It was three months
after Promise had returned to the church, a changed woman. The once empty land
opposite the church was now occupied by a towering structure which was almost
completed. On a very large billboard was the name, Church of Evangelical Hope
and Promises of God International and under the sign was a full blown picture
of pastor Promise dressed beautifully. The church had blossomed in ways that
even pastor Promise never expected, the people came in thousands, the prophetic
messages flowed, she dressed better, her church’s account was very promising,
she was highly respected and most of all, she was sought by everyone from far
and near.
Promise had moved out of
the mini apartment behind her former church and had moved to a decent apartment
not far from the church, she was basking in wealth as her home was very well
furnished, beautifully adorned and all she believed were not possible had come
to pass in her life, all thanks to Sir Gideon and his water spirits.

She was in her sitting
room, watching the news when Japheth walked in, he had taken some time off to
go back to his base to check on his business before coming back to be with her.
They were in a very close relationship, Promise loved Japheth and she believed
he shared the same feelings with her.
“Programme starts
anytime soon but the crowd for counselling…in fact, Gift said I should ask
you if you’d be able to see all of them.” Japheth asked.
“Well…have they bought
the anointing oils, the water and sacred items? I can’t see anyone who hasn’t
bought any of these sacred things.” Promise informed.
“You can trust
Gift…she is very money oriented. She’ll get the people to buy all the
things…” Japheth said.
*********
At the church, the security
men were trying to control the crowd, they stood as a barricade as people tried
to stream into the church, shouting out numbers.
“I am number twenty
three!”
“No, I am number
eighty…I have been here since the wee hours of the morning!” Another
screamed.
“Sit down…sit down and
wait and we will give everyone numbers again.” The security screamed.
“We have been waiting since
five am this morning and it’s almost noon! Some people who have just arrived
are taking new numbers. I have come with my son for the past month and we have
never seen the pastor.” A woman screamed in anger.
“Wait….wait…” The
security men screamed.
Gift walked up to the
screaming crowd, she was dressed in a long floral dress, and covered her hair with
a sharp pink scarf and on her feet were high sandals, she picked up a
microphone and spoke into it.
“Good afternoon
everyone.” She greeted and waited for everyone to calm down before speaking. “The
pastor will be with everyone shortly and she’ll try as much as she can to see
everyone here but note that she won’t see you if you haven’t bought any of the
sacred items sold in the church because she might want to pray for you with it
while you are with her.”
There was a murmur in
the crowd.
“If you bought any
sacred item yesterday, please note that it is a brand new day and we have new
items for the day so….we will only attend to those who have today’s receipt for
purchasing items.”
The crowd of people
scampered to the small kiosk where the items were being sold and only a few
were left.
“All those left, the
ushers will give you new numbers to see the pastor.” Gift said.
Alice walked up to the
front of the church and leaned against a pillar, staring at the people almost
crushing themselves all in the name of purchasing sacred items, her eyes
scanned the very few people standing in line as they were given numbers by the
ushers. She saw a very young woman standing at the side of the church, she
clutched her bag and she looked very sickly, she was neither at the side of
those rushing for sacred items nor at the side of those standing on the line.
Alice stepped down from the church and walked up to the lady.
“Good afternoon.” Alice
greeted.
“Good afternoon, madam.”
The lady greeted.
“Are you here to see the
pastor?” Alice asked.
“Yes…” The lady
replied.
“Why aren’t you in line?”
Alice asked.
“I…bought a bottle of
sacred water two days ago while waiting to see the pastor but I didn’t see her
and I kept the bottle untouched. Today, I was here as early as four am and I
slept outside at the gates till the gate was opened and now that I am close to
seeing her, `the pastor’s personal assistant says that we must provide receipts
for items purchased today. As I speak to you madam, I haven’t eaten for two
days, I have no money, I have nothing. I have been suffering from a nameless
illness for the past three years and all I have, I have spent on the illness. I
have been to doctors, hospitals and churches and I have not been cured. I heard
about the pastor with a promise and that’s why I am here.” The lady said as she
opened her tattered bag and showed the empty contents of the bag to Alice. “I
don’t have a single kobo in this bag, all I have is the small bottle of anointed
water which I bought two days ago for three thousand naira.”
Alice was moved, she
looked at the lady and knew that she was telling the truth so she took her by
the hand and led her up to the line of those waiting to get into the church. When
the ushers got to her, Alice told them that she had already cleared her. The
lady was filled with gratitude as she entered the church.
Alice had hardly got
into the church when Gift rushed up to her.
“How dare you challenge
my command?” Gift inquired hotly.
“I didn’t challenge it,
Gift, I only helped a helpless woman.” Alice said.
“Really? By allowing her
come into the church without purchasing any items?”
“She purchased the water
and that was two days ago, she doesn’t have any money and she needs healing!”
Alice shouted.
“Did you raise your
voice at me?” Gift asked.
“Yes I did! I am tired
of being bossed around by you. Yes, you helped build this church and made the
church grow, something I never did. I can’t say where all the money which was
used to buy this land came from but I know you supported a great deal. I have
known Promise for longer than every other person here and I know that she would
support my decision a hundred percent. She has compassion and that’s Christ-like!
Have we even thought that some people who have come for prayers might have not
eaten? Have we thought of maybe buying water and snacks and sharing to them? In
the book of Matthew chapter fifteen, verse thirty-two, Jesus called his
disciples to Him and said; ‘I feel sorry for these people, because they have
been with me for three days and now have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send
them away without feeding them, for they might faint on their way home!’ That
shows us how merciful He is and we have to be an example of His selflessness.”
“Don’t you dare quote
the scriptures to me!” Gift shouted.
“Our God is merciful, He
is kind and compassionate to the poor, the needy and the helpless. What do we
portray as His church if we exhort money from people and not render help
instead.”
“What? Did you just call
pastor Promise an exhortionist?”
“You know I didn’t say
that!” Alice said with anger.
“Do you know what? I am
done talking to you…I’ll have a word with the pastor when she comes. I have
had it with you, Alice, and I can’t take this any longer.” Gift said and
stormed off.
Alice walked over to one
of the ushers and gave her some money to buy some food and water for her. Soon
the girl came back and Alice directed her to the young lady who she had helped
get into the church. The young lady had tears in her eyes as she took the food
from the usher and ate it hurriedly, and thankfully.
**********
Promise arrived in a
black shiny jeep, she stepped out of the car as soon as the driver opened the
door for her. Her two body guards walked with her and soon she got into the
church and into her office which was very spacious and cool. She had hardly sat
down when Gift walked in.
“Good afternoon pastor…”
“I can only see five
people today…I have a headache.” Promise said, popping some aspirin into her mouth.
“Okay…but I’m here to
make an official complaint.” Gift said.
“Complaint? About what?”
“Alice…”
“Gift, please…let’s
leave Alice with her notions, you know she really doesn’t approve of all the
new additions to the church. She is quite possessive of me.” Promise started.
“No! That’s not what I’m
here to talk about. She called you an extortionist to my face! She insulted Sir
Gideon and called him an extortionist too.”
Promise was surprised.
“What? Where did that
come from?”
“All because I told
people to get fresh new sacred items for prayers, she snuck a woman in and
claimed that she couldn’t afford it. Then when I went to her calmly to ask why
she did that, she opened her mouth and called all of us extortionists.”
“What?”
“I’ll be honest with you
pastor, I have worked with three pastors and I have never been so insulted by
someone of low standing in the church. What’s her role again? Prayer
coordinator….”
“I can’t believe she
said that.”
“Are you calling me a
liar?”
“No, you know I’m not.”
Promise said.
“I want her out of this
church or I’m leaving!” Gift shouted.
“What…why? That’s
not…”
“Listen to me pastor
Promise, I have received enough insults from that tramp and I won’t receive such
anymore!”
“Speak to me with some
respect Gift!” Promise shouted.
“I am sorry…I am just
so upset.” Gift said.
“I’ll speak to Alice
about this…please leave me now and tell the first person on the line to come
in.” Promise said.
Gift nodded and left the
office, she was determined to send Alice away and even if she had to shake the
foundation of the church to do it, she will. She sent the first person in and stormed
off to her office where she dialled Sir Gideon’s phone number.

To be
continued on Thursday…..

3 COMMENTS

  1. What kind of prayer coordinator is Alice if she hasn't deciphered in the spirit that something is wrong in the church spiritually? That's what I wonder about.

    • From the beginning, Alice had never been the prayer coordinator, she was the personal assistant to Promise's mother and later on to Promise so this is a position that's quite alien to her.
      Thank you for reading Chu.

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