Their love was seemingly made in heaven. They went arm in arm all their years on campus, were in the same faculty and attended the same fellowship. The University was their Garden of Eden. Contrasting lives moulded together by a homogeneous academic and social community. Their contrasts were the attractive qualities. They met through a mutual friend, Matilda, who indeed had brought them into the popular fellowship on campus.
She was raised in a middle-class family and had many of the fine things of life. Her folks were both senior public servants and lived in official quarters and got to travel abroad frequently on trips paid for by government. The economy was better then than it is now, and she and her siblings got to travel often too.
She was an A grade student, and had schooled at the prestigious Queen's College. Not only was she intelligent, she was beautiful. Suitors were already lining up right from her A' Level days at Loughborough College in the UK. She got into the University by direct entry and she studied Pharmacy. Her name is Anjola, but she is more popularly called 'Angel'. She often wore glasses.
He, after several attempts, got enroled to study Philosophy. He was restless and unsatisfied with both his career path and his situation. A fastidious student of 'Socratic Methodologies', he had a philosophy for his situation, and everything else that happened in his life. He had interesting and often contrary opinions about everything under the sun. He was broody and aloof, but had a close network of buddies that shared his passions. He liked to sing to play the guitar whenever he was alone.
His name is Lanre, and was popularly called Larry. He was rugged in his good looks and spotted a full beard though neatly trimmed. When he frowned, it was a scowl, but whenever he smiled, the sun came out. That was his attraction. He was quite persuasive in words and emotive in expression and it was difficult not to agree with his thoughtlines - being quite philosophic. He didn't have a lot of money, never drank or smoked - he is orphaned and was brought up by his Uncles.
Larry and Angel grew in the fellowships they both attended, and Larry having had an unstable religious foundation, questioned every word and preaching and had a logical twist to every miracle - being a philosopher. Nonetheless, he came quite often, and became quite close to the Pastor of the local fellowship. Soon, he began attending, on Sundays, the mother cathedral, and was soon known for his endless questions, to the Church heirachy. The Senior Pastor chose to mentor him, as his was a delicate issue.
Angel drew closer to graduation while Larry was still in his penultimate year. She was headed for medical internship. But she had begun to complain that Larry seemed more addicted to the Church than to her. They were not spending enough 'quality time' together, she complained. He soothed her nerves, promising to marry her at the end of his course. She completed her internship in a different city and then proceeded for the national youth service in yet another.
In the meantime, Larry seemed to have become quite addicted to Christian service...and he told Angel. She was pleased to hear that. The distance didn't help though, and they soon had less time together to plan their future. He was in his final session on campus.
One afternoon, he had a call from Angel...she called to break up with him. She cried over the phone. She said the last four years were the most amazing of her life. She sobbed "I love you, but I want better". She explained how she met another Christian brother where she served, at a local Church. He was an engineer, working in an oil services firm, and apparently had attended Loughborough College a few years before her. They had so many things in common. He had potential.
Larry was broken...and he put all his heart into Christian ministry. Angel got married.
...Eight years later...
Angel was quite happy. She had two children, a God fearing and successful husband. His name is Dede. Dede came home one night from work with some excitement in his face. He had just being promoted to regional manager in his firm, and transferred to the nation's beautiful capital city. She was excited too...they had both prayed for this. But first Dede had to visit the City for a month to organise logistics before they could move permanently. Angel reminded him to look for a good Church they could attend once in the City.
Dede was back after a month. he had gotten a house. They were okay to move all their possessions to the City. But he looked and spoke differently on his return. Angel held his hands, led him to their 'Situation Room'.
"Dede". You have changed somewhat.
"Oh yeah?" Dede seemed surprised
"Yes. You are subdued yet happy"
"Is it so obvious?"
"Sure. Tell, my darling...what happened while you were in Abuja"
"Wow". Dede began.
He spoke about going into a Church for service...it was a magnificent edifice. Everything and everyone was proper, friendly and showed genuine Christian character. The worship was unbelievable and he found himself crying. He had never experienced God this way. It made him feel cheated...that he probably never really knew God. Then a woman came forth to minister, and he was electrified. She spoke with passion and conviction. He learnt that she was the Pastor's wife. Then came the Pastor.
The man was so gentle with words, so empathetic in his ministration and effective in his explanations that he thought he had never heard the Scripture preached before. He knew he just had to meet the man. Afterwards, Dede met up with the Pastor. He couldn't tell his age...he had white hairs on the sides, and a quite powerful stare, yet gentle mien. After their meeting Dede recommitted himself to God and chose the Pastor as his personal mentor.
Angel was transfixed, and excited. The story was already making her eyes misty. She was inspired. She could not wait to get to the City and experience these wonderful things for herself.
They moved into the City and settled in the task of adjusting their lifestyles to the new environment. Dede resumed in the office and she stayed home as a proud homemaker. The children enrolled in a private academy.
On one of the evenings she phoned Dede at the office and asked about mid-week services at the Church. She couldn't wait to get the dose of divine anointing that so moved her sweetheart. Dede confirmed there would be a service that same evening. She could go by herself, the driver already knows the Church location. He would join her afterwards from the office. The children stayed home with their nannies.
Indeed it was a fantastic edifice. Thoroughly airconditioned, and smelling of fresh flowers. It was a contemporary design but with tall domes suited for better acoustics. She was welcomed inside by ushers who obviously were professional women coming straight from their offices, from their suits.
The music ministrations were indeed heavenly. It was obvious that the ministry had a lot of gifted music ministers, or perhaps it was the Pastor. She had chills often. Dede was right. She was going to love this place. Soon Dede joined her. After a few announcements the service moved into the exhortation.
The Pastor moved from his seat in front of the congregation, followed by his wife, presumably. Angel followed with rapt attention, the beautiful order of things and the wonderful couple, dressed in corporate suits, as they moved holding hands to the pulpit, where two chairs had been positioned.
The Pastor's wife moved towards the microphone. Dede held her and said. "She is a truly blessed woman". The Pastor's wife started to sing. Angel strained her eyes a little, and peered to see her properly, the congregation being so large and many worshippers already standing in anticipation of the ministration to follow.
MATILDA!!!! Shouted Angel. Everyone looked back. Dede looked at her in shock. Then Angel's eyes wandered to the Pastor. LARRY!!!! She shouted again. Then she fainted.
(c) George Honey Ashiru
Month of Grace
Ultimate Love Foundation