A Novel Written by: Kolade Segun-Okeowo (KSO)
“A small world indeed…Am happy to meet you again in faraway Onigba-Iwofa. Meet my wife” Joju pointed at his Sade who immediately stretched her hands to embrace Aarinola lovingly.
“Excuse me Sister…which Aarinola is yours, the daughter of Boda Labinjo Oderinde?” Major Labode asked, his face shone as he recognized Aarinola.
“Uncle Labode!!! My goodness…I thought they said….?” Aarinola stiffened as she recognized Major Labode.
“Yes, they did not just say…I actually ran mad for seven years…But thanks to Jesus who sent His servants to Onigba-Iwofa just because of me!!! I am The Chairman of the Planning committee for this Drama Crusade” Major announced gleefully.
“Jesus is Lord…This is too good to be true…Uncle Labode…This is you !!!”
“Am glad you know each other” Pastor Joju Dairo said as they continued walking towards the Mission House.
“Ah…Everybody knows everyone in Onigba-Iwofa…The town is not big…We know one another” Major Labode said laughing heartily. “Besides her Uncle’s wife; Eebudola is my mother’s niece” Major explained further.
“Oh really, I never knew you and Sister Eebudola are related….” Pastor Joju Dairo said as they moved closer to the Mission House.
“Pastor, you and Mummy can go home, I will escort Aarinola to her parents’ house”
“Ah…very nice of you Major. Thank you so much…Lets meet in church by 10 tomorrow morning Sir”
“Very well Sir…Good night Mummy”
“Good Night Sir…Good night Sister Aarinola” Mrs. Sade Dairo said as they departed at the gate of the Mission House.
That night, an unusual peace reigned over Onigba-Iwofa town. All the hosts of Heaven operating within the vicinity including Greatone and Powerone gathered to worship The Master at the Palace Square. As they did, fog-like dew descended and covered every house in the town. For the first time, Greatone and Powerone rode on a white horse each, their swords flaming with fire and blazing through the night. As they worshipped, a company of Angels descended from heaven and joined them singing the Hallelujah Chorus.
“Onigba-Iwofa is finally delivered” Greatone said to his colleague Powerone. The latter nodded, smiled, drew his sword and raised it in a sign of victory. He galloped with the others round the Square to the admiration and celebration of other Hosts.
“A toast to Dr. Morakinyo Olagunsoye who pioneered this mission work…Hip !!! Hip !!! Hip !!!” Powerone started a toast after he had finished galloping spree. The other Hosts responded by shouting “Hurray !!!”
“To Pastor Kunle Kalejaye who supported this work and gave it the needed back up…Hip!!! Hip!!! Hip !!!”
“To Pastor Joju Dairo and his wife who took over from Dr. Morakinyo Olagunsoye and increased the tempo…Hip!!! Hip!!! Hip !!!”
“To His Royal Highness, Oba Folagbade Lagooku (Ogajafowomeke II) The Adigbaare of Onigba-Iwofa, who supported this work and gave it the needed back up…Hip!!! Hip!!! Hip !!!”
The angelic celebration continued throughout the night until the wee hours of the morning when the angels returned to their various duty posts.
Aarinola was first to get to the church the following morning. She had a sleepless night thinking of the events that occurred at the crusade ground.
“So this can happen in Onigba-Iwofa…God, I am sorry I despised my Jerusalem…No wonder I kept having that dream about Dr. Olagunsoye…I dreamt about him and he came to serve here…Now he has gone to the Bible College and I continue having dreams about him… Am I not becoming a borrowed vessel…I shouldn’t have abandoned my Jerusalem” She laid awake all through the night speaking to herself over and over again.
Before nine o clock, she had arrived the church to meet Pastor Joju Dairo. Although Joju was her classmate in school, a deep sense of awe and regard for the man of God had come upon her since she met Joju last night. She waited in the church for another thirty minutes before Joju arrived the church. She wanted to be the first to see the Pastor so that she could return to have some time to speak to her mother whom she had already started speaking to about Jesus when she first a arrived the day before. The attraction of the drama crusade led her to leave her for the place grounds at exactly six in the evening.
“Haaa!!! Sister Aarinola!!! Didn’t you sleep…?” Joju was pleasantly shocked to meet Aarinola in the church. She had joined a couple of women she met in the church to tidy up the sanctuary.
“I wanted to be the first to receive the dew from heaven before other members come” she explained throwing Joju into some laughter.
‘You are most welcome” Pastor Joju said as he led Aarinola to sit in a small office within the church. Joju hardly ever sits with women in that office. He would rather stay in the church hall to counsel a woman. This was part of the strict warnings he received from Pastor Kalejaye before setting out for Onigba-Iwofa. However, Joju had known Aarinola for more than twenty years when they were classmates in the secondary school. While he got admission into the university, Aarinola settled for a technical college where she studied Secretarial Administration.
“God is leading me to work with this commission!!!” The words dropped like a bombshell. It was the least Joju expected to hear from his classmate.
“I don’t understand…How, Sister Aarinola…I don’t understand” Joju asked looking confused. “I am happy to hear that God is leading you to work with this commission…but how feasible that will be is what I don’t understand…I know you work in the University at Ibadan, so…how?”
“Pastor, I have not been to Onigba-Iwofa in seven years and that was deliberate. I decided to stay away from my parents and relations because of their fetish background…Early this year, God began to speak to me about my Jerusalem but I did not understand” Aarinola explained further, giving details of the dreams and how she was the one God used to direct Morakinyo to find his place of destiny at Onigba-Iwofa.
Pastor Joju listened to Aarinola attentively, shaking his head intermittently as the woman explained what God has been leading her to do and the hindrances she experienced on her way from Ibadan to Onigba-Iwofa two days ago.
“I will advise that you seek the face of God for more clarity on this assignment and mission, especially as touching your job and son. Besides, I also think you need to discuss this with your father in the Lord for more guidance, direction and proper release. That is very crucial and important”
“I agree with you Sir. I will do that Sir” She said and knelt asking Pastor Joju to pray for her. As soon as Pastor Joju finished praying for her, she brought out an envelope from her bag and stretched it to him. Joju was shocked, he stared blankly at the envelope unsure of what to say.
“Sister Aarinola, why are you doing this now?”
“Because God commanded it! Very simple” Aarinola answered snappily. “You are free to reject it if and only if you can prove that this is not Gods commandment” She stretched the envelope further and turned her face away from it. Pastor Joju smiled and collected the envelope.
“The Lord will increase you and enlarge your coast o every side. He will cause the light of his countenance to shine on you and give you peace”
As Pastor Joju prayed, Aarinola went on her knees again.
By the time Aarinola stepped out of Pastor Joju’s office, half of the church was filled up. New converts from the drama crusade had arrived for the Believers Class announced by Pastor Joju. Eebudola was already leading them in local praises by the time Pastor Joju stepped out. She was not only the “official worship leader” but also the head usher and “Chief Protocol Officer” She could sing under any circumstances, music being her passion. She was said to have been receiving training under renowned Waka maestro, Alhaja Batile Alake in Ijebu-Igbo before her parents forcefully betrothed her to Odewole. That put paid to her music career as Odewole insisted his wife cannot be a “beggar”
Ever since she started attending the church, she had begun to put the pieces of her musical passion together by leading praise sessions using her local waka skills. She turned and coined some popular waka songs into Christian stuffs and that alone had attracted some folks into the church. At the drama crusade, she sang some of her converted waka songs to the admiration of all including Oba Folagbade, an enthusiast of Alhaja Batile Alake’s music.
As Pastor Joju stepped out of the church office to see Aarinola off, he gave a thumb up to Eeebudola who was completely enraptured in the praise session. She managed to courtesy and continue leading the already frenzied congregation of new converts and other church members.
As soon as Aarinola left the church, she went straight to the Mission House to greet Mrs. Sade Dairo. Her husband had informed Aarinola that Sade was at home coordinating the arrangements for the welfare of the Mount Zion Team, particularly their feeding later in the evening.
Sade Dairo recognised Aarinola as she stepped into the compound. She was in the company of Mrs. Labode who was taking final instructions from her concerning the welfare of the team lodging at Gbelegun Guest House.
“Haa!!! Sister Aarinola!!! Good to see you!!! Thank you for coming!!!” She stood met Aarinola as she walked into the compound and embraced her. Aarinola was pleasantly surprised but deeply pleased with the woman.
‘What a wonderful woman!!! She barely met me only yesterday and she is this receptive and accommodating’ Aarinola thought.
“I have been to the church; I have met Pastor. But I thought it wise to also come and say hello to you in the Mission house”
“Haa!! Thank you so much, that was very thoughtful of you. Am glad you came” Sade smiled broadly as she embraced Aarinola again for the third time. She was truly happy that Aarinola came. Ever since she arrived Onigba-Iwofa in company of her husband about a month ago, that was the first time she was meeting an elite. Apart from Oba Folagbade’s wife, no other woman appeared lettered or exposed in the whole of the town. Even Mrs. Labode whose husband was a retired army officer was a stark illiterate.
Relating with the women was a major boring burden for Sade who was not only born with silver spoon but was an ajebo to the core. But for the mission work and her husband’s passion which she respects and love, she had no business tens of kilometers away from Onigba-Iwofa. Aarinola’s coming was a sort of relief. As soon as Mrs. Labode took her leave, they quickly struck a chord and began to discuss different issues ranging from missions to business and music. For another one hour, Aarinola was at the Mission House with Mrs. Sade Dairo discussing her new found burden and passion with the Pastors wife.
Many of the new converts came with their charms, amulets and several other fetish items. Layoofe was also there. He came with some paraphernalia of his Awo-Opa Cult and a special robe belonging to his late father. The robe was to be tied round him on the day he would have been installed the next head of the Awo-Opa Cult.
As soon as Eebudola finished the worship session, Pastor Joju stepped forward and spoke generally to all the new converts and prayed for them. He thereafter asked those who wish to surrender their charms and other fetish objects to come and drop them at the base of the altar. Layoofe was first to step out with all the paraphernalia that he brought. Others followed and within minutes, the altar base was reeling with loads of fetish objects.
Major Labode and a few other members of the Church stood around to ensure all went well. Odewole, Eeebudola husband came late. He entered the church carrying a basket load of charms and fetish objects. One of the members of the church standing at the entrance made attempts to help him with the load, but Odewole quickly pushed him away with one hand. He knew the implications; he alone could touch the basket except someone with a higher spiritual power.
Eebudola turned back suddenly and saw her husband enter the church with a basket load of charms. She threw her hands up in the air and shouted “Prrrrresssssaaaaaa Lorrrrrrrduuuu”
“So when are you coming over here again?” Sade asked enthusiastically. The thoughts of Aarinola coming over to Onigba-Iwofa to keep her company had already appealed to her. From her discussion with Aarinola, she had found her to be a very spiritually minded woman. Aarinola told her everything about Morakinyo and her meeting with Oyinkan including all that she said about her mission to Onigba-Iwofa, leaving Sade mouth-agape.
“Well, I have not decided yet. When I return to Ibadan, I will pray more about it and discuss with my Senior Pastor for more counsel, prayers and release. But, the burden is clear and real, God wants me to serve in my Jerusalem” Aarinola explained.
“I understand. The Lord will lead you aright and give direction”
“Amen…thank you my Sister…I have to go. I promised my mother I won’t spend more than an hour… Here am I, I have spent two hours with you alone” The two of them burst into laughter and embraced again like old friends.
Pastor Joju prayed on all the fetish objects and ordered the men to pack them out of the church compound. Fear gripped the men including Major when Pastor Joju gave the instruction. They all stood back and watched with fear as Pastor Joju alone packed the charms and dropped them outside the open space within the compound of the church.
Emboldened, Major and Odewole joined Pastor Joju in moving the fetish objects out of the church. Layoofe also followed suit and within minutes, all the fetish objects had been moved outside the church to the open space for immediate burning.
A loud shout of “Hallelujah” greeted the huge bonfire that was ignited from the debris of the fetish objects. Pastor Joju started a song in the local language and was immediately chorused by the crowd of church members, new converts and passersby who had been attracted by the huge fire. A large number of children had also joined the crowd outside the church and caught in the frenzy of the chorus accompanied by heavy and loud clapping.
Agbara Nla m be ninu eje !!!
Agbara Nla m be ninu eje !!!
Agbara Nla m be ninu eje Jesu Kristi
Agbara nla m be ninu eje !!!
There is Power mighty in the blood !!!
There is Power mighty in the blood !!!
There is Power mighty in the blood of Jesus Christ
There is Power mighty in the blood !!!
The crowd began to move back gradually as the tongues of the fire increased in size. Some feared the worst may happen as a result of the action being taken by the Pastor and his disciples.
“Am afraid…something terrible is about to happen!!!” Ilelomia said, holding tightly to her friend Mojoyin.
“Am afraid too…What if the gnomes or elves residing in those charms get angry and suddenly jump out and begin to slaughter everone!!! Heeeehhh!!!” Mojoyin also held on to Ilelomia, shivering as she watched the spectacle.
“The fire is still burning, and nothing is happening…Won’t the gods get angry and fight for themselves???” Ilelomia said.
Mojoyin hissed and spat “Which gods…or you wanted to say idols…. Powerless idols…If nothing happens here today, nobody will pull me out of this church again. Not even my late mother will convince me otherwise…”
“Yes…the gods of Onigba-Iwofa are dead today finally” Ilelomia said shaking her fist at the fire!
Yes!!! Dead Forever!!!” Mojoyin echoed.
Ilelomia stared blankly at her friend and burst into laughter.
“You know, it’s kind of strange…Mojoyin and Ilelomia are speaking with the same voice for the first time…This Jesus is doing something ooo” Mojoyin said falling on her friend as the two of them laughed heartily again. Suddenly, they heard a loud noise as everyone looked towards the direction of the palace!!!