Perspiration beaded on the weathered-beaten face. Muttering incoherently in delirium his head flung from side to side. His breathing was uneven and raspy. A thread-bare blanket covered his lower body that lay powerless on a low-slung stretcher. The air was musty within the confines of the tiny hut. The sound of heavy rain continued endlessly.
Twelve-year-old Amina, a petite girl for her age, sat cross-legged by his side on the dirt floor. She wore a simple floral dress. Taking a cloth from a bowl, she squeezed it. She had prepared the concoction from rain water and the sap of an aromatic plant her father had gathered from the jungle. Amina placed the cool cloth on the burning brow. Her father, the village chief Kwaku, crouched on the floor at the end of the sick man’s bed. His eyes closed in silent prayer. Kwaku had just returned from burying the white-man’s woman. She had died during the night of the same sickness.
“The missionary is speaking of strange things in his fever, Father,” she spoke in her native tongue.
The chief rose to his full six feet of bony structure. He breathed in deeply, revealing more of his protruding ribs. He wore his traditional loin cloth and held his staff-like spear in his hand.
“Of harvesting and reaping he speak,” he replied in his broken English.
Prompted by her father, Amina responded in English, “but we have had no crops for a whole season.”
Reverently, he reached down and touched the Bible that lay on a crude table.
“Amina, when White-Man come to village I think he strange. He wanta open school for children, teach good English. His woman wanta teach our women new ways of cooking and cov-ring their bodies. This book, he carry all time. He speak of harvest all time. I ask him ‘what is this harvest.’ He say, ‘I teach you.’ White-man say he a mish-on-nary; he bring Jesus to village. I say, ‘I see no one, only your woman.’”
“Who is Jesus, Father?”
“Jesus in this book. He die on tree. He take our badness. He forgive us. Jesus love Mish-on-nary. Jesus love Oseijema chief. Jesus love Amina and all Oseijema village. Mish-on-nary man help me know bout harvest and reaping of diff-rent kind.”
Kwaku opened the Bible and searched for a page marked with a stain. Although he could not read the words, Kwaku knew what they said.
“Jesus see lots of people but no one chiefing them. He say harvest is plenty full but no workers. Bible also say everyone has done badness. We make God very sad. God send Jesus to take badness away. We need to make sorry and ask Jesus help us.”
“Father, teach me what the missionary told you about Jesus. I can help you read his Bible. We can both tell the villagers of His love!”
Together they prayed. Amina asked Jesus to forgive her and teach them how to tell their people of His love.
The rain eased. Kwaku and Amina’s attention was drawn to the stillness on the bed. The missionary’s breathing slowed, his faced relaxed. Amina removed the cloth. The two new missionaries knelt by the white-man that had brought hope to their dying village. Quietly the man slipped into glory.
“You go home now, Mish-on-nary. You go home to Jesus. We take care of things now at Oseijema Village.”
This story is fictional. The names have been chosen for the significance of the story only.
Kwaku is the name of an African god of wisdom.
Amina was the name given to Queen of Zaria from 1518-1589
Oseijema is the name of an African region where Bible institutes are located today.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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