AFTER NIGHT PREP, Tunde was on his way to the hostel when a junior student ran to him and gave him a letter from Temi. Tunde was so anxious to get to his room to read it, he wondered what Temi would have written to him after the discussion they had after the executive meeting and the words she had uttered; “I care so much about you”. Tunde wondered if she thought he had not heard her. When he entered his room, he greeted his roommates that were already in the room, went to his bed and opened the letter.
How are you doing? How was night prep? I believe you are doing fine. I just really want to apologize for what happened this evening during our discussion. I believe I over reacted to the issue and I am really sorry about that, I did not mean to insinuate that anything was going on between yourself and Dupe. You had every right to accuse me of being jealous; I guess I just got carried away. I am really sorry and I hope that you will forgive me.
Do have a pleasant night and do not forget to pray for the service tomorrow, I believe God has something special for everyone. Good night.
Tunde put the letter down and wondered at the kind of person Temi was, ever since they had become executives she had proved to be a very strong and reliable Christian but she often did over react over some issues, still she was a wonderful person. He set the letter aside and went to take a shower.
TEMI HAD JUST settled in bed after taking a cool shower, she hoped that Tunde had gotten her letter. After their discussion, she had felt very bad and wondered what Tunde would be thinking of her behaviour. She knew that if she was to win Tunde’s heart, she would have to stop over reacting over issues and be a little more matured. During prep, she had thought about her behaviour and replayed it in her mind over and over again and decided to apologize to Tunde. She hoped her letter will help to heal the damage she may have done to her image in Tunde’s heart. She could only wait for tomorrow to get her reply. She prayed to God for wisdom on the issue of her feelings for Tunde and dozed off.
AFTER BREAKFAST ON Sunday morning, people started moving to the hall for the Sunday service. There was a lot of buzz and excitement as people whispered the name of the pastor that was coming to preach during the service. People simply knew him as Pastor Chris. He was a youth pastor and he seemed to know a lot about the various vices that teenagers got themselves into. Everyone liked him because he was very practical and funny.
After the presentation of the choir, Tunde stepped up to the podium and introduced the Pastor. When he mentioned his name, the whole congregation stood up and started screaming, whistling and clapping. There was so much excitement in the air. Dupe was also excited and she could see the excitement on Chioma’s face too.
Pastor Chris took the stage and he signaled to everyone to settle down. He began a worship song he always sang every time he comes to minister; Elshaddai. “I know that by now, you will know that I love that song so much. I love it because it tells a profound truth about the God we serve, my father and my love; God can never change, He remains the same, yesterday, today and forever” He raised the song one more time and prayed, committing the service into God’s hands.
When everyone was settled, Pastor Chris looked at everyone and smiled. “It feels so good to be among you guys again, I am always happy to be here. I don’t know if you guys know how much I love you and how excited I get when I am coming here. I wonder what actually makes me happy, I think it’s the fact that there are many pretty young girls in this place and since am single… you know what I mean”
Everyone started laughing and a lot of girls were giggling. Pastor Chris was really handsome and a dream guy for many ladies. “Guys, don’t be jealous ok! I will leave them for you. I was just kidding” Pastor Chris added.
Pastor Chris spoke about the mind and how powerful it is. He said “As teenagers, your mind is very sharp and picks up things very easily, if you do not learn to control your mind at this stage, it will ruin your entire life”. He paused to let it sink. Open your bible with me to the book of Rom 12:2. When he was sure everyone had opened to the scripture he read; “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” Open your bibles to Prov 23:7. It reads; As a man thinks in his heart so is he. Prov. 4: 23 also says; keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.
“The mind is very powerful; it is more powerful than the tongue. If you remember the last time I was with you, I told you about the tongue. Whatever you confess with your tongue is what comes to you, but you must have first thought about it before you confess it right? That is where the mind comes in. Whatever you think about yourself is what you are. Your thoughts become your words and your actions.”
He also explained the process of thoughts becoming actions using practical examples like masturbation. He explained that masturbation is as a result of consistent exposure to pornographic materials. “Renewal of the mind cannot happen in a day, it is a process” He said. In conclusion, he read from Phil 4:8; Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
“Don’t allow evil thoughts into your mind and then eat eba and egusi soup with it, cast it away immediately it comes; 2Cor 10:5. Finally and finally my children, be rest assured that no temptation will come your way that God will not provide a way of escape.
Then he made an altar call for those who wanted to commit to the process of renewing their mind and those that want to give their lives to Christ. A lot of people came out and he prayed for them.
AS CHIOMA STROLLED back to the hostel after church service, she was glad Dupe was not with her. The sermon had hit her hard and she really needed to think things out. She had allowed herself to get sucked in by anger and jealousy and had actually wanted to hurt her best friend. The mind indeed was a powerful thing. She had thought about how much better Dupe was and how she wanted to be like Dupe and her thoughts had transformed into hatred, anger jealousy and bitterness and she had actually thought of hurting her friend. Now that she thought about it, she knew she had gone too far and she was grateful that God had caught her before she hurt her friend. When she got to her room, she went on her knees and committed herself into the hands of God to lead her through the process of renewing her mind.
Chioma was not the only one the message made a lot of sense to, Vivian was in it too. Pastor Chris had spoken directly to her heart. She had meditated so much on the fact that everyone seemed to compare her with her sister which had eventually turned into bitterness and hatred for her sister and a need to always please people and make them like her. Vivian was glad she had spoken with Dupe the previous night, what Dupe had told her coupled with the message of today was enough to set her on the track into the process of renewing her thought. When she reached the hostel, she picked up her bible and began to read the passage Pastor Chris had asked them to read at home.
After the executives had lunch with Pastor Chris, they escorted him to his car, thanked him for coming and bade him goodbye. The executives had a brief meeting before they all returned to their hostel. Temi watched as Dupe and Tunde greeted each other, she remembered what Pastor Chris had said and tried not to hate Dupe. Tunde went to meet Temi and acknowledged her letter. He explained to her that he held no grudge against her and was grateful for her concern. They both walked to the hostel discussing what the Pastor had preached and what they had learnt.
MONDAY MORNING CAME with the brilliance of sunshine; all the students of Balm Of Gilead were in the assembly hall waiting for the Principal’s address. Every Monday morning, the Principal always addressed the students, telling them what to expect during the week or general news for the term. The Principal never left the students without a word of advice to keep them going for the week.
“Good morning students!”
“Good morning Ma!” the students chorused.
“I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.” She did not wait for a reply. “I hope you all remember that in two weeks time, you will be writing your Mid Term Exams?” The students started murmuring among themselves. The prefects around silenced the juniors whom they had control over. The Principal continued. “I believe you all have started preparing for the exams because you all know that it will go a long way to determine how you will perform at the end of the term.” The time table for the examination will be out later today, I expect all of you to write it and paste it somewhere you will see it everyday.” My word for you this week is this “God is bigger than all your schedule, projects or exams come and go, but He stays the same. Therefore my children, do not neglect God during this period, remain in his arms, stay close to him, he just might whisper a secret to you.”
She went into her office and Timi led the students in the school anthem and prayer after which everyone dispersed to their classrooms. There was a lot of buzz about what the principal had announced, some students were excited while some were in doubt.
“Chioma do you know I had forgotten about the mid term exams? I can’t believe I could have forgotten such a thing as exams. Last weekend was just so weird”
“Dupe, I also forgot sha and I agree with you, last weekend was weird. I believe we will start jacking real hard now, all night abi?”
“Yes o! Chioma, serious jacking begins tonight o!”
ALL THROUGH THE week, the students got really serious with their reading and preparation for the Midterm Examination. At Balm of Gilead, the midterm examination was a way to test how well the students had done half way before the final end of term examination. At the end of the examination, they usually had their visiting day and the result of the examination was the primary thing parents received. This enabled parents to know how well their wards were doing in school and also the students get to know where they would need to put in more efforts to make good grades at the end of the term.
Vivian became very jittery at the thought of examination, she looked at her time table and found the day she would be writing mathematics which was the following week. She went to meet Dupe for help. Dupe coached her in mathematics for an hour every day, teaching her the basics and praying with her until the night before she was to write the exam.
“I am so scared Snr. Dupe”
“Don’t be dear! Hold on to your faith. Remember that ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is’ If you keep meditating on failing this subject, you will not excel in it, rather, picture yourself winning, reaching the finishing line and meditate on that picture coupled with the word of God. All will be well my dear!” Dupe said putting her hand on Vivian’s shoulder.
“I will keep my heart on God and hopefully, he will whisper secrets to me tonight and even during the exam tomorrow.” Vivian replied quoting the Principal.
“That’s the spirit gal.” Dupe hugged her and prayed for her.
“I wish everyone was like you, this world would be a wonderful place to be. Sometimes I doubt if you are human.” Vivian said smiling. “Are you sure you are not an angel just pretending to be human? Common, it’s just two of us in here, show me your halo and wings please. I promise I will not breathe a word about it to anyone”
Dupe was in peals of laughter, she could not believe what Vivian had just said, the thought of her actually hiding halo and wings tickled her all over.
“My dear, I am not an angel ok! I have just allowed the God’s love flow through me, even in that, I am not perfect, I do have struggles like you too” Dupe said after laughing
“You! That’s a lie, you are just perfect”
“I am still working towards perfection dear and so are you. Now run along, it’s getting late. You need to be well rested for your exam tomorrow” Dupe said
“Ok! Thank you so much, you do not know just how much what you have done for me means to me. God bless you” Vivian said.
“You are welcome dear!”
Vivian left the room. Dupe picked up her mathematics note to start preparing for her own exam the following day. Teaching Vivian had helped her revise some things from her note because it was the same thing with her note, just a more complicated version. She relaxed on her bed for a while recalling what Vivian had said about her. The girl had no idea what she was saying, Dupe thought to herself. She stood up from her bed and went to her reading table to avoid dozing off. She was expecting Chioma to come so that they could revise their sums together. Chioma was not so good in mathematics too and Dupe was always more than ready to help her. Just then, her door opened and Chioma walked in. They started working on their sums together; Chioma asked Dupe questions and she solved them for her.
After the examination the next day, Vivian came to thank Dupe for helping her and explained that the exam was the best mathematics exam she had written so far in the school. Chioma was equally happy about the exam and she told Dupe about it, she was also happy that she had overcome her hatred and jealousy for Dupe. Things seemed to be working out fine and amazingly, her walk with God had improved somehow.
The rest of the examination went in a breeze and the day for visiting day drew near, it was usually the weekend after the examination. Everyone was looking forward to seeing their parents and loved ones again and knowing their performance in the examination. The result would be given to each parent as they arrive in the classroom of their wards, so there was no way a student could know their performance, this made them anxious and at the same time happy about the visiting day.
Visiting day finally came and all the students dressed up in their Sunday attires which was white and blue and went to their classrooms to wait for their parents. Vivian was in her class feeling so nervous as she prayed silently that her result would be good. Her other classmates were all so excited and were whispering to themselves. Just then her mum stepped into the class with her elder sister, Ifeoma. Everyone stood up to greet her. Her mum greeted her teacher; Mr. Okoh Sam. Her class teacher was a man who talked too much and as she suspected, he told her mum about her performance before she even opened the result.
“Your daughter is a very good girl, but I believe she can do better with her grades, just like her sister here” He told her mother. Ifeoma smiled at him and Vivian flinched at the sound of that but did not let it bother her.
When her mum was finally alone with herself and her sister, she opened her result. Her mum was silent as she went through her result. Other parents started arriving and Vivian was glad because it took away the attention of the class from her. Vivian peeped into her result as her mum went through it and saw that she had a C4 in mathematics. A smile immediately played on her face, but when she looked at her mum, she did not look so pleased.
“This is a very good attempt Vivian, but I believe you can do better ok! Try to have all A’s like your sister. I must commend you on your improvement in mathematics, it’s a good one and if you keep up like this, I am sure you will be just like Ifeoma” Her mum said. Ifeoma did not say much about her result, she just encouraged her.
Vivian made up her mind not to let her mother’s comment affect her in any way or dampen her mood. She felt personally fulfilled that she could have a C4 in mathematics. She smiled at her mum and brought out her books for her to go through. Vivian concluded in her mind that no matter what she did, if she could not meet up with her sister, her mother will never be pleased with her. The thought made her sad, but she knew with all her heart that one day, she would dazzle her mum.
At the end of the day, excitement was written all over the faces of the students as they carried their goodies to the hostel. Visiting day was a time to replenish provisions for the students. As Dupe strolled to the hostel with her goodies, she spotted Tunde and he was not carrying any bag. She hurried towards him. Dupe found out that nobody had come to see him, he did not look so disturbed about it though, but she felt for him. When they parted ways, she quickly went to her room and shared her provisions into two. Then she hurried outside again and sent one half to Tunde through an SS 3 student she saw. When she got back to her room, Vivian was waiting for her. As soon as Vivian saw her, she ran and gave Dupe a big teddy bear tight hug. Dupe gasped for breath and started laughing.
“I can see the excitement all over you gal, how was your result and how was your day?”
“It was great”, Vivian replied. “I had a C4 in mathematics” She screamed and hugged Dupe again.
“That is so wonderful. So what did your mum say?”
Vivian looked suddenly sad at the mention of her mum. “She just said I could do better and compared me again to my sister, but am not bothered. God loves me just as I am and I am content”
Dupe was so happy to hear that Vivian was getting over her past and moving on. They discussed other things and then Vivian gave her some goodies her mother had asked her to give the senior that had helped her in mathematics before she left for her room.
When no one came to see him, Tunde was not surprised, it only hurt him to know that his father still did not appreciate him as a son and forgiven his mother for what she had done to him. He looked at the gifts Dupe sent him and he wanted to cry. He could not remember when last any female specie had been nice to him. Dupe was different and his heart warmed towards her, she made it easy for him to pull away from his horrible childhood days and actually believe that women were not all the same. He put the goodies in his wardrobe and prepared for bed. He prayed for Dupe in a special way that day, she had been the angel God had sent to answer his prayers for provision as his own had been exhausted.