This portion of this post ought to have followed the first one quickly; but I got caught up in a new assignment the same day that I posted the first part. Five weeks ago, we started a new fellowship in a neighboring district and on that day I and two of my elders traveled there to see the brethren. But before I go on I need to make something known to my readers.
What the readers and those who follow this blog do not know is that the idea of a blog is simply alien to the people that I live and work with here. I often tell them that I write articles that are read all over the world, and the most enthusiastic gesture that I have ever received is a shrug of the shoulder. Such a thing is alien and therefore completely irrelevant to them. So therefore, although the blog is important to my ministry, yet the people here have very little idea or interest in it. But I have to acknowledge and respect their position since my work on the ground here takes precedence over this blog.
And so today I am back home and I can finish what I began writing two days ago. I was to tell you about a tale that I heard in one of the villages.
It began with the sad passing away of a small child in the regional government hospital. The parents and relatives quickly made arrangements to take the body back to the village for burial. It is not acceptable to transport dead bodies by bus, so they had to consider an alternative method of transporting it. On the other hand, they did not have enough money to hire a truck that they could have used for a hearse. So they arranged for one of the child’s uncles to transport the body by bicycle while the rest rode the bus. They bought a box, carefully arranged the body inside – and the uncle took off.
The uncle pedaled the bike until he had passed three or four villages, and it was at this stage that he felt a strong thirst. Unfortunately, his thirst was not the kind that is sated with plain water. His was the strong kind of thirst. He needed something stronger than water. And so, notwithstanding the urgency of the mission that he was on, the man laid over at the fourth village and entered a certain tavern.
Being on local territory, the man did not think twice about parking his bicycle outside the tavern. Once inside, he quickly downed a few drinks and prepared to leave. The solemn task of his niece’s funeral was firmly tucked in the back of his mind.
Unfortunately, someone was watching this man and immediately he entered the tavern, this other man stole his bicycle and took off on it. This second man was a professional thief who preyed on unsuspecting travelers. He had done this many times. He quickly pedaled the bicycle until he reached a certain village where he entered into one of the houses. Upon his arrival, he was eagerly welcomed by the lady of the house. Once inside, the man directed the woman to take the bicycle into an inner room. The woman did as she was ordered. She then untied the heavy ‘parcel’ that was on the back seat and put it on her bed without opening it and hurried back into the sitting room to converse with her man.
Meanwhile, with time, curiosity got the better of the woman’s children, who were playing outside. After a while they stopped playing and they made their way through a back door into their mother’s bedroom. There they found the gift “uncle” had brought their mother. They wanted to see what their “uncle” had brought this time. Whenever he came home, “uncle” always had a gift for their mother, and sometimes for them.
One of the children pulled back the covering on the top – and that was when all hell broke loose!!
With screams and shrieks the likes of which had never been heard in that village before, the children came pummeling out of their mother’s bedroom and before the mother could do anything, they were all over her and some even under her clothes. They held her tight and she could not move. And they were all pointing towards the bedroom and screaming, “Mommy! The box!”
The man and woman looked at each other in bewilderment and finally the woman managed to get up and rush into her bedroom. The minute she saw what was inside the open box on her bed – a small child’s head, with eyes closed – she let out a scream that would have recorded on the Richter scale. She shot out of the room and bumped into the man, who was following close behind.
Squealing unintelligibly, she in turn held onto the man.
The man walked past her and looked into the box. By that time, neighbors who heard the screams had rushed up to the house…
Meanwhile, back at the village where he stole the bicycle, a search party had organized itself and it was hot on the thief’s trail. It was not hard for them to follow the fresh tire marks that the thief had left behind. A party of five bicyclists was dispatched to go after the thief.
At the exact moment that the epic commotion was going on inside the woman’s house, the search party arrived at the village. And just as the thief was getting out of the house and trying to explain something to the people gathered outside, the men comprising the search party closed in on him and he was promptly arrested.
Thus ended the long, dark career of this professional thief.
The news of this ‘blockbuster’ incident had spread like wildfire, and when the uncle finally delivered the dead child’s body to his village to be buried, he found the entire village waiting for him. But it was not the sort of welcome he would have desired. His relatives and the villagers descended on him like a ton of bricks. He was severely reprimanded for failing to honor the dead child and the entire community.
He was fined two cows and three goats as punishment. One cow was eaten at the funeral and the rest were given to his brother.
Thus ended the long career also of this professional drunkard.
[Evangelizing in the village]