Welcome to the Whyte House Family Spoken Novels podcast episode #186. Today we are reading chapter 18 of the novel Charmaine” by Daniel Whyte III with Meriqua Whyte.
Bohlale thought about Sentayhu’s words as he waited for his meal to be served at the Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant. Yes, he did feel a tinge of jealousy when he saw Charmaine eating and talking with Pastor Gillespie. He did not hate Pastor Gillespie, but he had had his eyes on Ayana for some time now. In fact, he was saving up his money to build a huge house fully furnished before asking her uncle for her hand in marriage. He could not stop thinking about how he would not be able to compete with Pastor Gillespie who was well-off financially.
“Yes, I will be a man and go and greet the pastor,” Bohlale said to Sentayhu. “But before I do, when do you plan on telling Pastor Gillespie about the plot by Sam and others? From what I can tell, they plan on raising this issue before the whole church this Sunday.”
“Yes,” Sentayhu said. “It seems that Brother Martin is in on it, but I can’t say for sure. We only saw him coming out of the room. The others may be plotting behind his back.”
“He probably is in on it,” Bohlale said. “Remember he gives us the cold shoulder each time we cross paths.”
“We’ll let the pastor enjoy his meal. I’ll make an appointment for us to talk with him on Wednesday before the evening services. The lunch crowd is starting to come in anyway,” Sentayhu said. “Now would not be a good time.”
Bohlale took his plate and hurried over to greet Pastor Gillespie. “I trust that you are enjoying your meal, Pastor Gillespie,” he said. “Ayana,” he added, addressing Charmaine. “Is it alright if I sit with you two for lunch?”
“Sure, Bohlale,” Pastor Gillespie said. “Ayana was educating me on your culture. I must say it is very interesting. I might even take a trip to Ethiopia some day soon.”
About fifteen minutes after Bohlale joined them at the table, Charmaine excused herself. “If you’ll excuse me, Pastor Gillespie and Bohlale, the lunch crowd is increasing,” she said. “I’m sure Uncle Sentayhu could use my help.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Sentayhu and Bohlale met with Pastor Gillespie, and with their permission, Deacon Walsh and Sister Mona, the pastor’s secretary, were also present.
Sentayhu and Bohlale informed the pastor of the conversation they had overheard the previous Sunday about some of the prominent church members plotting to either force Pastor Gillespie to resign or be put out by a church vote.
Pastor Gillespie was shocked when he heard what Sentayhu and Bohlale told him. “You said Sam was involved in the conversation?” he asked, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Yes, the men kept addressing someone named Sam,” Sentayhu affirmed. “We did not get the name of the others.”
“But we did see Brother Martin coming out of the room before we overheard the men talking,” Bohlale added. “We did not hear him talking with the others, but they did mention that he would give them permission to talk with the church family after the services on Sunday.”
“Sentayhu and Bohlale, if you don’t mind, I’d like for you to come back to my office immediately after prayer meeting tonight,” Pastor Gillespie said. He had an idea who the other three men that had been talking with Sam were. The four men he had in mind often questioned many of the decisions he had made in the past. They thought that because they were wealthy and gave large sums of money to the church each week, they could buy his favor and run the church. “Money may talk,” Pastor Gillespie had told them more than once, “but it does not talk loud enough for me to hear.”
Pastor Gillespie confronted the men immediately after the Wednesday night services. None of them could deny the accusations once Sentayhu and Bohlale pointed them out by recognizing their voices. Pastor Gillespie got straight to the point. “If you men still have a problem with my wife and me getting a divorce, and if you do not like the way I am running things here at this church, then you can leave. None of you will be allowed to cause any disturbance here without a fight from me.”
“All we are asking you to do is to step down from your pastoral leadership role for a few months, maybe a year, until you get things resolved between you and your wife. If you have noticed,” Sam continued, “since your wife left, people have been leaving the church each week. In fact, my wife has mentioned that a number of the women have told her that they would be leaving as soon as they find another church to settle down in.”
“Pastor Gillespie, you do not want us to leave,” a man named Emmitt threatened, “because as you know, financially speaking, we are the backbone of the church.”
Pastor Gillespie chuckled. “Yes, you have been giving generously each week, but God does not need your money to keep this church running. Leave and see how well we will do without you.”
Pastor Gillespie gave them a choice: “You can stay and conform and keep your mouths shut, or you can leave if you do not like the decisions I make as pastor of this church.”
The men looked at each other. Three of them rose to leave. “Sorry, but we cannot sit under a divorced pastor,” one of them said as they walked out.
“On top of that, you are bringing in a group of people who are going to bring down the standards of this church. I have invested too much money here to stand by and let this happen,” another said.
“Well, you can go and take your money with you,” Pastor Gillespie said. Sam and Emmitt, even though they had no intentions on leaving the matter alone, decided to stay, but to lay low—at least until they spoke with Brother Martin.
After the men left, Pastor Gillespie turned to thank Sentayhu and Bohlale. “I don’t know how to thank you both enough. You saved my church from going through what would have turned into a nasty fight.”
“You’re welcome, Pastor Gillespie, and you owe us nothing but to keep on preaching the Word of God,” said Sentayhu. “Your letting us come here to freely hear the Word of God is payment enough.”
“I notice you’ve been attending services regularly. I would like you to help out in our new outreach to the immigrants in the area?” Pastor Gillespie asked. “But under one condition.”
“What’s that, Pastor?”
“That you officially join the church.”
Sentayhu and Bohlale smiled. “That can be easily arranged, and we’d love to help out in the new outreach ministry.”
“You know, Pastor,” Sister Mona said as they locked up the church building that night, “I would not be surprised if Brother Martin is not behind all this. He didn’t seem too excited when we visited the Ethiopian community, and whenever I’ve asked him how things are coming along in the new ministry, he is very abrupt and does not want to talk about it. I don’t know if you noticed, but when we went to the Queen of Sheba Restaurant, he hardly touched his meal and he did not purchase anything from the store even though the church was paying for it.”
“Mmm. You know, Sister Mona, I did notice a certain aloofness about him but I paid it no attention,” Pastor Gillespie said. “Martin is funny like that sometimes. I knew he was disgruntled about my wife leaving, but I thought he had gotten over it. But, I have more important things to deal with than worry about that matter now. Brother Martin has been very faithful for years, and I would hate to jump to conclusions.”
Pastor Gillespie, being the generous man that he was, wanted to do more for the Ethiopian community. “Do you have any suggestions Deacon Walsh and Sister Mona?”
“I know, Pastor,” Deacon Walsh said. “We could give them a couple of buses to use to travel back and forth to the services. I have noticed that Sentayhu has been making two to three trips to get people to church on Sunday mornings.”
“And,” added Sister Mona, “we could set aside one Sunday to let them lead the worship service and allow them to bring in their culture and their type of music. Maybe we could call it ‘Ethiopian Eunuch Celebration Sunday’ and we could encourage people to dress in African attire. That would be good for us all to get to know them better. And don’t forget to encourage our people to visit the restaurant and the shop.”
“Sounds good to me,” Pastor Gillespie said. “Sister Mona, why don’t you begin putting that together. You can work with Ayana and a few of the other ladies to get suggestions.”
“Ayana? Who’s Ayana?” Deacon Walsh asked.
Pastor Gillespie smiled. “Oh, that’s Charmaine. Her Ethiopian name is Ayana.”
“Is she your new love interest, Pastor?” Sister Mona asked with a smile.
“Let’s just say, she’s promising,” Pastor Gillespie answered.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of Whyte House Family stories. You may purchase a copy of this novel and any other Christian fiction books read on this podcast from Amazon.com.
Now, dear listener, please know that God—the divine Author of all things—wants to write a great story with your life as well. But first you must give Him the pen by trusting Him with the life He gave you and surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ as Savior. Here is how:
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
May God bless you until next time.