Friday, January 12, 2018


by Fortune Emerence Chinemerem Nwaiwu

Chapter Three

A few days later, I returned to the hospital to ask Dr. Smart if there was nothing he could do to sustain Levi's life. As I entered the hospital, my mind whispered to me to follow the route to the patients' zone.

As I walked along, I heard a groaning sound. I then looked up to decipher the exact place where the groaner was. Suddenly, I saw her lying in her sick bed, moaning as she breathed.

I was told that she had been in such a state for long. I was grieved, and wanted to pray for her before other patients cut in. 

She spoke to me: "Man of God, we recognized you as the only one who visits us here always. Ever remember us in your prayers, since no one asks about us, neither friends nor relatives. We are always reminded that our sins are the cause of our sickness and suffering. We have, though, learnt a lesson out of it, as this ordeal prepares our souls to accept Christ, drawing us nearer to God. 

"Such is our greatest gain, because after our bodies have decomposed, we shall see our God in His glorious kingdom. We have no reason for doubting, nor questioning him, nor thwarting what he has designed to be our fate.

“Here, we not only bear the pains of our sickness, but also the pains occasioned by the doctors. At times, they don't feel sympathy for us; instead, they take their injection needles and insert them into our arteries and buttocks. 

"Whether we moan or not does not concern them. If we are unable to open our mouths to drink drugs, our wretched bodies receive sound blows, and our mouths are opened by force.

“Even so, thereafter, we remain uncured. No one knows if we are being treated with the right drugs and vaccines or if our sickness has no cure. We are kept aside as soon-to-be-dying patients.

“Please intercede for us in your prayers, for the only source of our survival here after death is God. We also appeal to you to preach to the world that we have surrendered to Christ, and we have forgiven those who wronged us, for we don't know yet the day our journey will commence. We are now at the verge of crossing over to another realm of life. 

"Since no one cried for us as we are in pain now, we desire no sad farewell from anyone; no one should bother himself or herself to sacrifice a ram for us, for naked we come into the earth and with nothing we shall return home," thus she and the patients moaned.

I sighed as I listened to their pathetic story, and I felt sad for them. 

I really understood what they were passing through, because I had known someone like them before, though his own sickness was minor compared to theirs.

I remembered that on December 29, 2016, I was awakened in the night by my mother and told that my dad was lying down, sick.

"Peterson, come out now or you’ll hear sad news that your dad is dead," my mum wept. 

I thought that the sickness would be minor, a fever or a spiritual attack, since I was not told before that he was sick.

I moved to my dad's room and found him writhing in pain. I began to sing songs of praises to God and then of healing with my siblings.

We prayed.

Thereafter, we thought about where to take him. My mum referred us to his brother at Okpala, who could take us to a man who had cured him when he had been spiritually poisoned.

I entered my car immediately with my younger brother and we drove off. We saw my uncle, and told him about my dad's health. He took us to one Cherubim and Seraphim Church, not far from his house. 

As we entered, they asked us to wait because they were having fasting and prayers. So, we parked our car near the gate of the church, and stayed inside it because the harmattan wind was too severe. As we sat in the car, I told my brother that the priest would think that we came with gifts and money to give to him if he saw our car standing outside.

We laughed and discussed the matter, then stayed n the car for over three hours before the priest's servant called us in. We came out of the car and saw the man. We did not realize that he was blind before he told us, and in his infirmity, he served God faithfully.

I asked myself if such a blind man can serve God faithfully, what about people with healthy bodies?

My uncle told him about our mission, and the priest asked his servant to give us a bottle of alabaster oil, as my dad complained of stomach ache; the priest commanded us to allow no woman in her menstruation to touch it.

We returned home, and gave my dad a spoonful of the oil to drink, which he did. The only things the oil did was to disturb my dad's stomach and cause him to go for toilet, which he hadn't done for two days. 

After this, my dad told us that his sickness was a surgical case, that we should look for a gastroenterologist who would perform the surgery.

We did not take what he said seriously because we didn't know that he had a hernia. We kept quiet. My elder brother and I then went to a computer and logged onto the Internet to discover the symptoms of a hernia. What we saw was exactly what my dad was passing through.

We then consulted our bishop, a seller of medicines, a man who also gave people treatments. We told him about my dad's problem, and he said exactly what we saw in the Internet.

He then referred us to Odagwa, where he had been treated for the same problem. We left for Odagwa, where it was discovered that my dad had a dangerous, strangulated hernia.

Having been asked to buy tissues, a bucket, cups, and the things needed for the operation, we drove down to the Eketa market, where we bought all these supplies. while we were in the market, two of my church members saw me and my two brothers. They knew that something was wrong. I had tried to appear happy, but it wasn't so easy as my heart was so saddened.

"Sir Peterson,” Adanta yelled, together with her daughter Mildred, who came to the market with her mum to buy Christmas cloths, "Is anything the matter?”

They asked me this staring steadily at me.

"My dad is right now in the hospital for a surgical operation, and we have come to buy some necessary items," I answered.

I left them and then joined my brothers. We were in a hurry to meet up. We even thanked God that my damaged Nissan Almera was fixed by then. I had bought the car directly from the UK, and it was new, until enemies in the village damaged it to invoke a spoiling spirit on it. 

As I was converting the steering from the right-hand to the left-hand, many things were found to be damaged, the battery busted, the ignition system damaged, the car radio burnt. 

I thought that the auto mechanics were incompetent. I did not realize that what was happening to my car was a spiritual matter, later revealed to me by God through his prophets.

I said a series of prayers, and still my car was not in normal state. By then I had spent a lot of money. I challenged God, making a vow for God to work on my car, and yet I was not seeing any improvement, until I fulfilled my vow.

Now that my dad was sick, my repaired car could take me to wherever I wished to go. This convinced me that believers facing challenges with great assurances are all part of being “prisoners of hope.” So, due to my dad's prior sickness, I knew how painful it was for one to be sick.

Looking at the patients in the hospital, I comforted them with God's word, full of hope. I prayed for them.

I wanted to speak with Dr. Smart, but my mind whispered to me not to see him. I thought: you have achieved the very purpose God brought you here for; leave the doctor, and God will take care of Levi."

As I was leaving, a voice was raised indicating that God had harvested a soul in the hospital.

"Rapture has begun," I said, my mind was occupied by the fates of the patients.

My phone distracted me by ringing. I dipped my hand in my trousers pocket and brought it out.

It was Dr. Smart calling. "Hi, Reverend Peterson, I heard that you visited my hospital."

I did not know whether to give him a straight answer or not. I thought, maybe he would accuse me of killing the patient who had died immediately as I left the hospital.

I recalled what happened to me when one of my students in school told me that her mum was bedridden. I went with her to pray for her mother. It was after the prayer that the woman saw angels in white garments, and then became afraid. When I came to see her for the second time, the woman's behavior showed that she didn't like me to pray for her because of her religious beliefs and what she had seen the first day I had prayed for her.

The woman crawled like a tiny crab to another corner of the room, away from where I was praying.

As I opened my eyes a bit, I saw her looking at me disgustedly.

Bad religion has spoiled your mind, I thought. I left my prayer unfinished.

The woman’s daughter knew what was happening, and she apologized that her mum's church did not like prayers offered by a non-member.

This, I thought, may be the reason Dr. Smart was calling. "Yes, I was in your hospital some minutes ago, and I prayed for some of the patients who said they were soon-to-die patients," I replied.

"Please, let these patients be given the privilege to attend the service when Levi delivers his last words, as your church deems fit. As a Christian, I don't want the souls of dying patients to go to hell fire," the doctor yelled.

I replied, "Sure, I will be glad to see them. God bless you," and the call ended.


This touching novella, by Nigerian writer Fortune E.C. Nwaiwu, has been edited for American audiences by Dr. Douglas Winslow Cooper, via his firm, 

It will be serialized in this blog over the next several weeks.

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