What the city of Geneva lacked in Christendom and spiritual glory, it made up for in architectural and natural beauty. Geneva was to the United Nations what Rome was to Christendom. Its population was incredibly diverse. Its languages were numerous. And so that afternoon when Dag sat on his bed to read his bible, he could not decipher which language was being spoken over his head. He could tell German and French apart. But Italian from Spanish? That was trickier.
He was living in a hostel on the south side of the city. He had a shared room with five other men. They did not know much about him but they knew he was a foreigner. The color of his skin gave him away; to them, he was neither fully white nor black. Yet he belonged to the country as much as they did. It was his mother’s homeland and he had a home there, his grandparents’, deep in the countryside. But he was in Geneva for strategic reasons.
Bearing fruit required sacrifice. Dag had sacrificed being with his family: his wife and his two young sons to plough the spiritual grounds of Geneva. He sensed an evil presence here wherever he went. So he prayed hard and told whomever he could about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
He put his bible down and got up and to walk to the bathroom. A putrid smell met him, just as he was some feet away. There were no curtains on the stalls, so they showered in view of all. The toilet paper was very thin, and it was always running out.
But he was not there as a tourist. He knew the hostel did not make for comfortable accommodation. It was just extremely cheap. He knew only one person in Geneva. So he had nowhere else to stay. But he more than knew that a powerful church could spring up from a single soul.
He washed his hands and stepped back into the shared room. He changed the shirt he had on, grabbed his bible and began to make his way out of the building, down the stairs. His only sheep needed to be visited. But he wouldn’t be the only sheep for long.
He decided to call home on his way back from the visit. The visit had gone well and the sheep seemed to be encouraged. A visit could have several purposes and it was important to go with an objective in mind.
Stepping into a payphone, he dialed the number of his house in Accra, Ghana.
“Maame,” he said. His wife had answered the call.
“Dag,” her voice sounded tired and weary, very unlike her usual self. Worry and guilt seeped into his mind. He felt bad for leaving her all this while. He wished he could be home.
But before he could interject and inquire, she spoke and said, “Dag, your father passed away this morning.”
He did not think he had heard right. But he knew he had. Adelaide would not lie or joke around with something like this.
Heaviness filled his chest and even deeper guilt than he had previously felt. His father! He had not said goodbye!
He hung onto the public payphone and wept. His wife, Adelaide Maame Heward-Mills, who could usually talk and chat with anyone at any point of time, was completely silent. Her husband was thousands of miles away but she could feel his pain as though he were looking her in the eye. She clutched the phone to her chest, plumped herself down in an armchair and she could do nothing, but cry.