Read Episode 3
Apologies: I sincerely apologize for the long break on “ORS”. Thank you very much for always coming by.
Elizabeth hurried out of the church with tracts in a polythene bag. It had been one week of serious preparation, ranging from the three days of general fasting and prayer to the evangelism unit executive members meeting for a vigil and other strategic planning meetings all for that day. How she had forgotten the tracts, which were one of their most important tools for that evening, was beyond her.
“The devil is a liar. Our labour will not be in vain.” She said silently as she neared where Dupe and Bro Femi were waiting for her.
“Amen.” Dupe chuckled.
Elizabeth frowned “Really?” Dupe stared at her without responding.
“It’s not funny. I wonder what would have happened if we had gone far?”
Dupe sighed, “Sis Lizzy, at least we remembered.”
Bro Femi cleared his throat to get their attention. “Yeah. God will take control of everything. Let’s quickly meet up with the rest.”
The walk to the point where they had set up speakers to do the evening prayer was about a five-minute walk from the church, so they were soon there in no time. The members who had availed themselves of their availability were already waiting for the tracts to be distributed. Everyone had been paired in groups of threes: One brother, two sisters as the pastor had instructed.
Elizabeth had paired Dupe with herself and Bro. Femi so as to monitor the lady. Her own pairing with the coordinator was only necessary to get important instructions and information. She moved to distribute the tracts. “Can we all come closer, please?”
She took part of the tracts and gave them to Dupe and another brother standing close to her. “The tracts will be distributed now. Please let us make sure we get at least 5 each. Let us be wise and put to act everything we were told in preparation for today. Avoid answering unnecessary questions. The Lord will give us souls ready for harvest, in Jesus’ name.”
Bro Femi collected the microphone from one of the maintenance brethren.
“Please, you can move as soon as you get some tracts. The people who are in charge of the evening cry should start immediately.”
Dupe soon found her way to where Elizabeth stood as Bro Femi looked at them, “Ready?”
Elizabeth was the one who responded. “Yes Sir.”
They moved to leave as Br Femi spoke. “I think it’s better that we take turns speaking to them, but we can give those passing by tracts.”
Elizabeth nodded in agreement as they moved closer to their field for that evening.
Sandra stepped out of her room into the noisy passageway. It was just 5 p.m., and the place was already littered with “guests.” Thanks to her special treatment, she resumed work at 8:00pm and so still had some time to spare. Her phone had alerted her to the fact that her monthly period would start the next day and that she had exhausted her sanitary pad. A visit to the mini-supermarket would do.
She stepped out of the building she called home and walked towards the place that never lacked any emergency need.
“Mickey, how far?” Laide the shop attendant greeted with a smile.
“I dey oo. Abeg shey you get ‘bread’?” She asked using their coded language.
“Na Lady Care dey oo?” “You no dey use that one, na?”
She pouted “No. I no like that one. Thank you. I go get am outside.”
“Shey Mama Slizzy no go para?”
“Because I wan get something? She should free me abeg. Have I even stepped out of this place this year? When I no dey prison. Prisoners sef dey go court once in a while.” The other lady chuckled. “Abeg, I dey come.” She waved her hand as she walked towards the small gate that led outside the walls.
Various thoughts clouded her mind as she went. She was tired of her life. Was she going to continue living like this till she died? Would there be nothing good to her life? No life of her own. Was this kind of life really her best option? She sighed.
She rarely related with people in the place as Mama Slizzy had mandated the business only policy when relating with people. She never stepped out of the place. Never attended Church even if she wasn’t so religious. Academics was forgotten. She shook her head, she really couldn’t continue this way.
She got outside the building to see the place crowded. Was there a party here or what? A double check made her realized the people were preaching. She couldn’t help but commend the fact that they targeted a time when the place was active and people trooped in and out.
As she moved to walk towards the shop opposite Muliya, the suya seller, she felt eyes trailing her. She was used to that happening and flaunted her beauty for customers but that was inside ‘red cottage’. There was always this kind of innocent and gentle aura around her and she was pretty. She knew it. But here, it felt uncomfortable been gnawed by those who were supposed to be evangelizing, even the females were looking at her like they didn’t possess all she did. She needed to get what she needed and get back into the safety of her wall.
In her bid to escape the pairs of eyes, Sandra bumped into someone so hard that she almost fell. Her heart raced as she quickly regained her balance.
Also Read: Becca’s Dilemma (A short Story)
“I’m so sorry,” Sandra blurted out, her voice filled with both embarrassment.
“It’s alright. I hope you’re not hurt?” A gentle feminine voice reassured her.
Slowly she raised her and stared into eyes washed with kindness and concern.
Sandra shook her head, “No, I’m fine. Just a little startled.”
“I’m Elizabeth and they are both with me.” The lady pointed to two other people who were standing very close: a male and a female. She hadn’t realized they were not alone. The other lady was almost boring holes on her body with her eyes. Sandra felt a mixture of discomfort and curiosity as she acknowledged them.
“Hi,” Sandra greeted awkwardly.
“I’m Dupe,” the other lady responded, her gaze still piercing.
“Femi,” the man nodded politely, offering a warm smile.
Sandra hesitated for a moment, contemplating whether to engage in further conversation. She reminded herself not to trust strangers too easily.
“I’m Mic….” She stopped. She squared her shoulders and stood straight immediately.
“You can just call me Sandra,” she stated abruptly. “We wouldn’t meet again anyway. I gotta go.”
As Sandra turned to leave, her eyes locked with Dupe’s, and there was an intense silence between them. Unspoken tension lingered in the air, but before anything could be said, Femi cleared his throat.
“Sister… I mean, Sandra,” Femi corrected himself, sensing her discomfort. “We apologize for making you uncomfortable, but could you spare us a few minutes?”
Sandra was taken aback by their request. The urgency of her situation with Mama Slizzy loomed over her, but she hesitated for a moment. Elizabeth’s kind gaze and understanding expression compelled her to reconsider.
“Mama Slizzy has definitely gotten information that I am talking with some strangers. Time out here is what I don’t have.” She explained.
Elizabeth nodded in understanding; “Please take this. It contains some valuable information. If we don’t get a chance to finish our conversation, you can read it.”
Dupe handed Elizabeth a pen, and Sandra watched as she quickly jotted down a phone number on the back of the tract. Elizabeth explained its purpose.
“If you have any questions after reading, feel free to call either of the phone numbers.”
Sandra took the tract, studying the written number. “This is your number, right?” she asked, seeking clarification.
Elizabeth nodded. “Yes, it is. Feel free to reach out if you feel the need.”
“Thank you,” Sandra murmured sincerely.
Elizabeth smiled gratefully.
With a smile, Elizabeth began to speak. She shared about God’s love, quoting the familiar verse, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
“Actually, I come with a message with a similar but slightly different perspective. I have not come here to tell you God loved the whole world even though he does, but I have come to tell you God loves you Sandra.”
Sandra gaped at her.
Elizabeth continued; “Yes, you mean a lot to him. Before your conception, he already knew you. He has your life in his palms. He knew what would happen to you and loves you despite any inadequacy you may think you possess.”
“Sandra, I bring to you an invitation of God’s love. He wants to make you better. He wants to beautify your life. I want you to know that God wants to make something out of your life that will astonish millions and even yourself.”
Caught off guard by Elizabeth’s words, Sandra’s gaze met hers once again. There was a flicker of recognition and resonance deep within her.
“I know you have dreams,” Elizabeth said softly, capturing Sandra’s attention.
Yes, she did. Repetitive but incomplete dreams of her having a school and becoming a powerful lady in the country.
“Visions and goals that reside in your heart. But in all sincerity, do you see them becoming a reality in the next year, especially given your current circumstances?”
Sandra groaned inwardly, shaking her head unconsciously. The weight of her situation felt heavier than ever before.
Elizabeth’s voice carried a gentle conviction. “That is why God is calling you today, Sandra. He wants to intervene in your life and make those dreams a reality. He wants to take your perceived limitations and turn them into opportunities for His glory.”
Sandra’s eyes welled up with tears as she absorbed Elizabeth’s words. She had often felt trapped, limited by her circumstances and the judgments of others. But in that moment, a glimmer of hope flickered within her.
Elizabeth reached out and gently touched Sandra’s hand. “You are not alone in this journey. God is with you, and He has brought us here to remind you of His love and purpose for your life.”
Just as Sandra was about to respond, a voice called out from the front of the building, filled with irritation and impatience. It was Mama Slizzy.
Sandra sighed, a mixture of disappointment and resignation. “Yes, wetin happen?” She turned to meet Mama slizzy questioning look.
“I should be asking you that. Get in here immediately.” The woman said and did not wait for her to respond before she turned. She knew she had no choice but to obey.
“I’m sorry, I have to go,” she said apologetically to Elizabeth and her friends.
Understanding filled Elizabeth’s eyes as she nodded. “We appreciate the time you’ve given us. Remember, you can reach out to us if you have any questions or if you ever need someone to talk to.”
Sandra nodded, clutching the tract tightly in her hand. “Thank you,” she whispered.
Sandra nodded and waved goodbye to them before quickly running to purchase her ‘bread’. They were talking and discussing by the time she passed by them again.
“… It doesn’t matter how short our conversation was, the seed of the word has been planted.” She heard Elizabeth said with assurance as she walked away. She would later agree that the lady was not so wrong.
Her mind was presently buzzing with conflicting thoughts and emotions but yet. She couldn’t ignore the stirring within her, the glimmer of hope that had been ignited by Elizabeth’s words.
Elizabeth watched the retreating back of Sandra and couldn’t help but wonder how the girl had found herself in a place like that. With every statement she had made, the girl had listened and allowed the statements to sink in. She would not stop praying, and she would totally look forward to her call.
The moment she had met Sandra’s eyes she had felt it in her Spirit, like the outreach was mainly because of the lady. She didn’t look like she belonged there at all. Sandra was going to get out of Red Cottage because God’s will had to be done. She turned to Dupe as if to say something but kept quiet. She would correct the girl when they got back home. Gnawing at someone to the extent of making them uncomfortable and giving them attitude was very wrong.
She turned to Bro Femi; “Sir, it’s already 7:00pm, I think we all need to converge and do the general evening cry and just go.”
Bro Femi nodded in agreement. It was getting late for that kind of environment.
Watch out for the next episode.🤗
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