A week ago, today, a friend of mine died. His Christian name was Elijah. Elijah was not always a follower of Christ. As a matter of fact, he was a Christian for only 21 months. But, in those few, short months, he was no longer living as the local soothsayer or Fetish priest, he was living for Christ. He was baptized a few months after becoming a believer. He was very active in the local church, always there whenever the doors are open. He prayed that God would give him a wife. And, God answered that prayer. Elijah had paid part of the bride price for her and they were living as man and wife for some time. Elijah had traveled to Techiman to find work so he could finish paying the dowry. He told the pastor before he traveled, "I am leaving my wife in your hands. Take good care of her while I am gone." Of course, the wife was still in the village, not at the pastor's house, but Elijah trusted the pastor so much, he knew that Rev. Baiden would watch over her. Anyway, Elijah arrived in Techiman but could not even alight by himself, he was too weak. A taxi was called and he was taken to the hospital where he died.
I could not believe the news when I heard that Elijah had died. I wanted to see the body. It was uncertain if the burial would take place in Techiman or here in the Lawra area, in the village of Yagtuor. After a lot of discussion and several phone calls, it was decided to bring the body back north for burial. Saturday was the funeral. When I first arrived at the house, Elijah was sitting in a chair, looking as if he was napping. The grieving, the mourning and weeping had gone on all Friday night, after the body arrived. Then, the body was taken inside of the house to change clothes. Elijah was given a smock, trousers and a hat to wear, all made out of northern cloth. He looked quite handsome, fit for a Naa (Chief.) The sat him in a chair, with a cross around his neck, a bow in his hands (he was a hunter), and Guinea corn and millet (he was a farmer) and a Bible on top of the bow. The wooden xylophones were playing the funeral dirges and people were wailing. The hand made casket arrived...a cross was put on it to symbolize Elijah's faith. I did notice that a couple of men took a stick and measure the height of the casket to make sure that the grave was dug deep enough.
Members of the church had come early to the house to grieve with the family. Later, in the morning, many, many people from several of the Lawra area Methodist churches came to morn, grieve, pray and give testimony to Elijah's faith and to speak on how his life touched theirs. Rev. Baiden held the service for a Christian burial. People sang and praised God all the way to the cemetery - he was buried in the Christian cemetery. The entire day was a testimony to how he lived the last 21 months of his life for Christ.
Sunday morning, the family came to the Lawra church to worship and to give thanks for Elijah's life. His senior brother said, "Elijah has taught us all the One thing that is important." Praise God. I pray we will all know that One Thing!