Lurking in dark alleys like an apparition, he wears a black robe that hangs loosely on his thin frame except for his waist that is defined by the soft fabric serving as a belt. The over-sized hood covering his head makes his face darker, invisible and mysterious. His fingernails are gnarled and dirty and, no sound is heard when he moves but the impact he makes is quite extensive.
His victims – the wise, young, aged, vulnerable and even the strongest because status means nothing to him and his movements are purposeful. Those who encounter him limit their explanation to the tap they experience first on their shoulder that later moves steadily and slowly like a serpent. They feel his hairy hands slither into their clothes till they are rested firmly on the victim’s chest.
The impact – palpitations, cold sweat, dilation of the pupil, nausea and immobility. Delightfully, he watches on and breaks into a smile that reveals the toothless content of his mouth. All this time, his eyes never leave his victim’s and his palms presses more firmly on their chest, causing their hearts to beat faster. He moves a little more confidently this time, till he faces the victim, still maintaining eye-contact.
His most memorable moment – when the victims continue to feel the impact of his touch and try to break eye contact. When they continue to wriggle, moan and cry with indignation. It is at this point that even the most stubborn victims cower. Most of them drop down, sometimes on their knees and at other times, lying face down. Paralyzed and in tears, they plead for escape.
“I can’t do it.” “I’ll fail.” “I am scared” “I’m afraid”
These are the familiar statements uttered by Captain Hok’s victims.
A young lady, Dynah, is raped and gets pregnant as a result. Her fiance, who was a pastor in training, her parents, and roommate in college, all Christians, thought the only way out of that ‘dreadful’ situation was for Dynah to abort the ‘unwanted child’ and move on with her life. The Dean of the Christian College, where Dynah was a student and where the incident happened, also thought abortion was the way to go or the young lady had to leave the institution. This book slowly weaves the calamities Dynah had to face as a result of taking the unpopular decision.
‘The Atonement Child’ compared to the two other books I’ve read from this author (The Scarlet Thread and The Shofar Blew) was a bit slow and sad and I felt the writer tried a little too hard to push the theme of the book into the reader’s face. In one family alone, grandmother had had a therapeutic abortion, the mother had had an abortion and the child who had been raped was also being pushed to carry out an abortion. Dynah’s mother’s former schoolmate was also an abortionist and Dynah’s friend in college (Joe) had a girlfriend who had died from committing an abortion. How coincidental can that be?
Perhaps since the story is set in a country where abortion is legal, some of these issues are real and likely to come up in an everyday conversation. That notwithstanding, the theme of this book is very relevant, especially, now that a bill has been passed in New York permitting mothers to abort babies even at the point of birth. One thing this book did so well was to provide the reader with a clear picture of the other side of committing an abortion. The guilt and regret of taking out a life (fetus) may be carried throughout one’s lifetime and that is likely to affect their families and generations. Mostly, abortion is seen as the easiest and direct way of solving the problem of an unwanted pregnancy while the spotlight dims on the emotional and psychological damages this action may have on the women who undergo it.
In Ghana, compared to the US where the story was set, abortion is a criminal offense regulated by Act 29, section 58 of the Criminal code of 1960, amended by PNDCL 102 of 1985. However, section 2 of the law makes exceptions for victims of rape or incest and abortion can be conducted to protect the mental or physical health of the mother, or when there is a malformation of the fetus. According to the Ghana Medical Association, abortion is the leading cause of maternal mortality (15-30%) because many women turn to unqualified providers and receive unsafe procedures (Rominski & Lori, 2015; Chauvkin, Baffoe & Awoonor-William, 2018).
The argument of whether a fetus is a baby yet and the legality/ illegality or the process of carrying out the abortion (safe/unsafe) will always remain and looking at the World’s politics, there will always be a divide but the most important person to take the decision is you, the individual/woman. What exactly do you want and what do you stand by? What would God have you do in that situation? It may seem difficult and challenging at a glance and the straightforward option will be an abortion, but, have you explored other alternatives? You may want to consider putting the child up for adoption and that is possible even in Ghana.
One beautiful trait about the character, Dynah, was how she remained calm amidst all the pressure and kept insisting she wanted to know God’s mind before taking any decision concerning the child in her womb. How many of us, in the midst of the storm, will insist on hearing from God first?
This 384-page book is a must-read and ideal for a book club/discussion.
Favourite Lines from Atonement Child:
Those on the side of abortion were the loudest, the most logical, the most appealing to her bruised and battered spirit. And yet there was another voice, quiet, calm, almost imperceptible, that said NO, THERE’S ANOTHER WAY.
“Well, you tell me how we can do that, Dean. Tell me how on God’s green earth we can dare offer salvation to a dying world when we’re so busy shooting our own wounded.”
– The Atonement Child,
Chavkin, W., Baffoe, P., & Awoonor‐Williams, K. (2018). Implementing safe abortion in Ghana: “We must tell our story and tell it well”. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 143, 25-30.
Rominski, S. D., & Lori, J. R. (2014). Abortion care in Ghana: A critical review of the literature. African journal of reproductive health, 18(3), 17-35.
In 20, 30, 40 or 50 When your brains are tired And your bones frail And your bladder weak And darkness all you see When your epidermis sheds And memory not as sharp And your teeth begin to fall out And hair not as pretty When you can sniff death so close So close you can almost breathe it in your nostrils Will you be ready?
In 20, 30, 40 or 50 Will your eyes be prepared to shut? And your spirit to bid the world farewell? Will the call be received with fear or fulfillment? And your body be ready to rest in peace? Or rather in despair, full of regret and anguish? Frightful and afraid of the coldness of the grave And uncertain of the life you’ll meet.
What if you do not have 20, 30, 40 or 50? And your brains never get tired Your bones still as hard Your bladder not as weak. And your sight still perfect. What if your epidermis is intact And your memory as sharp as ever. And your teeth so strong to break the bones And your hair ever so lustrous Will you still be ready to exit?
If you had 1, 2, 3 or 4 For your spirit to desert this body But your brains and bones and bladder and sight and skin and memory and teeth and hair unblemished Will you look down and back and smile? Will the clock stop ticking and the bells stop chiming and the birds stop chirping? Will it be noticed that a beautiful soul is lost?
It may not be in 20, 30, 40 or 50 It could be in 1, 2, 3 or 4 Will you be ready to bid this earth farewell? Not in sorrow But in joy, you’d love to see how the world mourns at your passing. Will you be ready?
Before you move on to another blog theme as the month draws to a close, can you please address my question? I want to know how I can land a good job and make more money this year. I am a university graduate who completed with a very good class in 2016. I have been applying for several jobs but do not receive the response I want. As part of my New Year resolution for 2019, I want to land a good job, make money legitimately and be recognised as one of the richest people in my family. How do I do this? I look forward to reading your response.
— A young follower of your blog
Thanks for sending this question but if you only dream of being rich in order to be identified by your family members as such, then you need to revise your thinking. Money should be treated as a means to an end not an end in itself. In other words, there has to be something that the money needs to fuel. You need to have a dream or vision and note that money comes to people who have made themselves valuable to the world. You’ll notice a trend if you study the richest people. Most of them attained that status while giving value to the world. They solved some of the most complex problems and made money as a result. You can take a cue and make yourself valuable by solving a problem i.e. if you dream of being an entrepreneur. Let’s say your gift and passion is to write, find out what value that can bring to society. When that is recognised, then you can go ahead to monetize it. Your gift will initially be given out for free for people to taste of it. When they taste and recognise its value then they’ll be willing to pay for it. Just don’t stop what you are doing as long as you know you are on the right path. Additionally, learn about people in your field and pick lessons on how they’ve been able to monetize their gifts.
You should also answer the question of what grace has made available and receive it by faith. Now to your question on how you can land a good job. In this situation, you have a role to play. Don’t just sit and fold your arms and say,
“it depends on God or if God gives it to me that is ok and if He doesn’t, that is fine.”
This is a wrong approach. Anybody who wants to find a job and never takes any action will remain jobless. It is God’s idea for us to do well (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 25:13) and He blesses us through the works of our hands (Psalm 90:17). That is the assurance and the provision made available by grace but if you do not write applications and send them to the relevant job places and do follow-up visits, then you’ve not got faith. You need to make yourself visible. Let somebody out there know that this young man/woman has this gift or provides this service that can bring value to our company and organisation
Keep working at it and follow-up on your applications. If you read the story about the judge and widow in the Bible (Luke 18:1-8) the widow had to persist for the judge to give in. That is the attitude you should adopt in your job search and your quest to become rich this year. We’ll be praying with you.
Do you have any piece of advice to this reader on how a Christian can make money legitimately? If you do, please share it in the comment box.
As the popular saying goes, ‘when the music hits you feel no pain’ and there is a sense of fulfilment when an artist produces good music and sees it in the trends. Although this is the desire for every artist not many of them see it fulfilled and especially for gospel artistes in Ghana, many have little knowledge of the appropriate channels to use in promoting and distributing their music. These artists get discouraged and do not pursue their music career as a result of some of these challenges.
There is a group, Musicians Connect with the core objective of aiding gospel artistes in the production, promotion, and distribution of their music. Musicians Connect is inviting church choirs and singers to voice training and interactive sessions with media houses and music promoters on how to enhance the promotion of gospel music online, on radio and TV. This event will be taking place on Saturday, February 9th at the Charismatic Evangelism Ministry, North Legon-Accra.
Musicians Connect is being held in collaboration with television and radio stations across the country, Apprise Music (Music Distributor ) and the Gospel Bloggers Association of Ghana. Ministering at this event are Mary Ghansah, Willie & Mike, Max Praize, Efe Grace, Jackson Quaye, Lil Zig among others.
Tickets are going for a cool GHC 20 and are available at the Silverbird Cinema at the Accra Mall. You can reserve yours by calling any of the numbers: 0507247294, 0240167355, 0548011224
You can also click here the link to buy your ticket.
Confession: Ever since I watched Big Brother Africa about 16 years ago, I have grown to like some reality shows and been watching several of them on both local and satellite television. Mainly out of curiosity, I have seen (and continue to see) Fear Factor, America’s Next Top Model,The Voice (UK), Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped,Come Dine with Me and several others. I love the competitiveness and the seeming ‘realness’ of ordinary people on TV who may be working hard to win a prize/reward. I also love the critiquing sessions by the judges, although I feel they are sometimes unfair. Other negatives in some of these shows are the foul languages that are used (Hell’s Kitchen) and the vices which are portrayed as the norm.😕
This week, I discovered two reality shows that have kept my mind buzzing. I saw an episode of The Proposal and it had a number of women providing reasons to a mystery suitor on why he should select them for a prospective relationship. The mystery suitor got to see the ladies because he had a screen that showed what was ongoing on stage while the ladies did not have that luxury. The ladies answered questions posed to them by the mystery suitor, wore swimsuits, modelled and kept convincing him (the mystery suitor) to select them over the others. 🤷There were elimination stages, spearheaded by the mystery suitor and influenced by the ‘chemistry’ he thought existed between him and the ladies/contestants. The ladies who made it to the final round got to see the mystery suitor (and whether they liked his appearance of not were stuck to him). The man then finally selected his preferred girl (I have only seen an episode but I hope other shows have women as the mystery suitors with men as the contestants and the men also model in swimsuits so the woman chooses who she likes from the bunch). 💁 I also saw two episodes of Take Me Outwhich has a similar concept to The Proposal. Several ladies try to get the attention of the man/celebrity for a possible date to Fernandos. They try hard by acting silly and being loud for the celebrity to choose and take them on a date to Fernandos.😂 At least on Take Me Out, the women can press the buzzer if they do not like the man at any stage on the show, which is better than The Proposal.
Seeing The Proposal and Take Me Out got me thinking and asking several questions including the reality of such shows. They are so full of drama that is likely to keep you glued to the TV even though they may not be real, but, what if shows like The Proposal portrayed what was happening in the real world? Are people/women craving badly for relationships or to get picked up by someone to go on dates? I disliked how desperate the women were portrayed in these shows, especially, how they acted even when they had not seen the suitor. Maybe I am just an old-fashioned Christian who thinks a lady should be pursued and she should have the luxury of selecting who she wants to be with. Yes, a woman can make herself noticeable but not to the point of wearing bikinis to model on television in order to be selected by a suitor (one of the ladies actually did a cheerleading routine in her bikini for the mystery man.) ☹️ That was the point that I said “Oh God, please don’t let this be real. Let them be actresses. Don’t allow anyone to believe this.”
These television shows are mostly rated ’13’ and I’ve been wondering how they are likely to influence the younger generation who keep seeing them.☹️ In order of importance, Comedian and Entertainer, Trevor Noah, joked that Americans ranked Sports first, the Kardashians second, their President third and their troops fourth. Even though it may sound funny, that is how some entertainers and forms of entertainment may be influencing a whole generation. 😥
Have you seen any television show that made you cringe? What was it about? Let’s get talking. 😊
I am 34 years old, gainfully employed but tired of making new resolutions particularly in the area of settling down. In previous years, I made every conscious effort to get married. I have even written down what I would like to see in my dream man. I go through that list every day and I pray for him, but, it’s been six long unsuccessful years of searching for that ‘dream man.’ I am really tired and have decided not to make any resolutions regarding that subject this year. Since you’ve been preaching about planning and making resolutions, what do you advise I do? Should I still make resolutions and get disappointed or simply relax and see what God will do?
– A very worried lady
Marriage, as an institution, was created by God and His idea for the majority of people. Not everyone will get married, though, but as long as it is in your heart to be married then it is part of what grace has made available to you. The provisions that are given under grace does not work in isolation but work in tandem with faith. Faith is what causes you to receive the things that grace has already made available. Thus, if you say you made a resolution the previous year to be married and it didn’t materialise so you wouldn’t be deliberate about that subject anymore then I’m afraid you are never going to get married. What you need to do is to keep praying and remain visible to the circle of men in your various levels of socialization. Package yourself nicely while keeping the vision and desire alive. Once the vision and desire exist and as long as it is a provision under grace, then it means it is within your reach and you need to lay hold of it by faith. Faith is dead if it is not accomplished with works. The Bible says that if the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves (Ecclesiastes 11:3). Keep doing what you are doing, remain visible, continue praying and eventually, you’ll find somebody.
Note: In case you were not deliberate about this subject previously, plan to be more visible this year. If your location does not necessarily get you exposed to meeting a man, then you need to go to places where you’ll meet them. Getting to those places will be influenced by your values and the idea of a man who’d like to get married to. It’s good to know you have a perception of who your dream man is but if you find yourself in the wrong places, you’d definitely meet the wrong people. Ensure you go to the right places and are in the right environment so you meet the person you want to be married to. Ruth was deliberate and she met Boaz (Ruth 2).
All the best and remember to invite us to your wedding. ☺️
Do you have any piece of advice to share with this lady? Post it in the comment box.