Adebimpe Matthews sat on the sofa in her living room reading Francine River’s Bridge to Haven.
She was deep in the story enjoying every bit of it when she suddenly had the urge to pray.
She waived it aside and continued reading, but the impression to pray came again, this time the Holy Spirit spoke to her.
Daughter rise up and pray for your friend one of my daughters, Laura Adams.
She got up immediately and started to pray.
“Dear Lord” she prayed. “I know Laura is overwhelmed right now but I ask that you speak peace into her life.
Lord, please keep her from making any mistake that will take her out of your will, keep her safe from evil” she prayed desperately seriously concerned about her friend.
“Arise and help her God, give her the strength to run away from all appearances of evil, give her the grace to bear with her mother-in-law.” She pleaded with God as she began to pray in the spirit.
The journey to the riverside was a bumpy one. The road was not tarred and full of potholes.
Mama sat at the back of the car, her face unreadable, she clapped and rubbed her hands together at intervals muttering words of prayer.
Laura’s stomach growled a reminder that breakfast had been non-existent.
The prophet had declared a three-day fast, mama had insisted she fast two days more saying it will grant more access into the heavens to receive the child.
The car came to halt in front of a thatched hut.
A short man with a bald head and bulging stomach came out of the hut to greet them.
“Woli kekere (small prophet)” mama greeted the man. “Bawo nii (How are you), Woli Agba nko?(what of the Big, elderly prophet?)” she asked.
“He is in the hut mama” he replied.
Laura stood afar staring at them unsure of what to do.
“Omo bo si ibi (child come here)” mama shouted at Laura. “Let’s go in”
The main prophet stood up as they came in. He had a chiseled jaw, weathered skin and two piercing eyes set too far apart on either side of his round head.
His bloodshot eyes looked sunken and his teeth were in disarray, broken here and there like the embattled parapet of a fortress.
The long unkept beards on his face seemed to swallow his entire face. His head full of gray stubbles.
He was excessively obese, his white robe sat shapeless on his body.
He walked up to Laura and extended his hands grinning like a fool. His skin was slick with sweat, almost greasy. The odour permeating from him was enough for Laura to vomit bile.
Mama held her breath as she tried to smile.
“Are the items ready” The prophet asked mama.
Laura stood dazed, what items were they talking about?
“Yes Woli, I brought them.” Mama said bringing out some stuffs from the basket she carried
She started removing brooms, white and red candles, olive oil, sponge and other things from her basket.
“Mama! What are you going to use this for” Laura asked perplexed.
“Omo mi (my child)” the prophet started. “it is a simple thing, I am going to use the broom to chase out the demons causing barrenness away from your life, then we will burn incense and wash you clean from all the evils in your life by bathing in the river.”
“You mean you will bathe me in the river yourself to help me get a child?” Laura choked on bile as she asked the prophet, shocked at the turn of events.
Mama was still emptying the contents of the basket. She stood up and stretched herself lazily.
“Prophet, please let’s start now, this is the full payment I promised” she said handing the prophet a large sum of money.
“Mama, I am not going to do this, I cannot do this” Laura stated firmly, her feet desperate to create a form of traction.
She started to leave, she quickened her pace until she spun on her heels. The wind whipped her hair back from her face, her calves burned, her breath forming clouds in the air.
The ground blurring before her. Her shoes pounded heavily across the ground causing mud to slash up her leg.
She breathed heavily as she got to where the car was parked. Cold air bit into her lungs as she tried to keep her breathing steady.
“Laura! Laura!” mama kept calling after as she tried to bridge the distance between them. “Why did you take off like that?”
Laura ignored mama as she searched for her car keys, she could still hear the loud thumps of her heart beating.
How had she ended up here with a prophet like that? She asked herself. Imagine, he wanted to bathe her and beat demons out of her, she sighed as her mind raced crazily. How did his parishioners even stand his presence with his filthy appearance?
“Lord God I’m so sorry for doubting you and coming to a place like this” she muttered loudly.
Mama stood watching her ready to unleash voracious words on her.
“Mama, I am so sorry but I cannot and will never do this. Please let me take you back home, I’m going to trust God to give me my own child.”
Mama hissed as she opened the car door raining curses on Laura.
“God I’m so sorry for betraying you and going to the prophets’ place” Laura cried out immediately she got home, she threw her bag on the sofa and prostrated flat on the floor of the living room.
“I’m so sorry God, I choose to trust you over and over” she sobbed, her body weak and spirit broken.
“Whether you give me a child or not, I will choose to remain in you and your will.” She wailed as she repented.
“I’m sorry for not listening to my husband and speaking harshly to him.
God I decide to put all my eggs into one basket, your basket father.”
Peace flowed freely into her soul as she fell asleep.