God Does Not Play Dice IV
Two nights after the visit, Mrs Adeoye found herself on a T-junction. It was dark, except for two to three streetlights that helped to lend illumination to the moonless night. Elizabeth held on tightly to the two little children with her, who were making some grumbling noises. She was tensed, the noise and discomfort of the children was making her more pensive, and she needed to do something about it. Despite the breezy night, she was sweaty.
She swung her head left to right repeatedly, wondering which street to turn to. The streets were short-distanced, with two impressive buildings standing at either end. She took a quick survey at the building at the right that sat in the shadows. It had just a single source of light that shone on a stone emblem hanging on top of the building, it had characters that she could not make out unless she drew closer. She felt a weird sense of familiarity - like she had been there before but she had no time to gamble, she needed a haven for herself and the children.
The edifice at the end of the other turn was actually an easy choice, it had several hues of neon light dancing, forming letters and symbols she could barely make out, except for a cross, she was pretty sure it was a cross. Faint noise drifted from the building, signifying life and activity bubbling within, her eyes were hijacked by the dancing lights and her feet followed suit, as she approached the steps, the lights became more prominent, revealing the letterings, 'MEGA CHURCH'.
There was another group of letterings with its lights out, all she could tell was that it was six characters. Elizabeth thought she had made the right choice except she wasn't sure if she would find what she was looking for here - not that she really knew what she was looking for, but this was a church, and it has got to be of help somehow. She left the children outside after pleading with them to wait for her, promising to come back with edibles to munch. In haste, she entered the building.
* * * * * * *
The noise, music, lights and sight of a rowdy crowd hit her so suddenly, her hands stopped her ears and her eyelids shut like a helmet visor. she opened her eyes slowly, adjusting to her surroundings.
It was really lively, but not really what she expected. There was quite bosterious, no decorum like she was used to in churches. Almost everyone was extravagantly dressed, she immediately started feeling self-conscious of her inferior clothing, though nobody noticed her. People were dancing in frenzy - rolling heads, swinging hips to the music coming from a band on the gallery of the building. after her ear caught the tune, she noticed it was a christian song.
"Oh...it's a choir, not a band," she thought - their extravgant dressing and the hyperactive dances she saw made her think otherwise.
Along the walls of the hall, there were groups of people standing closely together around tables. Elizabeth thought they were prayer groups, though they seem pretty animated - some individuals letting out groans and others, shrieks of delight. A lady in corporate white and black appeared before her with a smile, though her eyes roamed Elizabeth's appearance with slight disdain.
"Good evening, welcome to church." She said. Mrs Adeoye came back to reality and remebered the reason why she was there.
"Thank you." She replied. "Please, I am new here and I need your help. I have kids outside, they need food and a place to stay."
"Oh, that's not an issue, just go down this end," The lady said, pointing. "you'd find stairs leading to the undergrounds where you'd see our super stores 'Buying and Selling', you'd find anything you need there. And we also have comfortable lodges all at affordable prices." She explained and turned to go.
Mrs Adeoye stopped her by the arm, "Please...emm...I am a little short on cash. Is there anything like welfare, charity, that sort of thing."
"Welfare?" Retorted the lady. "No ma, you don't need that here. God desires to bless you. Believe and try your faith." She said, moving towards the the groups of people standing around tables, "Try my faith?" She asked, confused.
"Please follow me," the Lady continued. Elizabeth followed sheepishly, hoping they would pray for her and help her somehow. She edged her way through a prayer group and came to the table, surprise widened her eyes, the tables were no ordinary tables at all, on the table were dices and chips. Then she looked down at other tables and could saw, dominoes, cards, roulettes, and so on, with several men and women dressed corporately manning the tables. They had tags with 'USHER' inscribed on their chests,
"What are all these?" she asked the lady and looked at her shirt, she also had an 'usher tag'.
"Putting your faith to work." she replied,
"I don't understand."
"You need a breakthrough, don't you."
Just then, a woman gave a loud scream and started running off to the gallery, all heads turned to look in her direction, she ran to a round thick man in a designer suit, who had a microphone in his hand.
"What has the Lord done for you?" he questioned.
The woman heaving, Shouted "Praise the Lord! I sowed the last money on me and I have been blessed with a million naira!"
The crowd went wild, jumping, shouting and blowing whistles, the drummer and other instrumentalists did drumrolls and freestyles, amidst shouts of "Glory! Glory!" from the big man on the gallery.
A young man came up next to the microphone to share his testimony, "Man of God, I have been praying for a jeep and have been spinning the wheel of faith for a year now, As I keep sowing and spinning, I keep tell myself 'The jeep is mine! The Jeep is mine!' I almost got discouraged but I thank God I did not lose hope. I even came here today with only my legs but now, I am going home with a jeep! Praise the Lord!
The crowd went wild again, the man of God repeatedly chanted 'Glory!' With energy of a stage artist, gesticualting and vibrating like somebody 'under the influence', he began to cough out, 'Give ah... and it shall be given unto you ah..., Isaac sowed ah...and reaped a hundredfold ah... If you give ah...and you believe ah...you shall receive ah. What are you waiting for? your miracle must not pass you by, tell your neighbour, IT IS MY TURN! Turn to your other neighbour, IT IS MY TURN!"
Elizabeth found herself muttering the pastor's words to herself. Several hundreds rushed from their various seats and fought their way to the tables to test their faith. Soon, there were more screams of joy across the tables, some more people running up the gallery, Elizabeth swallowed and deciced that she would not leave until God blessed her. Afterall, all the people there called on the name of the Lord.
"Please, how do I play?" She asked the usher manning her table,
"Play? What do you mean?" He quizzed.
"Sorry, I meant 'Try my faith'."
"Oh," he smiled, "just take an envelope and sow your 'seed of faith'.
TO BE CONTINUED...