The magnificent structure sat at on a fifty acre expanse of well pruned, shiny grassland set against a back drop of sunny hills. A stranger passing by would wonder if the glittering building housed a large number of top executives of a global Oil and gas company, or even a five star hotel on an exotic Maldivian Island. Many would argue, that an onsite gym, an Olympic sized swimming pool, a 360 degree rotating prayer centre built with stained glass and marble and a golf course should not belong to the Wonderful Christian Ministries UK, and rightly so. But Jonathan Bada, or Pastor Jay as many liked to call him, senior Pastor and founder of WCM, knew exactly what he had told God he was going to build, and he hadn’t even achieved the golden standard. This was just the beginning.
The Black Bentley Azure had slithered to a stop, and his trusted chauffeur, Michael, let out a small, almost inaudible sigh for the second time in ten minutes. Jonathan smiled at his chauffeur’s feeble attempt to disguise impatience. How could Michael understand? Jonathan thought as he remained in the back seat of the car, his hands resting on the chrome door handle, not daring to make any further move. From the tinted window of the two hundred thousand pound car, he could see some members of his huge congregation, flocking into the church building, some stopping to gaze in amazement at the building that would become their new place of worship, others rushing in, eager to see what it looked like inside. Jonathan took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “Thank you Jesus” he whispered, feeling a sense of awe and adoration. “Thank you. This is my day, your day, Lord… Glorify yourself.”
It still felt like a dream to have completed the new church premises, a multimillion pound investment- his analyst valued the building at fifty six million pounds-in less than a year. But, how could any one understand how it felt? It shouldn’t be him receiving these blessings. Wasn’t he an immigrant? A stranger in a white man’s land? It didn’t fit the bill, failed terribly to satisfy the norm. But, God had done it, his heart swelled with gratitude as the thought warmed his heart. God had taken Pastor Jonathan Bada from the dust and placed him on a tabernacle of grace, and he, not anyone else, was going to commission the new building today. Leading Pastors from all over the world had flown in for the great event, he could see the wings of their private jets glinting in the mid afternoon summer sun. It was going to be a great day, and he had nothing to fear. Jonathan Bada slipped on his Cartier Sunglasses, took one final breath and stepped out of the car, grateful to be free from the smell of freshly polished leather in the air-conditioned cabin of the vehicle. It was time to step into the sun and enjoy the smell of fresh daises and geraniums that had just been planted outside the church entrance, ahead of the day’s event. The Church event decorator, also wife of his assistant Pastor, Mabel, was a world class decorator, and today, she’d spared no expense. The Large steps were adorned in plush red and gold carpeting, and draped with fresh daisies specially flown in fromThailand. He started to walk towards the church steps to take a closer look, but his special body guard and two lead ushers were by his side in an instant to shield him away from the gathering crowd and lead him through the special back entrance crafted especially for him.
“Guys, it’s a special day, I would like to greet the guests myself.” Jonathan partly moaned. He loved the special attention he received as the founding Pastor of such a great church. “C’mon, let me say hello to a few of my loyal members. They built this church you know.”
“Pastor Jay, your wife is in the waiting room, with important visitors. There isn’t enough time to mingle.” The response was uttered with a tighter grip on his arm as he was led further away from the church, through a lined row of gleaming glass corridors and to the front of a thick mahogany door with glass panels. The words: “ Special Room” was emblazoned into a pure gold metal plague. Pastor Jonathan Bada’s confident strides came to a halt at the door. He gave a curt nod to signal the dismissal of his entourage and waited till the corridor was empty before he took a deep breath. From the reflection on the door, a handsome man- tall and dark with chiselled features stared back at him. If he’d not been called by God to minster, Jonathan Bada knew he could easily have been a model. But he’d been called with a higher calling. A special, more rewarding calling. And today, that calling would be exploded beyond dimension. He straightened imaginary wrinkles off his Armani suit and pushed the door open.
He saw his wife first. Simisola Bada hardly glanced at him as he walked in. He held her gaze for a brief, fleeting moment before she lowered her head. He laughed, rather loudly to distract the guests from wondering why wife and husband had arrived separately, or why they hadn’t spoken. “ Pastor Tunde Phillips, what a great pleasure to see you again.” Johanthan said, in the same loud, boisterous tone as he hugged his friend and fellow man of God. “How was your flight?”
Tunde Phillips returned the hug with a huge grin. “ I cannot complain. A private jet is scarcely inconvenient.” Tunde Phillips owned the second largest church in West Africa, with a congregation of almost a million on special events. It was a height Jonathan aspired to reach. Tunde Phillips pulled a young woman, mid twenties maybe, with a mane of curly, artificial hair and a face that could have been described as beautiful, but for the excess makeup. “This is Charmaine. My wife.”
Jonathan gulped, the only gesture he could make to hide his shock as the woman fluttered her eyelashes and flashed a smile. When did Tunde remarry? Where was Folake, his wife of over thirty years? There had been talks of problems in his marriage, but Jonathan had always dismissed the news as speculations or mere gossip. But this woman….Charmaine? . Jonathan knew he couldn’t question Tunde in front of the woman; he exchanged a few pleasantries with two other visiting Pastors before excusing himself to his inner chamber .
He’d barely settled into the large leather chair when a knock sounded on his door. Using the remote control mechanism attached to his desk, Jonathan checked the monitor, and keyed in the code to let Tunde in.
“Who is Charmaine?” Jonathan asked as soon as the door shut behind both men. “What happened to Folake?”
Tunde Phillips pulled his trousers an inch up his waist and grinned. “Let me congratulate you on this amazing building first. It must have cost you millions. You are taking over theUKfor Christ, my brother.”
“Who is Charmaine?” Jonathan refused to be sidetracked. He placed his palm on the desk and glared at his friend. “How dare you? How could you bring that woman over here, to flaunt her? Have you no respect for God? For my congregation? For goodness sake brother Tunde, Folake was….is a well known and respected minister in our church. Everyone knows her with you…” Jonathan trailed off, realising he was quickly getting angry.
Tunde raised a palm in mock defence. The smile was still on his chubby face. “ Folake asked me for a divorce. I gave it to her. What was I to do? Remain unmarried?”
Jonathan gasped. “What? Why? What did you do? Your wife- Folake- is the most submissive and patient woman I know. She fears the Lord greatly. How could she have asked for a divorce? What happened?”
Tunde sighed.. “I don’t know.”
It was an obvious lie.
“Oh, brother Tunde.” Jonathan slapped his forehead wearily. “ This is supposed to be a happy day for me. This news has dampened my spirit. How could you do this to Folake? Where did you meet Charmaine? Surely you know God cannot have a hand in this?”
Tunde shook his head with determination. “Don’t say that. God has more than a hand in it. I received Charmaine in a vision after a long period of praying and fasting. Brother Jonathan, Charmaine is God’s answer to my broken heart.”
Jonathan thought of the woman outside, who looked uncannily like a harlot, and sighed. Brother Tunde was riding on a fast slide, which would land him straight in hell fire. “Don’t be deceived by Satan, Tunde. Marriage is a life long commitment. And even if you had to remarry, certainly not that-“ The look on Tunde’s face cut him short. The cheeky smile was gone, and in its place was a deep frown, etched into his fleshy forehead. Pastor Tunde Phillips was angry, and his quivering jaw proved it.
“Don’t you say anything about my wife, “he thundered, and Jonathan winced. Tunde’s anger was notably terrible. “Charmaine is an ordained minister of God, a holy woman.” Tunde knocked his fist on the table, still furious. “You cannot preach to me about my marriage, brother. Look at yours. You and Simisola are pretending like all is well, but a blind fool can tell that you are not on speaking terms. Your marriage is as doomed as mine was, and if I were you, I’d start looking for a Charmaine to warm my bed sooner than later.” And with those words, Tunde buzzed himself out of the office, closing the door softly behind him with deliberate effort, so as not to alert anyone to their squabble.
Jonathan leaned back in his chair and rocked the seat slowly, feeling strangely comforted by the leathery smell. Tunde was a stubborn man. And he had a weakness for women. For many years, Tunde had fallen many times, but somehow, God had always been there to lift him up. His wife, Folake, unlike God, had an end limit to her grace. And from the look of things, his friend’s marriage was over. Jonathan sighed and rubbed his forehead. What was happening to the men of God around him? No one seemed to regard the Lord anymore- especially His views on marriage. The thought caused a familiar pang of guilt in his stomach, followed by a small, soft voice. Son, apologise to your wife before you step out of this office- Lest I reject your offering.
Jonathan sighed again, feeling the last of his enthusiasm about the building dedication drain away. But Lord… he started to argue with the voice, but fell short of excuses. He glanced at the sterling silver clock on the wall, and seeing it was almost three, knew the service would soon commence. Although his walls were sound proof, he could see, from the TV screen affixed to the wall above his head, that the choir was about to end their first rendition- his sermon was next on the agenda. He sat up in his chair, straightened his silk tie, picked up his phone and dialled. His wife answered on the first ring, as though she’d been awaiting this call all her life.
“ Pastor Jay…” her voice was tired, resolved. “I am attending to your guests.”
“I know. The Lord- I need to talk to you. Can you come in to my office for a minute?”
He held his breath and waited. Finally there was a soft knock on the door.
Jonathan opened the door and let his wife in. She strolled in without a word, and stood facing him. He could see dark circles around her eyes. She’d been crying. And even now, her bottom lip still trembled.
He longed to hold her, comfort her, but his hands remained limp by his side. He swallowed a lump of saliva. “Simi. We cannot continue like this. I am sorry I over reacted last night. I was angry.”
She nodded and bit her lip. “I forgive you.”
The statement was uttered with a simplicity that scared him. He looked deeply into her sad, brown eyes. “I know I haven’t been there for you.” He drew in a breath, “but today, after the service, I want to talk to you. I want us to make things work. I don’t want to …” he stopped talking then. The buzzer in his coat was picking up a signal from the main auditorium. It was time for him to begin the sermon. He reached for his bible without taking his eyes off his wife. “Simi, I want this day to signal the beginning of new things in our marriage. I will change. I promise.” And without waiting for her response, Pastor Jonathan stepped out of the office and sauntered into the waiting auditorium, eager to do exactly what he’d been born to do.
“Somebody give me a Ha-Le-Lu-Yah!” Pastor Jonathan boomed into the microphone as he leapt unto the podium. His eyes shone with pride as he glanced around the auditorium. The theatre shaped room was built to sit twenty thousand, and he could see that guests had filled the entire room. The crowd responded with an enthusiastic Hallelyah in vibrant and joyful voices and Pastor Jay did his usual “Holy-break” dance. He momentarily forgot about Simi and what had caused her to be so upset and sizzled in the electricity of the atmosphere. There was something about a crowd that made him alive. He flashed a wide smile at his loyal congregation and started his sermon. Fervently, he preached on the power of God, His ability to make something great out of nothing, and used the example of Jesus: born in a tiny, nondescript village… growing up to become the saviour of the entire world. He was thrilled that the crowd cheered him on, as shouts of “preach it Pastor Jay, and right on Pastor Jay” would bounce from the crowd, as often as he made any major points. The sermon was over, and the excitement gradually shifted to a mood of sobriety as the pianist started to play “ all to Jesus I surrender,” as Pastor Jay urged members from the congregation to give their lives to Jesus. Pastor Jay’s heart soared as one, two and then ten people slowly trotted towards the alter, their heads bowed in humble submission to the call of God- for which, many had probably been running from all their lives. He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief and stepped off the podium, to be closer to the people that had gathered round. There was a young boy in the small gathering that seemed to be staring at him, with wide innocent eyes. Pastor Jonathan smiled at the boy, assuring him with his eyes that he was making the most important decision of his life. But the boy didn’t smile back. The child’s brown eyes were stone cold. The look frizzled Pastor Jay, but he shrugged the feeling off, and started to lead the crowd in the salvation prayer.
But as he spoke, he couldn’t help but notice that the boy did not recite the prayers as the others did. The boy simply stood, his eyes in a piercing glare, staring at him.
And as soon as the prayers were said, Jonthan, handed the microphone to the church administrator, and returned to his seat. As soon as he sat down, he craned his neck so that he could follow the boy’s movement, back to his seat.
The boy walked with a certain briskness, as though he owned the world, even though he looked only about twelve years of age. He strolled right to the middle row and planted himself next to a woman. Still feeling slightly concerned at the way the boy had stared at him, Jonathan kept his gaze on the boy. The woman the boy sat next to leaned and gave him a slight kiss, and then as though she was reading Jonathan’s mind, lifted her chin up in a sudden defiance and met his gaze, eye ball to eyeball.
From across a sea of almost one hundred heads, Jonathan Badu felt his heart skid to a stop.
The woman’s lips curved into a smile, and then almost as though nothing had happened, she picked up the boy, excused herself and walked out of the auditorium.
Ok… that’s it. Before you shout….It is not my next book! it is just totally random. It has not been properly edited or anything.. so forgive the typo’s, the cliches, the unpolished writing. I just thought to paste it because I had not pasted anything on my blog in ages…
Think we should make a series out of it? You tell me! ( I dont know if I will be posting regularly o, but I fit try….)
Have a fab weekend!
This article was written by Abimbola