The Elder’s Daughter Episode 31
© Jennipher Duru
Elder Barnabas came back to the living room, breathing profusely. His wife looked at him expecting to see her luggage, but it was nowhere to be seen. She understood that he did not have the courage to chase her out of the house. They both sat in the living room each one facing different directions. Elder Barnabas shook his head “Esther you have brought shame to this house after everything that I have done for you. I am not sure if I should hand you over to Satan or just allow the Lord to deal with you. What will be said of me at church and in this community at large? I will be considered a failure, a man that cannot teach his children the right way to follow. A man that cannot even be respected by his wife. I am sure Jacob will tell everyone everything that has happened here today” he said. Esther’s mother wanted to respond but she held her peace. She stood up and went to the bedroom. Elder Barnabas shouted “Where are you going woman? How dare you walk out on me like that without my permission?” His wife looked at him in anger and walked away, not paying attention to him. Elder Barnabas stood up and ran to the bedroom, locked it and put the keys into his pocket. Esther’s mother paid no attention to him. She just turned back and went to the kitchen while Elder sat down in the living room. Daniel arrived and suspected that something had happened. He went to the kitchen and whispered to his mother to ask what was going on. “I will tell you everything later” his mother said. Suddenly Elder Barnabas shouted “Daniel, please come and buy some lunch for me from the restaurant. I don’t ever want to eat anything from this house!” Daniel hurried to where his father was calling from. He collected the money and went to carry out the errand. “Do what pleases you” Esther’s mother said to herself as she put water on the stove.
In the evening of that very day, Esther decided to switch her phone on. She found more than 50 messages from Jacob. Some of the messages were love messages where he was telling her how much he missed her. Esther sneered as she read. Then she suddenly stumbled upon other messages that seemed quite disrespectful. “You b**tch, sl**t, so all this while you were with me, you were also opening your legs for that idiot of a boy called David…….You are such a whore. You will regret what you have done. I am about to sue your useless dad for collecting money from me and trying to lie to me that I am responsible for your pregnancy……..we will see just how they will manage to pay off what they have taken form me…….I will inform the whole church about your lack of control………Your parents will be the laughing stock of the whole city…….and many more messages. Esther’s heart beat fast when she read them all. She did not know how to react. She wanted to respond by insulting Jacob and asking him to go to hell, but she erased her messages and kept thinking. She thought of her mother. She wondered what had happened. She was alone in the hostel as Angela had gone out. She then put her phone on the bed and knelt down. “Holy Spirit, I have been told that you are the one that knows all things and that you are my Comforter and Director. Right now I don’t know what to do and how to react. Please help me. I feel like just insulting this man for all the bad things he has done to me, but I am also thinking that you wouldn’t think it’s a good idea. What should I do?” she prayed. She continued on her knees and thought about what to do. Someone knocked at the door and when she opened the door she found that it was Brian. “Hello my dear Esther, how are you doing?” he said. Esther was happy to see him “I am doing fine Brian and you? I hope you had some rest” she said. “Yes I did, thank you. I came to ask if you don’t mind going with me to the Christian students’ fellowship Bible study and prayer meeting. It starts in the next 30 minutes. I am sorry I had to come straight to your room. That’s because I couldn’t get hold of you on the phone” Brian answered. Esther looked excited “Of course Brian, with all pleasure. I just switched on my phone a couple of minutes ago. Let me call my friend Angela to go with us…..Oh there she is…Angela sweetheart, let’s go for Bible study. I think you and I both need it” she said as Angela walked in. Angela happily accepted and they all left at once.
The meeting was being held in one of the classrooms. A good number of students were all inside the hall as others also came in. Brian went round greeting the students. He seemed to be quite popular as everyone greeted him back with so much respect. He asked Esther and Angela to sit down, gave them two note books and pens and went to the front. He looked at his watch and said “Ok dear brethren, I think it is now time for us to start. It is indeed good to see you all after our short break. Shall we all be on our feet as we give thanks to our God for yet another privilege to be in his presence this evening?” All the students stood up and with hands lifted up, gave thanks to God. Esther and Angela prayed along and after about five minutes, Brian invited a young lady to lead them in worship. The lady had such a beautiful voice. Esther went down on her knees as they sang songs of worship. She felt so good and relaxed. She didn’t want it to stop, but finally the worship was over and it was now time for the Bible study to commence. One of the male students rose up and introduced the theme of the study “Today we shall be looking at how to overcome evil with good. Let us all open the book of Romans chapter 12 and verse 21 which says Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Can someone please tell me what they think this means? ” he said. Some students raised up their hands and gave their own explanation of what they thought could be the meaning. The student then asked them to form groups of 4 people in order to discuss the scripture. Esther and Angela belonged to the same group with two other fellows. They listened carefully as they spoke. Esther and Angela also gave their views on the subject. When it was time to consolidate their answers, Brian stood up and gave a small teaching on the subject “Brethren we all know that one of the hardest things to do is to be good to those who have wronged us. But we have to understand that Christ commanded us to do so. Can you imagine that even when he had been crucified, He still asked the Father to forgive them? It’s simply because He was filled with the love of the Father in Him. We all need to learn to forgive those that have hurt us. I know it’s not an easy thing to do, but it brings healing to you. Lack of forgives is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. When we forgive, we manifest divine nature and we free our hearts from bitterness. I know someone might have hurt you. I know maybe someone even sent you a disrespectful message or even insulted you, but I advise you to forgive and forget. Leave all things in the hands of the Lord who is the rewarder of all men, whether good or bad. Your role is to forgive and God’s role is to reward. That is why I am asking each and every one of you to bow your heads down and think about anyone that has hurt you and you have been finding it hard to forgive. Imagine Jesus on the cross asking the Father to forgive those that pierced his body with swords, cursed him, spat on him and hanged him on the cross. Then liberate yourself from the bitterness and free your life from captivity. None of you here deserves to be held in captivity. No one has the right to be master over you. You can free yourself now” Brian said.
All of a sudden, some students began to cry. Esther was trying to retain her tears but when she saw Angela on her knees crying, she burst out into tears and also cried. Brian shouted “Forgive them, liberate your life, tell the Father that you have forgiven them. Free yourself. You have the key to open the door to freedom now. Go ahead and just free your mind right now.” He also knelt down and prayed. Esther prayed “Oh my Father. I forgive everyone that has hurt me. I forgive my father, my mother. Yes I forgive David and Jacob and I ask you to forgive me also for keeping malice in my heart. Father liberate me today and let me live in total freedom.” Angela was also on her knees pouring her heart out to God. When they had finished praying, they all held hands and prayed together. After prayers, they greeted each other: handshakes and hugs, encouraging each other in the Lord. Esther and Angela were excited. Brian hugged both of them with a smile on his face “God bless you both for coming” he said. One lady came to meet him and asked him to pray for her concerning a certain issue. He held her by the hand and went to sit down with her a few meters away. Angela and Esther looked at him as he held her hands and prayed with her. “This man is heaven sent” Esther said. ‘You can say that again. He is so full of love and compassion” Angela answered. When Brian had finished, they left the classroom and headed to their rooms. Brian cracked some jokes and the two ladies laughed so hard. As they were walking, they met David coming from the opposite direction. He looked at them in surprise. Esther’s heart was beating so fast. David did not expect any greeting from Esther, but he got the shock of his life when Esther ran to give him a hug “David. It’s so good to see you after such a while. How are you my dear?” she said. Before David could try to figure out what was happening, Angela also gave him a hug “Hello Mr. David, what’s up?” she said. “Er-er-er-er I am fine thank you ladies. What a surprise! You both look very good” he said. He looked at Brian who was smiling and gave him a handshake “Hi bro. How are you? I have not forgotten about your invitation to the fellowship. I will come very soon. I have just been busy with work and school” David said. Brian smiled “No problem bro. You are welcome at any time” he said. David longed to talk to Esther, but he did not know just how to go about it. Esther smiled and left with Brian and Angela. David looked back and thought “Wow. What is going on? Why can’t I control my feelings over this girl? She looks so radiant like never before. Something about her has changed.”
The next couple of days, David was still thinking about Esther. He desired to talk to her, but he was afraid of her reaction. “After what I did to her, I don’t think she could ever want to be friends with me again. And I hope that she is not seeing that born again guy. I love this girl. I can’t seem to forget about her no matter what happens. Eish!” he thought to himself as he lay on the bed on night. He picked up his phone and sent her a message “Hello Esther”
Esther: Hi David. Good evening
David: Good evening my dear. How are you?
Esther: I am fine thanks by God’s grace and you?
David: I am a little bit fine
Esther: Why a little bit? Is everything ok?
David: Not really, but I’ll be fine I guess
Esther: Ok. May God give you strength to get over whatever situation you are facing
David: Amen. Thanks. So what’s up with you?
Esther: I am fine. I couldn’t be better.
David: I am happy to hear that. You looked so radiant the other day when we met. Beautiful as ever!
Esther: Thank you
David: Are you still with your fiancé?
Esther: lol. Why the question?
David: I just want to know. We are friends aren’t we?
Esther: Sure. Maybe we can talk about it another time. I am feeling sleepy right now. Good night my dear. May God protect you
David: Oh come on! Let’s just chat for a few more minutes then you can go to sleep.
Esther: Later my dear. Good night
David: Please, I am on my knees. Please
Esther did not respond to the message. David called her but she did not pick up. “What is wrong with me? This girl is engaged for heaven’s sake! Why are my feelings getting even stronger?” he said to himself, throwing the phone on the other side of the bed.
Early in the morning as Elder Barnabas was pulling some weeds from the garden, he received visitors. It was Jacob, his father and three other elders from the church, including the Chief Elder. Elder Barnabas knew he was in trouble “Oh dear Lord, help me” he said. He went to meet them and asked them to enter the living room. Esther’s mother was in the living room. She respectfully greeted all of them even though Jacob refused to greet both her and Elder.
When they sat down, Esther’s mother offered them something to drink but they all rejected the offer. “Thank you my dear, but I am alright. God bless you” the Chief Elder said. He also demanded that she sits with them as they had something to discuss with them.
Chief Elder: My fellow Elders, son and sister I greet you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We apologize to you Elder Barnabas for embarking on this journey to you house without even notifying you in advance. But I believe this is a matter that has to be dealt with much sense of urgency. We received information here from our son Jacob that his supposedly fiancée who happens to be your daughter has committed an abomination both before men and before God by becoming pregnant for another man
Jacob’s father: Aieeee! Jesus!
Chief Elder: Before I go any further, I would like to hear from the horse’s mouth if indeed what we have heard is true
Elder Barnabas: Well, according to my daughter, she is pregnant for another man. However, Jacob here confessed to us some few days back that he also had sexual intercourse with her, so we cannot tell the whole truth here unless maybe we carry out the tests necessary to know who the father is
Jacob: Which tests? You think I am mad? Your wife here told me that she is not up to 2 months pregnant so I cannot be the father of that b******
Esther’s mother: How dare you talk about my daughter like that in our house! Listen to me you disrespectful fool. If you have nothing good to say here, I will personally chase you out of this house! Nonsense!
Jacob: Not until you have paid back everything you stole from me
Chief Elder: Jacob! Shut up and sit down here! What kind of a thing is this? Can’t you allow us to finish before you can talk? Have some respect please!…….. Now, Elder Barnabas, your daughter told you that Jacob is not responsible for her pregnancy and even your wife here confirmed it. We all know that this young man Jacob had good intentions towards your family by asking for the hand of your daughter in marriage and also showed goodwill towards you all. However, your daughter paid him with evil by stabbing him on his back. We are all so disappointed and after having some discussions with the church disciplinary committee, we have come up with some decisions that will need to be taken. Please note that all these decisions are biblical and we are doing them for the good of the church which is Christ’s body. The first thing we have decided to do is to call off the planned wedding of our son to your daughter, Esther with immediate effect.
Jacob’s father: Oh yes!!!!
Chief Elder: and according to our son here, he wants to take back some of the things that he gave to you as a gift for granting him the hand of your daughter in marriage. I have a list of the things here on this paper. They include: the car, the dowry amount in totality, at least half of the amount he spent on fertilizer for your farm and also the two phones he bought for you and your son Daniel. He also says there are many other things he got for you, but he has decided to forgive you and count them out, out of respect for you. Then the second decision that was taken is your excommunication from the Elders’ board and any other leadership position that you hold in church. This also means that you can longer occupy the Elder’s seat behind the Reverend. You will now be seating in the congregation like ordinary members. It is not a good example to have an Elder who cannot teach his children moral values. But please understand that this does not mean that you are no longer welcome in the church. The church belongs to Jesus and you are free to worship there anytime you want. So please, feel free. We are still brethren in the Lord.
Elder Barnabas felt like a sharp sword was pierced his heart. He did not know what to say, but he gathered the little courage he had and said “My dear Elders. I have heard everything that you have said and I am ready to comply with it. However, I am asking you to plead with our son Jacob to give me some time to gather the money necessary to pay him back for the things he bought for us. As you know, I am on retirement and I am still waiting for my retirement package to arrive.
Chief Elder: That is no problem. How long do you think you will need to gather this amount?
Elder Barnabas: Well at least 12 months
Jacob: What! 12 months for what? Did it take me 12 months to give it to you? I need my money within two months because I will start preparing for my wedding with another lady who deserves my love and care.
Chief Elder: Jacob! Please calm down. Our Elder, I mean Barnabas, has explained to us that he does not have enough money. I suggest we give him at least 6 months to pay back the debt. Barnabas, is that ok?
Elder Barnabas: Yes my Elder. I will try my best
Chief Elder: Ok, thank you very much for your time. We need to leave now. So since our son is here with us, I think it will be better for you to give him back the car and the two phones.
Elder Barnabas slowly walked to his room. He went to Daniel’s room also and came back with the car keys and the two phones in his hands. He then handed them over to the Chief Elder who departed from the living room. As they got outside, Jacob said “Chief Elder, please help me drive this car to your house. I will pick it up later in the evening. And here, you can give these phones to your daughter Clara and her sister.” The Chief Elder entered the car with the other visitors and Jacob entered his car with his father. Esther’s’ mother watched them as they left with tears running from her eyes. She felt broken. Daniel was also watching from the window. Elder Barnabas slowly entered the house with so much sadness. He sat down on the chair and put his hand on his chin. He breathed deeply as he thought about everything that had happened.
To be continued