I love God. I’ve always loved God since I was 5, when they narrated a story, telling me I was a miracle child who almost died at birth. Of course, a lot of exaggerations from Nigerian parents, but that’s a story for another day.
As I grew, I was made to love him more, just like my mum, her friends and the entire congregation of the deliverance ministry where we worshiped. It was a serious task, but I had no choice. My mum had given me a serious lecture where she said I must prove my love for God if I didn’t want him to spew me out of his mouth and if I was sure I didn’t want to remain stagnant.
And so, the journey started. I screamed at the top of my voice, telling God to release my blessings. I commanded my enemies to fall down and die, took part in days of fasting and simply murmured when the time came to pray for salvation, pray for Nigeria, the church, victims of Boko Haram and all other things that didn’t put food on the table.
You see, we didn’t mind losing our voices for those blessings to fall. It was all that mattered, the single way we proved our love for God. Even the Pastors knew our blessings were important, and they made sure we got it.
Sometimes, it was the senior Pastor who took it upon himself to release those instant blessings. Yes, the senior Pastor. He was like a mini god because all he was interested in was making sure we received our miracles. We believed and obeyed every word he said. We looked up to him for our blessings, especially those moments when he was filled with the spirit and walked round the church, repeatedly saying “take it…receive it…take it”.
With senior Pastor, it was easy. Most of the time, he simply urged us to come up to the altar with a seed if we needed that instant miracle. Who didn’t? Senior Pastor always noted that no amount was too small. With this, nobody was left out of the blessings.
I really have no idea if the blessings really came down, but mum always obeyed every word and I had to do the same, while I prayed for an opportunity to leave home for good.
Well, the opportunity came after three years of constant supplication, and I still have no idea if it’s as a result of the seed senior Pastor always made us to place at the altar. Being away from home was the best part of my life. I didn’t have to jump or scream at the top of my voice when it was time to pray. I didn’t have to worry about senior Pastor placing his hands on my head or requesting for a seed.
Now I’m back after 2years, and things haven’t change much. The church is still the same, except for the extra building they erected for the senior Pastor and his family.
We still prove our love for God the way it has been done. The other day, the Pastor said God’s angel was about to give somebody a gift, and we had to drop the highest denomination of currency in our purses and pockets. For someone who was forced to Church, with no time to prepare, the highest denomination I squeezed out of my pocket was as good as the lowest denomination of the Nigerian currency. I couldn’t disobey the man of God, and I knew God understood, so I went to the altar with what I had.
The last service I attended was called ‘harvest of miracles’, where the senior Pastor started by prophesying into our lives, with everyone jumping and trying catch their miracles before it fell to the ground. I still wonder why I’m yet to get used to this kind of service, the kind that I’ve known all my life. With my kind of parents, giving seeds every other Sunday and using every bit of energy to pray down their blessings, I should be used to the service, but I’m sure something is wrong somewhere.
As the senior Pastor rounded up his prophesies, the Lord spoke to him, and we had to complete the release of our blessings by coming out to the altar with a certain amount of money, or anything higher than that.
I made up my mind not to move an inch from where I stood. I didn’t have as much as the Lord was requesting, so there was no point walking down to the altar. But from nowhere, I was pulled to the front by a Mother who had probably planned to embarrass me in the house of God.
I thought she pulled me out with a plan to give me the money requested by God, but she just ordered that I stood there, saying, “I’ll put the money on behalf of the entire family”. Really? I wondered why I had to stand in front of senior Pastor when she was already standing on behalf of the family.
There was no time to engage in too much thinking as senior Pastor interrupted my thoughts with something I never expected. The next step he took left me sick, and with the way my legs shook, I thought I was going to come crashing, but it failed to happen. He had never done this. Never bothered about how much we brought, never bothered if we brought the lowest denomination to the altar. This time, he went from person to person to see if we brought the amount the Lord had stated.
As he carried out the inspection, I began a silent prayer. The kind that is never done in our deliverance ministry. The kind my Catholic friend does when she excuses herself to pray. I began to think of possible responses that will not provoke senior Pastor to anger. I looked in Mum’s direction, but she was in the spirit already, as she fervently prayed on the seed she was about to give to the Lord.
Finally, he got to me, and I couldn’t find the words that would explain how I got to the front, neither could I ask if I could come with the seed later in the day, before his words came spilling, “I spoke simple English, simple English sister. Did you go to night school”?
At that point, I wanted to let him know that I’ve spent 2 years in the UK, and I attended one of the best schools, but the words failed to come out.
Now I’m stuck. I have to make a decision before the next Sunday service. I have to choose between becoming a pagan, attending a new church or going back to where I’ve known all my life.