THE CHURCH GIRL
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Pastor Bolaji Akinwumi was the Pastor in Charge at his branch of the Vessels of Honour Fellowship, a mega Church with branches all over the world. The Church was headed by Dr. Bishop Taiwo Adetiba, who founded the Church and sat as the General Overseer. As such, Pastor Bolaji, as he was often called, was a very influential man, not only in Christendom, but in the Political sphere too. Many well-known personalities and celebrities were members of his Fellowship, and their tithes alone ensured his kingly lifestyle was maintained.
As Mary stood in his spacious office, she remembered the very first time she had gone to meet him. At that time, she had been filled with such hope and expectation, after being directed by another Sister in Church to approach him. “Pastor Bolaji is very kind. He will help you”, the lady had said with a reassuring smile.
At sixteen years old, Mary was an unfortunate girl to be burdened with the responsibility of taking care of her three younger siblings, after the sudden demise of her parents during a road traffic accident. They were not rich to begin with, and the little they had was used to cover burial costs and maintain them for a month or two, before she had to start desperately looking for a means to sustain them. Fortunately, they owned their room and parlour accommodation at Ajegunle. However, this small blessing was all they would enjoy, as relatives complained of their own impoverished situations, such that none considered the children worthy of support.
That fateful afternoon, she had come to Pastor Bolaji to ask him to lend her money, through the Church’s Community Support Programme, as her youngest brother, five year old Daniel, was ill with malaria. As she told her story, she broke into tears and sobs. She felt the Pastor as he brushed past her to the door. He locked it and drew the curtains.
“There, there” he muttered to her, as he approached her from the back and enveloped her with his strong arms. “Don’t cry. There is always a solution to be found in God’s House. Just calm down and tell me everything”.
Mary was startled by his inappropriate level of intimacy and turned around to face him. He smiled at her and wiped her tears with his hands. “Thank you,” she said.
Pastor Bolaji went over to his executive chair, and sat down looking at her up and down. She was a very beautiful young lady, he thought. Her hair was braided and packed in a bun, to display a well-contoured flawless face, complete with dimples and long thick lashes. Her knee length skirt, though loose, revealed her wide hips and firm behind, which were held up by long, slim, shapely legs. Even without make-up, and a face full of tears, she was breath-taking.
Mary had nervously continued her account, feeling like a gold-fish under his stare. “My father was the only child of his parents, and was an orphan when he died. Our only family is from my mother’s side, but no one wants to help us.”
Pastor Bolaji gestured for Mary to come to him. “Come and sit here. I can’t hear you from over there,” he said, pointing to his lap.
Swallowing hard, and hiding her shock, Mary walked slowly to him, and awkwardly sat on his thighs. She didn’t know what to do with her arms, so she held them on her lap in front of her.
“Continue,” the Pastor prompted.
As she continued to tell her story, she noticed his hand sliding up her skirt. She couldn’t believe what was going on, and wondered if she should stay or run out of the room. But she remembered her sick brother, who was downstairs with her other two brothers. They hadn’t eaten all day, and the way things were going, she didn’t know if she would have to resort to stealing to provide for them. If the Pastor was willing to listen and help, then she would suffer this humiliation – just once!
By the time Mary had concluded her story, she was topless on his laps, as he fondled her breasts. She saw that on his table, there was a family picture of him and his wife and two kids, smiling like the perfect family. Tears rolled down her eyes as she realised what a lie the picture told. Even though it had not been her intention nor desire, she felt that she had personally hurt them.
Pastor Bolaji assisted Mary to her feet and handed her her bra and blouse to put on. She hastily put her clothes back on and straightened her skirt. Was he going to help her? She wondered, afraid that he had only abused her without an intention to help.
Knowing the question she didn’t dare to ask, the Pastor answered “I will help you”.
She breathed a sigh of relief, only just realising she had been holding her breath. “Thank you Pastor. Thank you”. She couldn’t add “God will bless you,” as was usually said by the grateful to their benefactors in Nigeria.
Later that afternoon, Mary left his office with N20,000 and a commitment never to return. She would make than money last and find a job, so she can send her siblings to school. However, getting a job was much harder than she had realised. It seemed there were many more predators out there expecting her to demean herself to get any support from them. When the money had run out, in desperation, she had gone back to ask of the Pastor, her head bowed down in shame.
Pastor Bolaji was happy to see her when she came back to his office. He hadn’t seen her in Church since the last time she came. He asked her about it.
She complained about being busy looking for work, and also not having enough for transportation to the Church, which was at Apapa. The truth was that she did not want to see him or hear him preach to her about God. She was even struggling to believe in God after what had happened to her.
“Church is important in the life of every Christian. I want to see you at Church every Sunday,” the Pastor said. “You don’t have to worry about work, or your brothers, because I will take care of you.”
Mary was wide-eyed with unbelief. “Really?”
Pastor Bolaji nodded. “But you have to earn it. The Bible says, if you don’t work, you can’t eat. So, you can work for me, and I’ll see to it that you and your brothers complete your education”.
“Oh, thank you” Mary said, not fully understanding. “What work can I do for you, Pastor?”
“Anything I ask,” he responded, looking her straight in her eyes, so she understood exactly what he meant. “You know you are a very beautiful girl. If no one is there to protect you, anything can happen to you. If you work for me, I will protect you, and make sure that you have whatever you need.”
Mary looked down at her shaking hands on her thighs. “I understand,” she said. Her mind was racing as she thought of how to get out of her situation. It didn’t have to come to this. There had to be some other way. “Can I think about it?” she asked.
“As long as you want,” said the Pastor, as he rose up to show her out of his office.
Mary stumbled to the door. So he wasn’t going to give her anything? Desperately, she stopped him. “Please, we really need help. Please give us anything you can spare now, and I’ll come back tomorrow with my answer.”
“If you don’t work, you don’t eat,” he responded coldly.
When they got to the door, Mary took a big gulp and gave up the fight. “Okay. I will work for you”.
Pastor Bolaji smiled and locked the door. After drawing the curtains, he took her to the sofa, where she lost another precious part of herself. She cried silent tears as he forced himself into her, and broke her hymen.
It had been six years since she started ‘work’ for Pastor Bolaji. Privately, he told her to call him Bolaji, but in public, she was to refer to him as Pastor Akinwunmi. Nobody knew of their relationship. She was the perfect Christian girl, and he was the revered Pastor. If she was to tell anyone of their arrangement, she was certain she would be branded a liar and a slut. And of course, there was also the financial control he had over her. She had her brothers’ education to think about, even though she was now a graduate.
Eleven year old Daniel was in JSS1 and the twins, Fifteen year old Samson and Sunday were in SS2. They were oblivious as to the cause of their good fortune, and were happy to be going to Private Schools in Lagos. To keep up appearances, Mary and her siblings stayed in their family accommodation, which was well-furnished, and renovated to include private shower and toilet facilities. She had only enough spending money to keep them comfortable, though she still tried to save, with the hope that one day she would have enough to break free from Bolaji’s hold.
As she worked for him, she also worked in the Church, which justified their relationship and frequent meetings. She was not permitted to work anywhere else, until her year of service as a Youth Corper and placement at Browne Law Firm. Her stipend from that was supposed to be N20,000 monthly, but when others were being paid, her madam said that she had a different arrangement with the Pastor, who had influenced her placement there. She decided to go to his office to ask him about it.
“Am I not paying you enough?” Pastor Bolaji asked. “Don’t be so ungrateful!”
“I am really thankful for everything you have done for me and my brothers. I am, really“, Mary said. “It’s just that, now that I am graduated, and have a good job, I think we will be fine.”
Pastor Bolaji laughed scornfully. “Really? You have a job? Did she say she is going to keep you after your service year runs out? How much is she paying you? Do you even know how much school fees are? You’re just unbelievable!”
Mary was quiet. She thought about Ifeanyi. Their first date, last Saturday, had been a dream. She had agreed to see him again, and she wanted to close, once and for all, this awful chapter of her life. Ifeanyi’s family were well off. She was sure that with her earnings from the Law Firm, and his support as a boyfriend, she wouldn’t need the Pastor’s support anymore.
As the Pastor studied her, he realised that there could be more to it. “Is there somebody else?” he asked her.
She didn’t respond.
“You slut! Does he know the nasty things you do? If he knew the type of girl you were, he would run!” the Pastor spat at her with his words. “Or do you want to go back to the streets… begging? Doing ashawo all over Lagos?”
Mary started to cry. “I didn’t want this. I just wanted help! I’m not a slut!”
“You are a filthy slut!” Pastor Bolaji hissed. “Let me show you how much of a slut you are. Come here!”
Mary fell to her knees and begged. But the Pastor wasn’t softened. “Come over here now,” he demanded, and watched as she stood up and walked towards where he was sitting on his executive chair.
To be continued…
Copyright © Ufuomaee
Photo credit: http://www.stanfellerman.com
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