08:00am – 10/05/2018

I found myself at the STC yard with the aim of traveling from Kumasi to Accra to spend the month there with family and friends.

Double checked my ticket number – it had the number 005 on it. But I had numbered six people who were already seated in this bus. To my surprise, A lady then, at an arms breath, said the seat I was looking for, was right close to hers; after inquiring of my ticket number.

The black dress she wore, together with the resemblance she shared with an older woman and a younger boy, also in black, drew my attention. So I assumed they were related.

I pitched my seat close to her and asked of her name. “Judy”, she said scanning my face. I also had to introduce myself, like I was a journalist about to take notes with my Ipad.

Her reason for being on the bus was to travel for a funeral. I was fixated by the incessant complaints about the state of the bus, and the fact that this particular one did not have a urinal and good seats. This was my first time in such a bus, so I just observed, unable to give comments.

The bus set off, after she had told me this was her 60th time in a bus. I hid my surprise when I counted the number of journeys I had embarked on, with the fingers in my head…1, 2, 3…5. 60/5 is 12! ( I did my best not to subtract).

Where she worked, was as a Structure and Development planner, in a very remote part of Ghana. In addition, she made several comments about the poor sitings of many buildings in Ghana.

I was awed by the amount of knowledge she showcased! Before I realized, she was talking about the benefits of several fruits and vegetables I knew nothing of.

Her next demonstration, was the fact that she could tell, a person had contracted HIV from his/her presentation and her buttress on the fact that HIV was punishment from God. Symptoms described by her included: intractable Diarrhea,generalized skin rashes which did not respond to conventional treatment, and sores in the mouth and throat. However, I challenged her that, God did not punish people but we humans, brought bad things to our lives.

I decided not to introduce myself further, not to take over the topic because I enjoyed the demonstration. Ignorance isn’t bliss but knowledge is!

It got to the point where I had to explain things further to her to clear the air – that the progression from HIV to AIDS varied for everyone, and that antiretrovirals taken, delayed the progression of HIV. I wasn’t going to let her steal the show.

The next topic, was about her- the fact that she was hated because she had chosen to be different from the women in her community. She had the affirmative not to dress in any provocative way, and indulge herself in any gossips and idle talk – for which she was branded with the “Not being sociable and friendly” caption. However, she wasn’t bustled, because she could predict that would happen. “Illiteracy is a disease” she continued.

When she alighted, I realized we had spoken close to five hours in the bus. She hoped to further her education, and seek a work transfer from her location. I wished her the best of luck as I continued my journey.

Trust me, I was pleased and enlightened, not just from her beauty but her brains. And how she had dared to be different from everyone else.

This brings me to the question- How do you dare to be different? How do you set yourself apart from God? Being set apart from this world doesn’t imply we can’t have fun, but not to indulge in the sinful activities of this world.

In Him, we are holy. Therefore, we must allow our lives to echo our appreciation and love for the great price that was paid for us on the cross of Calvary for our sins.

Not only should we set ourselves apart by our lifestyle, but we should set ourselves apart by getting away to be alone with God in prayer. God desires an intimate relationship with us.

1 Peter 2:9 says, we are a chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very priced possession.

It also goes ahead to brace the point in Deuteronomy 14:2, that we have been set apart as holy to the Lord. For he has chosen us from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.

Part company with parts of your lifestyle that prevent you from seeking Jesus with your whole heart. Take a hard look at how much time you spend in prayer and Bible study versus other, far less important activities, and realize the need to reconnect with your Father in Heaven.

When you live a set-apart life, you’ll likely encounter antagonistic responses from others who are disquieted with the extent of your faith. Don’t be derailed or perturbed by persecution. Live your life to please God, not other people.

God bless you for reading!

Eliezer.

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