Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Novella: La Conferencia (Chapter 41)

Fatima was about finishing her food when she looked up and saw a fair girl walk towards the door and recognition hit her. It was the girl that had stolen Uche. She looked to see the direction she was coming from and soon located Uche. He was looking like someone who had just lost a loved one.
Fatima watched him without moving, unable to continue with the food she was eating. There was something he was sad about. He lowered his head on the table but not before Fatima thought she saw him struggling not to cry. She couldn’t leave her friend in that state. Even if he had rejected her, she still cared very much about him.
She stood and walked towards him. When she got to him, she sat beside him. It must have been the same place the girl had sat because that side of the bench was warm. She sat there without saying a word. She needed to pick her words carefully. She silently asked God to help her win Uche back. She could feel it that he was drifting away from God and that really bothered her.
“Uche”, she finally said, hoping he would respond.
He did. He looked up at her and what she saw there made her own eyes fill. His eyes were wet and regret was clearly spelt there. He put his head back down. She could feel his pain. He was feeling bad that he had abandoned their company. A part of Fatima rejoiced. That meant he was coming back to his senses like the prodigal son and was coming back home.
“It’s okay, Uche” she said, and placed a hand on his shoulder.
He stiffened and lifted his shoulder a bit. He was saying ‘get your hands off’. Fatima understood that and removed her hand. It was getting confusing as she didn’t know what to think anymore. Before she could think of something else to say, Uche stood up and walked away without saying a word.
Fatima’s heart dropped. The pain she felt was more than words could say. It was one thing to see your friend hurting, it was a worse case to see your friend hurting and not be able to do anything about it because you don’t know what is wrong with your friend. “God, please what is wrong with Uche?” she silently asked her Father.
She hoped God would speak to her heart but He chose not to. All she heard were the rhythmic sounds made by the loud and hard beats that she could clearly hear coming from her heart. She had never been so sad and afraid.
The dining hall was half full. More students had turned out for the meeting, most likely because the night was slated for Talent Hunt rehearsals and not everybody was involved in that. When the six had met earlier, Fatima had said Tunbosun would open the meeting, George would take the opening prayer, Tara and Shade would lead worship, Faith would lead prayers, and she would round up with a brief word from God. Even before the meeting started, the six of them could feel it that something very special was about to happen.
By time Tara and Shade started the worship, it was like God had just come in person to sit with them. Everyone there felt the presence of God. Towards the end of the worship session, there was quiet for about ten minutes when nobody spoke a word; they just enjoyed the presence of their king.
When it was time for Faith to come up, she told Tara and Shade not to return to their seats and asked the other three to join her in front. That was when the explosion began.
As they began to pray, a girl that had been partially deaf in her left ear just screamed as she felt the healing touch of God. Not long after, a boy who had barely made his way to the hall because of an ulcer was immediately healed.
Students, who had come there unsaved, without an altar call, fell on their faces and began to repent of their sins as the conviction power of the Holy Spirit was strong.
A time came when almost everybody, including the six in front were in tears. They were singing a song that Faith asked Tara to lead. They sang it over and again and it was like God was actually doing what they were asking Him to do.
Create in me a clean heart
And purify me
Create in me a clean heart
So that I may worship you.
As they sang, there was a cleansing anointing that saturated the air. Many who had been carrying the guilt of sins they had committed finally felt forgiven. Those who were struggling with sexual addictions found freedom. It was not something that could be explained with words. It was an inner conviction, stronger than doubts could bend, that God had touched them and changed their lives forever.
Faith suddenly asked everybody to stop and listen. “God says He wants to heal homes now. If you are here and your family has issues; daddy has walked away, or mummy has left. Whatever it is, God is about to make things happen. Please come out.” she said.
About a quarter of the students present stepped forward. Faith asked them to commit their families to God as each of the six out front prayed for them. Faith and the other four fours girls hugged the girls that came out as they prayed with them. George reached out to hug the boys as he prayed with them. It was a very teary moment but not void of the power of God. It was obvious so many students there were hurting badly for their families. God saw their hurts and had decided to come through for them. What a great God.
When they were through, Faith asked them to worship for just a few minutes, and after that, just as she was about to leave the front, God spoke to her heart and she echoed it. “There’s a boy here. God says your past is going to hunt you very soon, before we leave this conference, but because you have come to put your trust in Him, He will conquer for you.”
The hall was filled with a loud applause as she said that. They thanked God for the great things he had done. Fatima walked to the front and asked them to sit.
“I have nothing else to talk about. Seems God has done all the talking Himself.” She smiled as she looked round. “As we prayed, God told me that we are done with this meeting; that He has done all He wanted to do. We can begin to rejoice in His salvation. All we are left with is to stand by each other and help each other grow. So, the meeting has come to an official close.”
Fatima looked in Tunbosun’s direction and nodded. “A sheet of paper would be passed now. Please write your names and contacts, so we could keep in touch with you after this. Please hold on to Jesus; He’s all we have and all we need.”
Anyone looking at Fatima would know she was fulfilled. She had obeyed God and was pleased with what God did through her and her friends. “On behalf of my friends and myself, we say we love you. God bless you.”
All present stood on their feet and gave the Almighty God a big standing ovation.
Stanley was on his feet too, clapping his hands with all his might. The God who had refused to let him ruin himself but had saved him was worthy of praise. He had been surprised at himself when he wept like a child in repentance before God a few minutes back but it felt so refreshing at the same time. He felt new.
He wished he had started attending the meeting earlier but he hadn’t, and if today was the last day, then God must have been waiting for him to show up. He was indeed grateful.
They soon sat down and all wrote their names. Fatima now stepped forward one last time to lead them in the final prayer. When they were done praying, without being told, they all began clapping again. It had been a life changing encounter. Some had attended once, some twice and others the three times. But all lives had been touched by the Father who loves all His children.
As the applause thinned out, Stanley noticed someone walk into the hall with so much aggression. He looked and saw it was the Conference Director. He stormed towards them; anger written all over his face.
“What is this nonsense!” he screamed.
There was a hush in the hall; no one spoke.
“How were you able to do this without my knowing?” He was fuming. “I was informed this morning by a student who was irritated with all your shouting that there was some activity going on in this hall. I forgot to talk about it. I just suddenly remembered now and hurried here to stop the nonsense from continuing.”
“Who is responsible for this?” he yelled.
“Who started this gathering?” he demanded again.
Six hands were raised, and they were around the same corner. The CD turned and stared hard at them. There was no remorse or fear in their eyes, only respect for his authority.
Stanley could see the CD didn’t know what to do.
“The six of you are expelled from this conference”, was the next thing they heard.
And just as the Conference Director said it, Stanley walked towards the six and noticed that every other person joined him. Without raising their voices at the CD, they stood around the six; in front, beside and behind them.
Stanley was the one closest to the man and decided to be their spokes man. “We’re sorry for doing this without your knowledge sir. We also appreciate you for all we’ve learnt and will still learn at this conference. But these six have given us more in three nights than all the conference programs have given us in eight days.”
He looked at his comrades and back at the CD. “With all due respect sir, I say that if you want to expel the six of them, you would have to expel us all.”
Stanley could see shock plain as day in the man’s eyes. He took his eyes off Stanley and looked at the many students that surrounded the six students he had initially spoken to. Without following his gaze, Stanley had a rough idea of how many they were; probably half or more of the entire conference population. The man definitely couldn’t send them all away.
“I have never seen this in my life”. His look turned from shock to awe. “I’ll let you all go”, he said. “But for the sake of others that don’t agree with your religious activities, I have to ask you to stop it. No more meetings from now, okay?”
“Okay sir!” they chorused and began clapping for him. Stanley watched with admiration as a smile curved the man’s lips. He walked out of the hall, trusting they would do same too.
Folks began hugging each other, reaching out to encourage one and another, Stanley knew he had folks to hug and thank too. He had to thank Shade, Utibe, Faith, Tunbosun, and Okpara. God used them to save him, and he would be forever grateful. As he scanned heads, trying to find them, he made a promise to God.
“As I went all out to get in-between the legs of many girls, I’ll go all out to ensure I bring many, both boys and girls, to your saving grace.” That was his promise to the God who had saved him; a vile sinner.
Fatima walked behind the mass of people that were ahead of her. Neither of them knew the CD was going to come and stop the meetings when they had prior decided, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, to stop the meeting. It was indeed a wonderful thing hearing from God.
Looking back at the three nights of the meetings, she was again amazed at God’s handiwork. She had no idea the meetings God had told her to call were going to turn out so grand. She had only obeyed and now she was more than glad she did. She thanked God for touching all that came for the three days. Even those who hadn’t opened their hearts to God yet had the seeds already sown in them which Fatima believed would yield good fruits someday.
In all the joy, she had only one point of sadness. She hadn’t recovered from the sorrow yet. The sorrow Uche had caused her and was still causing her. A few hours back, she had wished with all her heart that he would walk right into the dining hall while the meeting was on. She had glanced at the entrance over and again but had been disappointed each time.
‘Uche, please come back home. God is waiting for you, your friends are waiting for you, and I’m waiting for you too’. That was one desire she longed would be granted before the conference was over. She wanted Uche restored. She had two more days to hope. Two more days to wait.

No comments: