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Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Six

Rodric Anthony is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Creating new stories and seeing where they take him is his passion.

Sixth in a series of Woza Moya Ongcwele, IsiXhosa for Come Holy Spirit, it tells the dealings of two brothers, their friends, and family struggling with life's trials as they come. The previous iterations in this series linked at the bottom will catch you up to this chapter!

Previously there was an order to vacate the beloved township to fly to East London, South Africa.

On The Plane

Blessings & Healings

“Thanks, again, for the blessing,” says Elder Smarts smilingly as the plane takes off to Elder Nkosi sitting in the seat next to him. “It really worked.”

Peace, a calming peace fills him with tranquility and love, more than he could have imagined. At one time, he thought these blessings amounted to nothing but hysteria of people who want to connect with God in some way but could not.

Each time a person wants a heavenly connection he’d pour out expectant emotions in silently pray while an equally expectant and arrogant man places hands on the other person’s head. Arrogant? The person then presumes to speak on behalf of God, the creator of the universe, in real-time! Is that not arrogant?

Of course, Elder Smarts', also known as Heber, nicknamed Hib, parents taught him about blessings. God healed people in the Bible and The Book of Mormon, but in real life…

Hib never saw a need for blessing and healings like the ancient apostles did. Medicine and healthy eating always served the purpose for him.

woza-moya-ongcwele-chapter-five

Hib never saw a need for blessing and healings like the ancient apostles did. Medicine and healthy eating always served the purpose for him.

Before The Plane

Brothers Smarts!

With his father, Heber Senior, Hib goes to minister to a man in their congregation or ward afflicted with complications due to diabetes. Each visit this brother said, “I have faith to be healed, Brothers Smarts.”

Hib hates the way this brother calls them “Brothers Smarts,” as if they series-ed on Netflix or HBOMax! Hib’s mind created a prologue:

On the next episode of the Brothers Smarts, they administer to the ailing diabetic offering the same blessing as the last time with the same results. The humble sheep believed each time something different could happen--wishes really hard!”

Hib finally addresses it on a walk to minister to the brother. “Dad," he starts. "If this brother would eat right and exercise, he would never had had the issues he having right now! Why we gotta keep pretending that we blessing him so that he could feel better? The man is gonna die. We see him gettin’ sicker each visit.”

Heber K. Smarts Sr. meditates quietly before continuing. Pleasant walking weather and company make it easy.“Do you think when I bless people that I am pretending," he asks searchingly.

“Dad…” trails off Junior in frustration, knowing that he should've kept it to himself. Senior has a way of reading too much into things according to Hib--and Hiram, for that matter!

“No, son. I really want to know how you feel about this,” Senior encourages, almost apologetically.

Defiantly, deferentially, interrogatorially, if those adverbs exist together in one meaning, Hib conveys, “Why would Heavenly Father want to speak to any person on earth? How can you claim to speak for Him for anybody, especially a person who hurt themselves? Why would God bless a careless person to be healed? As we can see each week we go to Brother Ashburn’s house he is never better, only worse.”

“I see you been thinking about this for some time, son.”

Fluttering ground-foul in a nearby bush cluck disapproval of the duo disturbing the area. Father and son deliberately journey leisurely on foot doing ministering duties. A cool breeze relaxes, refreshes Heber and his father, beads of perspiration glisten on their foreheads.

“Dad, I’m not trynna be disrespectful or anything," Heber K Smarts Jr. offers, just a bit annoyed at figuring out what words to draft. Junior, doesn't want to give Senior the wrong impression about things with missionary service on the horizon, but needs to gain some perspective! "It just never made sense to me.”

“What about the times that you received blessings," queries Senior, hoping to gain enough info to give Hib what's needed? "Did you feel that way then?”

The soft crunching of grass and leaves underfoot frame a few eternal moments of contemplation. Hib doesn't think of how his question impacts the spiritual dynamic of family experiences with blessings. A few squirrels squabble in a tree overhead causing them both to stop for a moment to witness the seemingly playful struggle.

“No," comes his answer, turning away from the tree-rodent show--trying to find a way to not feel squirrely about sharing with Heber Senior. "It’s not the same. "You’re my dad."

Junior furrows expressive eye-brows inward, not knowing how to relate to Senior his internal listing. He believes God loves him; so, if his father blesses him, God honorS it out of the love of a father to a son giving comfort and peace. Hib struggles to wrap his mind around a sick person receiving healing just because a non-related man, even his father, said a prayer!

“Go on, son,” encourages Senior. Hib stares at the ground looking at the ground and Senior repeatedly, several times, before mustering a smile to hide the frustration figuring out religion causes.

“I don’t know, Dad. I suppose, I don’t believe anything will happen just because a prayer is said, even if you say you speaking Heavenly Father’s words. Why should God listen?”

“Heber,” his father meditates quietly before continuing. “Do you think when I bless people that I am pretending?”

woza-moya-ongcwele-chapter-six

Audible! Audible!

Quarterbacking

“You know when your quarterback gives an audible,” queries Senior, eyes large with excitement, realizing scripture-quoting will not suffice in this situation?

“Dad, you don’t do football," wonders Hib, trying to figure out if Senior attempts to change the subject.

Heber Sr checks his phone vibrating in his breast pocket, causing Junior to do the same, a function of positive feedback--monkey see, monkey do.

“Hear me out, son. It's an analogy. When the quarterback calls it, the audible, do you know that the change will give a different result than the last time he called it?”

“I don’t see how that’s the same, Dad.” Try as he does, Hib exhibits some condescension. Junior has the athletic skills, the size, the looks. Senior's size, average, not the first thing anyone notices precludes Junior's ability to give him a fair shot at this analogy.

“Come on, boy, now. Play along. It might help.”

“Fine," agrees Hib, playfully rolling his eyes, but not really. "No, I don’t know it’ll work.”

“Right. Do you respond to the call anyway?”

“Dad.”

“Do you?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Dad, that does not answer my questions, though,” finches Junior, feathers and all, believing all dads try to use their kids' sport or hobby to prove points or teach lessons when they know too little--his, anyway.

“Okay.”

“I know the quarterback reads the line and changes the play to make it work," forces Hib, seeing the slight hint of disappointment on Senior's face. Bright-eyed and alive, Senior seemed proud of his football analogy. It's true. Football is not his thing, but he loves to see his sons play, Hib and Hiram. "How does God talk to you, like a quarterback reads the line?”

“Okay, you’re right. I don’t do football,” admits Senior sheepishly. “I do know that faith in the quarterback’s judgment by the whole team can lead to a winning play, though.”

Wow! Hib, a little impressed by Senior's insight asks, "How is giving a blessing to a person the same?”

Furrowing this brow, as he always does when making a serious point, Senior offers," it's faith that the quarterback made the right call to make it the next yard or two. Giving a blessing is the same as making a call that the person receiving it will have the faith to keep on going in life, the next yard or two. He might not make a touchdown on that try, but he still has faith that he can.”

“I think I get what you saying..."

Thoughtfully, Hib responds, “I think I get what you saying, but what about raising people from the dead and making people see and walk again? Why would God do that?”

“I don’t know, son" Senior admits honestly, shoulders raise and hands out, pausing in his stride. "When I put my hands on Brother Ashburn’s head, I just say what feels right. I never felt to say he should be healed or that his diabetes should go away.”

A few cars pass by with the occupants waving hello as the two Smarts men make the last leg of the trip to Brother Ashburn's home. Living in a small town makes everyone friends.

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Have Faith

“How do you know what you are saying is from God and not something you wish on him yourself," earnestly queries the lad? Hib wants to be like Senior, his faith: firm, unshakable, and confident!

“Faith, son," utters Senior hoping it will help Junior get what he needs. "You have to have faith that God speaks through you to the person you’re blessing.”

A couple greets them passing by to activities unknown. Hib wants something easy that he doesn't need to think about, like his phone: plug and play. “That don’t sound like a guarantee,” irritatingly Hib resigns having faith's no passive activity.

“It ain’t," quickly admits his father. "Faith is not having a perfect knowledge of things…”

“I know the scripture you talking about," Hib cuts into Senir's quote taking it as a chastisement. "I’ll understand when I’m older, right?”

“Son," comes a gentle rebuke, cutting off Junior for doing the same to him. "You can understand if you ask God.”

“Why would He talk to me,” comes an emotionally honest answer full budding hope?

“He loves you the same way I do.”

Brother Ashburn's home in a few, the two men slow their pace so that they can have a little more time to discuss.

“There’s a lot of people praying and a lot of bad things still happening," adds Hib already convinced of his father's words but plying for more. "Why would God hear me but not them?”

“Well, son," his father says breathily resigning that he may not have the answers Heber needs."I don’t think He doesn’t hear them. He hears us all. Sometimes, a lot of the time, the answer may simply be ‘No.’ Sometimes, many times, we have to suffer.”

“Why even bother to pray about it, then?”

“Jesus, He suffered for everyone, right?”

"This's where the preaching starts," thinks the young man. Junior loves his father, but feels the sermon getting ready to start, which isn't what he wants.

“I believe Jesus did that," comes approximations of frustration in Hib's voice. The frustration comes from his belief that Jesus is PERFECT. The wheels in his mind turn like a great clock with gears and pulleys galore. "It’s not that I don’t believe. I just don’t understand how God would talk to me if I ask Him something just to tell me no. Why would I keep talking to Him or asking for the same thing?”

“Son, even Jesus was told no," Senior adds as it it will answer all the queries Hib has. It opens another issue.

“Oh my gosh, Dad," Heber rolls his eyes. Hib's grandfather always told him never to leave the Church. He would get this pitchy preachy tone going before he went into whatever "truth," some allegorical twist he had to tell to convince his grandkids and kids to go to church. Hib heard that tone in his dad! "You just saying anything because you think I’m gonna stop going to Church or something?”

“Heber," lowering his voice to almost a whisper and placing his hand on Junior's forearm hoping a physical connection will infuse the essence of faith in some way. "I am not grasping here, I promise. The truth of the matter is, Jesus asked God not to make Him have to suffer for the sins of the world if it was possible for another way.”

Junior and senior stop a little distance from Brother Ashburn's house, hoping neatly to finish things before taking leave of the conversation for their visit. As a practice, Senior made a promise never to take an unsettling mood into the homes of those who he visited with either of his sons. This time isn't different. Heber Junior, however, cannot keep that promise without more to go on. Senior rubs his son's forearm briskly before pulling away.

Dripping with incredulity Hib responds. “That wasn’t a ‘No’ answer. Jesus did everything He was asked. That’s why He is the Savior. Perfect! You taught us that! Like, really? Jesus was going to NOT do the atonement!"

“God asked the Savior to do that," his father offers stressing the verb, though gently speaking. "It hurt to suffer for the world's sins. Can I quote a scripture now?”

Smiling, Hib softens his posture, "You got all of them memorized anyway.” Senior usually rattles the verses off without asking if they're wanted. Hib senses the change in Senior's posture and voice--no desperation for understanding or damnation in his tone, this time.

“I am a bit of a Scriptorial reference sometimes," admits the elder Heber. “I will paraphrase. Jesus said, ‘Father, Thou knowest all things. Surely if there be a way that this cup,’ now the cup is His having to suffer for the sins of everybody. ‘Surely if there be a way that this cup could pass by Me, let it pass. Not My will, though, but Thy will be done.’ You see what He did there?”

“Not really,” answers Hib expectantly.

“He said, ‘I really don’t want to do this if there is another way. But if not, Your will be done, not Mine.’”

“Okay, how does that fit to what we talkin’ about?”

Almost for dramatic effect, Senior pauses, almost. The pause serves two purposes. One: to allow Hib to think about what's about to come next. Two: to allow Heber Senior to compose himself before weeping at the deep spiritual connection the words elicit within.

“Jesus would have suffered for however long it would have taken because He was willing to do what God wanted no matter what it was. Brother Ashburn is willing to do what God wants no matter if it heals him or not.”

“Wait. What, now?” Hib did not expect Brother Ashburn's comparison to Christ. Understanding expands Junior's heart, as peaceful budding swell within--bringing out familiarity, clarity.

“Brother Ashburn," continues Senior, "will have faith in God no matter how many times he’s told ‘No’ because he knows God loves him. In the end, son, Jesus paid for all our sins so we don’t have to. In the end, Brother Ashburn will be blessed even if it is not now, but the next life.”

Senior preached a sermon Hib needs to hear. Eyes stare peekaboo out of Brother Ashburn's. Kids, little ones waiting. Before entering, this conversation needs a proper conclusion.

“I accept that," Hib contemplates a few seconds, "but some people will think it’s a cop-out if somebody ain't healed--an out so the Church won’t look bad or God is not fake.”

“That’s okay," his father admits. "It's not about proving God or healing but inviting people to approach God individually in faith to find out, like Brother Ashburn. kungoMoya oyiNgcwele.”

woza-moya-ongcwele-chapter-five

Back to Now

On The Plane

“What did you say, Dad,” Elder Smarts questions, blearily.

“In, English, it is about the Holy Spirit,” Elder Nkosi brings him to the present. “I am not your dad, daydreamer. Do not thank me for the blessing, Mfowethu. I just put my hands on your head and the Spirit did the rest. I don’t even remember what I said. What I do remember is the peace that filled my heart as I spoke.”

“You going to record it,” he asks, firmly in the present, reaching for his journal to do the same from his carry-on.

“Yebo (yes in Zulu). I read back through these things and can enjoy the experience all over again.”

Each Elder writes in their journals for quite some time reflecting on the journey from Nqadu Township, the people they know they will probably not see again in this life, the throngs of people in the Mthatha square anxiously moving to some destination, etc...

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What's That Sound?

Elder Nkosi nudges Elder Smarts. “What is it, elder,” comes his reply. Elder Nkosi hugs, but he is not a nudger unless he feels something... abysmal.

Bilious dread fills Elder Nkosi’s eyes, his dark brown skin gray as the blood leaves his face, he whispers, “Something is not right.”

Rumbles of sound quake throughout the plane of buckling steal. “I fear that something is not right, Elder Smarts,” repeats Elder Nkosi as another twist of steal reverberates through the plane.

Wobbling rises from other passengers as calls for the flight attendants brighten the call screens above each passenger’s seat--a crowd looking for an encore.

An old song plays in the back of Elder Smarts’ mind his grandfather listened to on repeat until his passing, Days of Light.

Days of Light

“What was that sound,” Elder Smarts pleads of a flight attendant jetting past to the front of the plane and closing the curtains. Elder Nkosi prays aloud with eyes open. Both men, looking deeply into each other’s eyes, as deeply as two people sitting side-by-side can, seeking answers, courage.

Reading Elder Nkosi’s mind, it seems, Elder Smarts whispers with alarm, “You don’t think that sound means the planes gonna crash?”

Panic builds, intensifying; the passengers in the seats near them worry aloud. One man screams! Voices from the passengers echo cacophonic tension throughout the medium-sized passenger plane.

Elder Nkosi prays repeatedly in Zulu, “ Baba wethu sonke, mayenziwe intando yakho. Masikukhonze namanje. (Father of us all, Thy will be done. Let us serve Thee still.)”

Everybody's putting on a braver face.

Everyone's running in the same race.

Everybody's working for those days of light.

— Days of Light - Roger Daltrey

Free-Falling

"This is Captain Vhino Mjoli,” airs throughout the plane in a calm tenor voice. “Please remain calm. We are experiencing mechanical difficulties that are currently being resolved. Remain in your seats and turn your call screens for the flight attendants off. We are 10 minutes outside of East London and will land soon. Everything--”

Crashing sounds from the front of the plane interrupts the voice! Oxygen masks descend, and the plane free-falls for five seconds before leveling once more. Screams and cries erupt through the plane liberally.

Elders Nkosi and Smarts straighten in their seats, anxiously assuming the same thing: Is our new assignment in the spirit world?

Both respond at the same time audibly “NO!”

“What are we going to do,” asks Elder Smarts of Elder Nkosi knowing he could not provide an answer, but he did.

“We must go to the front of the plane and lay hands on the captain.”

Elder Smarts’ exasperated look comes not from surprise as he responds, “I don’t know why you said that, but it feels right.”

The feeling vibrates within them, reassuring them their task, though simple and small, needs doing.

“The captain is injured and the co-captain is extremely nervous," declares Elder Nkosi, face no longer gray, but brow with vivid assurance. "I do not know, but that the Spirit told me these things. We must go now while the plane is level, or I fear we will crash. For some reason, the co-pilot is losing consciousness.”

Both stand, acting on faith, full of assurance and peace, calm. “How will we get to the cockpit, Elder Nkosi?”

“I don’t know, we just need to go!”

The lyrics of Days of Light echo in Elder Smarts' memory as they walk:

Everyone's looking for the same release.

Everybody's hoping for a mind of peace.

Everyone's working for those days of light.

— Days of Light - Roger Daltrey

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Come And Get Your Blessings!

Both men walk briskly toward the front of the plane, past first and business classes, just a few rows of extra-wide seats. Elder Smarts, very aware his companion used a contraction--of all things of which to be aware at a time like this--followed Elder Nkosi as if someone would prevent their forward movement, with every intention to bring up the contraction whether or not they live through this!

Elder Nkosi opens the curtain to find the flight attendants belted to their seats save for one, the first-class flight attendant. She, with medical supplies in her hands, immediately recognizes them as missionaries from her church.

“Elder Nkosi, Elder Smart, you are an answer to my prayers,” she exclaims reading their name tags. “These men are going to help the Captain,” she assures the other attendants preparing to taser the elders, eyeing the tall one.

“What can we do,” Elder Nkosi asks the flight attendant, Cherry?

“The nurse is tending the captain, but he will not revive,” Cherry gives a report more to herself than to the elders. “The co-pilot’s also injured. Since I am the lead flight attendant, I might have to land the plane. If you give the captain a blessing maybe, he’ll wake up. Give the co-pilot one! Give me one! We’re only a few minutes away from having to land the hard way!”

Asking no questions, both Elders enter the cockpit and administer to the captain, co-pilot, and flight attendant, Cherry. Each blessing lasts no longer than 20 seconds. Forthwith, both elders escort themselves to their seats.

'Round about seven on a Friday night,

Forget about your worries, gonna be alright.

Everybody's working for those days of light.

— Days of Light - Roger Daltrey

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The plane circles the airport a second time attempting to land as the elders and other passengers prepare for what comes next! Another metallic wail for mercy jerks through the descending plane. With emergency lights flashing, passengers panicking, another thunderous wail of twisting metal roars. Elders Nkosi and Smarts notice now, from the window, a tear forming in the plane’s right wing! Other passengers notice too! Shrieking!

  • Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter One
    Woza Moya Ongcwele, translation from Xhosa to English, Come Holy Spirit. This story is about, Hiram. a boy who finds a girl but not the way you would expect. This is the first of a number of stories about how God works to help Hiram do some good.
  • Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Two
    His brother gave up his dream, temporarily, to serve the Lord. If Hiram is to follow in Hib's footsteps, why is it so hard to get an answer?
  • Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Three
    Is it the Jane Doe in the hospital room that Hiram should focus on or the missionary papers on his dresser at home. One seems to be calling, while the other seems...
  • Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Four
    Hiram discovers lost parts of his past while searching for answers affecting his future.
  • Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Five
    Dim light from the glare of a paraffin lamp casts shadowy figures dancing in the glow around the room as soft thumps of rainfall filter in through the slightly raised window...

© 2021 Rodric Anthony Johnson

Comments

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on July 16, 2021:

Bill, you are the best! Thanks for that feedback! I went to work as soon as I read your comment to fix the problem. When I first started to write it, I felt that something was missing, but word count kept me from adding more.

I figure, now, to heck with the world count! I'll just have a long article. I will update the article quite a bit to make sure all the things that I wanted to include the first time are in the article now. I appreciate the bit of charity you've given.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on July 16, 2021:

Pamela, thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have some edits to do on this one, still. I also look forward to the next one. I don't know what it will be!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 16, 2021:

Well that's quite a predicament! I don't think I'll ever have reason to fly again, and this chapter just strengthens that conviction. lol One slight suggestion....break up the dialogue. Don't have so much of it, one after another...it's like a machine gun firing dialogue at the reader, and you need to give the reader time to digest what he's read....just a sentence of break, like a dark cloud drifted by overhead, or somewhere in the distance a horn honked. Just a thought!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 16, 2021:

This is a very interesting chapter, Rodric, and you leave us hanging. We don't know if the plane will crash!

I really liked the conversation between Elder Smarts and his son. The football analogy was excellent. I'll be looking forward to the next chapter.

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