I am a Christian writer and speaker. I have authored two books and my work has also appeared in numerous publications; magazines, anthologies,and devotionals including, Focus on the Family, The Upper Room, The Secret Place, David C Cook Company, Lifeway, Celebrate Life, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and many others. Visit my website at http://harrietemichael.com
Rev. Paul Ogunyale was the pastor of OjaObaBaptistChurch (which being translated means
This was the church my family attended when I was a child. Rev. Ogunyale was my
His is a story of reckless faith. When he was a young boy,
his family sent him to a Christian school because they wanted him to learn to
read and write. They had no intention of him becoming a Christian. They already
had a mix of Moslem and Pagan in the family and that was enough religion for
them. But since this mission school was the only way he was going to be able to
get an education, they allowed him to attend.
But one day at school, young Paul learned how Jesus had come
to the world to save people like him from their sins. Paul made a profession of
faith in Jesus as his savior. He was so happy and just couldn’t wait to share
the good news with his family!
Sadly, his family was not happy for him. No, they were not
happy at all! The people of his village were steeped in superstition and one of
those superstitions was that the number three was an evil number. Because of
this, his family could not allow Paul to bring a third religion into the family
and they demanded he renounce his newfound faith.
So his family held a council where the elders of his family
concluded they absolutely could not allow this third religion into the family
or it would draw the anger of the gods and they would surely all fall into some
type of doom. So strong was their belief that this was the case, they concluded
the only thing they could do if Paul continued to refuse to announce his belief
in Jesus was to kill young Paul.
The elders informed him of their decision and offered him
the choice of becoming either pagan or Muslim. But still Paul refused. Before
going to bed that night, his mother made a tearful plea with him to renounce
Christianity and choose one of the other religions. Paul lay down on the floor
that night as he did every night on the mat he used for sleeping so as to not
be sleeping directly on the dirt floor of his mud walled house underneath the
window where he always slept. But he did not go to sleep. Instead after all
others in the household were fast asleep, Paul who was about twelve at the
time, quietly climbed out the window near his bed and fled for his life. He ran
to the house of a British Anglican missionary who was one of his teachers. This
man took Paul in and became like family to him.
What a privilege I had to know people who had actually given
up everything for the sake of Christ!!
Once upon a time in the jungles of Africa,
a hunter by the name of John did something hunters should never do. He fired
his weapon before actually seeing the animal he was firing upon. John saw some
trees limbs moving and shot his gun. After all, he was in the depths of the
jungle; the movement could not be anything but a ferocious animal, right?
After firing the gun, John heard a thud when the animal hit
the ground. But as he approached, it became clear that the animal (or at least
the animal that was still living) was not ferocious at all. There on the ground
before him lay the body of a dead monkey and with her a tiny newborn monkey,
clung to his mother for dear life.
John felt terrible! He picked up the baby monkey and brought
him home where he cared for him like a baby, feeding him through a bottle until
the little guy was strong enough to eat solid food. Then he called his friend,
Cecil was “Uncle Cecil” to me. He was one of my missionary
uncles. At the time I knew him and his wife, “Aunt Marie” their children were
grown and had moved on. Since my real grandparents were half a world away,
Uncle Cecil and Aunt Marie became like adopted grandparents to me.
John asked Cecil if he knew a family that might want a pet
monkey. Uncle Cecil thought of my family with our four children. When he called
my dad to see if we wanted the monkey, he said he already had a cage too and if
we would take the monkey, he could make a trip our way bringing the monkey, and
cage – the whole caboodle to us. My dad named our pet Cecil John Caboodle, but
we called him CJ.
CJ was different from most pet monkeys. He lived in a cage
in our back yard, yes, but unlike other pet monkeys who had to stay in their
cage or they would escape; CJ could be let out to play with us. We did this
almost daily. In fact, CJ was a bit of an escape artist. He managed to pick
lock after lock of his cage. I assume his tiny finger would fit in the key hole
and he just manipulated it until it came open. Once, my father even placed a combination
lock on the cage. CJ managed to open it as well.
But no worries, CJ never left our yard. We think he was
afraid of the bush, after all he had never known anything but humans. He was
one of us. And oh the fun we had with him! I remember sitting on a tree limb
with CJ on another limb and telling him to jump to me. I learned the hard way
that a monkey, even a small monkey, jumps with considerable force. The first
time CJ jumped to me, I fell backwards onto the ground and had the wind knocked
out of me. After that, I made sure there was also a branch behind my back to
stabilize me. There is nothing quite like having a tiny monkey jump into your
open arms from ten feet away. He always landed with his little arms open clinging
to my shirt.
Sometimes CJ was trouble though. Sometimes he got into our
house and raided my mothers costume jewelry. He especially liked her earrings
which he put in his mouth. Did you know that monkeys have pouches on either
side of their mouths? They put food in these pouches to save and eat later. I
guess CJ thought my mom’s earrings were food. We would have to hold him down
and pry open his mouth to retrieve the jewelry. And CJ loved to chase the cats.
We had two cats who were both afraid of CJ. I have eaten many a dinner to the
sound of animals running across the tin roof above me. First would come the
sound of a scamper and then another scamper followed by CJ’s paws sort of
lopping across. My dad would roll his
eyes and say, “CJ got out of his cage again. After dinner one of you kids has
to catch him and put him up for the night.”