My battle with infertility drives me to a white-gown church on the outskirts of the cloudless city of Ilorin. The church is set on a rocky mountain, the zenith for miracles. It’s widely called MAC, short for Miracles Apostolic Church (Oke Iyanu). I clutch a rope and drag a white ram up the high mountain. I’m struggling to make the animal walk, having sprained my thin wrist forcing it on the bus, the passengers growling and pinching their noses from the smell of ram-pee that spewed on the floor.
The four walls of the church are built from wood and a bamboo cross, as tall as a streetlight, stands on top of the corrugated-iron roof. A shimmering stream runs to the foot of the mountain, emptying into a murky lake. The lake also receives sewage channeled from nearby houses. There are unlit red candles along the bank of the stream. Crabs have dug holes to hide inside when they hear the crushing sounds of feet, and hungry Goliath frogs are touring the length and breadth of the lake, looking for food.
Prophet Elijah, who owns the church, is reputed to cure every incurable disease and reverse all medical abnormalities. Of course, I believe everything he says. Why wouldn’t I? Who am I, an ordinary man, to question a man of God? As a devoted Christian, I’m convinced that the mother of God conceived Jesus Christ without losing her virginity. Even though I don’t really believe it when I’m told a woman gave birth to three high-heeled shoes at Miracles Apostolic Church, I try to. It’s only through belief that my miracle will happen. I trust the powers of the prophet will cure my sterility. This one isn’t a witch doctor. He’s different, a real man of Christ.
As I climb up the mountain, my rude ram bangs its head against a glistening rock and howls, each of its curved horns almost splitting into two. Its robust scrotum sways from side to side.
When I inquired about this church, Prophet Elijah told me to get a ram, one with a bloated stomach, a wide backbone, meaty thighs, and a neck like a drum.
“Through prayer, I’ll remove your bad testicles and replace them with the ram’s testicles,” he said.
“You mean I’ll produce a real human being from the animal’s sperm?” I asked.