A Novel Written by: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
That first night at Ikeji Arakeji, he had the dream againhe started gathering firewood on a farm. He sang as he gathered a big bundle. He looked around for a rope to tie the bundle of firewood. He saw a good one and pulled at it but the rope would not give way, he tried again and a sharp thorn pricked his hand. He screamed and turned away from the rope. He looked around for another one; he saw a thin rope not strong but was easy to pull. He pulled it out and tied the bundle all around. He pulled off his shirt and made it into head-rest. He carried the bundle to his head. Just then, the rope broke and the bundle scattered.
The mission at Onigba-Iwofa was returning to shape gradually. Pastor Joju and his wife had settled down quickly to the work within the first week. The healing miracle of Major Olabode was a major impetus to the mission work. Although, the church was not yet filled to capacity, many of those who had left the church after Morakinyo marriage to Oyinkan had started to return.
Even Mojoyin and Ilelomia had joined the church.
Early on a Sunday morning as Pastor Joju prayed ahead of the service, The Lord showed him a revelation. He had prayed all through the night asking God to perform wonders again and draw souls to His Kingdom. In the revelation, he saw a multitude rushing towards the church only to be told the hall was filled to capacity. Not satisfied, some of them jumped through the windows while others sat on threes watching a spectacle inside the church. When Joju looked closely, he saw what the audience was crazy about was a stage drama going. A dead silence reigned as the people watched with rapt attention. Then Joju woke from the revelation!!!
Drama? In the Church? Is that possible? Mrs Joju quizzed when her husband told her about the revelation as they prepare for church that morning.
I dont know, but I know I have once watched a drama on stage when I was on the campus. I cant remember the group that acted the drama but it was awesomejust like what I saw in the revelationyes, the year was 1983
“Drama in the ChurchNever heard of suchSo what are you planning to doBring drama here? Won’t the church frown at that? Mrs. Joju asked with concern.
NoThe Senior Pastor once spoke about the efficacy of preaching the gospel using creative gifts. How I wish can get a Christian Theatre Group like the one I saw on Campus at Ilesha…It will help the church grow the more. Unfortunately, I have forgotten the name of the group and the leader. He was also a student of the College of Education at Ilesha when I was thereOh no!!! We were not in the same department. I have forgotten the brother’s nameHoly Spirit !!!
God will help you to remember Mrs. Joju prayed as they finally stepped out of the house on the way to the church.
A few new comers attended church that Sunday. They were required to wait after the service, so that Pastor Joju and his wife could personally attend to them.
Pastor Joju started by praying with the new comers, immediately he settled to speak with them. His wife was attending another meeting with the women now headed again by Eebudola, Odewales wife. Since the coming of Pastor Joju and his wife, she had become a firebrand of some sort attending to almost every needs of the church. No one pronounced her the women leader, she literally worked into that role and everyone accepted her as such.
You are welcome to our churchWe are glad that you camePlease tell us your namesSo that we can get to know you better. Lets start form you Sir Pastor Joju pointed at a young man that appeared to be in his mid-twenties.
Me, PastorYou mean me? He asked smiling sheepishly.
NoYour father!!! A middle aged women from the new comers seat said sarcastically throwing others into a fit of laughter. Pastor Joju also smiled.
Dont mind anyone, laughter is allowed in the house of God. Ok, go on, tell us your name Pastor Joju said smiling.
The young man cleared his throat adjusted his seat before speaking. Thank you pastorToday is my first time in this church
“As if we dont know! The woman sneered! The other new comers laughed again.
“Please continue my brotherWe are listening to you Pastor Joju assured him again. Just tell us your name He added.
Thank you SirMy name is Bamidele Bamigboye” He mentioned his name smiling sheepishly.
Bamidele Bamigboye !!!” Pastor Joju repeated the name twice looking straight into the young mans eyes. He welcomed him warmly and turned to the next person. He barely managed to listen to others as they reeled out their names.
Bamidele Bamigboye!!!” He kept repeating the name in his sub-conscious. He was not sure what was special about the name but his mind kept roaming around the name.
Oh, I remember him now!!! Pastor Joju almost shouted as they stepped into the parsonage after returning from the church. His eyes gleamed with excitement.
“Remember who? Mrs. Joju asked wondering what the excitement was all about.
“The brother whose name I was trying to remember!!! The brother I told you led a drama group back in our days at the College of Education”
“Oh really? How come?
“A newcomer bears a name similar to hisBamidele Bamigboye!!! The brothers name is Mike Bamiloye!!!” Pastor Joju announced with excitement. I have been battling to remember the name since the new comer mentioned his own name as Bamidele Bamigboye !!!”
Thats the Holy Spirit at work. You asked him for a lead and here you are Mrs. Joju said smiling.
Thank you Jesus
Within three days, Pastor Joju had established contact with the drama group named Mount Zion Drama Productions which had its base at Ile-Ife. Joju had contacted a pastor friend who resided in Ilesha on phone to get all necessary information about Bro Mike Bamiloye from the Oyo State College of Education, Ilesha.
Pastor Paul Alowolodu was faithful to the search for the group. His enquiries from the College of Education revealed that the group had settled in Ile-Ile. Convinced by the urgency of the need for the group to come to Onigba-Iwofa as explained to him by Pastor Joju, Alowolodu took the next available bus to Ile-Ife in search of Mike Bamiloye and his drama team.
The search took him first to the Gospel Truth Mission Church, Assembly where Mike Bamiloye was said to be a member. He strolled into the church that afternoon and met a woman cleaning the church in preparation for the evening service. The mention of the name Bamiloye caught the attention of the middle aged woman who volunteered additional information about Mike.
He used to do drama here! But the church has suspended him!
Suspended him? Why?”
He wouldnt stop acting drama in the church and he was asked to stop because drama is not in the Bible!
I seeDrama is not in the Bible!!!
“Although many of us dont agree with the leadership of the church ooo! Whether drama is in the Bible or not, I dont know, but anytime they act drama, we are always blessedMy brother, if something is blessing us, must we see it in the Bible?
Pastor Paul Alowolodu shook his head in agreement with the woman.
The woman gave him all the information he needed. He met Mike Bamiloye in a one-room apartment near The Urban Day Secondary School, Ondo Road. The search was not a difficult one, the woman had given a vivid description of the house and mentioned the name of the landlord who turned out to be a popular cocoa merchant in the area.
As soon as he introduced himself to Mike Bamiloye as a Pastor from Ilesha, they bonded quickly and began to speak the Ilesha dialect of the Yoruba language. The bond became thicker when he mentioned that he came on instruction from one Pastor Joju, an alumnus of the Oyo State College of Education who had watched stage drama titled “Hell in Conference” and “The Unprofitable Servant”
Bamiloye excused himself and stood at that moment, leaving Pastor Paul Alowolodu to gaze round the room. He saw pictures of different stage drama outreaches pasted on the wall of the room. At a corner of the room was pasted the logo of the Mount Zion Drama Productions with the motto: “We Act in Faith A huge pile of books lay on the table with a hard cover exercise book opened to the middle. A piece of biro was dropped on the book Pastor Paul Alowolodu peeped and saw that Bamiloye was writing another drama script. He smiled and nodded with joy.
The room was poorly furnished but neatly arranged with a three-feet bed and a wooden wardrobe. A stove was neatly packed on top of a small cupboard while a stack of plastic buckets laid carefully between the bed and the cupboard.
Just then, Bamiloye entered with a cold bottle of Tandi Guarana for his guest.
Surprised, but thankful, Pastor Paul Alowolodu could not help gushing down the drink almost immediately Bamiloye opened and handed it over to him. The search for the church and Mikes house under the hot afternoon sun had left him exhausted and desperately in need of something cold. He thanked God that Mike was sensitive to know what he needed most at that time. On a second gush, the drink had reached half of its content.
“Hell in Conference!!! That was our first stage drama ministration” Mike Bamiloye said.
So I was told by Pastor Joju. He said he was part of the audience that watched the drama as a student on the campus and he was greatly blessed. The Unprofitable Servant was another drama that ministered to him tremendously as it led him to pick up God’s work immediately after leaving school Pastor Paul Alowolodu explained further.
To God be the Glory Mike Bamiloye smiled and lifted his hands to worship God.
He is presently a missionary at a town called Onigba-Iwofa” Alowolodu said and gushed the drink again emptying the content this time around. He sighed heavily and said Thank you very much for this Sir. You will never know thirst in Jesus name!!!
“Amen Onigba-Iwofa? Where is that in this Yorubaland? Bamiloye smiled and asked squeezing his face in complete ignorance of the name. He was hearing that name for the first time in his entire 25 years of life.
Onigba-Iwofa is about fifty kilometers from Shaki! Its a quiet town, sparsely populated but completely backward in amenities and social services. The road to Onigba-Iwofa is not good but motorable. According to Pastor Joju, it will take between five to six hours to get to Onigba-Iwofa from Ibadan
Yes, Onigba-Iwofa. Pastor Joju has asked me to invite you and your team to come over to Onigba-Iwofa for drama outreach. He believes a drama outreach will help his work at the town tremendously
Praise God!!! When does he want us to come? Bamiloye said smiling pleasantly. As he prayed that morning, the Lord had revealed to him that He has an assignment for him on a mission field.
He gave me the liberty to communicate and discuss with you expressly on the date and the terms of your coming. I will relate back to him in two days time when he will be in Shaki and have access to call me on the phone
The discussion was short. A weekend was agreed to and fixed. As Alowolodu stood to leave, he remembered an aspect of the discussion Bamiloye had not spoken about.
Brother Mike, you have not mentioned about the fee. How much do you charge? I need to let him know so that he can liaise immediately with the Headquarters to arrange for the funds to pay you when you and your team come Alowodu explained pleadingly.
Again Bamiloye smiled Pastor Alowolodu, we dont charge. We allow the Lord to lead the host to bless us as God providesThat is our policy
“Really? Alowodu could not believe what he heard. A team wants to travel from Ile-Ife to Onigba-Iwofa on a three-day ministerial journey without negotiating what it will cost to make such a journey.
Brother Mike, are you sure of what you are saying? Bamiloye smiled reassuringly. So how do you get to the Onigba-Iwofa in the first place? Alowodu asked.
The Lord will provide Pastor Bamiloyes response and his confident smile spoke volumes.
Alowodu stared blankly at Bamiloye unsure of what to say. His mind flashed back to the few times he had contacted some ministers on behalf of his church to invite them for ministrations. He remembered the case of a particular man of God who specifically mentioned the 4-star hotel he would like to be lodged in along with his retinue of aides and the kind of food they would eat. He also mentioned the amount of money he would collect as honourarium. Finally, he insisted that half of the offering he would raise at the programme belonged to him. By the time the church reviewed his demands, the council decided to go for another minister of God!
Although, Alowolodu was not expecting Bamiloye mention any huge amount, he least expected the response he got. It sounded too good to be true. That a minister of God will leave Ile-Ife for Onigba-Iwofa without a concrete assurance of what to expect as honourarium.
Sincerely, I dont know what to say Alowolodu’s delayed response came several seconds after.
Bamiloye smiled and said Just pray for us that the Lord will be glorified during the programmePlease tell Pastor Joju that we will come. He can start making publicity and other arrangements
What about accommodation Brother Mike? Alowolodu asked.
Wherever he provides for us is where we will stay The response from Bamiloye was prompt and sharp as if he had expected the question.
Awesome!!! Alowolodu appeared speechless. He thanked Bamiloye and announced his leaving. Bamiloye stood and escorted the visitor to the road outside his house. As they got to the gate of the one-storey building, Bamiloye squeezed a white envelope into Alowolodus hand and spoke into his ears.
“Please Sir, the Lord impressed it upon my heart to give this to you Sir
Ha!! Haaa!!! Why!!! You shouldnt be the one doing this!!! Alowolodu said.
Yes, I know Sir, I shouldnt be doing thisbut thats what the Lord impressed in my heart. Please allow me to obey Him Bamiloye explained almost apologetically.
Ok Brother Mike. Thank you so much. The Lord will honour your faith and cause a mighty harvest to come your way. Thank you so much
As Pastor Alowolodu prayed, streams of tears were already forming in his eyes. Apparently, Mike Bamiloye was completely unaware that his action was a prayer answered and a major relief for Alowolodu. He had come from Ilesha to Ile-Ife using the last money he had on him. He only trusted God that the fifteen naira he had left on him will be sufficient to take him back to Ilesha.
As soon as he entered the bus from Mayfair to Ilesha Garage where he was to board a car going to Ilesha, Alowolodu opened the envelope, eager to see what Bamiloye had put in the it. Neatly arranged in the envelope was a row of ten crispy new 50 naira notes.
Five hundred naira!!!! Alowolodu almost screamed!!! He gave me Five hundred naira!!!! The stream of tears gave way to a torrent of tears. He brought out a handkerchief and wiped the tears. He didnt want to cause a scene in the car.
Five hundred naira!!! The exact amount needed to pay the balance for a parcel of land his church had purchased and was gradually paying in instalments. It had taken the church six months to pay two thousand naira for the one-acre parcel of land. The balance of five hundred naira was needed to take possession of the land. He closed his eyes again and prayed for Bamiloye.