It is Sunday, 12:19 PM, well after the divine service with District Apostle Michael Ehrich. As a reporter he is my main focus; the handshakes (or rather the fist or elbow-touches), the hugs, the waves, the smiles… they are priceless and picture-worthy moments to capture the emotions of such visits. After all, it has been over two and half years since he last visited.
So, here I am, about 3 metres ahead of the District Apostle and hoping to catch some interesting shots. Aha! I have seen him stopped by a young adult sister who seeks to engage him. But wait, there is this little boy, with a pop-corn snack in hand, prodding the District Apostle on his right arm for attention. It is 8-year old Dickson Jnr, affectionately called Juuju (not like the famous ‘juju’). What does he want from the Church Leader?
District Apostle Ehrich does respond and bends over. I see an interaction between the two. Exactly what was said, I could not tell. So the next morning, Monday, I called Juuju’s mom. She is Sister Shirley, a Sunday School teacher at the Madina Congregation. When I narrated my observation, she laughed and responded: “You already know Juuju and questions. I also saw it, and asked him what they spoke about.” Amidst laughter and curiosity, I queried: “So what did he say?”
Apparently this is what transpired:
Juuju: So you (District Apostle) came all the way from Germany?
District Apostle: Yes, I came all the way from Germany.
Juuju: Are they (Germans) on vacation? (Juuju himself is a Class 2 pupil currently on vacation with is siblings.).
District Apostle: Yes. Many people are on vacation.
Juuju: Are you enjoying your vacation? (I guess it makes sense for Juuju to think the District Apostle is on vacation. After all, he has travelled to a different place. If only Juuju knew the schedule of the District Apostle the last 3 days!)
District Apostle: Yes, I am.
Juuju: I want to tell you something in Twi. Can you speak Twi? (Twi is a Ghanaian Akan language).
District Apostle: No, my friend. But why don’t I say a little prayer for you?
Juuju told his mom he could not hear all of the District Apostle’s words until he said “God bless you, Amen” to which he responded “Amen” and also added “Thank you”.
This little interaction reminded me of Jesus and the little children in Mark 10: 14-16, “…And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.”
Juuju was not the only one to seek the District Apostle’s attention. There were two siblings, much younger than Juuju, a little boy and a girl, who seemed disappointed the Leader could not take a picture with them. This time, I intervened. He had already sat in the vehicle when I asked, “District Apostle, could you kindly have a picture with these little ones. They have been looking up to you for a while.” Heartily and willingly, District Apostle Michael Ehrich stepped out of the vehicle, lowered his huge frame to squat and hold the little boy and girl in his arms for a photo. I could see some fulfilment in the eyes of these children as they walked away.
Thank you District Apostle! We hope you return much sooner than this last visit.