Tunji called for a family meeting after church on Sunday. The meeting was going to be about Mosope. He missed his daughter.
He pulled into his driveway, picked up his Bible and the food Abimbola had given him after service. She had been doing that for the past month. She was such a nice and godly woman; he wondered why she never remarried. He was just about to open the door of the house when he heard the sound of a car pull up behind him; it was Gbenga and his wife.
Tunji watched as his son got out from the car and turned round to open the door for his wife. He was surprised, since when did Gbenga become such a gentle man? He held the door open for Onyinye and guided her as they walked towards him. They looked like newlyweds in their matching Ankara outfits.
“Daddy good afternoon sir.” Onyinye greeted her father in-law and gave him a hug.
“Good afternoon mama Beji.” He replied warmly and returned the embrace. “Pregnancy surely looks good on you.”
“Thank you sir.” Onyinye replied.
“Good afternoon sir” Gbenga greeted.
“Gbenga bawo ni? Tunji replied, shaking his son’s hand.
Onyinye collected the things her father in law had in his hands. “I’m sure you both must be hungry, especially Onyinye.” Tunji remarked as they entered the house.
“We are! I didn’t even eat before going to church.” Gbenga said, I hope Sope prepared something for us?” He continued.
“I doubt that, you know your sister and how she hates cooking… I brought some food home. Onyinye where is the bag you collected from me?”
“I dropped it in the kitchen.”
“Okay, its stew…you can boil some rice or spaghetti, depending on what you people want to it. I’m fine with anything.” Abimbola had informed him about the content of the food flask.
“Where did you get the stew from?” Gbenga asked.
“Oh…Abi made it and gave it to me after service.”
Gbenga and his wife exchanged a knowing look. “I’ll just make rice, Gbenga isn’t really a fan of spaghetti.” Onyinye said and went into the kitchen.
Father and son settled down on opposite sofas and Gbenga turned on the TV.“Dad, where is Mosope? Cos I didn’t see her car outside.”
“I don’t know, you know she never tells me anything these days.”
“I hope she’ll be back in time for our meeting?” Gbenga said and glanced at the clock.” It was past 1 and they agreed to meet at 2.
“Well, she said she’ll be here…Bode told me he’ll be a bit late because he has something urgent to attend to.”
Mosope said grace with the rest of the congregation as the service came to an end. She smiled at Yinka who was so eager to come and meet her from where he was at the choir stand.
He had invited her to his church a couple of times; their new friendship had blossomed. He called her everyday, stopped over to take her for lunch at work. She was surprised when he mentioned that he was in the choir. He just never struck her as a church goer, not to talk of one committed in the choir.
So she decided after months of not going to church to finally go to Yinka’s church. He was so excited that he offered to pick her up from her house but she declined. She got to the church some minutes to 10 because service was for 10.
She drove into the church car park by 9:52. Although service was for 10, it was already full. She was lucky enough to find an empty spot. As she walked into the auditorium, she noticed how the ladies dressed – tight fitted clothes, short dresses and skirts, tops which revealed their cleavage. They could easily be mistaken as if they were going for a party instead of going to church.
As soon as Yinka made his way to her, he pulled her into a tight hug. “I’m glad you finally made it!” He said excitedly. “Hope you enjoyed the service? ”
She nodded even though it was so different from what she was used to.
“I bet you attend one of those boring traditional churches, where the pastor preaches about judgement, hell and weaping and gnashing of teeth.”
“Well…that’s not true. My church is very-”
“Come and say hello to my pastor before you leave.” He started dragging her towards the pastor’s office before she could protest.
They walked to the pastor’s office behind the altar. His receptionist was dressed in a very short tight leather skirt with a see through top and high heels. “Hi Yinkus!” she exclaimed when she saw them and got up to give him a hug.
She eyed Mosope as Yinka made the introductions and refused to acknowledge her greeting. They sat for about five minutes before they were ushered into the pastor’s office.
They entered a tastefully decorated office; the pastor was shouting at whoever he was talking to on the phone. He pointed towards the chairs in front of him and they sat down.
“I said SHUT UP! Listen woman, I said I won’t be home till 8 cos I have counselling.” He shouted into the phone.
Mosope would have left the office if not that Yinka was holding on to her hand so tightly. Behind the pastor’s desk, a large picture of him hung on the wall and to his right on a cabinet were some awards.
He got off the phone and with a beaming smile welcomed them. Yinka introduced her as a special friend which made her blush. “Mosope you are welcome, we hope to see you next Sunday? ” The pastor asked.
Before she could reply, he cut her off. “Our church is for all of God’s people, we don’t discriminate, no strict doctrine, right Yinka?” Yinka nodded.
“We believe in freedom of worship. The bible says that where the spirit of God is, there is liberty. Amen? ”
“Amen Pastor Shoo!” Yinka replied.
” A-men” Mosope added.
He said a word of prayer and they left the office. They walked towards the car park, Yinka stopped to greet people and introduced Mosope.
“So how about lunch? I know a really good place not too far from here.”
Mosope glanced at her watch, “ Sorry Yinka, I have to be back home before 2.” She wished she didn’t have to go for the family meeting. Lunch with Yinka sounded more interesting. “We can do lunch another time.”
“So are you saying you’ll come to my church another time?” Yinka asked grinning.
“Well…lets see. Thanks Yinka.” She replied and opened her car door.
“You are welcome hun.” He replied and pulled her into a hug.
Mosope got home by 2:15pm and walked into the house to find her dad, Gbenga, Onyinye and Bode in the sitting room. She said a quick hello and went upstairs to her room to change into something more comfortable because it looked like it was going to be a long meeting.
When she got back downstairs, the TV was turned off and everyone sat around the dinning table. She pulled out an empty chair close to Onyinye. She immediately noticed the disappointed look on Bode’s face because there was also an empty chair next to him.
“Okay…lets begin, Onyinye please can you say a quick word of prayer?” Tunji asked.They closed their eyes and Onyinye prayed.
“Mosope the meeting was called because of you.” Tunji proceeded and all eyes turned towards Mosope, who looked anywhere else but the loving faces staring at her.
“We all love you and are really worried about you.” Tunji continued, going straight to the point. “We want to know what is really going on… You’ve changed and I want my little girl back.”
Tunji paused, “Mosope please look at me.” He pleaded. She looked at him. “I know you were really hit by your mum’s death… but it’s been six months already… I don’t like what I am seeing; I don’t and it breaks my heart. If anything, grief pulls people closer to God and not away from God. People run to God for comfort when they are struck by something too big for them to handle.” He moved his gaze across the room and continued. “You have no right to be angry with God just because He called your mother home. ”
There was silence in the room after Tunji’s words. It seemed they were waiting for Mosope to speak but she didn’t. Gbenga spoke next.
“Look Sope, mummy’s death was a wakeup call for me to examine my relationship with God. I didn’t realise that I was gradually backsliding… It started with being too busy to do my quiet time, to skipping church services to allowing the so called ‘little’ sins. It affected my marriage, I became so selfish and was ripping my marriage apart gradually with my own hands.” He reached for his wife’s hand and covered it with his.
“Sope, like the bible says ‘For His thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give us hope and a future’. God loves you please stop being angry.”
“Similar to Gbenga,” Tunji added. “Your mother’s death made me examine my life, it made me think about eternity and give more attention to the things that really matter-soul winning, giving, doing God’s work.”
Another moment of silence passed before Mosope finally spoke.
“Okay…thanks everyone. Contrary to what you think, I’m not completely lost, I actually went to church today.
“Really?” they chorused.
“Yes… for the first time in months…I went to a friend’s church and it was different but nice… I’d really appreciate it if you allow me find my way back to God at my own pace…Daddy, I’m sorry to say this but I HATE how close you are to aunty Abi.” They all opened their mouths shocked. “Isn’t it too soon for you to try and replace mummy? At least grieve for a year!”
“Watch your tongue young lady!” Tunji reprimanded.
“Sope you have no right to talk to daddy like that!” Gbenga scolded.
“And Bode, we should call off the wedding . I’m sick of everyone telling me what to do!” She got up, “I know you love me… the problem is I’m not sure if I still do.”