My phone was ringing in my pocket. Crammed in, I groaned over my call that I was certainly going to miss. The lady beside me was understanding and endured the seemingly endless vibration. High and mighty on the backseat of the Benz 508 I sat, smack in the middle of the row. These large buses can seat probably up to 40 passengers, five on each row. Since they usually don’t ply my route, my guess is that this was a driver who wanted to make a quick buck on his way from the mechanic’s shop or something.
Along the way, a man in a ruffled shirt and a mismatched tie stood up in the front seat. The driver absent-mindedly reached down and lowered the stereo’s volume, cutting short Nkasei’s story about their teaching days in Tuobodom.
The preacher made us bow in prayer. The next 60 seconds saw our humble trotro transformed into the throne-room of heaven as he pleaded with the Most High on our behalf to get us to our destinations safely. I was impressed with the power of his delivery. After a resounding “Amen” he opened his well-worn Twi Bible and started his mission to snatch lost souls from eternal damnation.
I have to admit, my mind drifted before long. In my younger days, feeling rather guilty for my own failures in sharing my faith, I used to say a prayer for these ones who could boldly and eloquently preach the gospel to strangers. After a while, I realized that the offering took a large chunk of time from the salvation message. Interestingly, the main message was, on occasion, to cast our bread upon the waters once again. The only thing missing would be the singing band.
I love the way some of them do it, though. They preach a fire-and-brimstone sermon, ending on a high. Then they sit down quietly, and one after the other, the donations come flooding in faster than the sweat off his forehead. He doesn’t remain long in the car afterwards.
One preacher a few years ago passed round envelopes before speaking. A huge man with a skeptical look on his face asked what the money would be used for. Our preacher, who said she was Sierra Leonean, replied to my utter shock that it was not for us to know, but we should support the work of the Lord. The questioner challenged our travelling evangelist, who exploded in anger in a way unexpected of one presenting the gospel of peace. Back and forth it went till all the passengers had ganged up against her. She was all but hooted out in disgrace.
Any regular commuter, though, knows that the ministry is not limited to the front seat pulpit, but extends into the highways and byways of the city. Some preachers call drifting sinners to come just as they are without one plea by megaphone, on the sidewalks of Kwame Nkrumah Circe, the louder the better. The message is just as passionate, the box with a scattering of coins in it is not too far away. Up and down they patrol, the Lord’s Anointed, untouched by the occasionally zealous city officials who once in a while drive away the lame, the blind and the sick begging for their daily bread alongside.
Sadly, though, I wonder if much impact is being made on those who sleep and wake under the overhead walkway at Circle. Not too long ago, a friend of mine and his laptop were parted, the glistening edge of a knife in his face, not too far from these hallowed grounds. There, loudspeakers blast the Word of God to any under the sound of the voice of the regular Man of God. His able assistant with the second microphone reads the scriptures, sings and punctuates the sermon with an Amen here and grunts of agreement there.
On my regular commute, though, I don’t meet too many preachers, so let’s hear about any run-ins you’ve had with the trotro pastors. Skewed scriptures, funny stories, the works.
My mind returned to the preacher as he hopped off, not before he had given elaborate directions to his ministry headquarters and his contact details. A few wrote them down, so chances are his flock had increased by at least one. Maybe the next time I see him will be on Metro TV, in a crisp suit, coming right after Prophet One’s slot. For now, he was off to win more converts. After all, the missionary’s work must go on.
Note to the reader: As you all know is the purpose of this blog, I only write on things as I see them on my way to and from work. It is not my aim to make fun of workers in the field preaching the gospel.