Time is too slow for those who wait Too swift for those who fear Too long for those who grieve Too short for those who rejoice But for those who love, time is ETERNITY. Henry Van Dyke
Ezekiel 27:15 describes “Ebony wood” as one of the most valuable commodities imported by the men of Tyre. It is a hard durable and finely polished wood which may appear glossy some of the time. Ordinarily this wood appears red or green, however, there is a black part known as Diospyros Ebenum in the centre of the wood.
This description and analogy best describe the young woman who lies before us today. She was indeed a woman of many talents, a treasure hidden which had been barely discovered; a vivacious and attractive personality. In her relatively short time on earth, she exhibited real talent characteristic of the wood Ebony! Ebony Reigns…..she reigned indeed.
I have written many tributes, I have attended and preached at many funerals and I have certainly shed many tears but the death of such a young, vibrant, promising and gifted person with a beautiful heart such as Ebony Reigns aka Priscilla Opoku-Kwarteng can be very devastating and heart wrenching – this is a concise description of my feelings and reaction when I was hit with the news of her death just 72 hours after we met.
I wish she had stayed a little longer to be a blessing to her generation and beyond, but as believers, we are consoled by the word of God to count it all joy when we face difficult times (James 1: 2). My heart was filled with sorrow on that fateful day – she was only 21.
Apparently, Ebony had been an ardent follower of my television programmes since she was five years old. I am told she always yearned for that “divine moment” when she would meet this renowned man of God who she had admired over the years. She recalled with admiration how Sonnie Badu, the award-winning Gospel artiste, referred to me as his mentor and spiritual father and wished she would be able to have a similar relationship with me someday.
She could not wait to recount those programmes which she really cherished- one where I preached in an army uniform and the other messages like the Dangers of Offence and This Nonsense Must Stop! A couple of weeks before this encounter she had seen me on television in the company of the Hungarian Ambassador to Ghana at an event held during the opening of the Embassy in Accra.
As is characteristic of this bold, indomitable young lady, she appeared a few days later on the doorsteps of the Hungarian Embassy to apply for a visa to Europe, whereupon she expressed the deep wish to meet up with me. Presto! Her request was granted, and I arrived there to meet her within minutes since I was already scheduled for a meeting with Ambassador Szabo Andras, my good friend.
In all sincerity, I had never listened to her music or followed her rather enviable and impressive artistic career. What she achieved in two years was simply amazing. I would have wished that with such great talent, she would have sung some very spirit-filled and life-transforming gospel music with the same enthusiasm and passion with which she sang her songs.
When she saw me, she was overwhelmed, appreciative and humbled. We spoke at length and our conversation spanned across her style of dressing which I counselled her about, as well as her music, at which point I took the opportunity to advise her to sing edifying lyrics. I quickly seized the opportunity to lead her to the Lord and she said the sinner’s prayer amidst tear-filled eyes. She was a “mixed bag of emotions” that day! She was very receptive to the salvation message of the Gospel and as she said the prayer, she showed a great sense of respect and reverence as if she knew she had a limited time left to live on this earth. What a lesson to us all!
I told her a very simple story which was apt for the occasion and she listened with rapt attention- The story is told of a young boy waiting for a bus at a side-walk which was not a designated bus stop.
A man standing by advised him to move to the bus stop in order not to miss the bus. He listened politely but remained steadfast and stood at the same spot.
Low and behold the bus, en-route, to the bus stop, pulled up where the boy stood and he confidently hopped on the bus. The man was stunned, and the boy turned to him and said, “I knew the bus will stop for me because the driver is my father”.
The importance of this story was to bring Ebony and all of us here today to the realisation that it is so important to “Connect to the Connector”, who is God our Father. There is no power greater than the power of God and He is our refuge and strength. You only qualify to be picked by Him if He is your father. CHRIST IS THE ANSWER TO OUR MANY NEEDS AND CHALLENGES IN THIS WORLD
Ebony confessed that this story made so much sense to her and she was ready to chart the path of her heavenly Father. I prayed with her and she promised faithfully to accompany me and my wife Barbara to church on her return from a trip. Her final question was whether she could call me Daddy, Pastor or Doctor.
I responded by saying, “What will you like to call me?” She replied, “I prefer Daddy!” I took pictures with her which she later posted on her Instagram. Barely seventy –two hours later Ebony was gone under the most tragic circumstances; a fatal accident snuffed out the life of Ebony, her beloved friend Frankie and the military officer L/Cpl Francis Vondee Atsu. I was shocked and deeply distressed but I consoled myself knowing that God indeed has the final say in the life of this young lady.
Our time on this earth does not fall in line with our clock but the clock of the one who created us. Death is no respecter of persons- It will come when God wills. The rich and poor, old and young, black and white, educated and illiterate, as well as celebrities will all render an account to our Maker someday.
Do not wait for tomorrow because tomorrow may not be yours. Simply “Connect to the Connector”… He and only He can break protocol for you and guarantee you eternal life.
Finally, Ebony! I am thankful to God for the privilege to have led you to the Lord before your untimely demise.
Till we meet again, Rest in Perfect Peace, my daughter…
Rev. Canon Dr Lawrence Tetteh