but Amelia never shouted back at him. She got teased many times by one of Frank’s friends ‘Scomo’ who earns so much money from internet fraud. He believes that the world is endless. People will live on and on and on forever, the world will never end. Amelia did not know how he got his mindset. Is it because many people have said the world is coming to an end and it never did? Only God knows how he got such a mindset, but she has attended Sunday school enough to know that the Jesus will come back one day to take her to heaven. Yes, this would make a good point of discussion with her friend Ada, they would discuss this today on their way back home after church. As they entered into the church compound, they saw Frank and some other teenagers laughing loudly. Only God knows what they were laughing at.
Amelia and Ada sat at the very back in the church because that was the only place where empty chairs were available. The girl in front of Ada was sleeping, she slept so deep. When it was time to give offerings, she didn’t even wake up amidst the lively singing and the loud drums. Was she having a dream?
Frank loved music, that was the only encouragement he had to go to church. His mother had to nag every day for him to go to church but his father would rather whip him if he dares not go to the church even though Mr. Osuhor himself would not go to church. Frank likes coming in during the Praise & Worship session to play drums for the children with his other friend Kunle who plays the keyboard. They were supposed to go back to the Teenagers’ church after the Worship session but they will rather take a stroll and come back when it was time for Offering – another fun time, of course every other part of the service was boring.
It’s 10.30am. Its offering time and 30 minutes to the end of service.
Frank and Kunle sauntered in like some dignitaries. They were shocked.
Nobody was inside. Not even Amelia and Ada. Where did they go to? Was this a hallucination? There was only one way out, so where could they have passed through without his notice? In the children church, the fans were working all the sound gadgets were turned on. “Frank see!” Kunle noticed that there were many shoes and sandals scattered everywhere in the church.
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