I shed a few tears.
"Is my boss emotional again?" Folu queried. I turned to look at him only to see that he was already handing me an handkerchief. He had worked with me on different assignments for over 29 years and had gotten used to my emotional tendencies which were usually triggered when I thought of the goodness of the Lord. He had also come a long way in the service of the Master. Although he was one of the most revered pastors in Africa, Folu had missed the rapture.
Folu had been the pastor of a church with 8 million+ members and 387 branches worldwide. Majority of the church members that were left behind after the rapture were a little surprised that their Shepherd "missed" the trumpet call. However, It wasn’t a surprise to Folu. In 2013, his wife had an affair with a "caring" choir member and although they resolved the marital differences between each other, Folu never found it in his heart to forgive his wife. For years he was bitter in his heart towards her (though no one knew), and this would eventually lead to his being left behind. He immediately repented after the rapture and had to witness the first 65 months of the 7 years Tribulation he had once preached about. The forces of the United Army will eventually capture him for refusing to denounce Christ as Lord. He was beheaded on global television and showcased as an example to those who refused to pledge allegiance to the new world dictator. He eventually joined us in heaven and was among the forefront host of heaven that rode down on horses for the the biggest battle in human history.
Here we were sitting beside each other heading to shoot the One whose love had brought us together. Though he was still pastoring a church in the new Millennium, he had met me in 2117 and told me he felt led to assist me in my photography mission trips. 29 years after working together, here we were on our way shoot the very One who called us into MINISTRY.
We arrived at the prestigious New Gate Hotel in downtown Jerusalem and to my surprise was greeted with a host of about 22 people. The leader of the entourage opened the door for me to come out of the car and I was surprised at the gesture.
It was at that moment I realized how important a task I had been entrusted with. When His Royal Majesty sends one of his closest friends on earth to meet you at the hotel, consider yourself honoured. It was the 3rd time I would be meeting John the beloved. We hugged one another for what seemed to be forever and I thanked him for taking out time out of his busy schedule to welcome me. "When Jesus told me you were coming to give him a session, I quickly volunteered to be the leader of those that will meet you," he said. The last time we met was at the Apostles’ Convention in 2136. I had been privileged to photograph the event. I remember being blessed by the musical ministrations of Nathaniel Bassey, Kirk Franklin and Angela Walters. The poetry recitation of Thomas Dexter Jakes sent emotional goose bumps all over my heavenly body. I didn’t know we would meet in the same city just a year later.
After hugging John, I was greeted by a few great men whose name coincidentally started with J. It was as if Jesus was trying to appeal to the poetic part of Seun Akisanmi by sending powerful people whose name began with J to welcome me. Jeremiah was the first to greet me after my eternity hug with John. James the son of Zebedee and Jude followed suit. I was quickly reminded of their love for the Gospel when I hugged Jude. Jude was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ while James was beheaded (over 2000 years ago) in the same city he was meeting with me.
One person stood out of the crowd perhaps because he was the tallest. Joash was a dark-skinned angel that had been assigned to guard & protect John wherever he went. I had met him in heaven before the Lord returned to rule the earth and I remember being surprised to see an angel with dark skin and dreadlocks.
"Whats up Seun," he greeted. We shook hands like 2 gangsters who had been away from one another for a while. His hug would eventually lift me off the ground and that seemed to send a wave of laughter to everyone watching.
I would eventually meet the only lady among the welcoming ambassadors Jesus had sent to greet me. I smiled. I had known her longer than any of the other men I had just greeted. I met her in Lagos over 120 years ago. She waved her SILT K5 camera at me and muttered the words "I got one too". With a warm hug that seemed to last longer than the one I gave John, she muttered "My Father, my Father". And with a kiss to her forehead, I told Tosin I had missed her so much.
To be continued…