The two began a long conversation into the night. Dafe shared everything like a freed caged bird.
As if he were talking to a long lost friend, Ifeanyi patiently listened to the him. Laughing, smiling but mostly drying up tiny droplets of tears, Ifeanyi was mesmerized to hear this survivor story.
In two years, Dafe had seen it all!
He told tales of miraculous provision, his adventures with the hunters and the sign language used between him and them… everything with joy through the dark cloudy night.
Is there no mystery you haven’t told yet? Ifeanyi in deep laughs.
As a few thunder bolts lined the sky, Dafe looked steadily on the sky.
‘Dede’, Dafe called Ifeanyi. It was respectful to refer to older uncles or familiar young men as ‘Dede’.
Yes, Dafe, Ifeanyi responded.
These lightening reminds me of the God of my mother. You know my parents believed in Jesus of the white evangelist. Do you know him? He asked.
Dafe, I do know Jesus but I don’t know the white evangelist you speak about. I do believe Jesus too.
Mother says He hears and answers prayers.
That’s true, Dafe.
My father died from the bite of a strange snake. Mother prayed everyday for my father to get healed, he never did. Yet mother continued to believe in Jesus. Not long after dad passed away, mother and I were accused of everything including his murder.
They broke her heart.
She began to fall in and out of sickness. Not long after, we were ostracized from the village.
You see, Dede, you are not supposed to have anything to do with me. He uttered in a trembling voice. Tears freely flowed down his weary face. Never had he shared this intricate part of his grief.
“Although we were able to carry some items, we lost many things”.
She died here on this spot, pointing his little finger to the carpet grass around the hut.
I think they never really like my mother, yet She continued to be good to his family.
But why did Jesus let her suffer so much? Why did He not answer her prayer?
None of them found words.
Dafe do you still believe in the Jesus your mother believed?
I’m not sure anymore. I lost both parents in a year. Kicked out of our home. Lost most of my father’s possessions. Lived in this forest for two years.
And I am wondering why I should still believe him. My mother on her death bed told me Jesus will never leave me. But I think He walked away a long time ago.
He was fighting back tears. Soon he began to cry.
Ifeanyi, held him close. The lad cried until he had no strength in him.
Does Jesus care about me?
Have he a place for an orphan as myself?
Why did he let me go through this?
This time Ifeanyi lifted him carrying him on his laps.
Dafe leaned forward to blow his nose. Wiping his hands on his shorts.
Then he cleaned his face with his shirt.
He felt safe. For the first time since his parents died. Here was a friend, he thought. He did not want the night to be over.
Jesus knows you, son. He really cares. Think about it for a minute. You have been roaming this forest for a little over two years and you are alive.
Jesus meant more than a healer to your mother else she would have given up and asked you to give up on Him too.
Honestly Dafe, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t why you have to go through this. I’m not sure I would survive…Ifeanyi chuckled. You are brave, fearless and strong. See how much the hunters favor you, despite the decree issued against you by the King.
But I’m very sure Jesus has got plans for you my dear. When He is done, you will know it.
What is it Mama knows?
Dafe you are so curious…Ifeanyi laughs.
She knows there is a lot more where she is going. Nothing we see here compares to the life Jesus promises those who believe. That’s what she knew. Mama is a good woman. She doesn’t want you to miss any part of that goodness reserved for you. You see?
I don’t have all the answers, God does. Sometimes, life is what it is, child.
Unpredictable, many times unfair and harsh but in the end if we continue in our faith, it becomes beautiful. Don’t worry, Dafe, you will see goodness in life. Jesus would make sure of that.
Quietness. Peace. As the sobering gentle breeze of the night calmed the forest.
Ifeanyi, watched the little boy fall asleep on his arms.
He smiled and began to pray for him.
He sang and hummed the lyrics of the song…
There is no mountain you cant climb.
When I say you, I mean Jesus and you.
Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm Hmm
His back began to hurt.
He laid the boy on the soft matted grasses. The fire was dying out by now. He picked the little lamp and lit it. Smiling to himself. “Wise. The lad knew the fire would die out”, Ifeanyi muttered under his breathe.
Lying on the ground faced up.
He was unable to sleep. He went to the hut a few times to check on Nneoma and Gozie. Then came back to lay beside Dafe.
Ifeanyi pondered on all Dafe had told him. He wondered at the little boy’s tenacity for two whole years. Toiling, lonely and hungry.
The little boy’s fight for life even while hanging on a thin slippery thread was more than Ifeanyi could comprehend. The stories of his parents demise, the battle to survive, abandonment, the tag Dafe carried in this community puzzled him.
Lord, you have got to save him!
Dear Jesus, he needs a miracle!