A Lover of Children

A Lover of Children
By John Ogunjimi

We’d returned early from the market where father sold turtle doves and he wanted me to deliver some birds to Jeriah of Emmaus in preparation for the feast of Passover.

I saddled the ass, set the birdcage on it, and rode off, mimicking the birds as they chirped their melodious tunes. The road that led to Judea from this western side of Jordan was unusually crowded. People thronged from all quarters behind a single man. Even Archelaus, one of the Pharisees, was there too. Continue reading

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A Friend in Need (28)

A Friend in Need (29)

“I’m not very good at story telling but I’ll try.” Tayo started, taking the centre position in the living room as we circled around him to listen. “It all started during one Sunday service in my second year; it was as if a sudden realization of Maria dawned on me. She had being in the fellowship all along and she’d being an usher too, but it was as if I was noticing her for the first time that Sunday. Honestly, it was difficult for me to concentrate on the remaining part of the service to the point that I had to caution myself and refocus on the preaching.

“The service ended that day and I went home thinking the feeling would go away. In unexplainable terms, my heart started yearning to see her again. I anticipated the next service more than my next meal. When I took it to God in prayer, I could almost feel the Holy Spirit sit beside me and was reading a recommendation letter about her to me. The more I tried not to think about her, the more I found myself thinking about her. My eyes began to open to certain things about her, like her dedication to God’s service, her love for orderliness, and her charming personality. Continue reading

A Friend in Need (27)

A Friend in Need (27)

I spent the greater part of the almost journey daydreaming again, since I wasn’t ready to share my cogitations with anyone. It seemed the road stretched longer than normal. The afternoon sun beating hard on the bus made the heat unbearable yet I managed to keep a radiant face as I listened to those who had things to say. As if in a conspiracy to prolong my suspense, the weekend travellers had caused a gridlock on the highway. But this isn’t the first time we’re passing through this route. I wondered.

When we finally reached our destination, I fronted the team. Tayo had suggested that we all meet at an eatery but I’d objected. “I would be better if we met at Mrs Okafor’s house. She may have one or two motherly pieces of advice to give.” I had said, partly because it was true, and also because I would get to see the one my heart longed for. Everyone had consented to my advice.

Maria watched me with suspicion as I made all the moves and I knew if asked, she could tell that something was fishy. Continue reading

A Friend in Need (3)

A Friend in Need (3)

The first thought that came to came to my mind was, So he knew I was sitting here all this time and yet he left me here? Just then, another thought flew in almost immediately, I knew I would win eventually. He couldn’t hide forever. That thought brought a smug smile to my face but I quickly cautioned myself, This is not the time for gloating! Without saying a word, I picked my stool and stepped into his room.

Everything looked the same in there. His Bible was open on his reading table as it had always been most of the time. His journal was beside the Bible, a pen sticking out from the middle thereof. Surely, he must have been writing in it.

As I entered, Tayo shut the door behind us firmly. I stared at him for seconds and what I could read written all over his face was worry, depression and fear. This is going to be a long day, I thought within myself as I sat on the carpet in one corner of his room. Just then, I noticed his eyeballs were red. Confusion gripped me. Was he sleeping before I came? Has he been sick? Or, God forbid, has he been smoking something? Was he high? Continue reading

A Friend In Need (2)

A Friend In Need (2)

Tayo’s father knew me well. I frequented his house as his son’s best friend and, good enough, he approved of my friendship with his son. He once told me of how he had taken time to pray with Tayo about God choosing a friend for him. He was afraid that an ungodly influence could derail his beloved son and waste all the spiritual investments in him. My father was his assistant and he too was pleased with my friendship with Tayo.

Pastor Adekunle, Tayo’s father, treats me like a son—his son. On days when my parents travelled out of town on missionary assignment, I simply packed my things and went over to my friend’s house and could be there for as long as I wanted. So, by all means, I knew I could discuss with him as a father.

Without hesitation, I placed a call to him, which he answered almost immediately, “Hello, my son.” Continue reading