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Visiting Day

Updated: Jul 10

Written by Evi Idoghor


If you attended a boarding school in Nigeria, in the 90s (and early 2000s), then you understand that such schools could be likened to a prison. The food was horrible, the punishments were terrifying, and the environment was mostly hostile. You had to wake up at a certain time, do your chores, do chores for others, and make it to class with all cognitive abilities alert. You’d think that the hostility most people had to bear came from the teachers or other staff members alone, no. The students, or should I say the “senior” students were in fact the worse ones to deal with.

I remember being flogged with a rubber hanger on my back for just hanging out on the football field with some boys from my class at night after prep. Okay, I get it, me and my friends weren’t supposed to be there, however the punishment outweighed the violation. We were made to lie down on the floor and then beaten mercilessly by the senior student who saw us. I would never understand why schools in the 90s awarded senior students that sort of power, but they did.


I don’t think I have forgiven the girl who did that to me (haha), and I doubt I would be able to remember her face. Yet, that experience is still etched in my mind. Since we were made to endure such cruel and unusual punishment any time things went awry, (like a senior student looking for her missing item and punishing the entire junior secondary school) visiting day (or the day we would go home), became such days that we would look forward to.


It was as though, when mommy or daddy came on the scene all was going to be well. So, if it was the punishments you were sick and tired of, or you were about running out of your provision, you didn’t bother when that day was around the corner. Students anticipated the arrival of their parents, and breathed a sigh of relief when that day finally came. They hung around the visiting area stretching their heads, looking out for familiar faces.


And once they saw them, they raced to their family, falling into their embrace, and leaving their pain and sorrow behind. I remember one day when my mother came visiting, I told her that I no longer wanted to continue in the boarding school system. By this time, I was in JSS 3. I had enough and wanted to be with my family.  Thank God she listened and switched my school to a day school.

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The concept of this phenomenon that was the boarding school system and visiting day, has caused me to ponder on something lately. We live in a world that is so cruel and mostly hostile to Christians. We hear stories of how Christians are being persecuted around the world, because of their belief in Jesus. While some Christians face outright persecution for their beliefs, many others are plagued with life’s difficulties. Sickness, loss, joblessness, poverty, insecurity, and the list can be endless. Such experiences are not unique to the Christian alone. There are many others who do not follow Christ and still experience all of these.


So, it will come as no news to everyone when I say that the world is a heavy place to reside in. If you turn on the news, you will be bombarded with all the terrible things that are happening – it seems as though no one can catch a break. And this prompts many to ask – what is the way out? Am I just here to live, suffer, and die? Is there something else which happens after death? Christianity provides an answer to such deep groanings. And the answer it gives is not one without faith. Our faith hinges on the truth: Christ was raised from the dead, and he is returning.


We can liken our experience to the students who were in the boarding school system in the 90s. We, just like them, are living in a hostile environment, one which we cannot escape from, even if we like to. We are made to endure harsh realities, which awakens that deep longing for the day that all difficulties will seize. Romans 8:22-24 says, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.”


As Christ followers, our hope lies in his return, and as such his rescue from every heartache, pain, shame, difficulty, or whatever else we might be experiencing. We are reminded through scriptures that if he died and was raised again, then he will also raise us up on the day that he returns. This is what gives us hope. 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 says, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.


And so, when you go through difficulties, always have it at the back of your mind that one day, Jesus will return, and whatever pain you might be experiencing will seize. Just like when you were in boarding school that nothing else mattered when you saw the faces of your parents; you knew that they had come to rescue you. You could even stick your tongue out at your seniors, and they could do nothing about it because you were with your mother or father. It is the same way. You also could report them to your parents, and your parents immediately leaped into action, to intimidate those who had been intimidating you, whether they were students or teachers.


However, for many of those who were troublesome, they knew that their parents presence meant immense discipline. So, while some where delighted to see their parents, others dreaded it. If you’ve been living right for God, his return shouldn’t terrify you, rather it is something you should anticipate because he is coming to rescue us from all our sorrows and pain, and to punish evil forever.


But, if you’ve been misbehaving, believing that “visiting day” is so far away, because the school term just began, and your teachers wouldn’t remember all your ills, just know that God oversees everything, and that day will surely come. And like a good parent, his discipline is going to be so severe - one that you will likely not come back from if you do not repent before he shows up.


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