I know movies can be dramatic and are designed to entertain us.
“This scene is unrealistic,”
“That is too much of a coincidence,”
“The world is too large for these two to keep meeting,”
These are some of the commentary my brain runs when I sit to watch movies.
I had never set my eyes on him until the dean introduced us during one of the faculty meetings. He was tall, fair and properly dressed in a coffee brown Italian, slim-fit suit, a white shirt underneath and brown shoes to match. He seemed to have good taste in fashion.
“Dr. Osei, meet Francis Smith(PhD). He is the newest addition to the Business School. He will lecture in Finance,” the dean said.
“Pleased to meet you, Dr. Smith,” I said with my hands lifted to meet his in a firm handshake.
The two of us sat across the dean to discuss the course structure. We were still going to lecture for ten weeks, conduct interim assessments, give the students one project work to be executed in a group and finally examine them at the end of semester.
“I am glad you will be working together to make this semester a successful one,” the dean said. “But Francis, keep it strictly professional. She is definitely not your type and she is married.”
The dean said while sharing a hearty laugh with Dr. Smith.
I couldn’t tell how far their friendship went but I was simply not interested in where this joke was headed.
I packed my notebook into my bag and quickly made my way to the door of the dean’s office.
“Let’s just say I haven’t grown out of my boyish desires,” I heard Dr. Smith respond with another loud laughter which rang through the office and was followed by another handshake.
This Francis guy or Dr. Smith was good looking and God knows he looked great in that suit. Many women would definitely kill to date him but who really is Dr. Francis Smith?
My sense of style cannot be described as classy or chic or trendy. I dress to feel comfortable and on regular days, I wear my African print dresses and my natural hair is always pulled up in a bun.
Today, I am dressed in a crisp white long sleeves with a navy blue body con skirt and a three-inch high heel. This is how I dress whenever I needed to represent the Business School at meetings off-campus. The dean offered me his spot at a high level meeting with some government officials and I had to look, act and speak the part. No wonder most of the participants wanted to interact with me right after the meeting.
I needed to grab some breakfast from the Senior Staff Cafeteria before heading over to the dean’s to debrief.
“There you are,”
A voice behind me made me turn and it belonged to no other than Dr. Smith. What do they say about coincidences again?
“I haven’t set my eyes on you since we had that meeting at the dean’s office. We’re supposed to work together, you know,”
His eyes moved from my face, down to my little cleavage and they rested on my skirt before making their way to my eyes again.
“You could have have simply asked the dean for that information,” I said.
“You know, why don’t we sit at the table in the corner and have a little chat. The waitress could serve us,” he said.
“Second floor, Lecture Theatre 5, Room 7. You can find me there,” I said quickly while picking my meal and leaving the cafeteria.
On Saturday, we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary and for once, since we got married, I felt the years have flown by quite quickly. Five years on and I see nothing but the goodness of the Lord all around us. Nothing has changed about how I feel about you. I still love you the same way I did five years ago when we stood at the altar to say our vows, if not more.
On this particular anniversary, I choose to celebrate the five year-friendship we shared before the wedding ceremony and how that has played an important role in our marriage. We are still comfortable in each other’s presence, we appreciate and are very much concerned about each other and also laugh and tease each other and are not afraid of the consequences. Indeed, the counselors do not lie when they say you should marry your friend.
Five years on, I see growth (not just in our sizes) but in how we relate with each other. I am glad we do not restrict ourselves but allow each other to explore in whichever field God places on our hearts. I know we are better versions of ourselves, thanks to this union.
Over time, I have come to understand how to relate with you so not to cause unnecessary arguments. This strategy, I call, ‘the watch and pray method’ which involves watching you closely, stating my opinion about the issue and when I know it is likely to generate an argument, I leave it there. I then commit the rest to God and watch you and mostly, these situations that I draw your attention to, end up changing with time and when they do change, I do not see them as a win for me but evidence that God listens to our prayers. What do they say about women having a sixth sense?
The past year, especially, has had its fair share of challenges but I am still excited about our future. I know God hasn’t even started with us. Five years on and I can’t think of anyone to call when there is any form of emergency (in my definition). This includes calling you to find out if the car can carry me to next fuel station when the fuel gauge of the car indicates ’empty.’
I am glad you insisted I was the one when we first met and persisted when you proposed to me. This is to celebrate more years of staying in love and this marriage and to fighting and winning loads of battles as a family.
You would agree with me that social media is becoming a great evangelistic tool for both the church and individuals, especially, in this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Having managed a church’s social media accounts for almost a decade, I believe I am fit to provide some useful tips on the pertinent topic of growing a church’s Instagram account with special focus on its content. Content, they say, is king and for a church’s Instagram account, this is no exception.
The type of content a church needs to pay attention to includes:
1. Beautiful Photos: Some individuals may categorise this as ‘vanity’ or ‘too fanciful for a church’ but beautiful, quality photos draw individuals onto your page even if they not attend that church nor are Christians. These photos should not be stale but must tell stories even for those who were not present at the service. Perhaps, the photographer can capture individuals in prayerful moods with their hands raised or kneeling or lying prostrate. Individuals who may be smiling/laughing at the words of the pastor during the service could be used on the page. If the media team takes time to customise these photos with the church’s logo, it could also attract a number of followers, particularly, when these photos are shared.
2. Punchy Summaries: Beautiful photos without any accompanying words as captions make the church’s page an ordinary one. What type of captions can one post? Listening to the preacher during the service can provide the social media team with loads of captions. Which line hit the deepest? Which ones had the most reaction from the church members? How about the prophecies? And the bible quotations? A summary of them (6 lines maximum) could be used as captions. You can create hashtags for your church and use them anytime you post.
3. Posters with Captions: These captions could be boldly designed onto the photos captured during the church service. A maximum of three lines should be enough on the poster. This will save the reader from having to scroll down to the bottom of the page to read an entire sermon. These short captions on the photos could be those words which give readers hope or motivation or remind them of something useful.
Posting these type of content consistently and being prayerful about the process should allow you to grow your audience on Instagram.
Do you have any ideas or questions that have not been captured here. Drop them in the comment section.
Ghost witches. Teleportation. Experiencing death even in death. Who would have imagined that one could die even after they were dead? If someone had predicted to her that her life-after-death experience would be this dramatic, she would have died several years ago.
“Daydreaming again eh,” Grandma Kai’s voice jostled her back to the present.
She sat on the rock and gazed at this old woman who everyone thought was ‘dead’ but is very much ‘alive’ and training her for God-knows-what. Mona had always been adventurous but that was when she was alive. All of these puzzling experiences with her grandmother were gradually wearing her out.
“Life, for our kinsmen has always been a little complicated,” Grandma started. “You live and when you think death would bring you peace and rest, it doesn’t. There is always an assignment to complete.”
Mona looked up at her Grandma Kai and wondering what she was going to say next.
“Even in death, we’re not free. There is one last task and …”
The last part of her words became inaudible. Grandma Kai gazed ahead. She seemed frightened. As if she had seen a ghost. She held her tummy and fell off the rock. She began to wriggle in pain as if she had ingested poison.
“No ooo,” Mona screamed as she jumped from the rock to hold her grandmother.
“Not here, Grandma. Please do not abandon me,” Mona cried as she held her grandmother’s almost lifeless body or spirit.
“What am I going to do?” Mona kept uttering these word with tears in her eyes as she shook her Grandma Kai.
For what seemed like eternity, the old woman suddenly jumped up as if nothing had happened. She burst out laughing.
“Oh Mona. Mona. You are too emotional,” Grandma said. “Don’t you get it yet?”
“Get what?” Mona said. Almost whispering and shocked at the turn out of events.
“For the task ahead, you don’t need to get like this,” Grandma said.
“Like what?” Mona asked, wiping the remaining tears from her eyes.
“You need to be stronger than this,” Grandma responded. “This is the emotional-strengthening test and you’ve failed woefully.”
“Come. Sit down,” Grandma said, pointing to the rock once again.
Confused by all that had happened, Mona stood up and walked back to the rock. The night seemed very cold. She rubbed her arms for some warmth and looked at her Grandma Kai and awaited what was going to happen next.
I’m glad you girls are making room to reason with me. And I’m not surprised that you’ve been given the core responsibility of providing me with the appropriate response. You have always been the mother of the group; providing good counsel here and there and settling scores amicably amongst us.
I remember how you managed to break the iced silence between Akosua and I after several months, following our big fight over who you should pick up first from home on the day we decided to visit quiet Aba’s mum. It is funny how Akosua eventually became one of my favorites in the group. You do well with making peace.
Anyways, back to the crucial issue. Yes, I did say that my able counsellors warned Yaw and I to cut off all external parties or binding friendships. They might not have meant doing that in totality. However, they were clear that Yaw and I should keep to ourselves most of the time. We were encouraged to be our own best friend and enjoy our company. During those counselling sessions, the core of the advice was to make each other our priority above anything or anybody; even our parents. Their assertions were anchored on the famous marriage scripture that says ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh Gen 2:24 (NKJV)’. It was as though our counsellors knew I did a lot of hanging out with the girls; hence they being fierce and strict on me.
I did listen to them during those sessions but did not think I was going to follow through. I felt Yaw and I had our individual lives which should not be compromised because of marriage.
However, reality set in when we moved in together as husband and wife. There was not enough time on our hands; especially my hands to want to step out with the girls. You remember God blessed us with a seed three months after marriage and the whole process; coupled with corporate and church work was time consuming. The process is another story for some other time.
Yaw did have a large number of groomsmen and was all over the place during our wedding. His seemingly ‘all over the place’ attitude and non-stop dancing during the wedding is a mystery I’m still trying to solve considering the fact that he is a very quiet and private person. With the large groomsmen, his co-workers who by some luck heard in advance that he was about getting married were extremely happy. They could not believe that Yaw’s ‘mouth had finally sang’ (made a proposal) and so they all wanted to be part of his great day as groomsmen. At a point, I had to literally beg some of them to drop off as groomsmen due to the large number. He may have gathered the courage to dance his heart out during the wedding knowing that he had achieved a great feat for himself (making a proposal).
After the wedding, I never heard him talk about the groomsmen, left alone to want to step out with them. And that’s where the difficulty lies for me. He is always home; if not for work or church.
Like I mentioned in my previous letter, he is understanding and so will make time one of these days so that we can have an unforgettable sitting or trip.
Dearest Joy, keep the group strong and going; do not cross me out of the circle. I love you all very much,
**Doris Ampong is the writer of this 👆🏾 and the second letter in this series. You can follow her on Twitter @dorampgh
We have received your letter and I was given the responsibility of providing you with the appropriate response.
After reading through your reply, the girls and I have decided to offer you a grace period and whether we accept you into our circle, will depend on the answers you provide.
You raised a few issues which boggled our minds, especially, with regards to the pieces of advice provided to you and Yaw during your marriage counselling sessions.
Did your counsellors really say you should cut off your friends and all external parties? All because you’re married? Are you really happy to do that? Will you follow through with this advice? You really scared us when you said you (the woman) will be blamed if something goes wrong in this union. 🤦🏾♀️
You also mentioned Yaw did not have a lot of friends. During the wedding, he did not strike us as an individual who kept to himself, looking at the number of groomsmen who followed him and his dance moves during the wedding. We all had the impression he was outgoing. Or is he currently following the advice of your marriage counsellors? 🤷🏿♀️
Your response to this letter is very crucial. It’ll inform the girls and I on our next step of action. We look forward to hearing from you.