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HOW HE GOT HIS FIRST CAR

Here is another wonder of how this man got a brand new car without paying a dime:

HOW HE GOT HIS FIRST CAR

Time was in Nigeria when one of the things young University graduates anxiously looked

forward to was to own their own cars soon after graduation.

Unfortunately, when his own group of graduates emerged from the universities, they were greeted by an order from the Federal Military Government of Nigeria banning the granting of car loans which fresh graduates always hoped for and looked forward to. And so all hopes of possession of own cars got dashed for all fresh graduates of the time, and that included this man of mystery. 

  As if that was not enough, his employers had him posted to a small town which had no means of public transportation at that time. This was soon after he had completed his National Youth Service in the big city of Port-Harcourt where he lived in “paradise” for one full year as narrated in this book.

The distance from his house to the office where he worked in that little town was about two kilometres. It was indeed an agonizing experience having .to trek that long distance each working day.

One day, he met a friend who gave him a small card on which was the picture of a nine year old boy named Francisco Marto.  He was one of the three children of Fatima in Portugal, to whom the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ , the Blessed Virgin Mary, appeared in the year 1917; amidst controversies which finally got settled with the great miracle of the Sun on the 13th of October of that year. On that day the Virgin Mary appeared again and commanded the sun to come out of its position in the sky to come closer to the earth, dancing in a zig-zag manner, and growing larger and larger in size as it descended on a large crowd of people who had gathered from various parts of the world to witness that apparition which had been widely publicized.

 The three children, Lucia, 11, Francisco 9, and Jacinta 7, who had been sent to the fields to look after their family sheep, came home one day reporting that they saw a beautiful young lady holding a beautiful Rosary in her hand and she urged them to pray the Rosary every day for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world. (The First World War was going on at that time).

Below the picture of Francisco on that card was an inscription urging all to assist the church in determining whether this boy was already in heaven so he could be declared a saint. ( He died shortly after that apparition due to an Influenza epidemic at that time).

A small prayer followed. At the end of this prayer, one was requested to pray just One Our Father, One Hail Mary      And One Glory be to the Father. At the end of the prayer each day, one was expected to ask Francisco to beg Jesus, our God, to perform a miracle for the person saying this prayer. A number of miracles obtained through the intercession of Francisco was required to enable the church in the canonization process for the person being considered for saint-hood.

A person is therefore expected to ask for very difficult or impossible things to happen. Such miraculous happenings are then reported to Rome through an address contained in that prayer card for use by the panel or committee promoting the cause of canonization of such a person.

After going through this prayer card, he immediately picked interest in the entire project. The only thing he thought of was to ask Francisco Marto to beg Jesus to give him a car, since he could no longer hope to obtain a car loan from the government he was working for because of the ban in force.

His monthly salary then was never enough to last till the next pay day. It always got finished before the end of the month. Under that circumstance therefore, hoping to save money with which to buy a car was completely ruled out, and he had used his NYSC savings to rent a house at Onitsha for his father’s family to settle in, and live more comfortably.

It was indeed a very short prayer that was demanded on that prayer card of Francisco Marto’s canonization process. It took less than five minutes to recite the whole prayers required, and so it was no problem for him to say it daily from-that day onwards. He continued to say these prayers every day for five months when there arrived the period of Easter when he must go home to his village to celebrate with his people.

Easter celebrations in his village was closely followed by a popular cultural festival which attracted many people home every year: the Ikeji festival.

Having gone home for the double celebrations without stopping his Francisco prayer, an old school mate who had become an Architect by profession visited him one evening. He had opened an office at Lagos and had become very rich in a very short time. He was only a year ahead of him in the secondary school and was from his village as well. He had made quick money by having a friend who was a federal minister who gave him a big contract. They both stood out in front of his father’s house  cracking jokes and telling stories, as they tried to recall their days in school.

Suddenly, a brand new beautiful passat car drove past, and his friend started abusing the young boy who drove that car. It was his younger brother. His friend complained in anger that he had asked that boy to sell that car, but instead of finding a buyer he preferred to be driving the car about and enjoying himself in it with his friends.

“Why are you selling that beautiful car which is still very new?” he asked his friend. He explained to him that he had bought the car for his wife soon after their wedding, but she said she did not like passat cars.

‘’I asked her to name the car she wanted and she did, and I have since bought it for her,” he continued. “I later asked that foolish boy to find a buyer for the passat as I do not want many cars in my house at Lagos, but the boy does not want to do so for more than a month now. Instead of thinking about his studies all he cares about is to drive that car about” he concluded.

At this, he said jokingly, “then sell the car to me.” With a child-like smile on his face, it was not difficult to discern that he was merely joking, since all the money he had in his life at that time was less than N300 (three hundred naira) (about four dollars). And he was being careful to conserve this amount of money to make sure that he had enough left after the celebrations to take him back to his place of work.

He gladly welcomed the idea of his indicating interest in buying the car, and tried to encourage him to do so. At this ,he asked him how much he would like to sell it , still without any seriousness on his face, which unfortunately his friend could not discern. Instead of telling him the price he had fixed for the car, he rather asked him how much he was prepared to pay. With the fear that he might be taking him serious without knowing that he was merely joking by pretending to be interested in buying his car he decided to end the whole joke by responding in a way that would make it clear to him that he was talking to the wrong person as far as buying a car was concerned. So, in response to his request that he should say how much he was prepared to pay for his new car, he simply said “N1,500 (one thousand five hundred naira (about twenty dollars).’’ He said this with a broad smile on his face designed to make it very clear to him that he was not serious at all, since N 1,500 would not even be enough to buy a bicycle or a tyre of the said car.

“One thousand, five hundred Naira!, he repeated with laughter. “O.K”, he said, “If that is what you want to pay, bring it,” he added. He believed in his mind that his friend knew he was only joking and simply decided to return the joke by asking him to bring the N1,500 he had offered to pay.

To further prolong the joke, he called his friend by name, and warned that if he gave him the money, and he failed to hand over the car to him, he was going to ask the wife to change her mind about her choice of car and reject the one he had bought for her in place of the passat in question so that he would have two cars to battle to sell.

At this, his friend laughed loudly and reminded him that he was waiting for him to bring the N 1500 and he was talking of another thing.

“O.K”, he said, pushing him away. “Go to your house and wait for me, I am bringing the money, and if you ever fail to … any way. I will not say anything until I come. You think I cannot afford N 1500. Wait for me, and if you ever fail to give me that car, you will see what I will do to you ” he concluded laughing away that empty warning. His friend left him laughing as he walked back to his parents’ home which was only 200 meters away.

Although he believed that his friend was joking and knew that he himself was also joking, yet he felt like prolonging the fun of that evening by going out to look for that amount of money.

He went to a brother-in-law whose house was not very far from his, and begged him to lend him N1,500; promising to return it that same evening. His promise of returning the money that evening was based on his belief that the whole drama would end in laughter, as his friend was bound to reject the money and they would simply call themselves funny and stupid names and simply end the whole joke, and he would then return his in-laws money to him on his way back from his friend’s house.

When his brother-in-law asked to know what the money was for, he laughed when he told him what had transpired between him and his friend. Consequently, he refused to give him the money because he too believed the whole thing to be a joke, which should not be taken seriously by anyone. He told him that he knew his friend was actually joking, but merely asked for the money to enable them transfer to his friend’s house to continue the fun. This was why he had told him he would come back to return the money on his way back.

At this, he went inside and brought the money and handed it over to him, laughing as he did so; and he left for his friend’s house immediately, clutching the N 1500 in his right palm as he went.

When he  arrived his house, he started calling from outside, announcing his arrival. The car had already been parked right inside the compound showing that he was not being expected to come.

“Alpho! Alpho”, he shouted, (his friend ‘s name is Alphonsus). “Where is my car?

Bring it out immediately and take your money”.

He came out from his room smiling. “Oh! Have you brought the money?” he queried. He stretched out his hand immediately handing him over the N 1500. His friend stretched out his hand and received the money from him and put it in his pocket, as he continued smiling at him.

With a smile on his face, which he tried very hard to hide under a cloak of false seriousness, he awaited his response to the money he had just collected. He was expecting his friend to say something like “Oh thank you for your wishing me happy Easter with this gift of N1,500. You can now go. Let me wear my shoes and escort you home a little” or such playful statements.

Still unable to understand what the drama was turning into, he was surprised to hear him call his younger brother, asking him to bring the keys to the new car with all the accompanying papers. He stood there watching, and wondering what other    game he would come up with, to make fun of him, and tantalize him.’

Soon the brother emerged with the keys and the papers. He collected them from him and handed the whole thing over to him. He stretched out his hand to shake his as he uttered the word CONGRATULATIONS. Of course, he could not bring out his hand for the handshake because he still could not believe that he was seriously handing over that car to him. He knew he was stunned with disbelief, and so he grabbed his hand and slowly pulled him out of his sitting room where all this was taking place, urging him to come and be shown certain things in the car. .He followed him like a criminal being led to the judge, until they arrived where the car was packed. He opened it, and showed him where various items were kept: the jack, the wheel spanner, the spare tyre etc. “Look!  Alpho”, he called, “look, I am not enjoying this joke any more. No! you are taking it too far”. His response was a loud laughter which further compounded matters for him.

“Alpho! “he warned again, “I am not enjoying this joke any more. I don’t expect you to make a fool of me in this way just because I jokingly said that I wanted to buy your car. No! lets end this game”.

“Listen my friend” was his only response as he continued to show him other things about the car. He stopped laughing and wore a serious look on his face.

He called his name, and said, “You know we have been close friends right from school. Please take the keys and the papers. This car is now yours. It was at this point he believed him. Tears of joy collected in his eyes as his heart beat increased. He managed to call his name softly and said a “Thank you” that came from the depth of his heart and embraced him.

He called his name again and added, “So you can do this for me! May God abundantly bless and reward you”. He entered the car, and with a hand trembling with disbelief and excitement, he started the car and drove off as his friend smiled and waved at him.

He drove immediately to the house of his brother-in-law; hurried out of the car and dashed into the house shouting: “Brother, brother, you can’t believe this. Come and see. The car is real at last.” Out dashed his sister with her husband to behold the new car bought with only N1,500.

His in-law could not believe that the joke was over until he showed him all the papers. He then narrated all that transpired in his friend’s house before he handed the car over to him.

At this, his sister and her husband jumped up and embraced him, shouting “This is unbelievable!”. In his joy and excitement, his brother- in-law said to him “Look, that money I gave you is all yours. It is no longer a loan. Do not pay it back any more, except if you become a millionaire in future and feel like doing me a favour’’

And so, this very mysterious man became a proud owner of a brand new passat saloon car without paying any money for it. Francisco Marto had really prayed for him, and Jesus our God, who is able to do all things gave him the car he begged for, shielding him away from the scourge inflicted on all young graduates by the ban on car loans. He said this short prayer in his mind:”Oh Francisco Marto, you have indeed proven that you are a saint in heaven”

. He wasted no time in writing to the Beatification Panel assembling miracles worked through the intercession of Francisco Marto to enable it and the church take vital decisions to facilitate the cause of canonization of this wonderful boy who responded to his little prayer after only five months of praying it every day.

Unknown to many, great things are happening inside this holy church which our Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven to establish, placing St. Peter the first Pope, at the head and the Rock upon which He built that church.

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