Sam AwedaTuesday, March 18, 2014
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Contd from Part 1

ecause I drive 30 minutes to Church, I have the opportunity to witness sea of heads trooping to their different Churches on Sundays. And I always weep within me, how beautiful Nigeria will be, should all these people live by the teachings of the Bible, have the love of their fellow human beings at heart and be kind to them, do to others as they would like others do to them, do whatever their daily jobs are, truthfully, sincerely and joyfully without cheating or being difficult to whoever they serve.

Millions of souls attend prayers in the different Mosques all over the country five times a day climaxed by the Friday Jumat prayers; imagine these numbers to stand against governmental frauds and looting of public treasury that take place every minute, I bet we would not have known poverty in this country because the nation's revenue would have gone round everyone sufficiently to live a minimum life comfort.

But how can the different congregations imbibe all these things I am talking about except those who mount the pulpits on Sundays and Fridays emphasize, emphasize and re-emphasize them, call a solemn assembly of all people.

Unfortunately, the high Profile Pastors, who have large following say they have a different calling.

The only important sermon that all Pastors; whether high or low profile, and all other men of God need to hammer on their pulpits with the situation in the country today is godliness and to confront one wicked demon that has overtaken the hearts of most Nigerians, which has ruined us.

Jesus called this demon 'Mammon' Mammon is the god of covetousness, which breeds in the hearts of Nigerians; greed, murder and all other wicked acts including insensitivity to the plight of other fellows.

If this is confronted on all pulpits, our problem in Nigeria is solved. But I bet many Pastors themselves need deliverance from this demon of mammon before we can move.

So, their high profile life style is not as frustrating to me as how they have left undone the useful things, which are able to turn the country around for the better.

As to the condemnation of the high profile Pastors, actually there is nothing anyone can do to please Nigerians. They just must criticize; and negatively for that matter.

Giving an example of our small Church, one learned fellow attended our midweek service about twice. He asked why we do not take offering as it is done in all other Churches. I responded that, the membership is small and I have taught them how to worship God with their substance and they know where the offertory basket is placed and can always give, whenever they are spirited to do. I further explained to him that my friends of youth and relations foot the bill of our mission work.

But to my anguish at a different committee meeting, which we both belong outside the Church, he labelled me publicly as a proud person, who does not take offering because I am rich.

How does anyone explain this? Has he for once brought offering and we reject it?

The irony again is that this respected individual purchased some of the books I wrote and did not pay up completely till date after about a year.

Our Church is located at the outskirt of the city. My messages appeal mostly to the poor and they are the ones, who are likely to attend our services but they cannot come on their own due to their financial status. So, we purchased a bus to convey people to Church.

The bus is not one that can be used for errands round the town. So, the family has another small one, which is made available to the Church whenever the need arises.

Can anyone believe that I have people who have come for financial assistance and have suggested that I sell any of the vehicles in order to come to their aid?

What do you say to this?

Which of the vehicles do I sell for charity? Sell the bus and close down the Church or sell the family private ones and the family go places on foot?

In the days, shortly after we purchased the Church bus, we were yet to gather money to do the registration.

We were in this dilemma, when one member of the Church who is an Insurance agent continued to nag me to purchase insurance from him.

I asked him if we had two insurance agents attending the Church that could make him to doubt that he would not be given the contract.

But if we were yet to register the vehicle, what does he insure?

The day he completed the insurance cover, was when we saw him last in Church.

At the same time, one young couple, who I admire approached me to foot the bill of a book he wanted to publish. As members of the Church that they were, they surely knew many urgent pressing needs confronting the newly established Church other than the fund we urgently need to register the vehicle.

I asked them to let us place all the needs in order of priority. The couple stopped coming to the Church.

The family's small bus, which I referred to earlier, has on it the inscription "Missionary"

A senior Revenue Officer has told me that the inscription 'Missionary' on the vehicle does not change its status from 'Private' to 'Commercial'

Shortly after this, we travelled in it.

Reaching a particular city, we were flagged down by some revenue contractors of a certain Local Government.

They demanded for their papers. I explained to them that it was a private vehicle and not a commercial one. I asked them what I was advertising that made it commercial.

There was no name of any Church nor any address on the vehicle. So it advertised nothing. The inscription only identifies me as a man of God. Nothing more.

I put a call to the state Revenue Officer who I had spoken with in the past. His tutoring fell into the deaf ears of the young lads.

My son and his wife in the vehicle with me had to empty our purse to give the Zacchaeuses their dues.

The worse was yet to come.

Few months after we returned home, someone went on some errands with the small bus around home when he was accosted by some other Local Government Revenue Contractors.

These papers given by the Local Government agents are bulky and one does not even know which is which.

The ones they asked for were not in the car. I personally went to meet the boys to tell them that we already took the papers somewhere else and all they needed to do was to give me a ticket and if after their stipulated time, we were unable to show them the papers, they could do whatever the laws stipulated.

The boys were adamant that I should pay for the second time or they would deflate the tires.

The person who knows the where- about of the papers was still at work, far away from the site of the incidence. So I had to organize to raise their levy.

Another painful thing was that one of them lied against me that they had stopped my driver in the past and it was after I spoke to them on phone, that they let the car go.

But this car had no opportunity of going round the town after the word "Missionary" was inscribed on it when we made the journey and it was on the journey we were forced to take the papers.

Soon as the vehicle returned home, I asked that the inscription "Missionary" be cleaned off.

In Civilized countries, who flags down any driver except you commit a traffic offence? Because once your car passes 'Road worthiness test' done once a year, and necessary registration fees are paid, a sticker is placed on your car and no one stops you for any reason. The same applies in Saudi Arabia where I lived many years

The question anyone would ask is "What do they use all these taxes for?" Road maintenance? Anyone who drives on Nigerian roads has the answer.

I thought I heard on the news few months ago, one Local Government firing these revenue contractors for not delivering the money they collect from people.

I also read in a newspaper, where a State Government asked them off the street for acting outside their job description.

I believe the hateful comments frequently passed on the Church by Nigerians led to all these hostilities. And it is unfair to do all these because of a few Pastors who live flamboyantly.

To be contd