Rhoda stares at the photo on Facebook and tears start rolling down her cheeks. The photo is painful by itself. But the caption is even worse.
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. Joel 2: 25-26”
That has been posted by Richard…no, Reverend Richard Mwendia. He has just uploaded a photo of himself and his wife, Prophetess Hannah, and their infant. The post hurts Rhoda because Richard is her ex-husband. They lived together as man and wife for many years before Richard unceremoniously kicked her out of their matrimonial home. Rhoda was a devout Christian, and a member of Prophetess Hannah’s church, the Apostolic Cathedral of God International. Richard, on the other hand, was a drunkard and a womanizer.
Rhoda and Richard started dating in the second semester of their first year at the university. They were both studying education. Richard came from a humble background, and often had to send his HELB money home. That means he hardly had anything to survive on.
But ever since they started dating, Rhoda assisted him. She fed him, bought him notes and even clothes. They shared her HELB money and whatever else she got from her side hustles. Rhoda used to crochet and sell the items on campus. She would also cook chapatis and hawk them around campus. Richard did not help because it was “an unmanly thing” to do.
When they completed campus, they co-rented a mabati house, and Rhoda continued with her hustles. The house was near the campus so she continued selling her crocheted clothes and her chapatis. In addition, she started buy cheap clothes in Gikomba and selling them. Basically, she sustained them as they searched for teaching jobs.
She got a job first, a BOM teaching position at a nearby school. It was around that time that she started rethinking her relationship with Richard. It was clear he was a parasite. He wasn’t helping her with her hustles, but he still expected to eat. One morning, as she prepared to go to school, she woke him up and told him to leave.
“What? Are you kicking me out?”
“Yes, I am,” she replied calmly, even though her emotions were all over the place. She loved him, but she had had enough.
“But why? What have I done?”
“I am sorry but I cannot break my back working just to feed you, Richard. It is over between us. Please find somewhere else to live.”
“But it is not my fault that I don’t have a job…”
“That is true. But you can go to Gikomba and get the clothes that I sell. You can roll up the flour and make chapatis. You can move around the campus selling the items that I make. Why do I have to do everything while you just sleep and watch movies? I am tired, Richard.”
“I am sorry babe. I promise I will change from today.”
With his sweet words, he managed to convince her not to kick him out. He did improve. He started going to Gikomba to look for clothes to sell, and he started hawking the clothes and the chapatis that she was making. Rhoda continued to make the chapatis at night, and Richard would sell them during the day while she was at work.
The relationship blossomed, and Richard asked her to marry him. She agreed. As preparations for the traditional wedding ceremony were going on, Rhoda pleaded with her parents to be lenient with him because he came from a poor family and had not secured a stable job yet. Her parents, both devout Presbyterians and primary school teachers, agreed. Richard and his people were only asked to bring four goats, lessos for the ladies and ten thousand shillings. Rhoda footed most of that bill, even though her parents wouldn’t know that.
Shortly after the traditional wedding, Richard got a BOM teaching position in a mixed day secondary school in his village. He asked Rhoda to quit her job and join him in his village so that they could build their lives from there. She agreed. They moved into his mud-walled hut the following month. Without a job, Rhoda got busy. She started planting vegetables and rearing chicken on the one acre of ancestral land that Richard got from his father. She sold these items in the local market.
It wasn’t long, however, before she got a BOM teaching position at a nearby girls boarding secondary school. She continued with her farming activities on the side. Five months later, she was hired by TSC and posted at the same school. She continued to work hard, and after a year, she had saved up enough to put up a wooden house so that they could move from the mud-walled hut. But she hadn’t been able to conceive a child, and by this time, there was some mumbling from her in-laws about her childlessness.
Richard had also stopped supporting her in the household once again. He didn’t contribute even a single cent to the construction of the house, and he never even once gave her even a coin to purchase food. She did everything. He constantly reminded her that she should be grateful that he had “given her an identity and a home.” He had started drinking, and she knew that he was sleeping with other women. She took the opposite path and got born again. That is the time she joined Prophetess Hannah’s church.
Five years into her marriage, she took a loan and built a stone house. Richard had by this time been hired by TSC as well, but he was still not giving her any financial assistance. Some of her friends warned her against building the house on Richard’s land, especially since she knew he was sleeping with other women, but Prophetess Hannah urged her to “fight for her marriage”. She decided to listen to the woman of God.
Week in week out, Rhoda served the Lord faithfully in that church. At the time, the church had a membership of about two hundred people. Rhoda served as the worship leader and was also the secretary to the Ladies Fellowship. She attended every service that was on offer: two Sunday services, intercessory prayers on Sunday mornings, lunch hour meetings from Monday to Friday and a midweek service on Wednesday evening.
Every January she fasted for forty days alongside every other member of the church. She fasted every Monday with other church members as Prophetess Hannah prescribed. Rhoda had two primary things to pray for: her husband and her childlessness.
Prophetess Hannah knew her deepest struggles. Even though Hannah was slighter younger than her and was unmarried, Rhoda honored the “anointing upon the Prophetess’ head” and submitted to her. She shared with the Prophetess everything about her husband, her in-laws and her childlessness. They prayed together. By this time Rhoda’s in-laws had become openly hostile and were asking their son to get another wife.
One day, as things were getting worse at home for Rhoda, the Prophetess told her that they should fast and pray for seven days, and the Lord would surely give them a breakthrough. Rhoda agreed, and for seven days she survived on one small cup of porridge per day. Early every morning she would meet the Prophetess at the church before going to work and they would pray for hours. After seven days, the Prophetess asked her to give her Richard’s number so that she could “speak to him prophetically”.
It worked. Or it seemed to work. That Sunday, Richard followed her to church and dramatically gave his life to Christ. Rhoda was overjoyed. At least one of her prayers had been answered. Now she and her husband could hold hands and ask God for a child. But it wasn’t to be. The following day Richard kicked her out of their matrimonial house telling her that God, through the Prophetess, had revealed to him that she, Rhoda, was Satan’s agent who had been keeping her in chains.
Richard kicked her out with only her clothes. All the household items and furniture that she had bought were left in the house. Richard’s parents supported him, and so did the members of the Prophetess’ church. She was labelled a sorcerer who had been hiding in church to cover her wicked schemes. But “God cannot be mocked”, they declared triumphantly. Rhoda was excommunicated from the church.
The Prophetess dramatically said that it was during the seven-day period of prayer and fasting that God had revealed to her who Rhoda truly was. She claimed that the reason Rhoda was not getting pregnant was because she was Lucifer’s concubine, and that Lucifer would not allow her to be impregnated by a human being. Her mission on earth was to ruin lives. The Prophetess led church members to a cleansing ceremony in Richard’s house where they prayed for his “safety and prosperity”. Interestingly, this drama attracted people to the Prophetess’ church, and her membership steadily grew.
Richard became a staunch member of the church, and six months later, he and the Prophetess announced that they were engaged. They got married in a colorful wedding last year, which drew even more people. The Prophetess said that her marriage was testament that God works miracles.
“It could be that your spouse is being chained by a sorceress, just like mine was. But if you persist in prayer, God will give you a breakthrough.”
Rhoda was labelled a sorceress, the locust that consumed Richard’s best years, but which were now being restored to him. After the wedding, the Prophetess called a Bishop from some church in Zimbabwe to ordain Richard as a pastor. The church continued to grow, as did their social media following. The church now has a membership of one thousand five hundred members.
Early this year the Prophetess gave birth to her first child with Richard. The photo Rhoda is staring at right now is a photo of Richard and his new family. She knows that she is the one he is referring to as “the swarm of locusts”. It hurts her deeply. Her parents have urged her to stop following Richard and Hannah on social media, but she can’t help it. She keeps going back to see herself getting mocked and insulted, even though it is pushing her towards depression.
It is like drug addiction. You know it is harmful for you, but you don’t have the will power to stop.
To purchase any of the books in our e-bookstore (including the latest one, But Deliver Us from Evil), you can follow either one of two main ways:
- MPESA Automated Digital Payment Method. Log in to the bookstore- register if you are new-(https://www.maroncha.com/book-store ). Select the book. Add to cart, check out then pay by inserting your number on the space provided then clicking ‘confirm’. You will be able to download instantly from the bookstore. A copy will also be automatically sent to your email.
- Pay Via Till Number. Log in to the bookstore- register if you are new-(https://www.maroncha.com/book-store ). Select the book. Add to cart, check out then pay via the Buy Goods Till Number provided. Once you get the message from MPESA, insert the MPESA code on the space provided then click ‘Validate Code’. You will be able to download instantly from the bookstore. A copy will also be automatically sent to your email.
If you are completely unable to use the above two methods, you can still purchase your copy manually. The only disadvantage of this method is that you will have to wait for a few hours before you get your copy. But eventually it will come.
- Pay Kshs. 100 to Buy Goods Till Number 297264 and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (or DM Sanctuary Side on Facebook) stating your MPESA name. Use the name of the book as the subject of your email. If you send a DM to Sanctuary Side on Facebook, kindly also include your email address. I will send your copy once I verify your payment.
- Pay Kshs. 100 to Buy Goods Till Number 297264 and send an SMS/WhatsApp message to 0105571156 stating your MPESA name and the name of the book you wish to purchase. I will send your copy once I verify your payment.
Remember you can always DM Sanctuary Side on Facebook, email me at email@example.com or send a WhatsApp message to 0105571156 if you have a query or feedback.
See you all on Saturday.