Eko, Sisi, City

Here I am again,
Wrapped in your arms,
Inhaling your smell
Odour of a million fumes
Steeped in the frustrations of a thousand hearts,
Cloaked in a smile,
Camouflaged
In a sway of hips,
A Fancy car,
A flash of bling,
Too much make-up.

How many have you killed today?
In hit and runs
Ritual murders
Suicides
Or dreams torched
Never to rise?

To what do you owe your allure?
This timeless appeal
That endlessly
Draws, the unsuspecting
The eager
The naΓ―ve
The hopeful?

Like moths to a blazing bulb,
Like flies to a fly-trap,
Like fish to glittering bait,
They troop to you.

And still you embrace them,
Empty their pockets of money,
Snuff out the lights in their eyes,
Drain their zeal and zest
Leaving zombie like corpses behind.

Still, they come….

I would fling aside your smelly arms
And seek fresh fragrant scents
Across the river
In Obudu
Calabar
Accra
Or Abeokuta.

Still, I remain
Wrapped in your arms
Cursing your stench
Stuck underneath your folds
Filled but unsatisfied
I remain .

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To Syria, For Love

When the wave of travellers banked on the shuttle bus, Victoria was at its fringe. Swamped with luggage in both arms, a backpack and a handbag, she barely made it on board before the doors slid shut. Panic hit her as she noticed there was just standing room, how was she going to survive the 10 minute drive to the arrival hall? Toggling on her wedges and balancing a cache of bags?

She made her way to the rear of the bus. Luckier passengers had their arms slung into overhead arm-rests for support. The 10 odds seats were for the lightening footed or the old or the infirm. Everyone else stood. Victoria had a feeling this only happened in Nigeria. But she couldn’t be sure….

Looking round she caught a glimpse of a spot at the rear shelf. Taking care not to tumble over her 6 inch high shoes, she managed to get to the rear shelf in one piece. Taking a deep breath, she lifted the larger box to the shelf. Mid-way, she felt the box leave her hands and watched it hoisted to the spot by a pair of sun-tanned hands.

“E dey ok abi?”

Victoria frowned and blinked. It was uncommon for immigrant Caucasians to be courteous to strange Nigerian women. But wait, was that Pidgin English he spoke?

“E dey ok…. Wait. Who teach you Pidgin?”

He chuckled, a low, full-throated sexy sound that spoke of humour, depth.
“I don tay here o. You shock abi?”

Victoria chuckled with him. “No be only shock, I weak join. You try sha, you try, well, well, which work you dey do? Construction abi? Make I guess, Shell Port Harcourt.”

“Yes, na construction but no be Port Harcourt. I don travel go many places. Uyo, Yenogoa, Ondo, Bonny….”

“Wow. Oh boy! You don trip no be small. So where are you going?”

“To Syria, to join the army.”

Vicky flinched. “Oh no.”
She reached for words but couldn’t find the right ones to use. She felt like she was rope walking. What does one say to a man going home to fight a war? She looked at him then and their eyes met. Vicky realised she didn’t want him to go. Wars were senseless things. They had no respect for funny, warm, culturally tolerant gifted engineers. They preyed on pain. They took everything beautiful and precious and turned them into statistics for CNN. She felt tears rising in her chest. Madness, she didn’t know this man.

“Your family. Do you hear from them?”

“Yes.”

“Pele.”

“Thank you,” he replied looking over her generous curves with open interest.

“Ouch. You must bring them out. To Lagos or Port Harcourt until things get better… The carnage is mind boggling. I can’t even think of what you have been through, my thoughts and prayers are with you, with your people.”

“Thank you. My thoughts are with you too. Are you married?”

To be continued

Broken Bridal Dreams

Her face was fresh
Her eyes aglow,
As she said her vows,
Calm, glad, sure,
Her hopes were high
Star, sun, high,
Then came an awakening
Quick, cruel, lethal
The props fell apart,
The mask began to crack,
White-wash peeled off
Rotting skeletons rolled out
Of well dressed tombs.
She wanted to say had I known,
Alas, it was too late,
She died beside him in a police raid.

21+ Reasons To Join Your Church Workforce.

I have been meaning to write this for months now. Ever since a blogpost mentioned how someone was advised to attend a church but not to join the church force. Ever since I saw the same sentiment expressed and re-affirmed by members of Naija Twitterverse. Ever since I shook my head, amazed at how easy it was to vilify such a excellent privilege as serving in the church.

So, to give a bit of balance, share my personal testimony and contend for the faith, I present 21+ Reasons To Join Your Church’s Work Force.

1. It is scripture-based.

The bible says “you shall serve the Lord your God” Ex 23:25 and “Obedience is better than sacrifice”. Joining your local church workforce is a guaranteed way to serve God. It is also obedience. And remember, Isaiah 1:30 says ” the willing and obedient will eat the good of the land.”

2. It is your family business.

If you are saved, you are a child of God, a member of God’s household. As a responsible child, your desire should be to see God’s Kingdom flourish. One of the ways to that is give your time and talents by serving in a department of your local church.

3. It pleases God.

God is pleased when we love, share and give. He is delighted when more people get to know and experience His goodness. Your service in the choir, protocol, ushering etc when done cheerfully and whole-heartedly gives God pleasure.

4. It gets the great commission fulfilled.

Jesus asked us to share the gospel of the Kingdom to every living creature. Sharing the gospel takes time, talent, skill, planning and lots of money. Giving your services at your local church facilitates the spread of the gospel.

5. It develops your gifts and talents.

Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg (Lion?) and Kirk Franklin are just a few well known examples of people whose musical talent was spotted and honed in church.

What ever your gifts are, they could always do with some kaizen. And a church is one of the best places to get a platform to serve and improve.

6. It is a great way to meet people and make friends.

In Eddie Murphy’s Classic Film ‘Coming To America’ the young prince is given some wife spotting advice. ” Look for a good girl in church or a library.”

The advice is still true. Like beckons to like. So if you are wondering where to meet people that can add value to your life, one of your best bets is in church. ( Caveat: Beware of Judas and Jezebel )

7. If you ever need people, you can count on your department.

Emergencies happen. Life happens. Suddenly you need people, maybe for a blood transfusion, or a loan or a party. Don’t try to reap where you didn’t sow. If you were committed in a department, the department ll be committed to you too.

8. If you ever need help, you’ll get it through your department too.

Same as above but includes people to help with cooking, moving, etc

9. It builds your Social Capital.

One of the new twenty first century wealth indicators is Social Capital. Star Power. Follower Count. Platforms. Different names for the same thing. Joining your church workforce boosts your Social Capital. Go figure. πŸ™‚

10. It may be a requirement for certain employment, housing or even wedding procedures.

Some Landlords, Awards, Marriage Committees and Employers have a column for Church Commitment in their Introduction forms. Hmmm.

11. It provides a safe space to grow and learn.

Sometimes our families can be too cuddly and the world can be to harsh. The church offers a safe space for growth, personal development and improvement.

12. Service provides an avenue for you to give back.

Life is a cycle of in and out, giving and receiving, your giving is the prompt for more receiving. Serving in a local church creates and opportunity for your to pass on the things you have learnt and to give back to society.

13. We are better together.

You might have great plans to touch lives or build a hospital but you might be handicapped by finances and lack of expertise. Joining a the workforce allows us to synergise and leverage on the contributions and strengths of your group to do more, be more.

14. It builds Inter-personal skill, communication skills and Personal management skills.

Time, money, equipment and people, four things you’ll need to manage well to excel. Serving in church can give you invaluable hands on experience on how to handle all four.

I have seen people come to our church office clueless but leave after 4-5 years to build successful businesses or take up jobs in multinational companies.

15. You have a portion of the blessing your church receives for the crusades, missions, souls won etc.

16. You have easier access to the Church Leaders in case you need their endorsement.

17. You enjoy extra prayer cover.

18. You have more opportunities to be a blessing.

19. You have more opportunities to receive blessing.

20. You key into the 1 Sam 2:30 Promise: Them that honour me, I will honour.

21. You have a useful bargaining chip.

Like Hezekiah, you can remind God of faithfulness, and like him, you can pray for things to change in your favour.

Time and space constrains me to speak of all the rewards of service. They include

22. Prosperity Job 36:11

23. Good health Ex 23:25

24. Long Life 2Kings 20

25. Honour John12:26

26. Protection Ps 91:14-15

And in the life to come:

27. Crowns and A Throne Rev 3 and 4

28. Glory Mal 3:17-18

29. Immortality 1 Cor 15:52-58

30. A Prepared Inheritance Matt 25:34

31. Shinning as a star forever. Dan 12:3

Note that in experiencing the benefits, rewards and blessings of service, terms and conditions apply.

For the Terms And Conditions of Acceptable Service, keep a date next week.

How has serving in a local assembly been a blessing you? Please share with us! πŸ™‚

THANKFUL!

Once upon a time, a man went to visit his mother-in -law. He had sent her word of his intent so she prepared elaborately for his arrival. She fetched fresh pineapples, oranges, apples, almonds and walnuts from her farms for dessert. She ordered the freshest of palm wine from the villages most renown wine-tapper. She killed one of her chickens, took the choicest piece of fish in her pantry and generous helpings of stock fish and crayfish to make her son-in-law a delicious plate of afang soup. Then she pounded his yam herself and set the table.

Her son-in-law arrived on time. He began with the fruits and palm wine. A few mouthfuls into the pounded yam, he found that he was full. His mother-in-law packed the remains of the meal for him in her best food warmer and fastened it on his bicycle.

as he was leaving, her son in law turned to her.

“Mama Uyai, I can not say how thankful I am for all you you have done. I have no mouth to express my appreciation.”

Mama Uyai stared at her son-in-law in shock. Briskly, she walked over to the food warmer that had been tied to the bicycle carrier and loosened it.

“It is good that you can not say how thankful you are. It is even better that you ‘have no mouth to express’ your appreciation. I will count the food in your belly as a loss. But this one in the food flask is following me home. You mute mouth-less ingrate!” With a long drawn out hiss, she took her flask and stormed off.

The story recounted above has kept me amused for years. I see a lot of human relations nuggets in it.
(What lessons can you see?)

Today, I am focusing on the message. The message is this: a little thanks goes a long way.

This week I read an article about the things we should be thankful for. (Who do atheists thank?) The writer thought 30 days of thankfulness was ‘like saccharine.’ I hissed at the thought. 366 days is barely enough to thank. We get blessings every second: the effortless blinking of our eyes, breathing in and out, visiting the toilet without tubes or machines, and more.

I consider myself a thankful person, but most of all I teach people to have a gratitude attitude. Gratitude changes the way you experience life. It mutes the bad and amplifies the beautiful.

Everyone has challenges. Even God, wasn’t there war in heaven? Even angels, wasn’t the angel sent to Daniel resisted for 21 days? So challenges shouldn’t make us lose sight of our blessings.

One thing Dr Mike Murdock (@drmikemurdock on Twitter) taught me was to mute any undesirable message. Decide to make the good things in your life louder than the bad. Make up your mind to be thankful. A counter. A person that is happy to have a glass, and something in it, full, half-full or any where in between.

Awesome things happen when we are thankful. Jesus thanked God and five loaves fed five thousand. A leper came back to give thanks in the bible and was made whole.

Bitterness is a killer. It robs you of what ever you lack and steals the joy from what you have. Choose to be thankful. After all, someone’s earnest prayer is to be where you are. Learn to look at the good things happening around you. Stay around thankful people. Thankfulness is contagious.

Be the sort of person everyone wants to help/bless, not one whose mother-in-law has to abuse and down-grade.

Be a winner, be thankful.