ORANGE ON THE SILVER BIRD (EPISODE 4)
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, she bumped into someone so hard, she almost fell. And…
Also Read: Becca’s Dilemma (A short Story)
“I’m so sorry.” A gentle feminine voice whispered.
Slowly she raised her and stared into eyes washed with kindness and concern.
She strained. “It’s alright. I’m fine.”
“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.
“Hi!” Sandra waved uncomfortably.
“Femi;” the man gave a gentlemanly smile.
“I’m Mic….” She stopped. She shouldn’t be talking to strangers.
She squared her shoulders and stood straight immediately. “You can just call me Sandra. We wouldn’t meet again anyway. I gotta go.”
She moved to go when her eye caught the lady called Dupe was giving her a “Who do you think you are?” look. The two met eyeball to eyeball and there was an uncomfortable silence between them.
The man cleared his throat “Sister…”
Sandra raised her eyelid at him.
“I’m not comfortable with you calling me that. I’m just Sandra.”
The man nodded in apology as Elizabeth shook her head at him and sent him a silent message. “Sandra, we are so sorry for making you uncomfortable but could you please spare us some minutes.”
Sandra gaped at them in shock; “Minutes kwa?”
“Mama Slizzy has definitely gotten information that I am talking with some strangers. Time out here is what I don’t have.” She murmured.
Elizabeth nodded in understanding; “Okay. Let me give you this tract first, so that in case we don’t get to finish our conversation you can read it.”
“Dupe, help me with a pen.” Dupe handed it over to her and watched as Lizzy scribbled a phone no at the back of the tract. “If perhaps you have any question after reading, you can call either of the phone numbers.”
Sandra collected it and pointed at the first no; “This is yours right?” She would feel better reaching out to the lady if eventually she saw a need to.
“So Miss Sandra,” Elizabeth started with a smile Sandra couldn’t resist. She smiled back.
“We just wanted to tell you about God’s Love. I know you are familiar with the 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.”
Sandra looked up again to meet her eyes.
Elizabeth continued; “I know you have dreams.”
That statement caught Sandra’s attention. Yes, she did. Repetitive but incomplete dreams of her having a school and becoming a powerful lady in the country.
She shook her head and focused on what the lady was saying; “I know you have goals, visions and things you want for yourself but really in all sincerity, do you see it happening to you in the next one year especially with where you are?” Sandra groaned and shook her head unconsciously.
Elizabeth nodded gently; “That is why God is calling you today. He says if you were the only sinner on earth, he would have still died for you. He is the reason you are alive. He is the reason you are breathing. He says you might have made wrong choices but he still loves….”
“Sandra…” Someone called from the front of the building in irritation.
Sandra sighed. “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.
Sandra turned apologetically to Elizabeth and her friends; “I sincerely appreciate you talking to me and all. But I really need to go.”
The three including the grumpy Dupe nodded in understanding; “Thank you for the audience. Remember you can call us if you have questions.” Elizabeth said.
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.
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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