The couple, tourists whose flight had been shifted to six hours later, decided to take a taxi ride into the capital city. Their previous visit to Calypso Island left them with pleasant memories. The taxi driver dropped them off warning them to be careful: “Dis is a country of plenty, plenty fete, plenty protest, plenty gossip and plenty crime.” Marla and Frank chuckled. They made their way along St. James Avenue amongst the bustle and hustle of activity. The white-robed figure across the road caught their attention. They heard:
“Repent and be saved.”
The Baptist preacher at the street corner was warning the passers-by about the evils of sin. But his was like a voice crying in the wilderness. Nobody really showed interest. Some looked up as his voice rose to a crescendo when they were in close proximity. Obliquely opposite to where these warnings were emanating, young men and women were sitting or standing, drinks in hand, joking and laughing merrily. These also caught the attention of the couple, Marla and Frank. They would have gone in to have a drink but the bar seemed too crowded. However, they stood nearby as there was some interesting interchange going on.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near.”
Some of the crowd outside the bar were hearing the strident voice of the tall, thin, graying man of God. One or two made fun of him.
“Tonight is Friday night. We want to enjoy life. Go and preach somewhere else, nuh.” This followed by giggles from the girls and guffaws from the men.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He is the light of the world, whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
One of the hecklers by the bar “We doh want light, see we sitting here in the darkness” another one rejoined, “Yuh know what you do in the dark does come to light.
“Go home and leave people to enjoy demself in peace.”
“There’s no peace for the wicked. What a man sows that he shall reap”.
“Dis man like he want to rain thunder on us because we enjoying life. Is because he past enjoying he own, he doh want us to enjoy ours.
“Unless a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven.”
“Our heaven right here where we is.”
The preacher had got an audience that he didn’t expect. Some passers-by stopped a little to enjoy the repartee and gave the man of God a stronger resolve to call the heathen to repent.
“Keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
One of the drinkers, “I know the hour is for me to leave, because I have a date and she leaving work just now. See you all when I see you.” The party of *“limers” gradually broke up and made their way to their various destinations.
Marla and Frank decided to move on to taste a little more of the hub of life going on around them. “We have to leave soon to catch our plane,” Marla reminded Frank.
Sometime during that night, the rains came and the winds howled. Trees were blown down, roofs flew miles away and cut whatever was in their paths, and the streets turned into rivers, houses were flattened, animals and people drowned in the deluge. Those who
were left wailed their losses. Not only did many of them lose their homes, they lost children and relatives, livestock too. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth. Not all were there to have heard the Baptist preacher’s words, or see the figure of the man in the white robe, but some remembered verses in the bible that warned them to repent before it was too late. How many listened?
Marla and Frank got to their next destination safely, but how alarmed they were when they saw the television footage of the scene of destruction that they were almost a witness to or a victim of. They thanked God for keeping them safe and wondered about those young people who were rejecting God’s promise.
*limers – people who just sit with others whiling away their time having fun and looking at passers-by
Written by Phyllis Inniss
20th Nov. 2004