BN Prose: Becoming a Danfo Evangelist by Flourish Joshua

Every time I board a commercial vehicle, there is always this still small voice that comes whispering, “Timi, preach the gospel,” and when I try to use my handsfree to kill the voice, it empties me to satisfaction.

On usual days, I avoid boarding commercial vehicles, the ones Nigerians call danfo, for this same reason. This Timi is too timid. I’d rather hop on an okada to my workplace than have the still small voice to contend with. I’d also prefer one-on-one evangelism with my motorcyclist – and even at that, it’d take extra courage – than preach to a host of people in a danfo.

The other day, the empty-headed driver kickstarted his Volkswagen and the voice came like a thief in the night, “Timi, do you love me?” I didn’t see what was coming so I answered the Lord, “Yes, of course. You know I do.” The chubby woman sitting beside me stared at me, differently. I had thought aloud.

“Then, preach me,” the voice said. I instantly became restless and began to seek reasons to not do it. The fear and nervousness are usually like looking down from the top of an Olúmọ Rock. And it’s not even funny one bit. 

“Okay, Lord, when we get to that Mobil fuel station, I’ll begin,” I said. I was bereft of words. I began to search for the first two catchy sentences to begin with. To be quite honest, I didn’t want to begin with the overstressed “Good day, people. I bring you the gospel of our Lord Jesus…” kind of introduction. I’d sound too much of a pastor — and I didn’t want to — I wanted to be creative. Not to let my congregation know from where I am coming and to where I was going, but beads of sweat were already multiplying upon my face, in response to the mail of fear the devil had sent to me.

As we approached the fuel station, I could see, through my mind’s eye, the Lord giving me a strange look, as if to say, “Timi, we have gotten to the fuel station, as promised.” Then I summoned up the courage to begin. The more I tried to speak, the more my heart threatened to fly out as I thought of another junction to postpone the act to. But I soon found my bearing and gathered myself to begin. The moment I began, I didn’t feel like ending my sermon, funnily enough. The holy spirit snatched the sermon from me. The chubby woman beside me was first to raise her hands in response to my altar call, or should we call it a danfo call?

I used to see a lot of people preach in danfo and it gets me wondering how they do it. Does it mean they love God more than I do? Why does God want to turn me into a danfo evangelist? Can I not board buses in peace, anymore? Lord, you know I love you, right? So can we not do danfo evangelism every of the time? Can we not, please?

Other things being equal, if there’s any prayer I’d pray, relentlessly, it’d be to never have to stand to sell things in danfo buses to raise money. That’s another angle to suicide, for me; this Timi is too timid.