The candle light slowly faded away as darkness came in the room like the thick velvet curtains of the theatre. It was like the daytime had been one part of a play and the rest was to come after this intermission of the night. The dark room was like a place out of time, a place to rest without consequence.
The darkness in that way was a sanctuary, a place to recharge and forget the things the world said had to be done. It was not that Tom could not or would not, but rather that he needed that sense of stepping out of the craziness for a while. So, in the darkness that stole even his form, he was content to let the night pass and awake when daylight streamed in with its bold confidence.
It was a battle between the spirit and flesh, light and darkness, love and lust, or shame and confidence. He felt wretched and hopeless, wondering what had come into his mind that he defied his master by not following the documented precepts in the holy book. Faith was now meaningless to him and everyone, including Devo, was going to witness the most and faithful man on earth.
I came to know Tom when I was in high school. He was ahead of me by one year. He was a tall middle bodied boy with such an absorbing charm. His eyes were round and shone with a catching smile like that of a sun. At the center of his eyes was a reflection of love, kindness and innocence. His crew cut hair made him conspicuous at school. He had a broad face that reflected the confidence and servanthood, the man who knew what to do and committed to his work. If one looked at him, there would be no controversy that he was sent from above to declare moral virtues to his young generation.
Whenever Tom preached in the school assemblies and scripture union fellowships, his words were accompanied with power and authority. They were sharper than a sword, penetrating deep into the hearts of men bringing a spiritual transformation. He was a spirit filled boy that when he led prayers in the fellowship, students with demonic spirits fell down and rolled on the ground. This made him known in the whole school and even teachers were afraid of the power that Tom had, and gave him respect as though he was one of the administrators at school.
Tom’s discipline and respect for the school administrators was known to everyone. He was a point of reference by every teacher when addressing the student body during assembly on issues associated with discipline, respect and obedience. It was also said that Tom could perceive people’s thoughts and tell what they were thinking because God gave him the ability to discern the hearts of men. I think that was true because I once saw and had him, revealing everything that my friend was thinking at the moment. On hearing that, he quickly got converted and accepted Christ as his personal lord and savior.
Tom devoted most of his time reading the bible and praying. He had little time for his books. This drew the concern of most of the teachers, including his parents on his academics. He had been advised repeatedly by several teachers, but he always referred to them as carnal and considered the things of things world dust. He believed in life after death and always emphasized about in his teaching and preaching.
Despite Tom’s popularity and good virtues, he earned criticism from some students most especially Devo. I also do not know why he was called so, but that is the name everyone called him. Devo was a tall light- skinned boy: full of fun and swagger, but with weird behaviour. He was known for sneaking in illicit drugs at school like marijuana and opium. He and his friend used to jump over the school fences to escape out at night. He had been suspended thrice from school, yet he remained adamant. The school administration could not expel him because he was such a bright a boy who always excelled in his academics than even students of character. Unlike Tom, who had little time for his books, Devo had a time for his which made him to perform well. Apart from that, Devo also had a strong affinity for girls.
Devo and Tom were never in good term and always looked at each other as “Enemy of progress.” However, Tom seemed to over empower Devo since he kept on turning most of his friends to Christianity. Tom also preached against immorality, drunkenness, drug abuse and obscenities, something which always haunted Devo and his team.
They nicknamed Tom “Young devil,” “Mr. Religion,” “Small god,” and many other funny names. They would also speak insulting words to him, which annoyed Tom, but because of his faith and the love of God, he learned to control his feelings and emotions. He also did not report them to the school administrators because he wanted to be like Christ- not to revenge evil for evil. Instead, he always prayed to God to transform them into good beings that are full of truth and love. Reporting could sometimes be done by his friends who were also discouraged by Tom emphasizing that recompense belongs to God and not unto men.
“Ouch! Chaa!” Exclaimed Devo, with his right hand fingers folded into a fist. “Nooo … no… no!” he shouted while punching the air and kicking the ten little yellow jerrycan behind their dormitory. His face was tough and serious, and his eyes turned chilly-red and small like a hungry angry lion ready to devour its prey. “I knew it. And now it has happened,” said Devo. “That ghosted religious fool has finally deceived, my rocking girl to believe in his lies. I’m going to teach him a lesson he will never forget.” He continued, “That idiot with a broad face like a monkey is gonna know me.” He spat on the ground, looked up, spat again while looking at his three friends, and then swears to deal with Tom not matter the cost.
Bella, nicknamed the ‘rocking girl,’ was Devo’s girlfriend whom he loved deeply and was ready to do anything to maintain her. She was a beautiful light skinned girl that even some two teachers at school had attempted to disturb. Her eyes were as white as milk, slightly slanted and seemed to go round the corners of her face following the curve between the cheek born and temple. Her mouth beautifully curled up at the corners.
Having faded up with the ways of Devo and her personal, unseeming character, she resorted to joining Christianity. Tom had evangelized to her several times on the consequences of sin, eternal damnation and life after death, but all was in vain. However, toward UACE, she secretly approached Tom confessing to him that she needed Christ in her life and that she was tired of her evil ways. She also wanted to get rid of Devo and his friend who had given her a hard time.
Tom, on hearing that was too excited for he knew that the right time to harvest had finally come. One of the bible verses rang in his mind:
“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.”
He also recalled the words of the prophet Daniel:
And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.
Tom was now determined to take the gospel of the Saviour to another level. He thought about nothing but the kingdom of God. He always encouraged his fellow colleagues to seek first the kingdom of God, and then the rest of things would be added unto them.
Devo burnt with rage in his heart. If thoughts had power to kill a person, Devo would have already sent Tom into the world of the dead. He always sought an opportunity to beat-up Tom, but all was in vain. Tom had already learned of Devo and his friends’ conspiracy against him. This made him become very careful, especially at night. More so, the information about Devo’s threat to Tom had reached the school administration. The strict warning was passed on all those who threatened to do harm to Tom, and if they became obstinate and proceeded to fulfill their vices, expulsion would be inevitable. This made them scared to carry mischief against Tom.
Devo had tried several times to plead with Bella to return to him, but he was not successful. However, with time his love for her deteriorated since he got another girlfriend. He often referred to her as a fallen angel who had made a bad decision in life by joining Christianity. To him, entertainment and life were in the world, but not in Christianity. He always compared religion to a prison that deprived people of their rights and pleasures of life.
After the UACE, everyone went on his own way. And the last time I saw Devo was when we had end of year celebrations at school. As for Tom, I was among his closest friends, and I even had his contact which always kept us in touch with each other even during holidays. By the time he joined University in 2015, I was also finalizing with my senior six.
In 2016, I met with Tom again at Kyambogo University. He was doing a Bachelors course in Engineering. As for me, I took up Bachelors of Arts with Education in Literature and English. It was such an amazing thing to find Tom still blazing with fire for the Gospel. Additionally, he was a leader of one of the mission teams at campus. Without hesitating, I joined his mission team with one heart because I had already known him right from high school. “This is going to be fan,” I said to myself.
During my second semester at campus I was elected as one of the leaders in the Department of mission coordinators. This made me remember what Tom told me while at high school, “Serve God diligently now, and he will make you a leader in time to come when your faith is mature.” This had surely come to pass. He had foreseen my purpose in the body of Christ.
Towards the end of my second semester, in the evening, my eyes landed on the chocolate formed bodied beautiful lady that I had seen one and a half year back. “Where has she been?” I asked myself. Her eyes were captivatingly beautiful, not because of the colour but because of the words they held within them. She put on a pencil knee-length skirt and off-the-shoulder top with crop ear rings. Bella looked more beautiful than I had ever seen her in high school. “Could it be because of campus life?” I thought. I later on discovered that she was at Makerere University pursuing a course in Accounting.
What shocked and astonished me most was when I found out that Bella was dating Tom. I could not believe in the first place. I argued my mind out with my colleague Ekau, telling him that Bella was just used to Tom and maybe she always came seeking for spiritual advice from him since she was the one who led her to Christ. Ekau was our mission team secretary, aged twenty three, and in his second year pursuing Bachelors of Arts with Education in Math and Physics.
The thought about Tom and Bella’s relationship perturbed me a lot because I knew who Bella was before she became a Born again, and I did not expect her to have changed very fast to the extent of being in position to date Tom. “If it was true, what could have happened to Tom?” I thought. “Was his faith now deteriorating?” I asked myself. At that time, I was now determined to find out from Tom himself. I knew he trusted me a lot and considered me as one of his best friends. He would not refuse to tell me the truth. “But how would I start it even?” I still asked myself. He was sure my role model and I was determined to be like him.
After two weeks of my argument with Ekau, I got an opportunity to talk to Tom. I would have talked to him earlier, but then I lacked courage to talk to him. I knew who Tom was and I highly respected him. Firstly, we started with talking about the blessings of God and his promises to the believers. Towards the end of our talk, Tom told me that being anointed and used by God did not imply that one was perfect, but it also associated with many temptations and trials. He revealed unto me various examples of men from the bible who backslid in their faith because of temptations they encountered. He talked about David, Samson, Solomon and many other saints in the bible. Therefore, there was need to support one another in prayer. On hearing that, I was convinced that Tom was undergoing some invisible trails in his faith and he indeed needed our support in prayer. I also took it as the best moment to ask my question.
Taking a deep breath I kindly requested him to forgive me if what I was about to ask would anger him. I told him how it had bothered me so much. “Go on, all is well brother,” he said.
After about twenty seconds of silence, Tom looked at me and said, “What’s the problem bro? Say it out.” Immediately I lifted up my head and told him everything. To my surprise, Tom smiled and laughed. I thought he would be angered by what I said. Instead, he held my hand and assured me that it was true. He also said that he did not know how it happened but that was all. He told me that he had been praying for Bella and believed that God would completely change and make her mature in faith. He requested me to stand with him in faith so that God strengthens him all things. Bella still had some weaknesses that would probably affect Tom. Although she was such a gorgeous and an attractive flower to draw any bee to get nectar, it was not safe for Tom to be in love with her.
Surly, if one juxtaposed the two characters, there would be no binding factor to make them one. Tom was obsessed by the things of God while Bella loved fashion and fun.
During my first semester of second year, I observed a weakness in Tom’s life. He no longer preached and prayed fervently as before. At one point, he said that there was nothing wrong associating with unbelievers as long as one did not do what they do. I knew he said this to defend himself because some mission members had started imposing blame on him for his association with unbelievers. Tom now seemed to be contradicting with himself. He had hated associating with unbelievers and discouraged us that it would ruin our faith. That was indeed true because the bible says;
“Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.”
I also recalled Apostle Paul’s words in Galatians:
“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do whatever you want.”
It was a right time then for Tom to prove his faith to God and before the fellow members. I knew all that resulted because of his relationship with Bella who still staggered in her faith. He loved both God and Bella but Bella seemed to take a bigger proportion of his heart.
There were only three day to the Prayer retreat but Tom was nowhere to be seen neither could he be accessed on phone. Even his hostel mates had no idea about where Tom had gone. They had last seen him four days back. We really needed him so much in the organization of the retreat since he was most experienced and anointed than any of the members when it came to such events. We also tried to access his other closest friends, but it was all in vain.
The retreat ended successfully although everyone in the team was troubled. Three days after the retreat with vain search of Tom, we resorted to reporting the case to police. Bella being his girlfriend was called and interrogated by the police. She too claimed that she had no idea of where Tom was. “Could it be Devo who might have returned to revenge for his girlfriend?” I thought.
Looking at Bella, she seemed to know something, but feared to express. Anyway, we kept on praying and fasting for him, believing God to intervene in the situation.
One evening, at around 8:00Pm, as I sat in my room doing my course work, I received a call from one of Tom’s hostel mate telling me that Tom had returned and was in his room. I quickly telephoned Ekau and Okileng, the vice chairperson and forwarded the information. Since our hostels were not far from each other, we quickly arranged ourselves to meet Tom before he could disappear again.
Being on pressure, we ‘jumped’ on two ‘boda bodas’ and in a short time, we had already reached the place. Like a rushing wind, we bumped in and even forgot to pay the fare not until we were called out. Even the ‘Askari’ was astonished at our behavior. We briefly explained to him what we had gone to do and since he had a prior knowledge about it, he did not bother us.
On reaching Tom’s room we knocked over and over again without any response. We wondered whether he was really inside. We called the boy who had informed us and asked him whether he had really seen Tom, and he consented. There was a sign that he was really inside. As we stood outside waiting and talking, a low cry came from inside the room and it was a voice of a sorrowful and heartbroken person. We pleaded with him to open the door and in about ten minutes, he finally did it and sat quietly on the floor, distressed and afflicted.
There was no power in the hostel at that time and the room looked a little dark, apart from a small candle which burnt slowly. When we tried to use phone torches, Tom requested us to turn them off, so, only the small candle gave out light.
We were so happy to see him; however, he seemed not to be pleased to see anyone. He even did not want us to touch him. All over a sudden, he burst into tears again and started rolling on the ground while saying, “Why? Why God? Why did you allow it to happen?” we tried to comfort and ask him what the problem was but he could not express it. He only cried like a young child saying, “I wish I knew. I wouldn’t have…!”
We pleaded with him once again to tell us what the issue was, and like a woman in labour, he cried out, “ I…I…si…sinned.” We wondered which kind of sin he had committed. “What did you do?” we asked. He slowly opened his mouth and said, “That damn devil has got me at last. Bella…..!” We asked him what was wrong with Bella, and in a trembling voice, he said, “Bella deceived me into herself. It was too much that I couldn’t resist the test. After everything had been done, shame and horror filled my soul and I felt like killing myself. Bella sensing what I was about to do, telephoned one of my closest friends at Makerere who came and tried to comfort me. The following day, I went and stayed with him in his hostel and requested him not to tell anyone where I was. I also instructed Bella to do the same thing.”
At that moment, silence filled the whole room and even the small burning candle faded off as darkness covered the atmosphere.

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