I almost got saved twice in my life. Thrice, if you count the day Pastor Pius Muiru asked me to go near the radio and repeat after him “Mungu baba…futa jina langu katika kitabu cha mauti, liandike kwenye kitabu cha uzima blah blah blah.” I don’t really count that one because by the time we all got to saying that croaky ‘Aaaamen!’ I already was feeling like I had been scammed. So I confessed that one as a sin and chose to wait for my turn.
In the year of our Lord 2007, there was this major weekend challenge at Box 1. No, no, no, calm down. A weekend challenge is not a type of survivor series where you have fun by riding bicycles and swimming and walking and lighting a fire without matches. No. It is a Friday to Sunday religious event where you praise and worship (someone differentiate the two for a brother) and read the Bible non-stop. Depending on the moderator, you may also exorcise different demons dogging the school… the demon of poor grades, the demon of strikes et al. Weekend challenge is also a time when a lot of underhand business takes place, simply because the school schedule is largely lax.
So we are there singing and praising and jumping and dancing like nobody’s business. Okay, like God’s business. For some reason, we used to enjoy those sessions greatly, albeit with no religious feelings attached. I think the colonial era African Christians felt the same too and must be the reason they broke off to form happy-clappy churches. It is just another weekend, to sing and dance and sleep during preachings. A few ganja heads will get saved here and there, but no one will expect that salvation to last more than a week. There is no major exam coming up anyway
But this is a different weekend. For some reason, I find myself staying awake during preachings. Well, you can’t blame me. I have been in and out of school for a while, my mother is not so healthy and the Man Beater has given a strict warning that he may as well withdraw all kinds of sponsorship if I don’t tackle the grand moral corruption in my teenage mind. So I’m thinking maybe I should try God. Well, I read my Bible and pray every day, but I hear in salvation you get a more personal relationship, something like unlimited internet connection.
Then this lady preacher happens. She comes on Saturday, and we are informed she is taking up the remaining part of the program until closure on Sunday evening. Boy is this girl of God energetic. With her theme of ‘It’s time to leave Misr; Canaan here we come,’ she does her thing like a woman possessed. She takes the whole school around the football pitch making us do personal confessions, all the while singing ‘Misriii, sitaruuudi……nasema misri mimi sitarudi.’
I normally am not a fan of such dramatized showings, but this one is different. I am keenly following the daughter of God and actually resonating with her. You see, her Misr to Canaan theme absolutely matches my intended transformation, no? And that disturbs me majorly.
By the end of Saturday, I am sure that something is not the same in my life. That night, I do not attend ‘game ya soldier’ and I also skip ‘meeting in the dark.’ I was supposed to commander both operations. Relax, it is not like those are drug lord or extremist expeditions. Game ya soldier is an operation of rounding up all the food left over by teachers, guests, and watchmen, then having a small feast. Authorities crack on the practice like it is a rebel culture; I think they should feed us better instead. Meeting in the dark is, well, a meeting in the dark corners of school. Mainly meant to harvest where we did no plant…avocados, bananas, milk etc from the school farm. Read Barbara Kimenye’s ‘Moses and The School Farm.’
So, Saturday evening I lie on my bed and think. Am I a sinner?… Well, everyone is, says the good book. What are my major sins? …Aaah, not so much, just the kawaida stuff…. Are there some things I will need to stop doing if I get saved? …Mmmh, like what now? Will I need to change friends? Scary!… So what now?
Sleep, Field Marshall, sleep. Everything will fall into place, just give the preacher lady a chance with your heart tomorrow. Que sera sera.
And Now I lay me down to sleep…
Sunday. The mother of all praises, the mother of all preachings. I am surrendering my life. The preaching session is long, I think the message is already home. Call us out already, preacher lady. We need you to organize this meet-up with Jesus. My mind again shifts to debate mode. The same questions from yesternight. I am okay… I am not okay. We can work with God the way I am… No, God wants you to profess… I can just make it a personal decision… No, you have to acknowledge before everyone. Am I sincere or am I doing this out of fear…
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I am woken up by one Silas Odhiambo. Then, the lady preacher is making her summary. “For those we have welcomed to the fold today, please remain behind,” she says, “We need to assign you elder brothers in faith to nurture you.”
Ayaayaya! How did I miss that chance? The devil must have gotten wind of my plans. Or the lady preacher could have worn me out with her intense sessions since yesterday. I don’t know. Both ways, I think I have just slept a sleep deeper than what God put Adam to when He wanted to dissemble Adam’s ribs…for Eve. Should have told Odhi to wake me up.
And just like that, I missed a chance more open than those ones Edin Dzeko is missing at Roma. And they are open, those scoring chances at Roma.
But there are plans of man, then there are God’s plans. So the good book says.