This happened like a few months after we had gotten back from the required but not necessary (according to NYSC) 2 week leave after camp.
I had gone to Gombe to stay with my friends, as Tongo; my place of primary assignment(PPA) was dull and without life. It was a sunday and given that at that period every sunday was ‘bomb sunday’, I wasn’t really eager to go to church. So we were all stuck playing soccer on PS2; Austin, William, Victor, David and I.
We were at it, not bothering even to stop for breakfast, when some unwanted visitors trooped in. 2 members of one of the various pentecostal churches in town and they had come to bring us salvation.
Disappointed at the unwanted disruption we turned off the TV, as the ‘salvation army’ went into a tirade of preaching. Okay, I felt bad for not going to church, for here were able-bodied men like me; and what was more, both of them were Corp members and one of them was even from my batch! In fact we came on the same bus to Gombe and stayed in same hostel while in camp. So here they were, fresh from church, scolding me for not going to say thank you to God for letting me see the beginning of a new week and cajoling me to accept Christ.
Long story short, they preached and we listened, we might not have gone to church, but church came to us. So we listened and listened good. Then the preaching changed gear!
One of the brothers brought up talk of the gift of the Holy spirit and said that we all had it in us and if we believed we would receive it. So we stood in a straight line all five of us (excluding the preachers) and one by one they prayed for each person and urged us to ‘receive it’. In my mind I was saying Holy ghost descend on me oh and let me speak in tongues, cos if everybody speaks and I don’t hmmm e go be like say na me sin pass. Abeg come fill me with your power.’
From the corner of my eye I saw William and then Victor receive it and started moving their mouth! In my mind I shouted ‘Choi! Skelo your own don finish! See boys dey receive, how e go be you?’
Then it was my turn! Gan! Gan!! Omo see Joe firing prayers on all cylinders, hmm if devil was around I am sure the dude would have found his square root. I remember thinking of movies and TV programmes where I had seen people ‘receive’ it and be beseeched by such awesome power, they fell to the floor, convulsing!
Was I going to fall? What I if fall and started spewing devilish jargon? Hmm what if I am possessed and don’t know it? Choi!! My was a whirlwind of unsettled thoughts as Joe prayed and then….. He placed his hand on my forehead; gbam!
Nothing! Absolute nothing!! No dizziness, no falling, no overwhelming power to fill me up and open up the flood gates to languages hitherto unknown. I was deflated, but not defeated. I just closed my eyes and started praying in Igbo. At least na speaking in tongues, no be so?
Then it came to David’s turn. First there is something you must know about David. David is the kind of guy you’d come into a room and fail to notice. He rarely speaks and always keeping to himself. But that does not necessary make him good or bad, it’s just the way he is.
Joe was going, firing, speaking, scattering, shattering and then he said; ‘receive it!’
My eyes were shut and I was supplicating when I heard a gentle thud on the mattress which was behind us. I peeked and there was David sprawled on the mattress. I lost my train of prayer, I almost choked on suppressed laughter for I knew it wasn’t the holy ghost filling him up but the sweet cold hands of hunger. Again he stood up and another hand to his forehead and he was one with the mattress. It was all I could do not to laugh silly. Tears were streaming down my face, I couldn’t laugh. No.
After they had gone, I confronted Dave and asked him why he fell, that I knew it was hunger and not the Holy ghost and he said that he felt sorry for Joe and decided that it was best to play act to boost his ego.
Till date I can’t see Dave and a mattress and not wonder if it was play acting or hunger.
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