I was recently in an Aba-bound bus from Umuahia. I was seated by the window, slightly regretting the fact that my phone battery was low and so I couldn’t occupy my mind with music from my playlist. But I had a book in hand, and even though motion sickness nipped at the edges of my consciousness, the nausea didn’t develop to the point where I had to shut the book.
And then from somewhere in the bus, someone hollered, “Praise the Lord!”
I closed my eyes and sighed, instantly craving the blissful disappearance that music and earphones guarantee.
“Brothers and sisters in this bus, I say praise the Lord!”
A few mumbled Hallelujahs was all the encouragement this bus evangelist needed to launch into the word of God he had for us. He preached prosperity and repentance, a brief sermon, which he wrapped up with a fervent prayer of God’s guidance and protection that revved up enough passengers to chorus “Amen” louder than the first “Hallelujah”.
And as I endured this, I looked longingly at my phone. However I had some calls to make to determine my destination and business when I get to Aba. So I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.
But what started out as a source of exasperation quickly became comedy.
So this evangelist was done with his message and prayers, and after a beat of silence, he began, “Let me introduce myself, brethren.” And so he launched into a long, winding introduction that touched on how he left a lucrative barbing salon business to answer God’s call, and how he’s been touching souls on different travels from Aba to Port Harcourt, to Lagos, Benin, Asaba, Enugu, Abakiliki, Awka… The guy could write a Gulliver’s Travels book on Christian evangelism.
And just when I was mentally saying, “Dude, get to the point of this,” he did. He began, “And so, brothers and sisters, I have dedicated my life to serving God, and you too can do the same by supporting His ministry. Support God’s ministry today and watch how blessings will pour into your life. There is someone here who God is speaking to, to sow a seed of faith by paying for the transport fare of your humble brother. Do not resist God’s voice. Go ahead and sow that seed.”
He finally paused. The bus kept on moving as the driver changed gears. The wind was whipping in through the window, failing to scrub the amusement that was starting to grow on my face.
The brother spoke up again, “All you have to do is support the ministry of God, and every weapon fashioned against you will not prosper. Instead, what will prosper in your life are the blessings of God.”
Again he lapsed into expectant silence. Someone coughed. The toddler in the arms of the woman in front of me whimpered.
“For it is written that even though you walk through the valley of shadow of death, you shall fear no evil. For the Lord is with you. And He will continue to be with you as much as you’ve sown a seed of faith by paying for the transport fare that His servant is asking for.”
Paper flapped as someone briefly fanned himself. The mother in front shushed her whimpering child. My lips twitched with amusement. Boy, this was a tough crowd. Weren’t they just declaring Amen to this guy’s prayers a short while ago? Did they think such prayers come free of charge?
“Listen to the voice of God, that voice that is telling you to support His work. Support the word of God. Support the ministry of God now and watch as His blessings in your life will manifest in abundance.” There was now a plaintive note to the evangelist’s voice, a “bros, na beg I dey beg” tone that wasn’t there before.
But either the voice of God needed a microphone to be heard by whoever it was speaking to, or the passengers in this bus had weighed He that is in their wallets against He that is in the word, because no one was moving an inch to offer the 600 naira that was all the seed of faith the evangelist was asking.
And he kept asking and asking, deliberately avoiding the conductor’s glare, until I got down at Osisioma, beside myself with subdued laughter.
For his sake, I hope someone will get around to supporting the ministry of God.
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