Letter to Pastor Philemon Joshua

To our Daddy in the Lord,

Greetings be unto you Daddy, I hope you are doing well. I know it has been so long since I wrote to you but yesterday’s sermon was one that touched the hearts of me and my family. I especially liked the part where you said, “…give and you shall never lack,” right before offering time, I’m sure you remember. I was so elevated and filled with the holy spirit that, as you requested, I gave a cheque of a large portion of my month’s earning to the church. My wife and children are not going to eat for a long time but as they complain like unbelievers, I remind them that the rewards of God are going to be times ten or what is it you said? Yes, times hundred of what I’ve given. It’s just simple maths, I have no idea why my wife gives me dirty looks at night as she stirs the pot full of the family Indomie. That my wife, I’ll put her in her place one of these days but for now at least her culinary skills stretch to noodles.

I also wanted to congratulate you, Daddy, on the opening of your new university to add to your growing fleet of secondary and primary schools. We need more people like you in this our Nigeria, Daddy. You’re providing education for a new generation of leaders and trendsetters. My children want to go to the university when they’re older but it’s very very expensive Daddy. I was even wondering how you even had the money to build such a school. You have told us before that you came from nothing and had not even 1 Naira to your name and you also told us that you didn’t take any bank loans but that would leave the church money-the one us your humble followers give every Sunday. My wife tells me that I am as blind as a bat and stupid as a goat, that it’s obvious you’re using the money for your personal benefit but that is definitely a lie, Daddy. In fact, it is even a testament to your spiritual link to God almighty that you found the money to advance the word of the Lord. I tell that devilish woman that it is not our place to question the word of God that you translate to us, we are giving the money to God not any man. I saw her staring at our wardrobe that day, the wood long broken and decayed as there is no money to replace it, she looked at it like she was thinking of packing and leaving me but I know that it was just my imagination. What woman would not like to be with a man who is so close to God much less one that is the second to the great Daddy himself? I am truly blessed sir, thank you very much again for this privilege. My children look at me funny when I show them my right hand with awe- the one you shook before the assembly — but in time, I am sure they will see the light of the Lord you have bestowed upon me. Especially the boy, Otitọ, that boy, he asks too many questions. I don’t know why he’s not more like his sister, Lola.

I also saw the new car you drove in yesterday, it looks very shiny, Daddy, is it that the new 2017 model? Very nice pick, Daddy, nothing but the best for you. As you ordered, me and my family have been walking to church and everywhere else, as you told us that ‘worldly materials’ are a waste of money and a sure way to the devil. But Daddy, it has been thirteen years, maybe a bicycle would do? Like you said in yesterday’s sermon, I have been praying studiously and every night I am asking God to bring my breakthrough very soon. When you said, “I see somebody in this church! Somebody who has hair on his head,” as soon as you said that, I touched the top of my head and looked at my wife with a smile on my face. It was me you were referring to! I have hair on my head, it must be me. As my stubborn wife rolled her eyes, I heard more of your prophetic words. “You have been facing financial difficulty for a long time now,” yes, that is exactly me! “Pray hard during this five-day period and don’t forget to tithe and surely, your breakthrough will come.” I immediately started to shake with the holy ghost stirring inside of me. I saw some of the men praying hard too in the church and I still wonder why; the prayer was obviously meant for me. You were so specific.

And Daddy, I saw those allegations about you on the television and I shook my head, how dare these unbelievers challenge the moral nature of our Daddy? How dare they! Don’t they know who you are? Accusing you of rape and extortion like you were just a common abuser of power, the audacity! Like you said in the sermon, there will always be unbelievers. Shebi, even Jesus had doubters! Jesus! So, Daddy, I know you are already calm so just take it easy, we have all donated some money for your court case like you spoke about and by the grace of God, the judge and those fifty-two fake ‘rape victims’ will see the truth.

Well, Daddy, I have to end this letter now, my wife is calling me to eat dinner. She has been shouting all day about how this is the last pack we have, that there is no more food in the house and how we are poor and have no money, our children can’t go to school and all these other worldly problems. Can you imagine her? After you have specifically told us that everything will be alright, prayed for us and I even dropped a very large sum as tithe, and yet she is still shouting like you are the one using the money. Women, what can I say? Speaking of women, I hope your wife is doing okay, the whole church was happy when you told us that you were both going to Argentina for a two-week holiday on your private jet, the fourth one you got on your birthday last year. I wish you safe journey, Daddy, may God return you safe and sound to us so you can bless us more.

Your faithful servant,

James

Anthony Azekwoh is a Nigerian-based author and artist. He has written five books so far, and is now working on the sequel to his fourth book Ṣàngó, Oya.

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