God works in mysterious ways.
So do genies, I guess.
Clara disappeared before we could ask any more about the special wedding gift she’d bestowed on Belinda and Chris.
“Maybe she gave us super powers,” said Chris. “Ooh, I hope I get the power of invisibility.” From the tone of his voice, I could tell that he was skeptical about genie magic.
“Maybe she’s granted us a baby!” Belinda clapped her hands together. “Or twins!”
“Or super powers!” Chris repeated.
I couldn’t think of what Clara’s gift could be, but I was a little nervous. Sometimes Clara could be a little…unpredictable. Months passed, however, and neither Chris nor Belinda developed super powers, nor psychic abilities, nor did they morph into giant animals of any kind. More disappointing (well, maybe not to Chris), Belinda did not become pregnant right away. That happened about two years later, in a very normal, non-genie-induced kind of way. Belinda and Chris were thrilled. So was I. I was going to be an auntie! Okay, in a way.
Another good thing happened during those two years. I found a new church. I hadn’t attended church since I was a little girl in Zewedu, listening to your papa preach to the village. Well, unless you count the home church we held on Rainbow Acres, learning how to worship The Teacher like a god. Pirate Bay Community Life Center isn’t like any of those.
“It’s a charismatic church,” said Khaled Zayat, the man who had come into the bakery one day and invited me to church. He had seen me surrounded by a group of children who had begun to come to the bakery after school each day for free cookies and stories about Ethiopia. “We could really use another Sunday School teacher.”
I didn’t know what Sunday School meant, but I was curious to see what it was like to attend a church where the people were full of charisma. Turns out that charismatic means that the people are very passionate when they pray, waving their hands in the air and speaking in languages I’d never heard before. I lifted my hands, too, and prayed in Oromo, and seemed to fit in just fine.
Sunday School was interesting, too. Did you know that churches here hold separate services just for children? Every Sunday, I gather in the basement with a group of kids and teach them Bible stories.
“Bible stories are bo-oring,” said one of the kids, rolling his eyes. Other children nodded in agreement. So now, instead of following the teacher plan, I tell the children stories about Zewedu. Once their eyes are wide with excitement, I find a way to tie it together with one of the bible stories. Now it is not so boring to them, I think.
Khaled says that I am a very good teacher. He also says that I have beautiful eyes, and that he would like to take me out on a date. I told him no, but he is very persistent!
By the way, Chris and Belinda had their baby – a beautiful, seven-pound boy, whom they named Ethan.
He appeared to be perfectly healthy and normal in every way.
But I will fill you in more next time.