THE MACHINE GUN PREACHER
After that, Lawyer Ben Buabasah answered a few more questions, and then the Chairman consulted the last page of the report in front of him and spoke softly.
“Thank you very much, Elder Buabasah, for your exemplary service to the work of the Lord. I couldn’t help noticing that you recommended that Pastor Jon Fii should be recalled from the field and given an administrative position behind a desk. Could you please clarify that for us?”
Buabasah licked his lips and leaned forward slightly.
“Yes, Chairman,” he said in a serious voice. “The young pastor is brash, careless, and likens himself to Joseph, Jesus Christ, and other characters in the Bible. He does things without recourse to current and common practices in his call as a pastor. I’m afraid he’s not cut out to be a pastor on the field. He would be followed by one problem after another, especially because he is young, very handsome, and quite rich. If he’s kept in the field, he would definitely hurt the image of the church.”
“I think I agree to that, yes, one hundred percent,” said Apostle Duncan. “He’s brash, impulsive and has already embroiled himself in two controversies already. He has a background in administration from the university before he was called into the ministry. We can give him a desk job as the lawyer suggests.”
“And I have to add my voice to it too,” the General Secretary stated. “I called for his records and saw that he even has martial arts and gun training when his father was alive. When his parents died five years ago in a motor accident, it might have affected him psychologically because, since then, he’s been involved in one altercation to the next.”
“But it is a church policy for administrative ministers to have at least five years field service,” the Chairman said calmly. “Short of excommunicating him, we can’t make an exception for him.”
“Then let’s excommunicate him!” one of the Apostles said angrily. “We can’t risk such a tempestuous character in the field.”
Apostle Samuel Amago spoke softly.
“But, I see something different.”
All eyes turned to him.
“Explain yourself, Sammy,” the Chairman said calmly.
“Well, sir, in spite of the young man’s immature approach, his actions led to poor girls being freed from slavery,” Apostle Amago said quietly. “The Minister of State who Pastor Fii heatedly confronted was, in truth, saying horrible things about God. And what about this girl’s issue? What would have happened if the young man had not…erm, erm…kicked her where he kicked her? And then look at how she was behaving in court today!”
“Apostle Amago!” cried one of the men of God. “Stop, stop, stop it! That young man is trouble. I was one of his theology teachers, and there were times he had fights with some of us over doctrinal and biblical variances. He’s a troublemaker. Even his classmates started calling him the machinegun preacher.”
“Really?” the General Secretary asked.
“Yes, that’s his nickname from the school! The machinegun preacher!”
The Chairman sighed worriedly.
“I’m in a quandary,” he said calmly. “He needs field experience before he can be made an administrative pastor, and yet, it would be disastrous to send him to the field based on what we now know about him. Excommunicating him now would drive the church into a bitter debate that we don’t need now, especially since some sections of the public see him as a different kind of minister. He has simply become a sort of albatross around our necks, I’m afraid.”
As the men of God spoke heatedly, trying to find a solution, the lawyer raised his hand tentatively.
“Yes, Elder?” the Chairman said with raised eyebrows.
“Well, Chairman, I might have a solution to the situation, if I may be allowed to suggest it.”
“Oh, yes, go ahead, Elder,” the Chairman said and extended his right had in encouragement.
Buabasah drank more water and leaned forward again.
“Well, I know no pastor has been posted to Obosomfie District for three years in running,” he said finally.
“Eiiiiiii!” Apostle Samuel Amago shouted with great horror. “Elder Buabasah! How could you even think this? That’s wickedness! For your information, the church will close down Obosomfie District at the end of this year! Aaaba! How could you even think like that?”
But the other Apostles were quiet as they looked at each other.
“Can I continue, please?” Lawyer Buabasah asked, doing his best not to look at Apostle Amago’s chagrined face.
“Well, I don’t know,” Chairman Ayeh said worriedly. “If you’re suggesting to us to send the young man to Obosomfie, I’m afraid we cannot do that. That district is rooted in deep occultism. Even seasoned pastors we sent there have ended up poorly. We’ve had the sons and wives of pastors dying at Obosomfie. Two pastors have died there in the last twenty years. And three have gone mad. We’ve lost four pastors’ wives at Obosomfie, and as many as twelve children of various pastors have died there. The Church, by an executive decision, has decided to cut off Obosomfie from our districts. We surely cannot send the young pastor there!”
“Oh, Chairman, please hear me out,” Lawyer Buabasah said seriously. “There’s no electricity power over there, I hear the main central church building has been taken over by hoodlums. The Mission House has collapsed, and a new pastor would not have anywhere to stay. Life over there is hard because of the peoples’ reliance on idolatry and occultism and their worship of ancestral gods. Jon Fii wouldn’t last a half a year there if all his comforts are taken away… especially since there’s no Mission House over there for him to stay in. He would be forced to ask for a transfer, and since you cannot grant a transfer based on difficulties, he could be effectively excommunicated.”
“Eii, Elder, that is premeditated wickedness!” Apostle Amago shouted. “Do you want to kill the young boy? Ahhhh! Those wicked people that even Evangelist Duncan and his Mighty Prayer Warriors fled from!”
“Herh, herh, Apostle Amago, with all due respect, speak well!” Evangelist Duncan said acidly. “Who said we fled? All the instruments got burned to the ground! The chairs were tossing in the air by themselves, and several of the team members fell hideously sick!”
“Yes, that’s what I mean!” Apostle Amago said. “And now we want to send that young man to that hideous district? If you send me to that place, I will resign! Aaaba, Chairman, don’t pay heed to this lawyer!”
“Actually, it just might work,” the Chairman said softly. “Just a few months, out of his comfort zone, and he would definitely leave the place.”
“Chairman, I beg of you, but that is sin!” Apostle Amago said. “We shouldn’t push our brother into sin!”
“Be quiet, Apostle Amago!” Apostle Duncan said furiously. “That’s the Chairman of the Church you’re speaking to, a man anointed by God! His decisions are guided by the Holy Spirit! It is settled! He will go to Obosomfie!”
Lawyer Ben Buabasah smiled happily when he saw the fire dying from Apostle Samuel Amago’s face.
The Apostle sighed heavily and watched, sick to his stomach, as the powerful men came to an agreement to send the young, immature, inexperienced, and stubborn young pastor to the deadliest parts of the world where satanism was as rife as it was horrible and powerful.
He sighed deeply when he saw the Chairman leaning forward and speaking into the microphone.
“Hello, Agnes,” he said to the secretary in the lounge of the conference room. “Kindly send Pastor Jon Fii in.”
They all straightened up in their chairs and watched the sliding doors.
Lawyer Buabasah smiled with secret triumph as Jon Fii entered the conference room and walked slowly forward.
He was dressed in a black suit, white shirt, and a dark tie.
Apostle Amago’s heart sank when he saw how young the man was. He was not even married, and already he was going to be thrown to the wolves.
But then, the young pastor stopped at the foot of the table and looked down into the smiling face of Lawyer Ben Buabasah.
Pastor Jon Fii was holding a folded A4 paper, and he put it down on the table in front of the lawyer.
“Good evening, my fathers,” he said in a soft, calm voice as his eyes surveyed the Executive Council members.
“Pastor Jon Fii,” the Chairman began, and his eyes were fixed squarely on the face of the young man. “We’ve been briefed about what happened in court today. Quite regrettable, I must add, because of the tension it has brought between us and Elder Mintah. He’s been an exemplary servant of the church. But, the harm has already been done. We have also received a briefing from Elder Lawyer Ben Buabasah here, another stalwart of the King’s kingdom.”
“Yes, sir,” Jon Fii said and put his hands respectfully behind him.
“Well, having said that, we are glad the case was dismissed against you. The judge however awarded the cost of treatment of the young lady against you, but her kind father has decided to bear the costs. As you would no doubt expect, this placed us at a most uncomfortable position, and I must be quite frank about that with you.”
“I do understand, sir,” Jon said calmly.
“Good,” the Chairman said, and then he sighed heavily. “In the interim, we wanted to bring you to the headquarters as part of the administrative staff, but the ministerial conditions of service stipulate that you need at least five years of field experience before you can be a staff here. Taking your other veiled misdemeanors into consideration, the church could easily excommunicate you, but that is a bit harsh. So, to allow all the negative press we’re getting over your issues to settle, the Executive Council has decided to transfer you to the Bosomfie District of the church.”
They all looked intently at him, expecting him to baulk at that.
Surely, no pastor could take that news with a stoic face.
Many of them dreaded Bosomfie, and at that particular moment, they all steeled themselves against the fact that the young man would vehemently oppose the transfer.
But, calmly, he shocked them.
“Thank you, sir. When do I report, please?”
All the others were electrified into silence, but Apostle Samuel Amago nodded several times to himself.
“Well, erm, well…” the Chairman floundered. “The General Secretary will serve you the letter, and copy the Circle Head over there. GS, when will the letter be ready?”
Apostle Francis Tetteh coughed and rubbed his forehead.
“Erm, well, you can wait for the letter, Pastor Fii. My secretary will make it ready for you, and you can leave any day within the week. Just let the Circle Head know of your schedule. Transportation would be provided for you, of course. I’ll let the Transport Manager make a vehicle ready for you.”
“I won’t be needing that, sir,” Jon Fii said and smiled. “I won’t be taking much, and I will drive over there. I’ll wait in your office then, Apostle Tetteh.”
He smiled again and then headed for the door.
Lawyer Ben Buabasah picked up the folded sheet of paper which John Fii had dropped on the table the moment he entered.
“Pastor Fii, you left this!” Buabasah said.
Jon Fii turned briefly and smiled, and then continued to the door without pause. He opened it and went outside.
Ben Buabasah scowled as he looked at the A4 sheet, and then he slowly unfolded it.
“Yehowa!” he said with great shock and got to his feet, causing the chair he was sitting on to crash down.
“Elder, what is it?” the Outreach Director asked with concern. “Is everything okay?”
Ben Buabasah’s face was sallow with unease and shock as he dropped the sheet of paper on the table and stared at it as if it was a snake.
Apostle Amago reached over and picked the paper.
He exhaled quickly and showed it to the other men of God.
Jon Fii had written some words in bold, some in parenthesis, and some in small caps, roughly spaced out, and he had written the last words with a red pen:
OFFICE ADMIN STAFF [5 years requirement void]
BOSOMFIE, definitely BOSOMFIE
“Good Lord!” the General Secretary whispered with dismay.
With an unsteady hand, the Chairman reached for the sheet of paper, and Apostle Amago stood up and walked to the head of the table then handed it to the Chairman.
The Chairman sighed softly and stared at the sheet of paper, and then he rubbed his forehead with obvious confusion. He was aware that apart from Apostle Samuel Amago, all the rest in the conference room suddenly felt uneasy and, yes, a little anxious.
He tried to find something to say to explain this rather startling development, but nothing really came to mind. With another sigh, he pursed his lips and looked at Apostle Amago.
“Sammy, I want you to keep an eye on that young man,” he said finally. “Brief me immediately you think there’s a development I should be aware of.”
“Yes, Chairman, it will be done,” Apostle Amago said softly with a little smile, and he wondered why he felt so excited and just a little delighted at the look of great dismay still etched deeply on the face of Lawyer Ben Buabasah.