‘I’ve only been in this church for a few months but I have noticed that you hardly come to church and when you do, your husband is never with you.’ He paused and waited to see if she wanted to say anything.
Mrs Cole listened to all he had to say.
‘Let me go straight to the point, I am really concerned about what seems to be the problem.’ He gave her the chance to speak.
‘Pastor George,’ she started, ‘I appreciate your concerns. It’s nothing really. We come to church as often as we can.’ She wasn’t ready or willing to divulge any information about the turmoil going on in her home.
‘How is your husband?’
Mrs Cole was getting irritated but tried her best not to let it show. ‘Why is he asking how my husband is when I don’t know anything about his wife? They say his wife is still in the east with their children. He should focus on his family and leave me alone.’ ‘My husband is fine.’ She told him point blank and gave him the “any other question?” look.
He got the message and adjusted himself in his chair. ‘I don’t mean to pry into personal matters, Mrs Cole. I just felt I could be of help. Maybe even pray for you if you have any burden you wanted to share.’ He explained.
‘Pray for me?’ She gave a sarcastic chuckle. ‘Thank you for your help pastor, we are doing fine.’ She adjusted her bag hoping it will pass the message across to the pastor. She was done and ready to leave.
Pastor George sighed. He knew if he tried to press further, things could get ugly. Thank you for your time Mrs Cole.’
‘Thank you too pastor.’ Mrs Cole got up. ‘My regards to your wife.’ She smiled briefly and her smile immediately disappeared.
She left his office, thanked the secretary and went straight to her car. ‘That pastor is unbelievable. I hope he never tries this again.’ Mrs Cole needed help and she knew it yet she didn’t want to allow anyone get too close. Pastor George was not the first person to try. Mrs Dedeke, her Sunday school teacher had tried on many occasions but she equally shut her out and withdrew from her. Emeka was the only one that had successfully gotten close and that was largely because of the past they shared.
As she approached her car, a car drove into the compound and parked next to hers. Mrs Cole watched as the person driving alighted. It was Mrs Dedeke
‘Mummy Seyi, good afternoon. So good to see you.’ She walked towards Mrs Cole and hugged her.
‘Good to see you too, Mrs Dedeke. How have you been?’ Mrs Cole was the reason they had not been in touch.
‘I’ve been good. I’m so glad I saw you. In fact, God ordered your steps. I was praying yesterday and I had a burden for you. As I prayed, I received a word for you from God.’ She told her.
‘Oh really?’ Mrs Cole wasn’t too interested about whatever the word was but she didn’t have a choice but to listen.
‘It was a warning, mummy Seyi.’ The smile on Mrs Dedeke’s face disappeared. She looked concerned all of a sudden. ‘The Spirit of God asked me to tell you to be careful, mummy Seyi. It was like you were heading down a path and at the end there was a ditch but you weren’t looking.’ She sighed. ‘I got scared and immediately intensified my prayer when I saw that revelation. Is everything okay, mummy Seyi?’
‘Everything is fine, in fact the revelation is as surprising to me as it is to you. Thank you, I will pray about it and be more careful.’ She told her and hoped there wouldn’t be more questions from Mrs Dedeke.
‘We could pray together, whenever you are free.’ Mrs Dedeke offered.
‘Alright, thank you very much.’ She looked at her watch, ‘I have to get going, need to pick the children up from school.’ She opened the door to her car.
‘No problem,’ I will see you later then. My regards to your husband.’ Mrs Dedeke stepped aside and waved as Mrs Cole drove off. She was around for Bible study but decided to come earlier to see the pastor. There were a few things she wanted to talk to him about and now that she had just seen Mrs Cole, she decided to add her to the list.
She went to the pastor’s office and greeted him warmly before sitting down.
‘How are you Mrs Dedeke? I was just preparing for Bible study. Hope all is well?
‘I’m fine pastor, I tried calling you earlier to tell you I’ll like to see you before service but your number wasn’t going through.’ She explained to him.,
‘Oh really? I hope there is no problem?’
‘Not really, actually I just saw Mrs Cole and shared with her the revelation I had about her yesterday. I am really burdened for her.’ Mrs Dedeke couldn’t hide her worry.
‘Hmmmm, I understand. I’m equally burdened too.’ He sighed. ‘You know what we are going to do?’ He paused.
‘Okay?’ Mrs Dedeke moved to the edge of the chair.
‘I will inform the assistant pastor. Three of us can meet briefly after church to pray for her. Is that okay?’ He asked.
‘That is great. Thank you very much sir.’ She clapped her hands together.
‘We thank God.’ He smiled.
Mrs Dedeke discussed a few other issues with him and after about 15 minutes, left his office.
Mrs Cole went to pick Bimbo and Bayo and when they got home, everyone had lunch.
While on the dining table, Seyi remembered she had wanted to suggest giving their dad a spare key. ‘Mummy, something occurred to me yesterday.’ She started.
‘Okay? What is it?’ Mrs Cole took a sip of water.
‘Why don’t we give daddy a copy of the key to the house so we don’t have to wait for him to get back every night after all, he has a key to the gate.’
‘That’s true, mummy.’ Bayo couldn’t agree more.
‘Well that is not a bad idea. I’ll do that tomorrow, before going to work. Please remind me. Okay?’
‘Sure, I won’t forget.’ Seyi smiled.
‘Sister Seyi, do you know “No Longer Slaves”?’ Bayo asked with excitement.
‘Is that a movie or something?’ Seyi was clueless.
‘No jo, it’s a song by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser.’ He told her
‘No, I don’t know it.’ Seyi took a spoon of rice.
‘I got some really cool gospel songs from Siju today in school. I have been listening to them since. I didn’t know what I had been missing.’ Bayo couldn’t contain his joy.
Mrs Cole studied Bayo and knew there was something different about him. She remembered his dream but immediately brushed it off.
‘I have a few too, but I don’t really listen to them. They kinda dull my spirit.’ Seyi didn’t seem interested.
‘Wait till you hear the ones on my phone.’ Bayo wished everyone could share in the joy he was experiencing. ‘They are spirit, soul and body lifting. Trust me.’ he tried to convince his sister.
‘Bro Bayo, I want.’ Bimbo spoke up.
Bayo laughed. ‘You don’t even have a phone. Anyway, you can come to my room and listen to them on my phone later.’
Seyi thought of asking Bayo about Goke but remembered her mum was there. She didn’t want questions about who Goke was. She decided to ask him later.
They finished having lunch and all retired to their rooms.
Seyi went to Bayo’s room and Bimbo followed her.
Bayo was playing, “You are Able” by Ada when then came in. He was folding his clothes which had littered his room.
‘What’s going on? Are you expecting someone?’ Seyi could not wrap her head around what was going on. She was noticing some changes in her brother.
‘Nope, nobody.’ He picked up a black T-shirt and smelt it. ‘Hmmm that stinks.’ He threw it to a corner where he was gathering dirty clothes.
Seyi and Bimbo watched with amazement.
‘I like this song, bro Bayo. It’s not dulling my own spirit o’ Bimbo said and looked away from her sister.
‘Who asked you?’ Seyi looked at her and hissed.
‘Will you two ever stop doing cat and dog?’ Bayo laughed. ‘Sit down na’ he pointed to his bed.
Seyi and Bimbo sat down.
‘Anyway, I came to get gist.’ She balanced on the bed, reclining with his pillow behind her. ‘Did Siju say anything about her sister and Goke?’
‘What’s with you and this Goke guy?’ Bayo was arranging his books on his table.
‘Nothing.’ Seyi was quick to answer. ‘You know I told you he asked my friend out?’ She reminded him.
‘Is that all?’ Bayo winked at her.
‘What do you mean?’ She began to wonder if he knew the truth.
‘Just kidding’ he smiled. ‘She didn’t really say much. She talked to her sister who said she had been suspecting him. Her sister apparently was already tired of the whole relationship and had been contemplating a break up.’ Bayo told her.
Seyi sat up from her reclined position. ‘She should break up with that idiot. She deserves someone better.’ She bit her thumb. ‘How I wished I could talk to that girl.’
‘You seem so passionate.’ Bayo pointed out. ‘Anyway, Siju has been praying about it. She says God is touching her sister’s heart.’
Seyi looked at Bayo, speechless. ‘What?!’ She couldn’t fathom what was going on.
‘As in her sister is also beginning to see that Goke is not good for her, thanks to Siju’s prayers.’ Bayo rephrased his sentence.
‘I understood you the first time. What I don’t understand is the way you are talking as if God will come down and do the magic.’
‘Well, He won’t come down physically but of course, when you tell Him things He gets them done.’ Bayo explained.
‘Since when? I know that’s what we are taught in Sunday school and that’s what the pastor says in church but take a good look at our home, what has all the prayers done?’
Bayo left what he was doing and gave his sister his full attention. ‘Don’t say that Seyi. Things may not be good now that doesn’t mean it will always remain that way. I have faith and I know things will get better.’
‘I don’t know about you but I’ve lost hope in things getting any better in this house. I just want to do and get out of this place.’ Seyi poured her heart out point blank.
Bayo sighed, ‘It is well.’
‘Yeah, that’s what they all say.’ She threw her hands in the air and walked out of the room.
‘Bro Bayo, I believe things will get better. Don’t worry, you hear?’ Bimbo was always so innocent at heart. She was very optimistic, hardly ever discouraged. She was just seven but had the heart of a grown up.
Bayo smiled. He remembered what happened on Sunday and knew he owed her an apology. ‘Bimbo,’ he started. He sat beside her on the bed. He knew she didn’t hold it against him but she probably had many questions and perhaps concerns too.
‘You know what happened the other day?’ He juggled her memory a bit even though he knew she had not forgotten.
Bimbo nodded her head and looked away.
Bayo placed one hand on her shoulder. ‘I’m really sorry you had to see that, I’m sorry I shouted at you and most of all I’ve told God I’m sorry for dishonoring my body.’
Bimbo looked up at him. She seemed a bit confused.
‘You may not understand now but masturbation, that is touching your private part to derive pleasure and pornography, those bad bad videos Uncle Gboyega used to watch are sinful acts.’ He search her eyes to see if she understood.
She gave a nod.
‘Uncle Gboyega introduced me to it the last time he came and I struggled with it up until yesterday when I prayed to God to help me and I believe I am totally delivered.’
Bimbo’s eyes widened in amazement. ‘I also want that deliverance.’ She said.
‘What do you mean?’ Bayo asked, his brows furrowed revealing his confusion.
‘Uncle Gboyega, he tried to touch my private part but I always ran away. Ever since he left, I used to be afraid that something bad will happen to me. Even sometimes, when I sleep, I have bad dreams. Because of Uncle Gboyega, I’m always afraid of men coming close to me.’ She told him what she had never mentioned to anyone before. A constant torment she had lived with for weeks.
‘Do you believe that if I pray for you, you will stop being afraid?’ Bayo asked her.
To be continued. Read Part 24 Now Here
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