Alice was sweeping the
church when Promise arrived from her trip, as soon as she saw her, she
genuflected in greeting. There was something about Promise that made her
different, some sort of ill radiance, something she couldn’t place her finger
on. Gift followed closely behind and a young man followed Gift behind, Alice
had no idea of who he was.
“Welcome back pastor…”
Alice greeted.
“Thank you Alice. How
has the church fared since my travel?”
“Very well pastor, we
are preparing for the Banquet Sunday.” Alice said.
Gift walked over to
stand beside Promise.

“Banquet Sunday? What in
the world is that?” She asked.
“It’s a day we come
together to feast from God’s blessings. Everyone brings what they have for the
feast.” Promise supplied.
Gift scoffed.
“Isn’t that too poor?
Why can’t the church throw the banquet feast for its congregation anyway, Psalm twenty three verse five says ‘you prepare a banquet for me, where all my enemies can see
me.’ In order words, we are the ones supposed to throw the feast and not the
people.” Gift said.
“I agree with you.”
Promise said with a sigh.
“I do not agree, we
don’t have any money in our account.” Alice said in anger. “How can we feed the people with nothing?”
“Oh ye men of little faith!” Gift stressed. “When Jesus fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish, did He complain that he had no money in his account?”
“That’s Jesus and this is reality. We don’t have the money.” Alice stressed.
“Look at the person that has stood by your side for years as your personal assistant. If she has this type of mentality, then, no wonder this church has been on a downward spiral for years.” Gift said.
“What? What are you saying?” Alice said sounding offended. “Am I to be stoned for telling the truth? We don’t have up to ten thousand naira in the church account and we have a lot of bills to settle. The Power Holding company have brought their bills, we are running short of fuel for Sunday service too…and all we have in our account is less than ten thousand naira.” Alice said emotionally.
Japheth walked around
the small church, staring at the place he was supposed to spend the next few
weeks. Anyway, that was what Sir Gideon, the overseer of his church had
informed him when he sent him to meet Promise some days ago. Japheth used to be
assailed by terrible dreams till one night while having one of his dreams, he
was directed to the man of God, Sir Gideon and his life began to change. When
Sir Gideon had told him that the Lord had revealed a woman for him, he was happy to leave everything including his business to be with the woman. Japeth was a tall man,
with broad shoulders, a handsome face and a lean physique, a lot of women
swooned after him but he was never committed to any of them. 
He was still
looking about the small church when he heard his name.
“Japeth, please tell
this woman here that a banquet is very different from a sharing.” Gift said.
Alice stared at the
young woman who was desperate to make a fool out of her and the young man who
was a stranger to her in anger.
“Yes, a banquet is
hosted by whoever is in charge of the feast and not otherwise.” He said.
“Finally! Someone with
common sense speaks!” Gift said.
“Are you insulting me?”
Alice said getting upset.
“Alice…please…calm down. Just as Gift said, a banquet is very different from a love feast so,
we’ll need to print emergency fliers for people, and invite people to the
church for the banquet. Also, I’ll need you to reach out to some church members
through phone call, to inform them of the banquet.” Promise said.
“That’s not her job,
that’s my job!” Gift said enraged.
“Very true,  I am sorry about that Gift, please do the needful.”
Promise said.
Alice was hurt.
“Promise, who are you?
What have you become? This is not you!” Alice said in an angry voice.
“How dare you speak to
your pastor in such way? You even refer to her by her name. Do you have no fear
or respect?” Gift shouted.
Alice didn’t speak, she
was too angry to speak. Promise held up her hand at Gift and said.
“I am just back from a
trip and I need to rest.”
“I’ll errr…work on
getting you the new apartment as soon as I can.” Gift said. “And also, I’ve
started making contacts with the man who owns the empty land space opposite
this church….I want us to purchase it and build something there.”
“Good…I’ll leave the
planning to you.” Promise said and she walked towards the back door of the
church and headed towards her mini apartment.
Japeth followed closely
behind, while Gift walked out of the church and headed outside. Alice stood
there wondering where on earth the money for a new apartment for Promise, the purchase of a new church land and the feast for the banquet would come from.
***********
Promise was fast asleep
while Japeth busied about at her mini apartment. He saw a bag at a corner and
quickly walked over to it and opened it. The contents of the bag were prayer
manuals, bibles and more prayer books and he opened them to read.
Promise was fast asleep
when she heard Sir Gideon’s voice.
“You didn’t dispose the
books!”
She sat up in a start
and saw Japeth, reading through a small prayer book, she quickly bounded off
the bed and moved over to him.
“Japeth…” She started.
“These books are really
good…where did you get so many books like this?” Japeth asked.
“I told Alice to dispose
them…” Promise said, taking one of the books out of his hand.
“I was just reading this
one titled ‘Grace Abound’ and the owner wrote her name on it.
The owner’s name is Hope.”
“Yes, that’s my mother.”
“Really? I’d like to see
her…”
“She passed…” Promise
said.
“I am so sorry…I am
really sorry…” He said.
She nodded and said.
“I’d better call Alice
to take the books away.”
“Why? I want to read
them.” He said.
“I want to give them to
charity and honestly, these books are not even enough…” She lied.
“Okay then…” He said.
Promise went to get her
phone and called Alice. Soon, Alice walked into the room, she had a
bitter expression on her face.
“I thought I told you to
dispose of these books.” Promise said.
“I didn’t know you
wanted me to dispose of the books too….they are prayer books and bibles.”
Alice said.
“When I give
instructions, I expect that they are carried out! There can’t be two masters
in a ship!” Promise said in anger.
“Those books are your
mother’s books and yours…I don’t see why…” Alice started.
“Will you shut up
already? Take the books now and dispose of them.” Promise shouted.
Alice took the bag of
books and as she trudged towards the door, she saw a very big book which looked
like a bible on Promise’s table. There was something odd about the book, but
she looked away and took the books outside the house and shut the door.
Japeth stared at Alice’s
retreating form, he had taken two books and stashed them under the chair
without Promise’s knowledge.
***********
Alice walked into the
church with the bag of books, she dumped the bag at the center of the church
and hissed.
“Angry at something?” A
male voice asked.
She startled and turned
around to see Bernard.
“Oh Bernard, it’s so
good to see you! Promise has changed…she’s now different. Look at the books
she wants me to dispose.” Alice started gesturing to the bag of books in her hand.
“Calm down. Is pastor
Promise around?”
“Yes, she came in
today…” Alice said.
“Did she come with her
new P.A, Gift?” Bernard asked with a hint of interest.
“Yes…that stupid woman
who thinks she’s boss of everyone.”
“Well, P.A’s are usually
stubborn.”
Alice looked at him and
said in a voice veiled with disgust.
“You like her, don’t
you?”
“She’s a beautiful woman
and she has taste.” Bernard said.
Alice was crushed, she
had had a crush on Bernard since he joined the church four years ago and he had
never complimented her.
“Mtchewww….” Alice
hissed as she hoisted the bag of books and made her way to the door of the
church.
“Where are you taking
the books to?” Bernard asked.
“I’m throwing them away.”
Alice said.
“Why?”
“What else should I do
with them?”
“You can take them out
to the bus stop and sell them for fifty naira and hundred naira respectively.
You’ll be amazed at the way the books will clear out like magic.” He said.
Alice nodded.
“That’s true, there’s no
need throwing them away when a lot of people could be saved by reading these
books. I’ll sell them for fifty naira at the bustop.” She said.
Bernard smiled and
watched her walk out through the door.

To be
continued on Sunday…..

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