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Sunday School

“The Best Book to read is the Bible. The Best Book to Read is the Bible. If you read it everyday, it will help you on your way, oh the best Book to read is the Bible”. Sunday School had not grown big despite Mrs Eva Brown’s efforts to enrol more children in her Sunday class. The villagers were resentful that this white couple had carried their own god by plane from distant lands and was trying to plant it in the sacred grounds of Amilo.
Akinyi’s parents had already been ostracised by the community for offering part of their land to the missionaries. Apart from Akinyi, only two other children were in Sunday School…Anyango the daughter of a mentally deranged man at Osogo market and Aloo daughter of the hunchbak Othung’a who had volunteered to help clean Eva’s house.

Initially Sunday School was under a mango tree. The three children would gather and sit on three stones as Dada Eva taught them songs. The children could not read or write but they enjoyed singing. But very soon the power of the Holy Spirit had reigned and the children had taught Dada Eva their own mother tongue…Dholuo.

Eva had gotten the nickname “Dada” because she confessed through the translator Mark Washington that she was born again, washed and bred by the blood of the lamb. This particular line interested the villagers of Amilo deeply. There  were no lambs in Amilo but there were lots of sheep. According to Mark Washington, lamb and sheep were one and the same thing. The sheep was not a very well respected animal in Amilo. In fact it was despised and was often used for sacrifices.

Sheep were very stubborn animals and were often a pain in the neck of the herdsmen. Sheep, unlike cows and goats were not decisive and whatever decision or direction one sheep followed, all the rest would jump after it irrespective of the danger that lay ahead. That is why whenever a wild animal attacked the village all the sheep would die together. So how could such a foolish animal’s blood have saved Dada Eva? The villagers despised both Eva and the sheep or lamb whose blood she had drank.

Although Amilo had rejected christianity curiosity soon drove the villagers to Sunday School. They did not sit under the mango tree with the children. They hang around the fence, watching keenly listening to the songs and laughed histerically at the wonders of the white man’s religion. Dada Eva was undaunted. After Sunday School, she would give the children juice and biscuits and before one knew it the Sunday School got crowded with both children and adult, keener on drinking the juice and biscuits than in the salvation that the Browns had brought to Amilo.

“When the little children went to Jesus, the adults tried to stop them but Jesus chided them saying, let the little children come to me!” Akinyi loved Sunday School dearly. She was now ten years old and because of her outstanding dedication to Sunday School, Dada Eva had convinced her mother to let her move into her house and live with her permanently. Her parents had agreed easily for their hope still lay in the God of Eva and brown to save ther daughter from the curse of the oracle.

“Teach me thy way Oh Lord, teach me thy way. Thy gracious aid afford, teach me thy way. Help me to walk aright, more by faith, less by sight, lead me in Heavenly light, teach me thy way.”

Things were almost taking a Christian turn in Amilo when Sangla appeared out of the forest accompanied by heavy rains, thunder and lightening. She wailed as if someone had died and spoke in a strange language. “You have offended the gods sons and daughters of Amilo. Lightening will struck your homes. Your children will die. How dare you abandon the God of your ancestors and turn to a strange God?  I warn you, unless you repent and offer sacrifices at the foot of the forest, Amilo shall be no more!” And with that Sangla headed to the forest.

Sangla’s prophecy left Amilo in confusion and that Sunday, Sunday School remained deserted. Who wanted their child to die or their farms to whither? On this Sunday morning the Sunday School songs were replaced with drums beating in the village far and wide calling for a meeting of all the men in Amilo. That Sunday, only Akinyi attended Sunday School.

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