THE MACHINE GUN PREACHER
The second conference hall within The Eden International Church was occupied by five Executive Members. Also seated with them was the esteemed lawyer of the church, Elder Ben Buabasah.
Thy were chatting idly as they waited for the sixth member of the Executives, Apostle Samuel Amago.
“But where’s Sammy?” the Chairman of the church, Apostle Gilbert Ayeh, asked as he removed his gold-rimmed spectacles. “I thought he was already here.”
“He went to the gents, sir,” Buabasah said quickly, and almost immediately a glass door further up the conference room slid open, and Apostle Samuel Amago came out.
He walked briskly to the huge, oval, glass-topped table and smiled briefly.
“May the peace of the Lord be on you,” he greeted.
“And on you,” the grim-faced men around the table responded.
“Do have a seat, Sammy,” the Chairman said.
“Thank you, sir,” Samuel Amago said, drew out the chair at the foot of the table and sat down. He yawned briefly and then smiled.
“Elder, kindly pray for this short meeting to begin,” the General Secretary, Apostle Francis Tetteh, said.
“Yes, sir,” Elder Buabasah said and lowered his head. “Let us pray.”
He offered a short, precise prayer, said amen, and they all responded.
Now every eye was fixed on the contented face of Apostle Amago.
“Sammy, we asked you to go and check on Pastor Jon Fii at Obosomfie and report to us,” the Chairman said with a little sigh. “The young man proved quite unpredictable. He was supposed to be sending his reports to the headquarters weekly, but it seems he failed to do so in two months. How was he, by the way? And what was his reason for failing to send his weekly reports as demanded by the General Secretary?”
“I’m sure he has fled Bosomfie,” Elder Buabasah said with a chuckle as he covered his mouth. “He did not strike me as a man who would last in that hellhole!”
Apostle Amago leaned forward.
“Well, indeed, he sent his reports to the Circle Head, Apostle John Sencherey,” he began carefully as he reached into his briefcase and took out a huge, brown manilla envelope. “All his reports are here, endorsed by the Circle Head. We did not receive them because… well, the Circle Head wanted to be sure about what he was receiving. Did any of you know that Pastor Jon Fii’s mother actually hailed from Obosomfie?”
There was a collective gasp around the table.
“What was that?” asked Evangelish Joseph Duncan, the International Outreach Director.
Lawyer Ben Buabasah scowled slightly.
“Obosomfie is Jon Fii’s hometown?” he asked in an uncomfortable voice.
“Well, yes, on his mother’s side, at least,” Apostle Amago said with a smile. “So, in effect, we just ended up sending the young man to his hometown for the first time in many years. His mother, incredibly, would’ve been the queenmother of the town if she had stayed. So, amazingly, Jon Fii is actually a sort of prince, or royal, at Obosomfie.”
“My Lord!” Chairman Ayeh said with shock. “My good gracious!”
“Quite incredible, yes,” Samuel Amago continued. “Well, as I was saying, the Circle Head wanted to verify Jon Fii’s reports because they were incredible, to say the least. You see, before Fii went there, the membership we had from Obosomfie was less than fifty. Forty-one, actually. Well, Jon Fii’s second week statistics indicated that he baptized almost one hundred new converts in his first ever baptismal exercise.”
“Preposterous!” screamed Apostle Joseph Duncan. “Surely, that young man must be crazy!”
“Or mad, if you ask me!” Elder Buabasah said furiously. “He must be insane! How is that figure even remotely possible?”
“Ah, interesting,” Sammy said with a soft smile. “Well, that was why Apostle Sencherey thought too, and so he went to Obosomfie the following week, which was a tithing Sunday. He went with some elders from his Central Assembly. On that day, they counted one hundred and twenty members in the church. I worshipped with them just this Sunday. I had a count made. Gentlemen, Pastor Jon Fii officially has about one hundred and fifty members in the church!”
He sat back with a contented look on his face like the cat which had just drank all the milk, enjoying the stunned looks on the faces of the great men of the church.
“This is unbelievable,” said Prophet Carl Korku, the Circle Head for Takoradi. “I… that’s quite amazing! But how did he? Goodness me! The church we built at Obosomfie can’t take such a huge congregation!”
“Please, sir, are you really sure of what you’re saying?” Ben Buabasah asked in a voice that was quite unsteady.
“Oh, yes, Elder, I am,” Sammy said. “And to address your worry, Prophet Korku, let me tell you that Pastor Jon Fii now has a huge new church that can take about three hundred members! Furthermore, he has a new Mission Manse!”
“Oh, come off it, Sammy!” the Chairman screamed, almost apoplectic. “How could a two-hundred capacity building be put up in two short months? And how did he even get the funding for that? And a Mission House? They never allowed us to put up a Mission House there!”
“And I concur,” said the General Secretary. “What sort of fairy tale stories are you giving us, Sammy?”
Apostle Amago leaned forward with a broad smile on his face.
“The sort of fairy tale that only a man who’s backed by the mighty God we serve can produce!” he cried excitedly. “When I went, the king of Obosomfie, the Queenmother, the Elders, Kingmakers, Sub-chiefs! They were all in the church! They had all been baptized!”
“Yehowa!” Elder Buabasah cried, and there was a strange note of fear in his voice now. “But… how? How possible? Surely, it can’t be done!”
“You bet your head it has been done!” Apostle Amago cried. “And he has one Deacon there now, anointed by Prophet Sencherey when he visited them. A man by name of Bobo Duba, who was a notorious criminal!”
“Oh!” Chairman Gilbert Ayeh cried with sudden shock. “Bobo Duba? Isn’t the man that took over the church and wouldn’t let any pastor enter? Bobo the Killer, if I remember correctly! A man known to have been in prison countless times? A dreaded figure in the area?”
“Same man, sir, same man!” Sammy Amago cried excitedly. “He’s now the first Deacon of the church over there, and he’s been made a Presiding Deacon of the smaller church, which is now known as the Bobo Assembly. Incredible!”
“But how did Pastor Fii get a new building as a church, and one as a Manse?” Apostle Korku asked with a puzzled voice. “I still don’t get it!”
“I’ll tell you, Carl,” Sammy Amago said. “Well, there’s this man at Obosomfie, Agya Manu, quite wealthy. Owns fishing boats, trucks, and buildings in other parts of the country! Apparently, he built the place a couple of years ago to serve as the headquarters of his new company, a cocoa processing factory! This man and his wife donated the two buildings, with a spare fifty acres of plots, to Pastor Jon Fii to use as church and manse respectfully. The man is also constructing a conference area and pool area for baptisms for free!”
“Halleluyah!” the Chairman said with awe. “Quite incredible! How could all this be possible? The deity there was quite formidable, with that wicked Fetish Priestess Sophia and her cronies in charge! We were shutting down Obosomfie District! What happened? How could all that happened under the watch of that witch?”
“Ah, therein lies the most incredible news, sir!” Sammy said and clapped his hands excitedly. “That fetish priestess’ parents, apparently, are Agya Manu and his wife!”
“Jesus!” Ben Buabasah whispered. “The same man that donated the buildings?”
“Same man, and his wife, yes!” Sammy said excitedly. “Amazing! Simply amazing! And gentleman, sit steady for this! The famous Bosomfie Shrine is no more! It collapsed completely! And this feared young woman who has been terrorizing our church and the pastors we sent there has now been baptized, and is a spirit-filled woman of God now!
The men were stunned!
Their eyes bulged with wonder!
For a moment they sat still, gripped with the surreal, staring at Apostle Amago with looks that approached senility.
“Goodness!” Apostle Gilbert Ayeh murmured finally. “You don’t mean it!”
“Hold on a second!” Samuel Amago said. “You guys know Obosomfie District was part of our mission fields so we were not taking any tithing and offering from them, and we were rather giving them aid. Well, I have their reports for the two months, and their tithing in two months is greater than many of the rich assemblies we have right here in Accra!”
“Awurade Nyankopon but how?” Elder Buabasah screamed.
“Sammy!” Evangelist Duncan said numbly. “That is too much! That is too much!”
“You haven’t heard anything yet,” Sammy Amago said with a smile. “Do you remember Pastor Bonifius Kwabla Atoklu?”
“The man with the pompo-kontua!” Elder Bubabasah said. “Yes, he almost died. Heard he cannot leave Bosomfie now, and has become a drunk.”
“We excommunicated him, and revoked his licence,” the Chairman said dully.
“Aha!” Sammy Amago cried. “He’s back now, helping Pastor Jon Fii! He’s back to his spirit-filled preaching and his zeal for the work of the Lord is amazing! Jon Fii led him back to the fold!”
“Ei!” cried Apostle Fred Danso, who had not uttered a word so far, and his voice was unsteady and he had tears in his eyes. “We sinned! Yes, we sinned! We sent that little boy to that deadly district to teach him a lesson, to make him run away and leave the pastoral call! We heeded to the ugly advice of this wicked elder and threw the boy to the wolves! But the Lord has always been with him, and we failed to see that! We’ve sinned! Against God and that boy have we sinned! Aish!”
Shame-faced, Elder Ben Buabasah looked down at his hands.
“Indeed, we have sinned, and we need to ask for forgiveness from God,” Apostle Gilber Ayeh said. “We allowed ourselves to be swayed, and our intentions were not godly. May God forgive us. We do owe this amazing young lad an apology, and we need to keep an eye on him. The spirit of the Lord is on him.”
“Oh, almost forgot,” Sammy Amago said as he leaned back pompously. “He’s marrying Sophia Manu in two weeks.”
“He’s marrying the Priestess?” Apostle Francis Tetteh screamed. “She’s going to become his partner in the ministry? A Sofo Maame? Ei! Awurade! This is unbelievable!”
“Yes, they fell in love, and are getting married in two weeks!”
Apostle Ayeh smiled and nodded his head several times.
“The Lord used a man we looked down on, a man we despised, the lowest pastor who had just graduated from school, to do a mighty work we were all scared of, and were running from. Indeed, we’ve been shamed in the worst possible way, and taught lessons we are never going to forget! We need to pray, and fast, and ask for forgiveness because we have sinned!”
“That is true, sir,” Evangelist Duncan said, his voice filled with shame. “And I want to be at that wedding to apologize to that young man personally.”
“I will be there to officiate his wedding,” the Chairman said with a little smile. “Yes, I’ll be there to serve that boy. He’s the future of God’s church, the little David that will grow to rule Israel. Gentlemen, be ready. We’re all going to a wedding at Obosomfie in two weeks.”
“Can I come too, please?” Elder Buabasah asked in an unsteady voice. “I feel so ashamed! I wished only for the worst in that boy but, God has always been with him, I see now! These miracles are impossible without God! I’m sorry, gentlemen, so very sorry!”
Apostle Samuel Amago simply leaned back and laughed softly to himself.
It was nice to see these powerful men so humbled. It was not something he saw often, and he took his time to savour and bask in it.