The evil can’t find haven in the Church of the Most High God.
Abdul is rejected as a son-in-law because of his poverty. Convinced that God loves the poor and the rich of the same love, he resists his opponents but fails, falls into resentment and depression. After months of suffering, he breaks rules and goes out for liberty into the savannah. Once therein, a curious man kindles his curiosity. Following his traces, he is trapped by a secret society ritual. He feels he is the lamb of the sacrifice and wants to flee, too late. Will he survive finally?
I couldn’t bear it anymore. Two months confinement as if I was a prisoner. I needed fresh air and earnestly longed to escape.
My flatmate was out for nearly an hour. Seated on the terrace, the fresh air of the Harmattan under the 3 P.M. sun produced in me an intense desire to run away.
“Why do they treat me like a child? Why have they lost confidence in me and guard me days and nights? A forty years old man certainly deserves respect!”
All started as in a delusion of persecution. At church, the committee of Elders withdrew me from ministry. In their regards, I needed rest and they felt impelled by the Holy Spirit to help me. In my view, it was a blow of too much. Through my efforts, the Children’s Department had resumed its activities. Parents, previously dissatisfied because the education of their progenies was neglected had continued since the beginning of this year 2012 to congratulate me, to thank me for the changes they were observing in the lives of their kids. Why this unexpected retreat?
My co-worker in the Department had already warned me of Elder Ziff intention to stop my ministry among children. Was he my executioner or did I really need rest?
Two days before the Elders sanction, Fanta had told me of her parents rejection of our intention to betroth. For them, my social condition was not comfortable and they were not interested in seeing their daughter suffer. Persevering traders, they had succeeded in business and offered some comfort to their Fanta. I had listened to my feelings without taking into account the social status that was mine. To their view, my salary of 165,000 francs CFA was not enough!
I badly cope with the attitude of Fanta’s parents. Thinking of doing well, I went to their shop and quoted the Scriptures to her father. I had to do that to regain peace since the Bible declares: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” Here, they had sinned. The refusal to accept me marry their daughter was based on false arguments. Definitely, God’s Word disapproves the consideration of social differences between brothers; unless they weren’t Christians!
“What you have decided is purely carnal,” I told him. “According to the Bible, we should not judge people by appearances. God has made you what you are and you must not brag. I want you to take this into account: I love your daughter and you cannot prevent me from loving her. You know that she loves me and if you really care for her good, you must let her marry who she wants.”
Against these arguments, Fanta’s father jeered at me for a moment. After assessing my clothes, he replied:
“Even God is against poverty and it is improper to make alliance with the poor. Can you imagine yourself my son-in-law? Can your mind even picture it?”
I was confused. A Church Elder who puts forward money! His contempt dazzled my thoughts. I opened my mouth and could not articulate anything. He proceeded:
“My daughter will marry a person of her social standing. Seek for a girl of your level.”
“God will meet our needs and be assured that my current situation is not permanent,” I replied.
“Oh I see! My daughter sleeps under air conditioned and her monthly needs exceed twice your salary. Come on! May God provide a girl that suits you!” he said.
“You can do nothing against the will of God.”
“Because your ministry prospers you give yourself wings? God’s will is that you conform to your social rank. Do not pretend to things too high for you,” he advised.
This event disturbed me. Fanta told me of their poverty in the 90s; how her parents toiled for their studies. I felt uncomfortable when I recollected that it was only five years since the growth of their trade was significant to help them build their current house. The man was a Church Elder and was supposed to look at the human heart instead of his pockets. Since I was young; I would possibly grow highest in business than he! Only God knows. After all, I was not so miserable; I was not a beggar; I couldn’t understand.
Fanta was zealous in her service to God. She was also caring and compassionate. Her presence gave me comfort and assurance. Her love was so nice and I was made to the idea that she would be the woman God has prepared for me. I didn’t figure out this sudden opposition. Why frustrate love?
Passing time with Fanta was agreeable. We could walk for miles without realizing. We could chat for hours without getting tired. We talked about God, church, ministry among children, my troubles with colleagues and we never got annoyed.
Fanta is tender and endowed with a great ability to listen. Whenever she spoke, I saw in her the perfect companion. Every word she chose sounded pleasant to my ears! Her voice itself was an encouragement and so far I have not heard of indecent word out of her mouth, even after her parents rejected our betrothal.
I did not give up easily. I ran to the pastor, to seek help. Curiously, he knew the purpose of my visit.
“I am informed,” he said to me. “I advised Fanta’s parents for their decisions if you want to know. I have already prepared a brother for Sister Fanta and I advise you to forget. If you have nothing to say, good evening and the Lord bless you.”
“May the Lord bless me! Which Lord? He should have acted like a pastor before blessing me! He should have listened to me instead of throwing to my face such a violent sentence! What have I done wrong? He certainly has no right to decide who should marry Fanta!” I was discontented.
The attitude of the pastor aggravated my pains.
I couldn’t contain myself. My anger rose and went up without restraint. Was it a collective conspiracy? Why would the pastor stand against me? I had no recollection of evil deeds or bad thoughts against him. So why his opposition?
The next morning, Jack, my flatmate informed me that I had talked all night. As for me, I could not remember anything. He told me that I had a restless sleep, as if I was talking to the pastor, sometimes to Fanta, at times to her father, at times to her mother. According to him, only Fanta received tender words. To the others, I had been violent and spiteful.
We were on Saturday and I had to hold down. Children monitors had meeting at 5.30 P.M. to prepare Sunday lessons. The day was peaceful and I recovered thanks to this verse which resounded silently in my mind: “All things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 if my remembrance is correct. The meeting went well.
On Sunday then, I was in the program for the mid-class (7-12 years). Just after I arrived at the parish, one of the monitors told me that I was asked to do nothing.
“Who asks me to do nothing…”
As I was finishing my question, I heard the steps of someone approaching. The pastor had something to tell me.
“Because you are very tired these days, the Committee of Elders, inspired by the Holy Spirit, has observed yesterday that you need some rest. As soon as possible or let’s say… once you have recovered, you will be called back. Let it be clear: from this morning, you will not teach children again until you are recalled to.”
I opened my mouth to answer, but no word came out. I wanted to yap against the scandal, but no sound came out. Where were we? In the jungle? In the world or in the Church of the living God?
The pastor, who had not stopped staring at me added:
“We have decided that Brother Josiah is going to take care of both mid-classes this morning. By next week, we will find your replacement.”
The tear that was ready to pour gave in to daydreaming. “… So everything is already done and resistance would not serve anything,” I assessed. I first wanted to ask why no one had consulted me before their decision, but I rather said:
“The will of God be done.”
On what the pastor, surprised or perhaps shocked, went away.
The service went on as usual. The Bible study, the worship, the preaching, everything went perfectly. At the end of the service, I came close to Fanta for greetings. “I’m sorry,” she replied.
 165,000 francs CFA is about 300 US dollars
 Matthew 18.15
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