A Novel Written By: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
Morakinyo knew he had to do that to get their attention and let them know it is not right to be jubilant over an enemy’s death. He spoke for about ten minutes and convinced them to simply give praise to God and not jubilate. They listened to him. One after the other, the women dispersed dropping their leaves and emergency musical instruments.
“Why are they rejoicing?” Oyinkansola asked.
“The village Chief Priest died this morning. Only God knows what killed him. Though many people believed he committed suicide’’
“He must have been very wicked?’’
“Very wicked and notorious. He lived on sacrifices prescribed by him in the name of the gods!’’ They laughed and continued walking towards the palace.
The news of Ajamolaya-Bi-Eru’s death got to Ibadan during the week. Pastor Kalejaye received a phone call from another Pastor in Shaki who had heard the reports at Onigba-Iwofa. The smiles turned into a song as Pastor Kalejaye dropped the phone.
“Who was that speaking with you?’’ His wife asked wondering the news was all about.
“Pastor Layode from Shaki’’
“Oh, the pastor who brought a message from Bro. Morakinyo in Onigba-Iwofa’’
“Exactly, he called to tell us about the latest developments in the mission of Bro. Morakinyo’’
“What developments?’’ The woman dropped the napkin in her hand and drew closer.
“A notoriously wicked Chief Priest in the village died a day after he threatened to deal ruthlessness with Bro. Morakinyo and the village Head King!’’
“God have mercy!’’ The woman drew her hands to her bosom. “The Lord is good!’’
“The Lord is really blessing the work of Bro. Morakinyo in that village. Within four months, he has started a flourishing church there’’
“Oh yes!’’ said the woman with great emphasis. “I believe these are the manifestations of the prayers of the Saints for Bro. Morakinyo. We must intensify our prayers for him’’
“I agree with you, I know Satan is not happy with his exploits in the village… remember the dream he said he had before he left?’’
“Oh yes, I remember’’
“The dream is full of meanings. Only recently the Lord gave me interpretations of the dream’’
“May be you should sent message to him to come over and see you?’’
“That might be burdensome, I’ll simply write to him. I’m sure he’ll understand’’
“Can we pray for him now?’’ Asked the wife.
“Sure!’’ Pastor Badejo and his wife knelt and began to pray for Morakinyo.
Sister Oyinkansola Oyero proved very useful. Only a trained missionary could understand easily the intricacies of a mission-field like her. Within the first month of her arrival in the village, a choir was already being groomed. She started the Women’s Fellowship and organised them into units for cooperative efforts in the village.
Morakinyo was not only grateful to God; he appreciated every efforts of Oyinkansola towards the growth of the village church. He handed over to her all his allowances from the Ibadan church and allowed her to take possession of all his foodstuffs.
Morakinyo merely strolled down to her house about two hundred metres from his own to have his breakfast and dinner. In a short time they were behaving like a couple, engaged to be married, though none of them ever mentioned anything like that to the other. To the villagers, it was good that the pastor’s wife had come to join him, but wondered why they live separately! They loved and respected her especially with all the activities she has been introducing to them in the church. Within the period of her arrival, food provisions for the missionaries tripled!
The number of counselees handled by Morakinyo dwindled. Many of the villagers especially the women preferred to speak to Oyinkansola concerning their problems. They said she was caring, loving and knew how to put herself in others’ shoes. Morakinyo was equally praised, but Oyinkansola was closer to the people.
Two months passed rapidly and the church increased. Plans were already on the way to start another church in the closest village to cater for the needs of the large number of people who come from the adjoining villages. Morakinyo had already trained one of the men in preparation to take over the proposed church as missionary-pastor.
Things were working beautifully according to plans. The testimonies increased. Oyinkansola was such a valuable co-labourer!
One Friday evening after the normal prayer-meeting, Morakinyo as usual, strolled to Oyinkansola’s place to have his dinner. He had almost finished the food when he noticed the sadness expressed clearly on her face. If there was anyone Morakinyo wanted to be happy always, it was Oyinkansola. To him, making a decision to serve God as a full-time missionary was enough sacrifice for a woman to make. Thius, nothing else should cause her any form of sorrow.
“Sister Oyinkansola, I hope all is well, you look sad today… any problem?’’ Morakinyo said as he stopped the food he was eating.
“Nothing serious’’ She said with a wave of the hand.”Its concerning my accomodation’’
“What about it? You don’t like this place or what! I thought it’s even better than mine. I have always wondered why His Highness kept this away from me’’ Morakinyo meant what he said. When Folagbade gave Oyinkansola the house she now occupies, he couldn’t help thinking the King should have given it to him rather than Oyinkansola.
“That is not it Sir’’ Oyinkansola had not stopped using ‘Sir’ to address Morakinyo despite the closeness between them.
‘She’s disciplined’ Morakinyo thought.
“I feel my staying alone here has not been helping my spiritual life’’ She continued, looking down sheepishly and avoiding his eyes.
“Many times, I’ll want to pray but I’ll just become tired… I believe if we can be praying together, it will help me a lot’’
‘This is a true child of God’
“Apart from that, I’m always scared in the night. Last night, I heard some strange birds hooting behind my window, I wanted to pray but I could not, I was shivering’’
‘What a poor sister!’
“Not only that, I know if I stay close to you I will tap from the anointing of God in you’’ She said smiling sheepishly. Morakinyo laughed.
“Anointing?… We all have the anointing from God!’’
“But some have more than others’’ She snapped.
“It’s well. I accept… I must confess, I have been sensitive to the points you raised… there is nothing wrong if you decide to come in and stay with me. There are two vacant rooms there…’’ Morakinyo meant what he said. He had taken Oyinkansola to be like his younger sister.
There’s an age gap of almost seven years between them. Morakinyo had always seen himself as a ‘Big Brother’ to her. He saw nothing harmful in her coming to stay with him.
“When do you hope to move?’’
“Tomorrow!’’ She said with excitement.
“To-mo-row… Okay. Some brothers in the church will assist you to do that, I’ll arrange that’’ Oyinkansola smiled and for the umpteenth time went on her knees to thank him. Morakinyo smiled as he held her hands to lift her up. He wished he was seeing Gbayike!
Oyinkansola’s belongings were moved the following day. The movement took less than fifteen minutes as she had not brought many of her belongings to the village. A mattress, stove, cassette player and a wardrobe was all she had except the kitchen utensils and foodstuffs.
Not many people in the town knew about the change until about a fortnight later. Then rumours began to fly about.
“Do you think the pastor is a wood….ehn?’’ Amusan told his friend as they enjoyed a keg of palm-wine.
“You think the two of them will not be enjoying themselves…a man is a man any day! You wait; very soon, the woman will carry a mysterious pregnancy?”
“You don’t understand?…. From the Holy Spirit!’’
The two of men burst into a loud laughter throwing their legs carelessly.
Truly, Morakinyo and Oyinkansola were not involved in any immoral affair despite their closeness. But very few believed that. Some people said the two of them were lovers while they were in the city. They simply came down to the village to continue their immoralities away from the prying eyes of their church members in the city.
Despite all these, the church continued growing. At least, it was better than the deadly epidemic!
Pastor Kalejaye and his wife were praying, in preparation for bedtime when the door bell rang. He stopped briefly and listened for another ringing of the door bell to be sure he heard right. Recently, the doorbell has been mis-behaving, sometimes giving sounds as if someone is at the door only for Pastor Kalejaye or his wife get to there to discover no one actually pressed it.
The doorbell rang again, this time a bit louder than the first time. Pastor Kalejaye became assured now that someone was at the door. He quickly rounded up the prayers and stood up. He looked at the wall clock and wondered who the guest could be. It was already five minutes past nine.
He was sure it must be Deacon Balogun who lived on the next street. He is about the only church member who could come to his house around that time. Pastor Kalejaye’s house is the outskirts of the town. Taxis don’t go there as soon as its seven o’clock in the evening.
As he strolled towards the living room to open the door for the guest, he remembered his children. If only they were around, he would not have needed to break his prayers so quickly or carry his already tired body to come and open the door. All his three children, a set of identical female twins and a boy are all students of the university in Ile Ife.
Each time Pastor Kalejaye remembers his three children, he always gives thanks to God for his mercies upon him concerning them. The twins, both girls have entered the University at the age of fifteen. Their brother who is two years younger joined them a year later to study medicine.
The thoughts of God’s blessings over his children filled his heart as he laid hands on the door knob to usher in Deacon Balogun… He opened the door and stood staring unbelievably at the guest. It was not Deacon Balogun!
He least expected to see Gbayike at that hour of the day. What could she have come to discuss with him or his wife. He saw her eyes were tear-stained.
Mrs. Kalejaye who had been expecting to hear the normal pleasantries of Deacon Balogun strolled to the living room when she did not hear the voice of any guest.
“What’s going on Gbayike? Please come in’’ said Pastor Kalejaye as he ushered her in, his surprise giving way to shock and concern “Am sure you are passing the night here” She nodded.
“Sister Gbayike! You’ve been crying, your eyes are red, what’s wrong?’’ Mrs. Kalejaye said and moved close to her holding her and led her to a seat.
“Good evening Sir’’ Gbayike managed to greet, her voice shaking.
“So what’s it all about’’ said Pastor.
“Sir, its concerning the discussion you’ve had with me before” She said amidst sobs.
Mrs. Kalejaye excused her, knowing Gbayike wanted some confidentiality
“Go on, I’m listening, what discussion?’’
“Sir, its concerning Bro. Morakinyo…’’ She started her voice still shaking. “You remember you spoke to me concerning Bro Morakinyo that I should pray to know if he is the will of God for me in marriage. I told you then that ‘I ll be praying about it.” She continued, avoiding the pastor’s eyes as she spoke.
“I must confess, I did not pray at all. I only made some calculations and permutations. I knew that Bro. Morakinyo was planning to go on a full-time ministerial work in the village… that scared me and…and, that made me to reject his proposal’’ She stole a glance at Pastor Kalejaye, she wanted to see his reaction to what she had just said.
Pastor Kalejaye’s face was simply without any expression. He merely stared at her blankly as if she was not saying anything. Fear gripped Gbayike the more.
“Ever since Bro. Morakinyo left for the village, I have not been having peace. Each time I try to pray, my conscience pricks and condemns me.’’ She stole another glance at the pastor. “Truly I know God wants me to marry him, in fact, I knew it before he proposed, but I rejected because of his calling as a missionary’’
She waited, expecting the pastor to speak. The silence that followed was so thick that one could almost touch it. Then, she burst into tears
Pastor Kalejaye was not a man who easily gives into sentiments and emotions. He stared blankly at Gbayike, allowing her to cry for about two minutes, and then he spoke.
“Gbayike! If I were to do the dictates of my flesh, I will simply refuse to speak to you.’’ Pastor Kalejaye said relaxing comfortably on the sofa. “May be you don’t know, there is no where you can hide from the will of God. It must surely come to pass. I told you to pray on the issue but instead you chose to use your own wisdom… go ahead make more calculations and permutations or are you now tired of them? Ehn?… You had better wipe away your tears; this is no time to weep”
Gbayike could not stop the tears. “You have to take a step of boldness and go to Morakinyo yourself. Confess to him. He’s been away for months now. I don’t know when he’s going to come home. Letters takes weeks to reach him. There is no telephone line in the town, so…. Gird your loins, go meet him and discuss with him. I will direct two members of the evangelism team to go with you. That will be an opportunity for the to pay him a visit’’
Gbayike stopped sobbing, and for the first time lifted her head and looked straight at the pastor. Does the old man know what he was asking her to do? Travel all the way to Shaki or whatever and say ‘Morakinyo here I come! I’m all yours…what a shame on me!’
Gbayike thought of the insult in having to go and tell Morakinyo that she’s now ready to marry him. What if Morakinyo looks down on her and tries to prove difficult? What if he becomes vengeful? In case he says he’s no longer interested? ‘Will he not think I’m forcing myself on him?’
She was lost in thoughts forgetting that pastor Kalejaye was sitting there.
“Are you there?’’ Pastor Kalejaye said breaking into her thoughts. She stammered and managed to say a “Yes Sir’’
To be continued in Episode 14.