It was 7:45 p.m and the massive church auditorium was already packed to capacity. Large crowds had occupied the whole church area. Buses loaded with miracle seekers turned in their numbers into the venue. Traffic gridlocks had no end as the only access road was on a lock down. One could hear passersby- in taxis and on feet- chattering about Pastor Kay’s ‘Night of a Thousand Miracles’. This was the last friday of the month. Tonight was the night.
The students alighted one after the other, each with their gadget, burdened with the diseases assigned to them.
By 8:30 p.m, the air was already tense and the people ready for miracles. Totems of devotion were sold by the walk ways. Holy water, anointing oil, crosses, handkerchiefs, good luck stickers, hand bands, Tee shirts dorned with ‘Night of a Thousand Miracles’ insignia, even special protection perfumes.
By the time the pastor started speaking in strange tongues- words that sounded like robo la robo, o’ sala mala tu! Robo o! Jesu; teknon mele mele shaback tani- the church had been transformed into an atmosphere for miracles. Pastor Kay momentarily dipped his right hand into his coat pocket and produced a white handkerchief. With his left hand firmly clutching the microphone to his mouth, he booed deeply in eerie baritones, the effect booming loudly over the speakers. Each boom was accompanied by a fling of the handkerchief and the resultant falling over of most members of the crowd. It looked like a strong wind, a tsunami worked from the pastor’s hands through the crowd pushing down people as it swooshed pass. Miracles started happening.
The students waited turns, each screaming out loud over his healing. From different locations, each was taken to the large podium to give his testimony and show the world what power of healing abounded in Pastor Kay’s works. Other members of the crowd joined in. The lame walked; blind eyes were opened. The coffers were momentarily swollen. Tithe and offering boxes were perpetually emptied and replaced as they quickly filled up again.
The congregation praised and praised. Shouts rented the air in bits. The lone student stood away at a corner with his cell phone recording the events of the night. It was all so unbelievable how Pastor Kay could use twelve students to rent such a huge crowd.
7:00 a.m in the morning and the students were ready to commute back to Uyo. Wide smiles were perpetually plastered on lips as each reveled in the events of the past night. The student all had experiences in miracle peddling. The twenty thousand naira wads in their individual bags and pockets were proof that they partook of the miracle of healing. But one student stood out different from the others. He had been taking pictures before settling into the front seat of the bus. He was sober. He didn’t engage in any conversation.
Before the bus rolled out of the camp ground, the big Pastor had sent for Valentine and Nkasi. In his small office, a fifty thousand naira bundle was given to each of them. Pastor Kay expressed his appreciation for the manner both procurers always stood by him to make his programme a success. Then, he had told them of some detractors; very wicked enemies who wanted to bring him down. At the end, he had warned them sternly not to board the bus. His driver would convey them back with one of his numerous SUVs.
When they emerged from the office, the pastor had walked to the bus. He stood by the rolling door, scanning faces.
“O! Ye of little faith. The son of man shall not be put to shame”, he had exclaimed. The bus drove out. One of Pastor Kay’s SUV’S drove behind. The students were in the bus, Val and Nkasi were in the SUV.