Following a decree signed by the President-Cultural Affairs of Yonda Tribe, soldiers ruthlessly shot down everyone whom they spotted as Christians. Instructions were given to burn down huts wherein believers lived. Those who refused cooperation in identifying others such as missionaries, pastors, doctors and social workers were threatened.
John Negobo, a believer escaped like a deer that had espied a lion. He peddled the bicycle squeezing out traces of energy still left in his body that was already like a crushed lemon. While he raced in full speed not knowing his path, he recalled events that had just happened.
“Mark, (co-worker at the mission hospital) told me that Joshua Nzala, father of Joseph Nzala (another co-worker) was shot dead yesterday. In the evening, his body was buried near the church. Joshua Nzala had fought with the soldiers very bravely. He had cautioned his son and wife Deborah Nzala to run for their lives. While Mark kept narrating these incidents, suddenly his blood red eyes fell on a man aiming my head. He shrieked, ‘John run! A soldier behind you.’ I ducked my head. When I turned back rushing towards my bicycle, I saw Mark lying in a pool of blood gasping for breath. He died to save my life. A flight of bullets followed from that man clothed in leopard skin.”
John propped his pushbike on a bush and hid himself. Thoughts of his parents and brother recharged his exhausted system. After relaxing for a few minutes in fear, he turned his bicycle towards home. He uttered a silent prayer. “Lord! Whether I live or die, help me be Your child always. Amen.” Suddenly John heard gunshots again.
In another part of the city, Moses Loomba a believer was forced to become like Judas Iscariot. He was given the task of identifying believers. Unlike Judas Iscariot, Loomba prayed for every soul. Finally Loomba gave up his life to save Pastor Randall and his family. Having no other choice but to leave Loomba, hearts filled with sorrow three believers scampered t the jungle nearby fleeing fanatics of Yonda tribe.
The soldiers continued their raid. “How many pigs were slaughtered today?” By “pigs” he meant the number of his own fellowmen gunned down who had given their hearts to Jesus Christ. “Forty-three” Came the reply. “That fellow John Negobo escaped my aim.” Ten feet away from them John was hiding in a bush. “Forty-three believers! Is my father, mother and younger brother Tigbou among them?” Fear caught his heart like a clamp. The thought of Mark released its grip.
“I am sure Negobo will become a treat to those crocodiles. Leave him. We will go over to that bridge and find some more believers there.” The soldiers retreated. John peddled his cycle back in another direction and reached home. He rushed through the pathway like a madman. Gun shots again.
There was just enough time for him to escape along with his family members through the garden gate into a hideout. A few moments later, their hut became a campfire. One soldier cried, “I guess our birds have left their cage.” While another remarked, “They have no strength to cry or leave their cage.”
Like gathering of Christian believers who lived during the seventh century in a catacomb, it was a cave wherein a ribbon like stream flowed – an underground church for African believers. The heart of everyone was cold having witnessed brutal killing of someone so dear. When John Negobo revealed the news as to how Mark died, tears trickled down the cheeks of Tiabou and his parents. Pastor Randall, his wife Ramona and daughter Ruth remembered the sacrifice of Loomba and tears dripped in their heart. Deborah mourned the loss of her husband while Joseph his father. The face of everyone was glum and swollen like a plum.
Candles burned throwing an eerie shadow. Watchman stood alert at the doors. The fellowship of believers began with the song “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” The believers faithfully partook in communion offering prayers for God to strengthen them. Although it was cold outside like a blizzard, deep down everyone felt warm like being in a fireplace. This fellowship bore one another’s burden and thus fulfilled the commandment of Christ. (Galatians 6:2).
Believers who offer warm fellowship
Dispel cold created by life’s hardship
Church makes an individual in Christ to glow
Strengthening a soul to face any blow.
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