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Amina's Plate

Fri, Apr. 18, 2014 Posted: 07:03 AM


It will be a while before the wounds from events of the last week, at the capital town of Abuja, Nigeria - are healed and the pain soothed from her memory. The bomb which ripped through the popular Nyanya bus terminal, on the 14th of April, filled with morning commuters, left only scattered body parts and destroyed vehicles. There will be no official list of the affected …only the memory of human parts strewn on the dusty floor being collected for the morgue. Many would not even be reported missing, most unrecognizable…there will be little DNA testing.

Zainab always brought her sister early to the terminal to await the arrival of the many who worked in Abuja but could not afford the rising cost of accommodation. The Easter festivities were around the corner and many will be generous. Amina did not go to school, they could not afford it, her profession was to seek alms from generous travelers and all she had to master were the Christian and Moslem greetings and prayers and guess the appropriate songs. Sometimes it was obvious what to do after some observation. Often she got it wrong … but few could resist dropping a few coins on her twisted aluminum plate.

Only last month both Amina and the elder Zainab had started going to church, their elder cousin, a herdsman had told them a strange but true story. It happened at a Christian conference in a nearby town. A Fulani believer had a dream where he was shown a herdsman with cows, and saw God give him clear instructions to share the gospel with the herdsman. The following day, he met this man herding some cattle and decided to preach to him. But when the herdsman became agitated and unwilling to listen, the disciple left him alone with the assurance that Jesus would appear to him personally. The next day, the herdsman ran into the conference to give his life to Christ. Jesus had indeed appeared to him in the night!! He thereafter went to the owner of the cattle herd to resign and is currently being discipled.

The tract that was read to Amina and Zainab quoted a scripture in Luk_9:58  And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

What struck Amina about the gospel message was that, like her, Jesus also had nowhere to lay His head. How would the King of all kings accept such a condition and be so easily given for her salvation and restoration? She would often ask Zainab to tell her more about Jesus in the night as they crawled under the wooden shed, a few miles away across the road - that had been their home for the last year or so, then they would pray that Jesus would send them a helper and provide them a safer haven.

That morning, Zainab left Amina by the first bus now being filled with passengers and crossed the road and walked only a few metres away to see if the bread seller, Musa had arrived . He was their only friend who always gave them leftovers of meals he had kept from the previous day…

The explosion was like nothing any had ever heard … there was a heavy smoke, screams and then quiet pleas for help … Zainab rushed back to where the buses used to park but could not recognize from the carnage the exact location of her sister… scattered pieces of clothing from luggage, the smell of burning rubber, flesh and the sight of human parts, butchered by the force of the explosives … making it clear that something very terrible had just happened. Zainab started to weep … Amina, where are you? … crowds had begin to gather.

Someone said it was a Boko Haram attack, but Amina had never gone to school in her life, why would she be so targeted by such mindless terror. Then she recognized Amina’s plate … it looked different … seemed so precious, as she picked it up -the only thing she would have left to remember her sister. Her only consolation was that Amina would now have somewhere much better to lay her head ... on the bosom of Jesus.

God is moving in Northern Nigeria. Pray that the terror will cease and will not stop the work of many missionaries and that converts will be established in the faith. Pray for many indigenous believers in Northern Nigeria to encounter Christ in such a way that they become veritable instruments to reach out to the many unreached peoples.

olabode ososami