Monday, February 23, 2009

Novella: Sheepish Wolves (Chapter 1)

The Good Shepherd church was known all over the state for its dynamic and vibrant youth church. They organized crusades, outreaches, concerts, bible expositions and lots more. Majority of the active members were teenagers and a few were above the teen age. It was a church every teenager in Ondo State, Nigeria wanted to visit again after a first experience.
There were counseling sessions with peer counselors. Fellow teenagers, who were more mature in faith and more exposed, counseled other teenagers and young adults. There were also tutorial classes organized for those with academic challenges and a welfare arm for those in need. Indeed, it was a church that catered for the spirit, soul and body of each member.
Many had good reports about the church but not all. Some became victims of opportunism, even in the same church.
“You’re just as shallow as your mother. I should have sent you packing with her.” After a moment of silence, he added, “Can’t you say anything, silly? You just keep looking like a dummy, wetting your face with those crocodile tears. That prostitute you call your mother used those tears to weaken me once; don’t think you can fool me like she did.”
Walking closer to his daughter who was cowering at the far corner of the living room, he took note of her adolescent body changes for the first time in a long while. He bent down and lifted up her chin. Looking into her eyes, all he could see was fear and innocence and his heart tugged at him. But when he remembered what her mother, his ex-wife, did to him, his fury burned again.
Staring intently at her, though she had dropped her gaze, he asked condescendingly, “Or have you started sleeping around too?”
At that, she jerked her face away, stood up and ran to her room where she cried her eyes out. He did not follow her. Whenever he felt he should apologize to her, he remembered that she was a product of his first marriage and that fact alone was enough to silence any feeling of remorse.
When she was left with no more strength to weep, Febi sat on the rocking chair in her room and sobbed. She remembered the days when her dad used to love her and virtually spoil her. Many occasions when he carried her on his back for his morning strolls; they were pleasant but painful memories at the same time. Things changed drastically for them five years prior.
Five years back, her father discovered that his wife, Febi’s mother, had been cheating on him. He had trusted her so much that the knowledge left him shattered. Three months later, they had a divorce. The marriage had been eleven years before the incidence. The court ruled that her father should keep her. Then, she was only ten years old. Now fifteen, she wondered why her dad had agreed to keep her in the first place.
Her father, popularly known as Barrister Popoola, was a well known lawyer in Ondo State. To avoid the scandals that come with celebrity divorces, he had urged the court to allow him keep his daughter. What made matters worse was that he re-married barely one year after and it had been misery for Febi ever since. Her step-mother was never fair to her. She never laid hands on her though, but always accused her falsely to her father.
Her step-mother was presently pregnant after waiting for over three years. She had just accused Febi of leaving her alone in the kitchen to do all the cooking which made her father slap and hit her. Whereas, in actual fact, Febi had done all the work and the step-mother had sent her on errands all through the day, being a Saturday. She was out to buy a recharge card for her step-mother when her father returned. So, it was easy for her step to accuse her; she concluded by saying Febi had gone to play with her friends, leaving her alone in the house.
Febi knew however that her father would not listen to her if she told him the truth, so she didn’t bother saying anything. He never believed her if what she said contradicted what his new wife said. Febi always looked forward to school because then she would be far away from home. Monday was always her happiest day. Unfortunately however, she didn’t have friends in school either. She was brilliant, and due to her poor self-image, she was also very quiet and hardly talked to anyone. She was regarded as a snob because of that, and many students resented her.
The only friend she had was a computer nerd, who was also not in regular social circles. They kept each other company a couple of times. But comparing both, school was still much better for her than her house.
As she was rocking in her room, a fresh wave of tears rose within her as she remembered a day when she eavesdropped on her father in his room. He was fond of thinking out loud when alone. In his room, he had said one night, ‘Febi is so beautiful and intelligent. I’m proud of her and wish I could tell her so. But she reminds me of what her mother looked like when I met her for the first time. Febi, forgive me. It’s not you I hate but your mother.’
She had heard her father say those words. She could tell from his voice that he had been crying and that he meant every word he had spoken. That was the only thing that had kept her from running away from the house; she knew her father still loved her.
Wiping away her tears, she resorted to visiting her best friend, the TV. She put on the TV and flipped through channels till one station caught her attention. She saw a bunch of teenagers having so much fun and seeming like there were no problems in the world to be worried about. At the end of the commercial, she saw it was a church, named “The Good Shepherd church”, with the address written beneath. She made a mental note of the name and address; that had never been a problem for her. She memorized things easily.
‘I sure want to have what those guys have. I would visit the church this Sunday’, she thought to herself. As she lay down to sleep, the last images on her mind were the happy teenagers she saw and she imagined herself being one of them some day. She really hoped she would be happy again.

Novella: Sheepish Wolves (Chapter 2)

“Mum, I’m trying. I mean it.”
“With 5Cs and 4Ds, you say you’re trying?”
“But remember it was worse last term”
“So, are you asking me to congratulate you for this pathetic result? Your father is spending close to half a million naira on you every year and all you can bring back is this”
“Mum, I promise to get better”
“You had better do better”. Thinking fast, she added, “You know your dad is going for a one-year sabbatical lecturing at University of Oxford in August?”
“Yes mum. I had almost forgotten.”
“I don’t blame you. You have a really dense head. I wonder if you ever remember anything. Your father is a professor of Botany, I’m a SAN, and your elder sister is almost through with medical school, but you sit here and celebrate 5Cs. At times, I wonder if there was a chemical imbalance in my womb during and after your conception.”
“Will you shut up? Don’t I have every reason to think so?”
“Don’t you but me. Like I was saying before you unintelligently interrupted me, your father will be away throughout your next session in school. And I hope you have not forgotten as well that you’re going to your final class, SS3, come September.”
“Mum! How can I forget that? You’re insulting me.”
“Oh! Now you know how it feels to be insulted. Do you know how insulted and ashamed your father and I feel when we come for your Visiting day, only to see grades written with red biro?”
“I’m so sorry mum. You won’t see red anymore.”
“That’s what you’ve always said, son”
“This time is different; for real.”
“Please don’t give me that. Now I don’t want you to interrupt me until I finish what I want to say, okay?”
“Okay mum” he sighed.
Moving to sit directly opposite him on the stool in his room, she said “If you don’t step up your grades this third term, when your dad is away, I’ll withdraw you from your school and put you in Ondo grammar school.” She stopped and allowed the message to be well understood.
A smile spread reflexively across his face. “You cannot be serious, mum”
“Wait and see” she said. “You have this third term to prove yourself.”
Looking at his mum’s face, Dayo knew that she was serious, and the mere thought of the humiliation that will ensue sent shivers running down his spine. “Mum, I promise I’ll work so hard, you wouldn’t have to do that” he said hoping against hope that what his mum threatened will never happen.
“How do you hope to improve on your grades?” his mother asked.
“I don’t know yet, but I’ll do something.”
“You had better”, she said, stood up and walked out of his room.
Increasing the cool of the air conditioner, Dayo sat back on his bed but kept sweating. He could imagine his friends laughing at him. He was still wondering what to do when he remembered he had an assignment to do online.
Sitting at his reading table, he opened the Yahoo search engine. But before typing in his assignment topic, an advert at the top right corner of the page caught his attention. It had different captions flashing on and off. One of them was, ‘Do you need a quick miracle in your academics, click here’. He didn’t blink before clicking.
The site that opened up was a tutorial class site hosted by the Good Shepherd church. Dayo read through the online brochure and decided it was what he needed. He scrolled down the page to see how much it would cost. He knew he could afford to pay the fee from his pocket money. His classmate had told him about an expensive tutorial class that cost #40,000. He knew this could not be that expensive, and even if it was, he had enough money in his savings account to cover the cost.
Scrolling down, he was perplexed when he didn’t see any place indicating the fee. He went back to the home page and clicked on ‘Registration’. All he saw there was an invitation to the church’s Sunday service. ‘We’ll give you more information after the service’ was the only information there.
‘That’s fair enough’, he thought. He hadn’t been to church in a while but going to church wasn’t a repulsive idea. “Sunday it will be then”, he said out to himself. Dayo then proceeded to research his assignment topic.
The youth church of the Good Shepherd church was filled to capacity as usual. The 2,000 capacity auditorium was full of teenagers and young adults. Some had to sit outside and watch via a screen.
Pastor Francis, the 25 year old youth pastor preached a sermon on, ‘The God of All Possibilities’. He made them know that God could and would settle any challenges they were faced with but that they needed to repent of their sins first and surrender their lives to Him. The message cut across different categories of teenagers. The atmosphere was charged and there was dead silence except for some muffled sobs and cries scattered throughout the auditorium. Pastor Francis always made it a duty while preaching to look into the eyes of as many of the people seated in the congregation, as possible.
The guys who had been whistling initially were now quiet. Girls no longer passed notes. There was some saving anointing in the auditorium that day and every teenager, male and female alike felt it. The other youth ministers were visibly praying under their breaths, asking God to perfect what he had started.
In that congregation were two different teenagers who didn’t even know the other existed. They were there because of the same reason; they needed help. One was Febi, and the other was Dayo. ‘Will I find the help and transformation I have been seeking here?’ That was the silent question on their minds in the different seats they sat in the auditorium.

Novella: Sheepish Wolves (Chapter 3)

Febi was listening so intently that nothing else mattered at that moment to her. It was like the pastor had been in her house and had seen how she was treated. She would have taken him for a mind reader if not that he had said something about ‘preaching under the auction of the Holy Spirit’.
She didn’t know when the tears began rolling down her cheeks but she didn’t hold them back. When he called for those who wanted to accept Jesus to come forward, she immediately stood and began walking toward the altar. There were many who came out. Standing beside her was a tall teenage boy wearing an expensive lace outfit, but she barely noticed him.
Standing at the altar, Dayo knew that he had made the right decision. Pastor Francis had quoted Deuteronomy 28:13 to let him know that success was God’s will for everyone but the condition was obedience to God’s word. He had long postponed giving his life to Christ but now was the day and there was turning back this time.
The pastor asked them to confess their sins to God. Silently, he apologized for all his misdeeds. He confessed his pride, apologized for times he had put others down because they weren’t wealthy, repented of cheating in exams, sleeping with girls and dumping them after, and so many more. The more he confessed his sins to God, the more relieved he felt.
They were ushered to a room where counselors spoke with them, and gave them materials to help them grow in the Christian faith. Soon after, they all returned to the auditorium to join in the rest of the service.
At the end of the service, announcements were made as to people who came because they needed counseling, welfare or tutorials. They were told the respective places to sit after the service. When the service was over, some teenagers left the auditorium immediately, while some gathered in different circles to have meetings. Others, who came for help, sat at the designated places, waiting to be addressed.
Sitting on the first seat on the first row among those waiting for counseling, Febi kept thanking God in her heart that He had made her see the advert and had made her come. She felt new. She knew she would still be going home to face the real world, but she was still content that her life had taken a new turn.
Looking behind her, she saw about twenty teenagers. ‘I’m not the only one in pain and some sort of confusion’, she thought to herself. She was pleased when she saw a group of young folks coming in their direction.
“Good morning friends”
“Good morning”, some chorused while others just stared.
“My name is Segun and I’m the head of the counseling team. With me are other counselors…”
While he was talking, Febi did a mental count; they were twenty of them. She assumed then that it would be a one-to-one counseling. She hoped it would be a girl that would counsel her. Opening up to anyone was going to be one high hurdle to jump; now opening up to a guy was going to be a lot more difficult.
Soon after his introductory talk, Segun asked them to take numbers. Febi was number one, and coincidentally, they were twenty, so no counselor needed to have more than one person. Before he assigned them to their counselors, he said a few more things.
“Your counselors would be responsible to you and you to them. You are to totally open up to your counselor. We are here for you and your secrets are safe with us. You might have to meet with your counselors often. You should call whenever you want to see or talk with him or her. Your counselor is also free to call you whenever he or she feels a need to be updated on your state of development. Please trust your counselors; it will help you a great deal.”
He then told the counselors to go to their assigned teenagers, while he excused himself. The way they moved showed they had already taken numbers before they came over; Febi wondered which counselor was number one. For a few minutes, she waited and nobody came. She began to feel that familiar feeling of rejection again. She was about to ask if she had been ignored when she noticed Segun running back and looking in her direction.
“I’m so sorry. I had to see a friend behind. Like you know, I’m Segun – Segun Kolade. What is your name?”
“I’m Febi Popoola.”
“Febi, it’s my pleasure meeting you.”
“Same here”
Rising up, he motioned to her. “Would you mind if we moved to that other row, so that you could feel free to talk?”
“No, I don’t” Febi was pleased to have a break as she walked behind him. Her palms were all sweaty. She did not trust herself not to cry. She did not know if she’ll sound reasonable. She wondered if he wouldn’t laugh at her when she confided in him. While she was still contemplating her choices, he asked her to sit down.
Looking up at him, she saw a guy who was ready to listen to her. Before she knew it, she began talking. Slowly at first, then the words began tumbling out. She had bottled those feelings in her heart for so long that she felt she would burst at the speed that she was letting them out. Taking brief glances at her counselor, she noticed that he was listening intently and he didn’t seem in hurry. She was encouraged to go on. At some point, she began to cry, and he offered her a handkerchief. It was the first time in years that she had felt loved and listened to.
When she was done, she covered her face with the handkerchief and wept some more. He didn’t say anything at all; she actually thought he had left her. But when she looked up again, he was still sitting there, looking at her with so much understanding. In her heart she was grateful to God one more time that she came to the Good Shepherd church.
She had talked about her parents’ divorce and how the family had been before that. She talked about her father’s second marriage and how he had been physically and verbally abusing her. She told him her terrible she felt about herself. The list was so long and heart-rending. She ended up saying “I don’t think anybody likes me and I feel I’m ugly too. If not, why wouldn’t anybody talk to me in school?”

Novella: Sheepish Wolves (Chapter 4)

When Febi had calmed down, Segun talked with her and in a few minutes she was smiling. She even laughed once. He told her about how God felt about her and how she should feel about herself. When he was rounding up, he looked her in the eye. She lowered her eyes because his look made her uncomfortable.
“You are very beautiful”, he said. She heard him and was flushed but she wanted to be sure he wasn’t mocking her, so she looked up at him, and she knew he meant it. There was genuine admiration in his eyes for her.
“Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like dirt. No matter what they say about you, remember what God says about you and hold on to that, okay?”
“Okay” she muttered.
“It was my pleasure talking with you, Febi”
“Same here”
“Can I have your telephone number, house address and e-mail address?”
“Sure you can”. They both exchanged contacts then.
“I’ll stay in touch. Remember to call me immediately you need someone to talk to”
“I will. Thank you so much, Segun. You can’t tell how relieved and happy I am right now.”
“I can imagine” he said with a smile. They said a prayer together, and he offered her a handshake, which she received gladly. She picked her belongings and started towards the door unaware that Segun’s eyes were still on her.
Dayo had been introduced to the person who would be taking him his tutorials. Her name was Precious. He was told that she was in her second year in the university with a CGPA of 4.85. She was going to take him up personally.
Dayo, being a boy who was used to sizing up females, noticed that she wasn’t exceptionally beautiful; just okay. But when she talked, he could hear in her voice that she was highly intelligent.
“How much would I be paying?” he had asked earlier during the introduction by Makun, the head of the tutorial team. He had been told it was free and was really impressed. He didn’t know what to make of it but decided to give them a try, with a determination to put in his best.
When he was assigned to a female, he was initially disappointed. He changed his mind however when Makun had mentioned her CGPA. One thing he immediately took note of was that she seemed to pay attention to her dressing. She wore expensive shoes, jewelries, and a designer skirt suit. Her cologne was also strong. Dayo couldn’t really decipher which it was but he knew it was no cheap perfume. He could easily tell if an item was expensive or designer made from years of obsession with clothes and body accessories. He just assumed she was from a wealthy family.
“When are we starting our lessons?” she asked.
“I should be the one asking you when you would be free. You are my tutor, as it were.”
“Oh! I didn’t mention that earlier. I’m on my sessional break now. It’s for three months and I have just spent one week at home so far. I have a lot of time to spear.”
“That’s splendid!” Dayo said. “That means you’ll still be available when I write my exams?”
“Sure will”
Dayo was glad and practically exhilarated at the great start he was having. He only hoped things would work out fine eventually. “How about Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays?” he asked.
“That would be fine. Time?”
“Hmm, between 4 and 6pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. Then, from 10am to 1pm on Saturdays. Is that okay?”
“Yeah! It’s okay except on Fridays. Let us make it between 3 and 5pm on Fridays, so I don’t get late for prayer meeting.”
“That seems fair”
“Fair?” she asked.
“Seems great, I mean” he said apologetically. “Could I have you cell number, please?”
“Yes you can. I was just about to ask you for yours.”
They exchanged contacts, and were about to pray when Dayo interrupted. “Sorry, but we didn’t talk about the venue”
“Oh thanks” she said. After thinking a short while, she said, “The classes in the children department at the right side on the church should do. We could use one of them.”
“Thanks. But hope the church is not too far from your house?” he asked Precious.
“No, it’s just a stone throw from here” she replied.
“Cool. My driver will bring me on our lesson days. I hope never to be late”
“You have a driver?” she asked, curious.
“Yes. Does that surprise you?”
“Not really”
Dayo thought of closing the chapter but decided to satisfy her curiosity. “I’m the only child at home; my sister is away in the university. My dad had employed a driver for both of us to take us to school and other places we wanted to go. So, now in her absence, he is my driver.”
“That’s cool” she said. “Let us pray so we can call it a day”. She looked round and noticed the youth church was almost empty. While talking with Dayo, she had noticed Segun, her ex-boyfriend counseling a beautiful girl. She was getting jealous but reminded herself that what was there between Segun and herself was over. Now, as she was about to pray, she saw the girl walk away but it seemed Segun couldn’t get his eyes off her. She smiled knowing what Segun was capable of doing and what he was likely to do.
Remembering her initial days with Segun, she remembered how he had promised to love her to death. She had demanded so much from him in terms of money for her wardrobe and he had obliged. He also asked her for her body and she obliged. The only thing she hadn’t allowed him to have was sex itself. Every other preamble was done. When they got tired of each other, they broke up, and that was just a month ago, so she was sure Segun was looking for another distraction.
Concentrating back on her tutorial student, she apologized for the distraction. They prayed together and agreed to meet on Tuesday. When he shook her hand, she noticed his Rolex wristwatch, and immediately knew what she was going to do with her student.

Novella: Sheepish Wolves (Chapter 5)

After one month, things had changed for Febi. She walked with more confidence in school, began making new friends, grew closer to God and didn’t allow her father and step-mother’s comments deflate her anymore. Her father noticed the changes and could only wonder what had come over his daughter. Somewhere within him, he was happy that she was growing into a strong young woman but he never told her.
She had been in touch with Segun almost every day of the month. She had done most of the calling because she had limitless access to the phone. That was one of the few things her father never deprived her of. She kept updating him on her improvements on phone and whenever she saw him in church.
On a particular day, she had a conversation with Segun that was quiet different. She had called him to tell him how she had surprised her step-mother by buying her flowers because she was down with a cold.
“Guess what?” she had screamed on the phone.
“I bought my step the flowers you told me to buy and she was so shocked and touched that her eyes filled but she quickly blinked back the tears.
“Did she thank you?”
“Yes, she did. I’m so happy, Segun. Thank you.”
“Thank God. I’m happy for you too sweetie”
“I’m happy for myself too” she said. ‘But did he just call me sweetie?’ she asked herself. She pushed the thought aside and kept ranting about how many friends she had made. She told him about what she learnt on sexual purity from the bible that morning. She noticed however that he was silent for a while.
“Are you there?” she asked.
“Did I say something wrong?”
“Oh no, you didn’t.” After a short pause, he asked, “what did you gain from that scripture?”
“I learnt that it is not good to have sex”
“What about kissing and those other things before sex?” he asked.
“I don’t know o! I didn’t see anything written about those there.”
“Okay then”
“But what do you think about those other intimate activities yourself?”
“I’ll let you know some other time.”
“Not now, trust me, okay?”
“Febi, I’ll tell you later.”
“Okay” she conceded.
They talked on for a few minutes before Segun said what had been on his mind for about a month. “I would want us to celebrate your impressive improvement.” Febi was happy and started imagining eating out with Segun, it had been a while she ate in an eatery. The last time was the day before her father found out the truth about her mother. That was five years back.
“Where are we going?” she asked excitedly
“My house”
“What? Are you joking?”
“I’m dead serious. It’s okay if you don’t want to come”, Segun said.
“No, it’s not that”, she said “but I don’t even know your house. Besides, I’m wondering why you would want me to come over. Thought we would go to an eatery”
“Because I want you to eat a Segun-prepared food. It’ll be all set before you come. Moreover, eating outside is a waste of money.”
“Okay then. Describe your house to me.”
“Let me make it easier for you. Come over to church at 4pm and I’ll pick you up.”
“Oh that’s so sweet of you” she said beaming.
“Anything for you, Febi.”
“But that’s just in about two hours from now?”
“Yes, I know. It’s Friday and I’ll have to be back early for prayer meeting.”
“Okay then. See you soon.”
That was the conversation they had and Febi prepared to go to church early. She had learnt from her dad, an efficient lawyer, never to keep anyone waiting if there was a prior appointment. He had said over and again that it was a sign of irresponsibility. Remembering how he used to hurry her for school years ago, she couldn’t help smiling. Then, he would chase her round the sitting room, urging her to hurrying up. At breakfast table, they used to do the ‘toe-fight’ under the table. Those days were fun and she wished for them again. Her father had started changing towards her. She only hoped the change would be faster. But somewhere within, she knew it would take longer, probably a year.
By 3:30pm she was in church but Segun hadn’t come. She decided to take a leisure stroll through the church compound. She walked through the corridor in front of the children’s classes and noticed two people in a class. A girl was teaching some guy Mathematics. Looking at their faces, she knew they were faces she saw in church. She said hi and walked on but noticed that the girl had a questioning look on her face.
Soon after, while still around the classrooms, she saw Segun coming in her direction. He looked dashing. She couldn’t help staring at him for while. ‘How did I escape noticing how handsome this guy is? The girl he’ll date would be a very lucky girl’ she thought to herself. He had told her he had been in a relationship which hit the rocks but he didn’t tell her who it had been he dated. She remembered telling herself then that the girl who had broken up with Segun must have been very stupid, blind or callous, in the least.
“I checked you in the youth church then decided to come here” he said walking towards her.
“I decided to take a stroll while waiting for you”. She felt privileged to be the object of his attention even if it was only for the few weeks he would be her counselor.
He moved close to her and gave her a bear hug. That was her first time hugging a guy that way. He pulled back after the brief hug, as a gentleman should, and held her hand as they exited the church premises. Unknown to Segun, Precious was watching from the classroom, smiling, because she knew what his game plan was.

Novella: Sheepish Wolves (Chapter 6)

“I’m through”. Noticing that she was distracted, Dayo followed her gaze to see that she was staring at the duo walking out of the church. He tapped her. “I’m through”
“Oh sorry” she said.
“What’s so amusing?”
“What did you say?”
“I said, what’s so amusing. You were smiling just now.”
“Oh that. Just admiring the lovely couple.” She straightened up and looked at his book. “How many minutes did this take you?” she asked.
“About 5 minutes”
“You did it right but you still need to work on your speed. You’re really catching up on your Math, and I’m proud of you. Your other subjects are quiet impressive too.”
“Thanks. And, I forgot to tell you something”
“What’s that?” Precious asked.
“I came 5th in my class in the mid-term tests. I moved up twenty places. I was the 25th last term.”
“That’s great, congrats!”
“Thanks. My mum was so happy with me that she bought me another game and gave me #10,000.”
That got Precious’ attention, and she knew it was time to carry on with her plans. “Do you know what?”
“No, I don’t” he said.
“I have wanted to ask you for money for a while. I’m broke and I need to buy some textbooks, so I can read ahead of school.”
“Like how much do you need?” Dayo asked.
“Fifteen thousand naira for books?”
“Yes, my books are quite expensive. In my department, Electrical-Electronics Engineering, books cost quite a lot.”
“Okay. How soon do you need it?”
“This weekend”
“So soon?” Dayo was perplexed.
“Yes, but don’t bother. I shouldn’t have bothered you in the first place. I guess I was just so overwhelmed with my need”, she said, seriously.
Doubting that she really needed the money for books, Dayo thought it over for a while. He concluded that he would have been destined for a public school come September if not for this girl. Moreover, if he were to pay for the lessons, it would have cost him more. Whether her reasons were genuine or not, he decided to give her.
“I’ll give you on Sunday.”
“That would be great” she said with a pleasant smile.
In his house, Segun invited Febi to the living room and told her to make herself comfortable on the settee. His house wasn’t as ornate as hers but was okay for an average family. He went to the kitchen and brought back chicken laps, fresh fish and a pack of Five-Alive on a tray.
“You sure you made these yourself?” she said when she saw the contents of the tray.
“Yes! Wait till you taste them”
Febi took a bite and had to finish that bite before talking. “This is really sumptuous. You must spend a lot of time with your mother for your cooking to be this good”
“I used to before she died”
“I’m really sorry about that”, she said.
Segun then told her how close they had been and how she had died. “She left my father with five of us. I’m the first born, so I’ve had many responsibilities since then.” Febi could feel herself weakening emotionally as she empathized with him.
“But something happened lately that comforted me over my mother’s death.”
“What was that?” she asked, curious.
Febi was flushed but still managed to ask, “What do you mean?”
“The first day I counseled you, you were so simple, sweet and beautiful that I couldn’t help falling in love with you immediately” Febi was dumbfounded and could only stare at her skirt. Her palms were growing wet again; he was making her shy. She noticed that he moved closer and put his hand on her shoulder. Her heart was hitting hard against her chest. It was so sudden and unexpected that she didn’t know what to think or do.
The next thing she knew was that he lifted her face, and kissed her. She jerked free but not fast enough to have escaped the feeling it aroused in her.
“What was that for? I thought you didn’t believe in kissing?”
“I never told you that” he said, “I told you I would tell you later. Now is the time. I believe you can kiss and do every other thing except have sex with the person you love” he said. He said this knowing very well that because of her naivety, if she gave in to being physically intimate with him, it wouldn’t be a problem to take it to the sex level later.
“Are you sure about this, Segun?”
“Have I lied to you before?”
“Or don’t you love me too?”
“I think I do, but I just don’t want to hurt God. Remember all the things you’ve taught me?”
“Yes, I know. This is okay” he said and kissed her again. This time, he went further to explore her body. After the whole episode, he took her back home and whispered in her ears, “I love you”.
She had been so starved of love that those words meant the world to her. Getting to her room, she could think of nothing else but what had just happened between Segun and herself. She liked the way he made her feel loved and she felt she could give up anything just to keep his love. ‘He’s the first person who has ever loved me and accepted me for who I am’, she thought to herself. That was the beginning of series of different rendezvous with Segun.

Novella: Sheepish Wolves (Chapter 7)

“Dayo, I need a favor” Precious asked on their last week of lessons. I need you to give me a ride to a party tomorrow night.”
“What? To be your driver?”
“Pleaseeee. This will be the last thing I’ll ask of you.”
Dayo smiled, knowing he had heard that phrase over and again in the last two months. He had given Precious money at several times, bought her many clothes, and paid so many cinemas tickets. She no longer bothered lying and Dayo kept indulging her. ‘If that’s what she wants as payment for her services, I’ll give her’, he had told himself. His savings account was running low but he knew his mother would reimburse him if he only but asked. She had been very happy with him since the day his teachers reported that he was now leading the class. She had never even asked how he was doing it; she just wanted good grades for her son.
Deciding to do her this last favor, he agreed. On the night of the party, Dayo asked his mum for the keys to the Lincoln Navigator. She questioned him but like an only son usually would, he got what he wanted and drove Precious to the party. It was his first time knowing that she partied. He parked outside the club house at a dark corner to avoid any embarrassments and waited for her. She had told him she would be out in two hours.
Thirty minutes after, he saw a couple strolling by. They looked vaguely familiar in the moonlight. Strolling at 10pm? As they got closer, he recognized the faces and was about to greet them as they walked past his car until it occurred to him what direction they were headed.
Segun had asked for sex a couple of times and Febi had refused but when he asked on this night and she saw the look in his eyes, she knew it was either she gave in now or she’ll lose him. ‘I’ve allowed him to do with me absolutely everything else apart from sex. Why am I still holding back’, she had asked herself.
She had agreed to his request. Walking with his arms around her, she was headed to the place he had suggested. His father was around, so he had suggested an uncompleted building a couple of blocks away from his house. With her heart in her throat, she went in with Segun assuring her that it will be okay.
Dayo saw them walk into that building and knew what was going to happen because he had been in that same building a few times before he accepted Christ three months ago. ‘Is that what Segun does with the girls he counsels?’ he asked himself.
After half an hour, they walked back and it was obvious that the girl walking with Segun was not too comfortable with what had just happened. As they passed by his car, Dayo prayed that God will have mercy on both of them. A few minutes after, he looked up towards the club house and saw Precious waving at him. He drove over and picked her up. It’s was obvious she didn’t drink or flirt because she was still in one piece.
Dayo concluded that his tutor was just a wanna-be. She was a girl who would do anything and compromise her standards just to flow with the rich, high and lofty. All she did, she did in the hope to gain their respect and admiration. But being in those circles once, Dayo knew it was a big waste of time.
Alone in her room, when the reality of what had happened dawned on her, Febi cried. She only hoped that it was worth it giving Segun what he had asked for. She expected him to call to wish her sweet dreams as he had in the last few days when he had been so persistent but he didn’t.
The following Sunday, she waited for Segun after service. He had only sent her one text after that episode telling her he loved her but was busy. He always came to see her briefly before counseling anyone in the past weeks. But this Sunday, when he did not come to meet her outside as usual, she went in and saw him talking with a very beautiful young girl. She immediately saw herself in that girl. The girl seemed shy, naïve and as scared as she was the first day Segun counseled her. Segun said something to the girl and she smiled babyishly.
Febi groped for a chair and sank into it. It was like someone had just sucked out all the breath in her. She literarily gasped for air. While sitting there, a girl came over to meet her and introduced herself as Rashidat. ‘Why don’t people ever know when you need to be alone’, she thought to herself.
Rashidat explained that she was a Muslim turned Christian. Febi barely listened to her but Rashidat caught her attention when she said she came for counseling on the 5th of May.
“That’s the same day I came”, Febi said.
“Yes, I know. I remember your face. I’ve always wanted to talk with you. Anyway, I enjoyed my counseling sessions with Paul.”
“Was that your counselor?”
“Yes. Segun was yours, right?”
“Lucky you, he’s such a good Christian.” Rashidat said.
“You could say that again. I was really lucky”, she said hoping her voice didn’t betray her. She glanced at him as he playfully hit the girl he was counseling on the shoulder”
“My counselor, Paul, always called me and prayed with me; he was a darling.”
“Did he ever touch you?” Febi had said the words before she knew it. She now sought a way not to give herself in.
“What do you mean? Rashidat asked.
“I mean, did he hug you, hold your hands to comfort you. You know now?”
“Oh that. No, he never did that. He said he had learnt not to get physical, even to holding hands, though quite harmless, with any female he counseled.”
“What was his reason?” Febi asked overly interested.
“He said it would most likely evolve from one level to another.”
“Why did he think so?”
“He said that he knew I would feel emotionally attached to him because he was the first person I was opening up to. So, he decided not to exploit my vulnerability. He said he loves and respects me as a Christian sister and would not want to take advantage of me”
“That was so sweet of him” Febi said sincerely as she remembered how Segun exploited her emotions. She was about to cry but cautioned herself. ‘You can’t cry now, Febi. Hold on till you get home’, she chided herself.

Novella: Sheepish Wolves (Chapter 8)

Rashidat couldn’t agree more. Paul had been a great counselor. “I agree” she said. “I was initially offended, wondering if he took me for one emotionally unstable person who would fall for anybody. But the longer he counseled me, the more I started liking him, and if not that he was a Christian who wanted to live for God, and who also chose to honor my body, he would have had his fill of me. He had only but ask and I would have obliged.”
“Wow” was all Febi could say.
“He even said someday when we were talking on the phone” Rashidat continued “that if not for the scarcity of female counselors, he would never have counseled a female.
Febi was jealous of Rashidat and wished it was Paul who had been her own counselor. What Rashidat had narrated was what Febi understood to be true love; unconditional love. Now, she had lost everything she once held dear and the person she gave them up for had just jumped unto another available train. Bringing herself back to the present, she thanked Rashidat for taking the pain and time to talk with her. When Rashidat left, she decided to wait a few more minutes for Segun before leaving.
“She bought me all the materials I needed for my drawings”
“You can’t be serious?”
Ade, Dayo’s new friend, told him about his own female tutor who had never demanded a kobo from him but instead had bought so many things for him. “She treated me like a younger brother”. He smiled and then added. “She even scolded me at times like my mother would. She really wanted the best for me and asked nothing in return.”
“But you had enough money to buy those materials. Chief Malomo’s son couldn’t have been broke!”
“I had enough money to buy all I needed but she insisted on buying them for me. She said she was investing into my life because she knew I would become a great architect someday. She said she would want to be happy in that day that she was faithful to God and to me in teaching me to the best of her ability.”
“This is really hard to believe” Dayo said. “But she must be rich to have been able to afford those expensive instruments you guys use.”
“No, she’s just managing herself. But she’s in charge of the youth church’s welfare and ensures that all teachers have all the money and resources needed to teach their students properly. It was from the welfare purse she bought those things for me.”
That information sent Dayo’s head spinning. “You mean the church would have also given Precious money to cater for my tutorials?”
“Yes. Transportation fee and lots more covered.”
“Wow. Like how much do you think they give these tutors?” Dayo asked, imagining how much Precious would have pocketed.
“#3,000 per week”
“That’s fairly large. We are about sixty students attending these private tutorials all together and it’s free. How does the church get the money?”
“I was surprised; I had to ask my tutor. She told me that some wealthy Christians who believe in the vision had taken it upon themselves to finance this project. Also, teenagers who have been blessed through the scheme send in their contributions, no matter how small. The sponsors increase yearly. I’m already thinking of what I will give.”
“I’m impressed. That’s a challenge to me too. I guess I’ll note that against the next time I want to make a donation to charity.”
“You had better. This is some great work. I actually climbed up the ladder from 10th to 3rd position in my class. My class is very competitive, so that was some great achievement for me.”
“Congrats, brother”
“Congrats to you too, Dayo. I heard you’re making waves in your school now.”
“You could say that. It’s all good.”
“Yeah, it’s all good”
“Thanks for the company again today” Dayo said. “I want to talk with someone”, he said, pointing at the girl sitting at the far corner.
“Go ahead, brother.”
They shook hands and Dayo walked over to talk with the girl whose name he was about to find out.
From the corner of her eyes, Febi saw that a guy was approaching. ‘Can’t I just be left alone?’ she asked herself.
“May I?” he asked, pointing at the chair next to her.
‘Do I have a choice?’ she thought, but nodded all the same.
“Thanks”, he said as he sat. “I’m Dayo Aluko.”
“Hmmm, Prof. Aluko’s son?” she asked slightly impressed.
“The same. And you?”
“Febi Popoola” she said, still uninterested in any conversation.
“Yes”, she said before he finished.
“Are you okay?”
“What kind of question is that? Don’t I look okay to you?” she asked rudely.
Dayo cleared his throat seeing this might be harder than he had thought. But he wasn’t going to allow this girl ruin herself. She was hurting and needed to find healing. In this case, healing could not come if she bottled up her mistake. “I’m sorry if I disturbed you but I’ve wanted to talk with you for a while now”
“Go ahead, but don’t be long, okay?”
“Okay. But before I say anything, I want you to know that I walked all the way here because I care about you and don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
“Same old lines”, she muttered under her breath.
Dayo heard that but allowed it to pass. “I saw you three nights ago, on Thursday night.”
Febi froze. It was like she had just been hit on the head. She was dazed. She hadn’t told anyone and she knew Segun, for his reputation’s sake wouldn’t dare tell a soul. ‘Maybe he’s talking about something else’, she tried to convince herself. Forcing a smile, she said, “I don’t seem to understand you”
“You understand me very well. Thursday night. A stroll, arm in arm, beside Popzy club, an uncompleted building…”
“Who told you this trash?” she asked feigning disgust, but Dayo could see her hands shaking. He didn’t answer her but looked straight at her. He needed to be wise with this. The look in his face was enough to tell Febi that there was no denying this. She had been caught.

Novella: Sheepish Wolves (Chapter 9)

When she lowered her eyes, they filled up and soon, she began to shake with sobs. “I did not come here to hurt you, hmm... Febi, right?”
She nodded.
“Can we take a walk and talk about this?” Dayo asked.
“On one condition” she said.
“What would that be?” he asked confused.
“Give me a hanky so I can clean my face and look like a dignified lady”
Dayo smiled and gave her his hanky. “Who taught you how to still find humor in pain?” he asked amused.
“The one who is making me cry taught me. He taught me a lot but also stole so much from me.”
“My tutor did the same to me” Dayo said.
Walking now, Febi said, “I have learnt from Rashidat, a new friend that there are guys who’ll love you as a female without asking anything in return. I was a fool”
“So was I” Dayo said. “I learnt, rather late, that I don’t have to keep giving a girl gifts or money to keep her friendship or to get help from her.”
They walked in silence a while and Dayo continued. “I guess that’s what Pastor Francis was talking about when he said we should love each other as Christ loves us”
“Yes. He gave Himself to us without asking anything in return. I have hurt God”
“So have I”, said Dayo. What we need do now is repent and He’ll forgive us.”
They found a spot under a tree and knelt there. They confessed their sins to God, asked His forgiveness for misusing their body and money respectively and received His grace and the help of the Holy Spirit to live above sin. When they were through, they rose and started back towards the church.
Wiping her tears, Febi said, “It’s so good to be forgiven. I feel such peace and relief. Just like that!’
“The next thing now is to forgive Segun and Precious” Dayo said.
“That’s hard. But if God just forgave me, who am I not to forgive him. Segun, I forgive you from my heart”, she said, knowing the hurt will still take some time to heal.
“Precious, I forgive you.” Dayo said.
“There’s still something we need to do”, Febi said. “We need to report both of them to the pastorate. We’ll be doing it because we love them and want them to repent, but more importantly, so that other teenagers will not fall prey of their schemes. They have proven to be wolves in sheep clothing. I hope they repent and become sheep again, but if not, the earlier they left the fold, the better for the growing herd.
Dayo smiled at her. “I’m impressed. I couldn’t have suggested anything better.”
“Don’t you flatter me! I’m not in for another emotional thingy”, she said.
“You bet” Dayo said smiling at his own forwardness. “How do you hope to handle the emotional attachment you’ve developed with Segun?”
Febi took her time to digest the question as they approached the church. She stopped and Dayo took the cue and stopped too. She looked at him and said, “It will be hard I confess but with God, all things are possible.”
“I know that but what do you hope to do to break away?”
“I would severe myself from him. No calls, visits or the likes. The less I see him, the faster my feelings for him will die.”
“Sounds reasonable” Dayo affirmed.
“I should spend more time with God, fellow Christians and my family. We seem to be getting along well at home now; my father, my step and I. Moreover, I now have many friends, so I hope to have fun in groups and not with an individual, so that he doesn’t get wrong ideas into his head.” At that, Dayo frowned.
“Why the frown?”
“Does that mean I won’t be able to have a stroll like this with you again? And if you want to know, I really enjoyed it; it was fun talking with you.”
“Thank you Dayo. I enjoyed it too but I cannot afford to get close to anyone now.”
Dayo smiled. “I understand and wish you all the best. Bye”
Dayo turned and was about to go when she hollered. “Where are you going? We’re reporting them together.”
“Oh no! Count me out. You’re on your own” Dayo said and was turning back when Febi grabbed his arm, smiled and said, “You’re going nowhere mister.”
“Okay, do you promise me a stroll?”
“You’re just impossible”, Febi said “I will try”
“Not good enough”
“Hold on a minute” she said and turned slightly to face the church. “Pastor Francis! We want to talk with you!” she hollered. “Too late”, she said and made a face at Dayo.
She literarily dragged him to Pastor Francis and when they got to him, they narrated their different experiences. He promised to see to the issues raised. While they talked, he had sent someone to call Segun and Precious. He was told Precious had left for her house but that Segun would be there soon.
Pastor Francis apologized to Dayo and Febi and promised to punish both Segun and Precious as was fit. He also urged them to forgive their offenders. They said they had done that. He thanked them for being true Christians and asked them to keep praying for the purity of the entire church.
As they approached the door, Segun came through and looked from Febi to Dayo and back to Febi. She could see in his eyes that he had never loved her. What she saw in those eyes were lust, pride, anger and selfishness. Her eyes filled and she was about to break down in tears but Dayo noticed and squeezed her hand, and that alone reassured her of God’s comfort in her pain.
She looked up at the tall boy beside her and said through her glistering eyes, “Thank you, Dayo. I guess I owe you a stroll”. They both smiled and walked out of the church premises.


“I could do this too; I love writing stories”. If that’s you; a teenage fiction writer, please send an e-mail to us at with your details and attach your story. If your story is chosen to be published, you’ll be informed and we’ll work together on editing your story - the next Novella. This is your opportunity to become a published author.

Shout Outs!!!


Oluwatobi Olaoye Delly February 1st
Olalekan Sunday Esan February 3rd
David Otaru Segun February 4th
Oluwakemi Akerele February 5th
Wale Oluleke February 6th
Adetola Olanrewaju February 7th
Adetumi Adepeju Alexzitto February 8th
Agbor Ivoy Tabeson February 9th
Olaide Damilola Adeyelu February 10th
Jennifer Stephen February 12th
Muyiwa Ajidele February 14th
Ibukunoluwa Michael Fabiyi February 14th
Ayodele Abimbola Oyebade February 21st
Temitope Esther Olaiya February 24th
David Antin February 24th
Samsom Fabiyi February 25th
David Adetula February 25th
Chidiebere Anaedum February 25th
Oluwatosin Hannah Aroyehun February 27th
Taiye Bashiru February 28th
Oluwatosin Confidence Afilaka February 29th
Kolawole Abiodun Folarin February 29th
Babatunde Oluwaseun Sobowale March 1st
Fisayo Gabriel March 1st
Monisola Azeezat Ayinla March 3rd
Ifeoluwa Olajuyigbe March 4th
Oluremi Abioye March 9th
Tosin Asala March 10th
Chukwunaru Michael Enenya March 10th
Wemimo Oshilaja March 13th
Jesuloluwa Osinaike March 19th
Opeyemi Ayodeji Mustapha March 20th
Adebisi Oluwaseun Adeyinka March 21st
Adeyinka Soyinka March 21st
Rita Uyi Imagbe March 23rd
Folarin Oluwaseun Oyetunde March 23rd
Omowunmi Naomi Akomolafe March 24th
Olaitan Olanisebe March 25th
Anu Akintade March 28th
Benson Sunday Iwenya March 29th
Decker Sandra March 29th
Omotara Akinyemiju March 29th
Oluwafunmibi Alegbeleye March 30th
Abiodun Oyedeji March 30th

Honouring Your Body

Take a look at the mirror…what do you see? You’re just exactly like the Creator. In case you are in doubt, kindly fill these gaps: “And _____ said, let us make man in our likeness; and let them have dominion…
So ____ created man in His own image in the image of ____ created He him; male and female created He them.”

Think of it, how best can you care for what the President of Nigeria gives you to keep? Not to talk of the President of all presidents, the one who enthrones and dethrones. In case you don’t know, your body is a structure and this structure is not just an anyhow thing, it is the structure (shape) of God. You are God’s taste. Now tell me, what do you think we can do or how best can we honour this body of ours? Wait, I’ve got an idea: -

* Care for it:
No one can take care of it for you more than you. Taking your bath regularly, using good moisturizing lotion with soap, applying quality deodorant/body spray or perfume, and visiting the gym help you here. Moreover, pay attention to wearing fitted clothes that suit your stature, having a good body carriage and maintaining decent sitting postures (especially for ladies).

* Cash from it:
I’m sure you’re squeezing your face; I can imagine what you’re thinking, (Toyin, are you telling me to make money with my body?) Nah! It’s not so, it’s either you get paid for how well and how poorly you use your body (in cash or kind).
Let me be clearer, cash in the sense that you use your body to earn a living. Only a healthy, presentable body can go to the office to work, right? Mind you, you can also be paid in kind. How? A friend saw an outfit on me someday, and the next thing was that she bought me another set similar to that and said, ‘I love to see this on you’. I was paid in kind.
Whatever you do to your body, you do to yourself. You could KILL YOUR BODY, KEEP YOUR BODY, DISPLAY YOUR BODY, or DISTINGUISH YOUR BODY … and that’s either the end or another beginning of you!
What you honour is what you place much value on.
Moreover, see yourself bringing/bearing out another body from your body at a future time. You’ll give birth to a product just like you: ‘like begats like’.

*Ultimately, Account for it:
You just don’t use it anyhow. The fact that you’re formed in God’s image is enough reason for you to keep/honour your body because God works in your spirit through your body. Honouring it is not in the name of the cream you use, make-up, clothes and all you can think of alone. All these are attachments.
You are a temple, says God, in which He dwells; an abode for the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinths 6:15. You are member of Christ 1 Corinths 6:19. You’ll account for it sooner or later… it’s not yours. You can’t hold anyone responsible for your mistakes. Don’t cast blames, correct them and make your body priceless, even more than gold ‘cos gold itself has a price. Nobody can pay you back enough and care for your body more than you will. Much more, someone PAID the PRICE already for your body (soul and spirit too) 1 Corinths 6:20 and He is not ready to lease it out, not to talk of selling it out, to anything/anybody.
Ask those who have got scars, tribal marks, or wounds on their bodies how they feel? It could be funny, but if they’ll tell you, without hitting your chick, you’ll honour your body better. Live for Him who is able to kill the body and the spirit.

Do you care for a good, nourishing body? Let God feel you up, for it is your input that determines your output. Out of the abundance of the heart… Don’t perforate your body in the name of fashion/vogue. Jesus’ being nailed to the cross; piercing his two hands and legs was not a joke neither was it for pleasure. Don’t do yours for pleasure. He can’t watch His handiwork muttered/battered and scattered. He is a jealous God. He can’t afford to share your body with anyone else. You are married to Him, did I say married? YES

Someone said, ‘a favourable old age is a youth well spent’. I’m talking about you here and nobody else. As a boy growing up to be a man, never allow your friends to inject you with anything that will stain you, affect your brain and later, your entire body. Ladies, don’t be squeezed around in the arms of unworthy men, remember you are very rare; no one can ever pay your worth. You are expensive and unique. Don’t remove your waist rib to be like Shakirah. No other finger print is the same as yours that’s why you are the apple of His eyes. Can you see yourself in that special way?

Lest I forget, the owner of the body is coming sooner than you can ever imagine. What will you tell HIM?

Written by Toyin Ogundana

Is Church Compulsory?

Acts 2:42-47, Hebrews 10:25

We live in the 21st Century; the age of sophistication, class, technological advancement beyond imagination, human rights and the do-it-your-own-way attitude. Sadly, these end time attributes now flood the church in a negative sense and are hugely informing the way some “Christians” approach church and church attendance.

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship,
and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:42-47

The topic of whether church is compulsory was never a question in the era of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the apostles or even our 19th–20th century church fathers. One of the consistent traits that marked the post-outpouring of fresh anointing on the apostles was unity; not only spiritual unity, but also unity in fellowship. I will explore this further in the text.

I have a confession to make; it took me several weeks to even start writing this editorial because I couldn’t help but take time to ponder why Christians are asking the question “Do I really need to go to church to be close to God?” or “How relevant is the church today?” I believe we are getting a fundamental truth misplaced here… it’s not whether we need church (the edifice); rather whether we are part of the body which cannot do without the head. Christ is the head of the church and we (the church) are His body, Ephesians 5. I have heard people say “I sit at home on Sundays and watch gospel channels instead…” I need to be careful here because I know there may be some exceptions where people find themselves in critical situations where they do not have access to a gospel church, either as a result of geographic or other constraints. But I am not talking about such people; rather my point refers to those who stay at home in front of a TV in the name of watching gospel channels.

Hebrews 10:25 clearly states, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Place that scripture beside Acts 2:42-47 and you will discover that God had a plan when He ordained church membership and attendance. While I agree that the Christian life is a personal journey, the Bible repeatedly makes it clear that Christian fellowship is vital to spiritual growth. When Peter admonished in 2 Peter 3:18 that we should grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, he wasn’t speaking to a single individual. He was referring to a body of believers in Asia, Galatia, Cappadocia, and so on. Put it this way, he was saying “grow together in grace as a church…” Church is a means of grace that God has provided for believers to mature in the faith. None of us can run this race alone and God in His wisdom has ordained and also commanded that believers gather in a place to meet in His name, thereby putting Him in our remembrance always. For the apostles, it was a house fellowship setting. For us, it is primarily at church and other places of worship such as house fellowship centres or believers’ homes.

So why are people really asking this question about the necessity of church attendance? This might surprise you but it is true;
1. Questioning the relevance of church attendance is a mark of the end times. 2 Tim 4:3 gives us a deeper insight into this trend, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” Don’t we see this happening in this generation? I am not speaking against televangelism, not by any means. But I am saying it is absolute disobedience to God to substitute church attendance and commitment with televangelism.
2. In Hosea 4:6, God said that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. There is a grave danger with falling into this category; no mouth will be able to give an excuse to God by claiming ignorance. Having said that, I believe it is spiritual ignorance and darkness to question the purpose of church, both as a gathering of God’s people unto Him and the church as a body of Christ.
3. Thirdly, the devil is out in the world to deceive many. This has always been his primary responsibility, so that many can be led astray. So beware!!!

I believe with the whole of my heart that church attendance is not only compulsory but commanded by God as I have earlier pointed from the scriptures. And we need to look beyond just Sunday worship services but literally every church activity in the week that has been designed for our spiritual well-being and service. Why? Because there is power in mutual fellowship, grace in doctrinal devotion, growth in communal exposition of the word of God, power in united confession of our faith, and joy in joint celebration of our God in praise and worship. When you do that as a true Christian collectively with other true believers, you can be sure to be part of the people God will look at and say, “My people, in whom I am well pleased.” Don’t be a branch that is broken off from the tree and think you can stand on your own. You might say, “But God is everywhere. It doesn’t matter where I worship; at home or in church…”

Well, yes and no. God is everywhere and can be worshipped at anytime. That’s true. But that’s on your personal relationship level and walk with God. Of course you should cultivate a deeper walk with God on your own and you can do this wherever you deem suited for such. However, God has also ordained corporate worship and fellowship (in the church) as a means of grace for His children to learn, grow and run with the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Written by Joseph Iregbu.
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Can We Talk About Him?

There was a certain man in a far country. This man was so rich. He had everything at his beck and call. He had millions of people working for him. He lived in a mansion. He had everything that he wanted. But this man lacked something. He did not have anybody to call his friend. Am sure we all know what it feels like not to have anybody around to talk to, gist with e.t.c. You can put yourself in this man’s shoes. This man needed a relationship.

So this man woke up and decided he was going to put an end to his misery. He decided to look for a friend. So he went scouting for someone that he could just talk to amongst the people that worked for him. This took him several days but he found a very good person. He was so happy with himself. And so he started to relationship with the person. After a couple of days, he realized that this person started taken him for granted. Talked to him anyhow, treated him like his other colleagues. To wrap it up, this person disrespected him.

This rich man couldn’t bear the insult anymore so he decided to send his newly found friend away. He became all alone once again. He started to think day and night on what he could do. So he decided to disguise himself and look for someone that he would have a relationship with, who didn’t know who he really was.

After spending some days with the people that worked with him, he noticed that some wanted to be his friend and some didn’t. To cut the long story short, he latter revealed himself and all his workers were shocked. Then he decided to take those that were his friends to his mansion.

Now friends, assume that that rich man is God, calling us and all He wants is just to have a relationship with us. Remember that He can do without us. Like the bible makes us to understand that He can actually raise stones to worship Him. Friends, almost everyone likes the taste of jollof rice because at some point, we have all tasted it. If you haven’t eaten jollof rice, you wouldn’t know how it tastes and wouldn’t at any time want to eat it. Like an adage says “It’s when you lose something that you tend to appreciate it more”. That’s exactly what happens. If you have never had a relationship with God, you can never know how it feels, the benefits and feeling of talking to God at any time, anywhere. Believe you me; it’s a thing you can never exchange for anything in this world. That is when you start living an extra-ordinary life and start fulfilling purpose.

There is no better relationship you can get. As a matter of fact, it is actually the bed rock for any other relationship you might want to get involved in. The first time I entered an airplane, it really did not look new to me, as a matter of fact, I felt as if it was something I was used to already. Well may be because of the movies I had seen. So, I knew when most people get scared; at the point when the plane is entering the clouds because that makes the plane unstable and at the point when the plane is landing. But through it all, I was so calm because I knew the covenant I had with God. That is as a result of the relationship that I have with him. Friends I can’t overemphasize the importance of building a relationship with God. Remember that the bible says “Draw near to me and I will draw near to you”. So all God needs from us is that desire and willingness to have a relationship with Him and He would stretch His arm towards us.

For those that already have a relationship with God, I would say that you should continue to build it and for those that do not, which is my purpose of writing, just say this prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for the privilege of knowing the importance of building a relationship with you, I desire to have a constant relationship with you, I pray that you would help me in Jesus Name.

I rejoice with those that honestly said that prayer, because you have just sown a seed that has an eternal value into your life. But that’s just the beginning; you need to cultivate the habit of always spending time in your place of prayer. Based on my little experience, that’s the best place to meet with Him and also studying the word of God. Start by doing that and see what God will do.

Friends, I hope we have something to hold to. If you need someone to talk to, you can e-mail me. God Bless you.

Written by Wale Adenugba

Dream Nigeria: Dare To Believe!

Close your eyes (not literarily just in case you’re driving) but your minds eye and let’s daydream for a while. I beg your permission to dream of what could be. Imagine a public bus driver offering a Policeman the ‘statutory’ N20 and the officer quietly smiles and refuses the offer with the dignity of a man of Honor.

If dreams were made of plastic, we’ll just buy toys. That is just another way of saying “Na yam”. But the reality of things is that a significant percentage of police men we have today will not refuse the ‘statutory’ N20 note (and if they do it is because they only want you to give them more). If most of them will not refuse N20, how will they refuse a N50, 000 bribe? Huh!

But notwithstanding let’s dream it as though it were so. Picture in your mind’s you taking an evening stroll down a street in Oshodi that is as well laid out as the streets you can only find in places like Ikoyi, Lekki, Wuse, etc. See a time when you can rely on NEPA to give us 24/7 light so that the whole family does not have to line up at the iron board every time NEPA flashes us with light; a time when we no longer wonder that “if they take power (light), when will it come again?” See a time when we grow up and we can pick up the newspapers and we don’t have to read about how our leaders are mismanaging our funds and selling the future of the nation.

Guess what! Some days ago I read in the Nation Newspaper that N 2 billion Naira had been awarded for generator maintenance for the Presidency and the National Assembly. This I didn’t find very funny until I thought. Haa! Even in President Yar Adua’s House they shout “Down NEPA” and then he will run to his back yard and start pulling his generator…So don’t worry we are not alone. The suffering in this country cuts across all people, rich or poor, we all use the same roads, the same fuel, and the same air.
My friend I see a time when we can find heroes and mentors amongst the elders of our land in every area of endeavour and can tell tales of good deeds that our leaders have performed to secure the future of the generations to come.

Let us dream of a time when we all don’t have to be Bankers or Lawyers or Doctors or Engineers to succeed in life, but we can have Statisticians, Beauticians, Artists, Philosophers, Carpenters, and Zoologists that are professionals and excel at what they do; a Nigeria where you can chase your dream to be the world best Geologist and not have to read Sociology or Botany instead. I see a time when we are provided with the right education so that we don’t have youths failing exams and following Yahoo Yahoo means and sharp practice to make ends meet.

Now you can open you eyes. Most people I talk to about a Dream for Nigeria at first always doubt its possibility, others lay out laudable reasons why it will never happen, at least not in our lifetime by there estimation, some even laugh the thought to scorn and ask me to forget it, If you did, I hope this will be the last time.

Let me tell you a story of how I became a believer. During my time in University of Lagos, I went out of campus to the house of a friend who lived nearby in Bariga. My friend’s home was a place that was like a bus-stop for a lot of different sort of youths. It wasn’t a place for serious minded youths so I reluctantly visited the place when ever I had to because there we usually had class related assignments together and once in a while we would play soccer also. Even though the friend had a relatively ungodly life, he was a very intelligent fellow. One day I visited his place for some reason I can’t recall. I met this young guy and we got talking (he actually happened to be one of the ones I thought was in the ragamuffins). Somewhere along the line we started talking about Nigeria. At the time, I was an ardent critic of every and any thing Nigerian, coupled with the fact that my Father is a journalist who had privy information to the inside running of the operations of this country, so I had my facts and figures about how our leaders had ruined Nigeria and how Nigeria would never get better forever. So I unleashed my arsenal of information and fired away all guns blazing.

This guy listened to me intently and asked me to clarify various points. At some point in time he finally had to firmly stop me (actually I talk a lot and getting me to stop after I have gotten in gear is like stopping a moving training) he said something very profound. He said to me;

“Do you realize that you have so much faith in the information you have given me…”
I said “Yes” not realizing where he was going.
He then said… “Have you ever thought that the amount of faith in which I use to believe the negative information I have gathered over the years about Nigeria could be channeled for the good of the Nation.”
I still didn’t understand where he was going…
I said antagonistically “I don’t get it…” looking at him funny.
“Your thoughts are powerful because they control what you say and what you say ultimately draws to you and others what will manifest in reality. Do you realize that we are all partly responsible for the evil and corruption that is being created in Nigeria because we have believed in it so much that it has over powered the good in our nation.” he started…

He went on to explain that he was just like me, an Unbeliever (now imagine how I felt when he said that- I am supposed to be the Christian believer in that conversation you know) but he went on to tell me that by going around with all those facts, (that I cannot even remember now) I was preaching a gospel that got more people to believe and eventually act in a manner that would have continually entrenched Nigeria deeper in the quagmire of corruption and despair it was in. He said he loved my passion for the country but asked me to make good use of it to win others to this faith. He said he believed strongly that even though he did not contribute anything anymore beyond our discussion he would have done his part by winning me over. He finally nailed me to this cross by saying that the first step to change of any kind is the change which happens in the mind’s eye (heart). Changing what you see will change what will become a reality to you. We all wish for a change to Nigeria and pay lip-service to the things we think can and should change and if you were to ask anyone who would make the best president for Nigeria, everyone who probably say “me!” (Referring to themselves)

He went further to say that if we as a people could start seeing and believing a better future for Nigeria and getting others to believe the same. If we could see a nation not governed by corruption and deceit, but ruled in Justice and Truth. If we choose to preach hope and not despair and win more people to believe in that same hope for a better future, we would be taking the first step to changing this nation. He said we could chose to do right even if others were doing wrong all around us and stand up together wherever we are to speak against injustice and corruption.

By this time, I was silent considering all he had said. Then I asked him who taught him this perspective. He said it was a lady who he met sometime before. He said she was the one who made him change his view about Nigeria and he had spoken to so may others after then. She had made him see hope and that this hope was protected from everything that happens around, good or bad. He had also realized that somehow when ever he had spoken about it, people where longing to have something to believe in.

So finally the question that begs an answer is; Are you a believer? Can you dare to believe?

I have been a believer in the Nigerian Dream since that day (that was in 2003). At present, I’m writing a book on this subject matter. Over the years I have met many others who have the same spirit and believe in t
he same dream and we realize that a platform has to be created to bring these hearts and minds together, but that is a discourse for another day.

Written by Tolu Awobiyi
If you dare to believe, send us an e-mail at or

Being The Best I Can Be - Don't Take Their Word For It

In the past couple of issues, I have attempted to convey what I believe to be truths about how to achieve all around success. I have also tried to define what success looks like. The latter task is an extremely difficult one to accomplish because success means different things to different people.

Allow me to oversimplify these differences in the definitions of success by proposing to you that there are two points of view; the optimistic and the pessimistic. Within these two categories, there are of course, subcategories but since I sought your permission to oversimplify this discussion, I will only focus on the optimists and the pessimists.

The optimistic people tend to be the ones that harbor lofty dreams in the minds. Regardless of what they are going through, they believe that they will achieve success. Does this view on life sound familiar to you? I believe it should because it is almost identical to the point of view of the Christian.

Christians are optimists. We believe that our God is able and willing to take us to the place of our success. However, where an optimist would lay claim that it’s always going to be well, a Christian would say (and know that) it is well no matter what. The difference is that one believes that problems might and probably would come but in spite of them, everything will be alright while the other believes that nothing would and should ever go wrong. Get it?

The Christian’s stance can be accurately described by the very familiar concept of faith while the optimist’s outlook on life can only be characterized as delusion. More on that later.The pessimist has beliefs too and they like to shroud their position with a veil that they call practicality. They look at everything that’s around them, they consider their perception of what is possible and they formulate an idea on what they think is realistic, plausible, probable and a lot of other big words that I don’t even know what they mean. I have known a few pessimists. They tend to be very cerebral...I mean, they think too much. I guess I have learned a few of their words.

Here is a key point that I as a young man am learning and striving to abide by – You will meet all sorts of people and they will all have their opinions about you, your dreams and your aspirations. I’ll share a story with you; I told an older friend about my plans and what I intended to do in the near future. He listened intently and waited for me to finish and then he said “Ayo,’ it’s only because you are still young.” He is not an evil person. He is just a pessimist who genuinely believed that I couldn’t do it. 6 years later, I am already living some of those dreams with good reason to believe that I will accomplish the items on the list I shared with this older friend.

Here is the moral of the story. Pray hard, work hard, have faith and be firm in your belief that you will get where God wants you to be. Share your dream with caution but if you inadvertently share it with a pessimist clothed in optimism (i.e. a closet pessimist), don’t take their word for it. You can and will succeed with faith, hard-work and a good source of information. Whose report will you believe?

Written by Ayo Sopitan

You Can..Oh Yes, You Can!

Many people have a sense of inadequacy at any new challenge. Do you?

When Moses was asked to lead the children of Israel out of bondage, he said “I am not eloquent; I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue”. Exodus 4:10
Gideon said “…wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold my family is poor in Manasseh and I am the least in my father’s house” Judges 6:15.

What great tasks have you been asked to take up and you feel incapable – School prefect, Debate, Quiz competition, New courses/subjects, Teens’ Church H.O.D, Class captain etc?

Examples also abound of people who faced challenges and felt up to the task.

When twelve Israeli spies were sent to spy out the promise land, they saw giants there. The giants were real and quite frightening. Ten of the spies were intimidated by these people but Caleb and Joshua (though they saw the giants) refused to look at their size and declared that the giants were like grasshoppers. Numbers 13:26-33

Since the history of Presidency in America began in 1789 with George Washington, no black had ever emerged as President of the great nation, until Barack Obama; no one as young. He refused to be limited by colour, age or whatever!

If Josiah could be king over Judah when he was 8yrs old (2kings 22:1), then there is nothing you can’t do! Believe it.

There are two major issues we need to address; Attitude and the God factor.

It’s a common saying that “your attitude determines your altitude.” I have come to believe it. Obama made Americans believe they could do it and they did. If you believe in yourself and your God-given abilities, there will be no limit to the exploits you can do.

The second is the God-factor in ALL things. Behind the scene, a lot of people prayed for and with Barack Obama. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13

God created you for a purpose and He is the one that will strengthen you to fulfill that purpose.

If you notice it, many people who felt inadequate assessed themselves on what they thought they could do by themselves – the “I” factor. But once you realize that of yourself you can do NOTHING, then you are able to depend on God, then He enables you. If there is anything you think you can handle by yourself, then that vision is not big, if it is bigger than you, then it is God.

Always remember, there is NOTHING you can’t achieve with a RIGHT ATTITUDE and GOD backing you up.

All the best, see you at the top.

Written by Sinmisola Adigun

Teen Celebrity

Can we meet you?
My names are Samuel Fatomi also known as Favour Unique. I’m from Abeokuta, Ogun state. I’m twenty years of age; clocked twenty last year November. I’m the second of two boys and fourth born of a family of five.

What is your present status?
I am not yet in school, I’m processing my admission into the University of Lagos.

What has delayed your admission so far?
I`m into teenagers’ empowerment and that has kept me a little busy.

Okay. We’ll come back to that. What church do you attend and what's your involvement there?
I attend Foursquare Gospel Church, Barrier Breakers Chapel, Shobande, Akoka, Lagos. I`m involved in so many activities but the major one is my responsibility as the Teens President.

You said you're into teenagers’ empowerment, what is the name you call it and when did it start?
It’s the Uncommon Teenagers’ Forum. We kicked off in 2007.

How old where you then?
Nineteen years old.

What was the reason for this vision; what was the passion?
I had observed many teenagers around me get pregnant, drop out of school, join cults in schools and so much more. My passion was to speak out the teenagers` minds, help them with the challenges facing them and give adequate information needed to make the most of their lives. I desired to see them become successful people in life, in the future, not minding their family background or the circumstances around them.

That is great. How many programmes have you held so far?
We have held about five programmes in all. We’ve had career seminars in secondary schools, our annual programme tagged ‘discovering your real self’, a success impartation programme, and a teens’ empowerment programme.
In these programmes, we invited counselors in all spheres of life to speak to teenagers. We had representatives from the government, education sector, Christiandom, and we had some parents too.

Could you please mention some of these speakers you've been able to bring to your programmes?
We’ve had with us the CEO of Light Foundation, the CEO of Making The Most Of Life Summit, a representative of the government, Hon Bashir, Teens’ pastors like Pastor Kayode Emmanuel from Foursquare, and Pastor David Johnson.

Have you featured any Christian artistes?
Yes, we have featured Dekunle Fuji, Larah Jatula who sang ‘Iku Oro’, and Jumoke who is a young dynamic teenager.

How many members are in your team?
We are about forty in all.

Are all these people in your team teenagers?
Yes they are all teenagers.

How do you manage them?
With God by my side and with the help of my mentors, it has been a bit easy. And because they all believe in me and the vision of the forum, it has been easy managing them

How do you hope to cope with all these when you enter the university?
We have been able to sell the vision to young folks and we have also been able to build them up to continue the vision even when I resume school.

Do you see yourself going into full-time ministry?
Hmm...Well it will be a very good privilege for me to be called into ministry. Though I am fondly called Pastor Favour, I’ll wait for God’s call and if He calls me, I will make myself available for His use.

In the meanwhile, what do you hope to become in future?
I aspire to be a lawyer. I intend studying law in the University of Lagos.

Why this career?
I’ve always loved to prove a point about what I have a good knowledge of and I see studying Law as a means to sharpen myself and prove to the people around me what I know about the challenges of teenagers.

What are your hobbies?
I love reading, meeting people, singing, talking, and making friends.

Please tell us a little more about yourself.
Well, I am a down-to-earth fellow, godly, if you go by people's opinion, I tend to be patient and not temperamental.

What makes you different from others?
I guess it’s the way I do things. I believe so much in myself and the ability God has given me to be able to face challenges that come my way. Apart from that, I am a very loyal, faithful and sincere in all levels of life and people tend to have confidence in me.

That's impressive. Do you have any advice for teenagers reading this magazine?
This life is very challenging; most especially the society we tend to find ourselves in. So, I strongly challenge teenagers to be hardworking, to strongly believe in their positive abilities to survive the ordeals of our society, and most especially, to be God-Fearing.

Samuel, it was a sincere delight having this interview with you. Thank you so much for your time.
You're welcome sir.

Is there something very unique about you or that you’ve achieved and you want to be interviewed on this magazine or you have a teenage friend who you know is very special and should be interviewed, please send the name(s) and contacts (e-mail and phone number) to us at We’ll get back to you and after listening to you, you might just be chosen as our next Teen Celebrity.

Bobos' Yarn With P.Leke Johnson

Q: I am facing a serious challenge; I'm not moved by any sad news no matter the gravity. Just yesterday I was told that a close relative had died, I didn't even bat an eye lid as I went on with my normal business. This is making me to feel heartless and I don't know what to do. Please, I'll be glad if you could advise me on what to do.

A: Though you did not state it categorically, you probably have had a few blows in the past and did not like the reactions you got by showing your emotions the way you did, now you have devised another means of expressing yourself which is a ‘no-expresso’ way.

Now, because of the way we are made, we all have different temperaments, meaning, your composition or make up which determines the way you see and respond to things. Some people are very fast and loud in their responses; some are very slow and quiet, while some are just in the middle.

For someone who is loud and fast, sad news could bring about a scream, and excessive display of emotions from the understanding of what happened, whereas, for someone slow, the same news might bring about a longer time to express himself or no reaction physically to an onlooker, but inside, might be screaming. What usually happens is that such a person might, by the time he wants to express his own emotions not find anyone still ready or waiting for such a display as it had become long overdue, or be afraid of what such a person might say at such delayed expression, thereby, leading to not expressing anything at all despite all the pain he might feel inside.

This is dangerous, because over time, this will lead to an accumulation of emotions meant to be let out being kept within, causing illness, depression or blankness (where someone looks heartless or non-caring even though they are not). You need to therefore learn to release your emotions at your own pace, no matter how long it takes you to and break the walls you have otherwise built around yourself emotionally.

This might take some time, but with the help of God, (faith comes by hearing the word of God) it is going to be easy. You need to study the Word of God more and more and have a more solid relationship with the Holy Spirit. You can always confide in Him. Even if no other person understands you, He does and is ready to wait for you to let your guards down. He will break every barrier and bring about the right reaction in every situation in Jesus’ name. Amen.

You have questions you want to let out of your heart, right? Send an e-mail to and indicate if you want the question(s) addressed personally or through the magazine.

Girls' Chat With Titi Oladepo

Q: I love this guy in church but I am not sure he loves me the way I do. Sometimes he says and gives me things a lay guy shouldn’t be giving a lay girl .So for a while I would think he loves me but later he changes and I would ask if he ever liked me. I love him dearly; I’ve seen and known other guys to know I do, but we both work in the household of God and I can’t tell him I love him as my friends advice. My fear is ‘’what if it turns out that he doesn’t love me after I have told him? The shame would be great for me, so I am scared. I try several times to put him out of my mind but he’s always there. So do I tell him or not. Please tell me what to do; I want to stop thinking about someone who does not like me.

A: Hi young lady! Let me start by saying that you are growing up because you are beginning to have feelings for the opposite sex which were probably not there when you were much younger. I’ll be very careful in answering your question because I have come to understand that the way we think at this stage of our lives is peculiar and if we are to stand out, we have to align our thinking pattern with that of God.

Permit me to ask you a question and please be very sincere in giving me an answer: What is Love? Is your answer what I’m thinking? Love is having feelings for someone or Love is caring about someone. Thank God we have a standard reference with which we can compare our ideas and that is the Bible! The Bible tells us that there are different types of Love: that which exists between friends, that between husband and wife and that which God has for us. The greatest of the three is the last in the list and with that kind of love in place in the heart of anyone, the other kinds of love which we will have to show at different times in our lives become really easy. I need you to know dear that love is more than a feeling, Love is a choice and it is based on knowledge.

Having said this, I want you to search your heart to know if what you feel for this guy is love or just a feeling based on some great attributes he has, the things he says to you or the things he gives you. We were made to love and be loved and it is normal for us to be attracted to the ‘good people’ especially in church. From your question, I can deduce that you feel he loves you when he gives or says and when he doesn’t, you doubt he even ‘likes’ you. You know what, that says a lot about what you think is love.

So, one important thing you might need to do is take a break of this feeling and let God’s love, as described in 1 CORINTHIANS 13, fill your heart first before you can begin to talk about loving someone. God’s love is unconditional and has no strings attached. Once God’s Love (Agape) fills your heart, you can relate freely with people without fear of being rejected. Another side to this is that, if a relationship is to start between a guy and a lady, it is the guy to take the first step and not the lady. This means that if at all what you feel is really love, then as the lady in the picture, you are expected to hold on for the guy who will come if the love is mutual and of God (very important for you as a daughter of destiny). Learn to love (Agape) freely but also define your relationships especially with the opposite sex.

So dear, please save yourself the shame and the fear. Don’t leap before you look. Subject what you feel to the acid test of TIME! All you feel might just be infatuation and though infatuation and love both shine brightly at first, infatuation fades out with time. Someone defined love as ‘friendship that has caught fire’ and this is a far cry from the instant desire that characterizes infatuation. There is no guarantee that these ‘intense emotions’ (which I think you have) will mature into love, only time can reveal the difference. Spend this time building good friendships and allow God’s love to be perfected in you.

You have questions you want to let out of your heart, right? Send an e-mail to and indicate if you want the question(s) addressed personally or through the magazine.