ARRIVAL IN YAOUNDE:
I thanked the lord again in my heart when I remembered the prayer I had said silently minutes before the vehicle stopped to drop us at the Yaounde terminal. In this prayer I asked for grace to be taken in the first taxi I will stop. The one I took was not the first I had stopped but it was somehow parked at the side of the road waiting. When I asked to board for Obili, I met an extraordinary receptive smiling taxi driver. The radio in the cab was talking in French “Preach the gospel even if your family denies and disowns you”. This taxi unusually dropped me just a few meters from where I would walk home. On some other occasions this process will be both lengthy and with several negotiation steps.
A LOT EARLIER: DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS DIFFERENCE;
Mo: Tell me. Do you mean if someone came here and tried to kill all of us here and you had a gun you will not finish him off. Some of you new churches are confused. Your utterances are unreasonable.
Me: That is not the same question. I repeat again. You say that you believe in Jesus and also in your prophet but I don’t think they are the same. Jesus our leader spoke against any form of killing and under all circumstances; God should be the master of all vengeance. The evidence he meant what he said is that he was also killed without showing your type of retaliation. Before this time he reiterated the point that he could ask the father to send angels to stop this from happening (John 18:36). He rather prefers that God will do vengeance on all offenders.
Your prophet as you said implied that you should kill anyone that attacked you for any reason. But said you could spare those who are peaceful towards you. He even led many religious wars personally. I do not think you will be following the same God if you do not choose between Jesus and your prophet. These two leaders saw things from different contrasting angles. There is no doubt about this. You see two opposite teachings; the first has an army but denies to fight even for his own life. The later has an army and takes part in battles teaching his followers to shed blood as well.
Mo: How is that important?
Me: Very important indeed. What matters is what you do when the truth is delivered to you. If you act on the truth, your life will be transformed but if not you remain the same or worse. There are many things you say even now but without the right knowledge. That cannot help a man. Truth refers to the things that God does and says. Only acting on truth can help anyone. I have told you the truth about our two religions. It is your responsibility to act on it and receive or to ignore it and stay unchanged. Even in the things I hear you quoting this far from the Koran, Jesus and your prophet did not say the same things at all.
However my journey from Bamenda to Yaounde was a lot more extraordinary traveling together with this strange Moslem business driver guy. He could be 3 years older than and from my native area so that the majority of our discussions were in the native dialect (except when La Ps got involved later). I liked the guy immediately as he was jolly friendly and reasoned frankly. He was deeply and impartially concerned about spiritual things.
THE STOP: UNFRUITFUL MOMENTS TEACH US ALSO
At the first gendarme control post we were soon stopped. The uniform officer introduced himself politely in French but with an absolute intrusiveness and then asked for identification papers. These were presented to him both by passengers and the driver. The police officer looking calm and relaxed was not to be stripped off his bootee. He now wanted the fire extinguisher and the first aid box. The driver presented the fire bottle. He seemed for sometime eager to examine it with some… well some unknown scientific technical gestures if you like. The driver was truly furious as he sprayed from the little fire extinguisher to examine it.
Mo: “Tell me, if all officers sprayed the stuff like that what will be left for you to spray” Give it back to me. He taunted in broken French and was not yet winning the duel.
Po1: “I explain to you. I’m doing only my job. There are some fire extinguishers that can’t spray because of too much humidity; it is you job to buy a car extinguisher not mine” The police officer insisted back with firmness. “Now I want to see the first aid box and one important item in it; betadine” He said tossing the driver’s vehicle documents to his back.
Mo: I don’t have.
It was another 20 minutes before the driver returned to us with his car documents confiscated for lack of a first aid box. This was a rare offense for small vehicles. Another gendarme officer was waving at him and smiling.
Po2: Yes we see in Yaounde.
Mo: Ooh yes. Tell your friend (Po1) to be careful around here. By the way I will teach him a bitter lesson.
We took off a second time towards Yaounde. Despite his pressured pronouncements, the diver was not looking annoyed at all.
Me: “Did you give them anything?” I asked wanting to know.
Mo: “Yes 3000 frs but I gave it to the other police.” He replied trying to look unperturbed by actions of Po1 “ This idiot (Po1) when they come to our area, they treat us like monkeys? I will teach him a lesson. You know the big gendarme guy in Yaounde is from our area. Hahaha. I just need slip some money. The guy will receive a strange call. Eventually he will be sent to some bush place. That’ll let him know he is presently fine where he is”.
A PICK: RELIGION HAS LOTS OF NICE PEOPLE TOO.
I remained quite calm as we moved on speedily. The bad roads being mended had made things a lot different for the time. I would have preferred he gets the ticket for the money given these gendarmes.
It was a warm sunday midday. He picked up a lady in her 50s standing by the side of the road ahead in Santa town. She begged to pay just 1000 frs and was accepted by the driver. This lady will later drop off in Bafoussam introducing herself as a pastor of one of the local Baptist congregations. This guy was kind and helped her all the same with the luggage. Although he complained and joked.
Mo: Mama that your oil I hope it is well covered. If the oil spills on their things, these young men with bags behind the boot may find it hard explaining to their wives back home if she does not see her part of the oil. Hahaha. She will lock them out of their homes. Hahaha.
My surprise was that his USB key eventually started playing a special Christian song. Oooh I was like wow. I had prayed and prepared myself to be absent in any discussions when he started the journey but this was not to be. There were some Moslem stuff hanging on the car for decorations. To my amazement, this extraordinary Moslem guy was humming happily to Christian gospel music. He loved it? His entire CD was Christian music, among them Ada, Eben, Jadeil, Steven crown etc playing to my joy through this Sunday drift.
Me: “Moslems listen to Christian music”? I asked elated. “These music ministers are my church brothers”.
Mo: “Pastor Chris”. He answered back criticizing.
Me: That is my father. I replied coldly wondering how much more this guy will know.
Mo: There is one sheikh who always advised us not to ignore Christian music. He said that it uplifts your soul. I have a friend. Each time he says its Ps Chris birthday, then they all contribute lots of money to give a man like that. The man is too rich. The man is classified as the richest in Africa. Do you know 10 million dollars is 20 billion? Yet foolish people still go round and give money to him. People that accumulate wealth cannot be servants of God. They should give this money to the poor.”
Me: Well but how can you tell he does not give to the poor? Also if you are a father or mother of many children definitely it is not be your fault that gifts will follow you on special occasions;
Mo: As I was saying, you cannot be a man of God classified richest and be a man of God, you don’t go to the internet? I have interacted with many people that are rich. People that wear designer shoes and clothes costing millions. That is what I see on Ps Chris. I am not fooled on that. Even his hair style.”
Me: I sometimes do my hair too. It’s nice to see Ps Chris like that. Hahaha.
La Ps: This world is going worse. She added. Our sermon today in church was about how to serve god even in poverty. You should not serve God because of money. [[By this time I did not imagine she was a pastor in her church]]
Mo: A man cannot be perfect; They try to teach people…
Me: Hold it there. Who told you a man cannot be perfect? Look I am also a man of God and I am sent to teach perfection. Read your bible, it is there. If you can receive it then fine otherwise stop your ideas there.
Mo: Hahaha. How pathetic of you? You only say a man can be perfect because you are poor. Hahaha. If you get money today, I swear you will change. A man cannot be perfect. The prophet says so.
Me: I tell you that a man can be perfect, it is written in the bible and I have received that already. That is why I know. By the way, I am not poor as you say.
La Ps: Hmmmmm
Mo: They try to make things look too simple. I am not a Christian but I know that it is wrong to be rich as a man of God. The prophet said that a man should work. Work is important not just praying.
Me: “I want to ask you a question. Is sickness and poverty a good thing? Then certainly only people that are blessed will appear convincing when they say that God is good.” They were silent for a while.
Mo: He should give that wealth to the poor. Accumulating wealth is bad. It is said in the Koran that people should work in order to have money. The prophet was talking against people that do nothing useful with their hands but say they are believers. I had a friend in university, even today I always call him and warn him. Hahaha. He rides a car. Imagine. Saying that he is a prophet. Fooling poor people to collect their money.
Me: Yes church is also a business. You are succeeding since you left the university together are’nt you? You have a car and doing well. Why should your friend not succeed as well? I will tell you what many people don’t understand. God did not say we will not get into problems. He said when we are in the flood, it will not drown us and that where there is a fire, it will not consume us. Why concentrate on talking only about difficulties and problems? Faith does not want that you say your problems all the times but that you say what you like to see. This is what Ps Chris is teaching us”.
All of them liked this point. They each gave instances to substantiate their different experiences with faith. I also noticed that La Ps who before now was with Mo to castigate rich “men of God” started welcoming my points. Beyond all doubts, Mo was a man full of faith although he talked from a different background. Also, all his faith was centered around amassing wealth. But after some time, the argument came back on course.
WHO IS WHO?
Mo: There is this scripture that says it is easier for a carmel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Who is deceiving who?
Me: Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, David were all rich isn’t it? Why do you think people of today should not be rich. They should be rich so that the world would see that God blesses people.
Mo: How come Ps Chris has jets, yet all poor people are in the church? People do not get anything from them. They fool them and take their money.
La Ps: Yes pastor Chris has blessed many people already, I think God has also blessed him now. He has changed the lives of many people.
Me: I do not refuse that there are some problems in the churches but you cannot understand because you do not read the word of God. Even if you read it you will keep arguing because you will not understand. Allow Christians to solve their problems. I that speak to you I’m also called by God for things like that.
Mo: Hmmm.Where is your church?
Me: So you think pastors don’t do anything worth money hmmm? You Moslems think you are the only ones that fast and pray perhaps. The money you accuse pastor Chris of keeping really I have been to see him twice in Lagos. Its expensive to run things. Besides we circulate lots of print material around the world. This is very important. You remember that Jesus in the meeting with Mary and Martha praised the one that stayed back to listen than the one that went out to prepare food for him. His family is the one that listens to the word and does it. That message we preach is the most important part, not riches. People don’t even notice that depression that is full in the world is treated with the word of God. Look at me, if not for the word, I will look a lot worse even though I have other things.
Mo: They deceive people and tell them things that are not true. You say that is stopping which depression. Wher is your church found?
Me: Well the gospel means good news. If you believe, you’ll receive. When I got into church, I was very depressed myself. Look at me today, I’m fine. Ahh my church is everywhere. Where I can reach the ones I am sent to see.
THE DIFFERENCE IS THE HOLY SPIRIT
The journey progressed towards Bafoussam, two of the passengers were completely quiet. The one a Moslem lady who would respond to calls in another dialect and another young man whose belongings were in the boot. The lady pastor was considerable interested.
La Ps: The work of God is not easy. Sponsoring crusades and all that.
Me: I will tell you. The main difference between the religions and Christianity is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will come to the apostles and help them to understand scripture. You will not even reason the right way because you are not born again. Until you are born again can your spirit communicate with that of God who is also spirit.
Mo: I prayed and fasted 41 days. 40 days fasting and one more day for God. He is bigger than everything I tell you. At that time I never dreamed I will one day get out of prison and have a fruitful life. Haba. Today I am managing a company of my own. Imagine that foolish officer earning just 150000 frs does not know that I pay several workers of 200000 frs monthly. I decided to do this business trip myself because I did not have a trustworthy person. My wife is a white. Hahaha. She did not want me to leave the house but I had to cajole her with gifts. Hahaha. God has done great things for me that I cannot tell.
I will give you portions of the Koran that speak of the Holy Spirit. You will see that there are very important things there. Everything is written by the prophet; peace be ….
Me: I am satisfied with Jesus. You know. When a container is full and requires nothing more, it is useless to fill it. However, I may learn your stuff to understand to explain some things.
Mo: That is your problem. You stick only to your bible and there is nothing more that you learn. I have wonderful experiences. There is nothing that man can give me except God. He has proved that to me many times.
Me: Yes I do not need to learn about other religions for the sake of spiritual growth because no other spiritual leader proved that they could lead me to eternity and life except Jesus. Yes all other leaders are in their graves”. How do you expect me to trust them?
Mo: I tell you it took my stay in prison to realize that God wanted me to pray. He interrupted. “hahaha, I was doing fine I had lots of money, feasting with jet owners, billionaires and millionaires, my life was already going down the drain spiritually” He added as he sped along the highway.
Me: Where was that?
Mo: Yes in Dubai you know, that was in those days when hustling paid. In the good years. Hahaha” [[He was good at stories]]. There were days I could pull 3 millions you know, Hahaha. I had the latest corolla model once. It was luxury you know. I also had one of the latest big marks of cars. It was exotic until I went to prison.
Me: What was your business?
Mo. [[He hesitated for a time so that I imagined he might have been involved in something really bad]]. “I was not fine initially because when I reached Dubai, I never had a job. After university where I had a degree in law, I drove a taxi in Yaounde. Then I traveled to Dubai. It was when I got caught because of papers that I noticed God wanted me to pray. I studied the Koran often and prayed too. I came across the verse that said if you ignore God, he will cause you to fall and fall and fail until your spiritual life changes for good. That is when you start to pray. Hahaha. When you pray well, I tell you God must reveal the things you need in a vision in the night.
Me: What was your business in Dubai? I wanted to know.
Mo: You know it is good. I always had cars to pick up our guys from the airport and things like that. This business was legal that any customer you bring to buy in their shops you get 10% commissions. It is official. Sometimes when the amount per unit is 12, you tell them 15. That even increased your premiums. Hahaha. It was good business especially until these Nigerians came in. You know, Cameroonians are trusted more. They spoilt many things.
La Ps: Bye to all of you and safe journey. Thank you driver and thank you too brother. My name is Pastor Chris.
La Ps thus left us in Bafoussam introducing herself as a pastor named Chris. I did’nt bother to find out more with the traffic and commotion outside. I slipped a card to her. Her luggage removed, we continued the trip.
Me: Your wife, where is she from?
Mo: Phillipines. You know she is special. Only issue is that I don’t get to eat their kind of food. They get to put sugar in everything. I once took her to the restaurant. She got to eat ndole with sugar. [[This thing is bitter she said]]
Me: Hahaha. How do you cope with the rest of your family then?
Mo: All is fine. I set the boundaries around my wife. No trespass. I also get her everything especially when we travel so that there is no need to worry. Its expensive but I’m up to it. That’s women. See her picture on my phone….. She is actually pregnant. I’m currently planning on her hospital issues.
Me: Maybe I could be of help. It’s two days we buried my classmate hit by a car. He was a gynecologist in Douala. I would be able to arrange one for you if you like.
Mo: Are you a doctor then? From government hospitals?
Mo: Ok. I like the private one at hypodrome in Yaounde. I might let her travel back home in December. It’ll be safer.
At Makenene, we agreed to have a 10 minutes stop to eat. I offered to give Mo something to eat but he declined. He wanted to go somewhere and pray. We eventually kicked off again some 15 minutes later.
Mo: Prayer is very important. You know we pray 5 times daily. Those that are strong wake up in the night and take it from 2Am to 3Am. You know a lot of my family members used to complain about me. They say [[he doesn’t pray, he doesn’t pray]]. However those who come close to me will call them back to tell them [[that man is actually praying more than us]]. I don’t like to show to people that I pray. It is of no use. When you pray, all the things you need no matter their location will locate you. I fasted and prayed that God should give me the correct wife you see.
Me: Truly I like your faith. I however still think you should think a lot Jesus. Do you know that Jesus is the hidden God many pray to unknowingly. I tell you when they shall realize this a lot of them shall faint.
Mo: That’ll be a surprise really. I’m someone that is open to learn [[marvel led]]. I was in Abuja lately and tested a Hummer jeep. They said it costed 15 million, another was 20 million. I love to get it.
Me: I see you are really up to getting rich. it is not really the Christian’s essential mentality even though these things be good.
Mo: [[Interrupting]] Well if i could go straight for the jet then fine. I love to have one I tell you. The Koran says when you want to enjoy life, enjoy as though you’ll never die and that when you want to pray, pray as though you are about to die.
Me: is that really? I seem to notice that the bible does not agree on what you just said too. How was it like in Prison.
Mo: I tell you the prison was a 5 star hotel. We had time only to play and eat and watch television. And also to pray. The television there was better than the ones in many high prestige snacks out here. Hahaha. You know when you know how to respect prayer and all that there is no problem with the Arabs. Sometimes too I’m tough with them you know. I bully them to know that if there is an issue I’ll be the first to slaughter all of them. You know Arabs are hot tempered and wicked. I did’nt have any problems with them.
Me: I guess Christians are treated differently following the many stories we get out here?
Mo: I cannot completely deny that. However, the law is better that way than here. You know you cannot book a girl into a hotel out there without showing your marriage certificate except perhaps in the slums owned by the Indians. The police will fish you out. Sometime we arranged business marriage certificates to help people out on that. Hahaha.
Me: How come you never became broke?
Mo: We are smart you know. We do not keep our money there. We strike deals with our brothers coming to buy from home. When they are to come over, we arrange for a family member to collect money back home and put into our accounts, then they collect the same amount or slightly more from us. They gain too because they do not have to pay transfer charges.
Me: Did you meet your wife in her country?
Mo: Oh no here in Cameroon. You know she is having a job and me nothing although I am more educated and a patron of my own. Education out there is targeted at jobs. She sometimes asks me why we spend time studying history for example. Its dumb to her. The first time there was power failure, she wept bitterly. I had to buy a generator to appease her. Hahaha.
After the trip i got Mo’s card. He was a director to a construction subcontracting company. Even by the name of his company, he was committed to his dear wife. I am sending a message to his phone. It reads. [[ Hello…..Thanks for the exciting trip. I look forward to see you again. Our discussion was interesting. I want you to remember one thing. The truth must be acted upon. The leader of Christianity is Jesus Christ. He is a lot the opposite of the Moslem religious leader. The truth is that you have to choose one and leave the other. I hope you get to make that important decision. I wish you the best. Charles]]
Conclusion: I have kept our main character Mo anonymous and hope that he will never have reason to check this out (except he be born again). This short story and message also is addressed to all those who are like Mo and do not know what and how to think.
The lord give you grace to think only the right thoughts. I pray for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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