Chapter 7 Adilah: Past Injustices

Harmony knocked on the final door. She’d been to each hut and gently called to the woman inside. Leaving a steaming mug of hot cocoa or coffee on the windowsill of each cabin was one way she enjoyed serving the community.

Some were nervously accepted and silently brought inside; others sat on the windowsill until they grew cold. Only Eshe, Adilah’s sister, would come out and sit with Harmony to drink. Together they would usually admire the birds and animals that could be seen in the trees surrounding the camp.

“Where are you from?” asked Eshe one morning as the sun drew the dew from the grass.

Harmony hadn’t thought about the Previous Age for a long time. She smiled wistfully.

“I’m from a country that was known as the United States of America. I grew up in a little town where everyone knew each other.”

“Yes, I heard of America. What  animals did you have there?” asked Eshe.

“Horses, lots of cows in the fields and many people had dogs. How about you?”

“I come from a small village outside the big city. There were many animals in the land – elephant, giraffe, rhino, hippo. I loved them all, but the elephants could be a nuisance and spoil the crops.”

Harmony knew that Eshe must have experienced great suffering at some time in her life. However, she had refrained from asking, preferring to wait for Eshe to talk if she wanted to.

“Did you ever have a pet dog?” she asked Eshe.

“No, there were many chickens and goats in the village, but we didn’t have dogs. I don’t like dogs. Only the militia had them.”

“The militia?” asked Harmony gently.

“There was a war between the tribes in my country. The militia would attack villages and take whatever they wanted.”

Eshe was speaking without emotion, but Harmony detected a sadness in her eyes.

“Did you ever see them?” she asked.

“Oh yes. They came to my village when I was only twelve and took me, my sister, some other girls and some boys. They killed the elders and our parents with machetes and fire.”

Harmony turned towards Eshe to show that she had her attention and was listening. Sensing it was safe to speak, Eshe continued.

“We were taken away by the militia. If we tried to run, we were hunted and brought back.”

Eshe looked down.

“They made me so dirty.”

“Those men, they didn’t take your value from you. You are loved and precious. Jesus has brought us here so we can recover from all we have experienced.”

“The things I saw. They are still in my mind. I am so scared they will find me here.” Eshe’s voice trembled slightly.

“Let me show you something,” said Harmony.

She led Eshe through the woods until they came to a tree with a trunk five times thicker than the others. Steps had been built around the trunk, with a rope for use as a handrail. They climbed up the steps until they came to a wooden platform which was supported by sturdy branches. Here there were some wooden chairs bathed in dappled sunlight. Through a gap in the foliage, countless treetops spread out to the horizon where distant hills appeared in shades of purple.

“You can see out over the woodlands to the hills beyond,” said Harmony. “All of this is protected by seraphs like Cynthia, who brought us here to our camp. Jesus will never let anyone come here who should not be here. The New Earth is divided, for now, into different regions, each with its own community. The people in each community are in a process of healing and restoration that is specific to their experience and character.”

Eshe nodded and then pointed to smoke drifting over the treetops from the east. “What is that?” she asked.

“It’s smoke from Anne’s camp. She’s our friend. The women in her community are lovely, just like you. When you’re ready, you can get to know them. Everyone in this region of Beulah has been chosen to be here, not too far from Zion.”

The two women lingered, sharing the quietness together, until Harmony suggested it was time to head back.

Eshe loved her home. It felt so safe and quiet, and the animals around her were a joy to watch. She surveyed the camp happily, feeling more secure after talking to Harmony.


One evening Eshe approached Harmony, who was sweeping out her cabin. The crickets were playing in their night-time orchestra and a delicate mist was rising from the grass. Animal calls echoed from the trees and the rays from the sky orbs were dimmed in their silent dance above the New Earth.

“I’d like to meet the other women who live with your friend Anne one day. Maybe we could sing with them?” suggested Eshe.

“Like a choir? What a beautiful idea!” replied Harmony with delight. “I’ll suggest it to Anne and see what she thinks. Maybe we could invite the women who are interested to come and hear you and Adilah sing for them, and you could teach them some songs?”

Eshe nodded as she pondered this. “Yes, I would like that very much,” she replied with a gentle smile.

“Do you feel you have everything you need?” asked Harmony, taking the opportunity while Eshe felt relaxed and open to conversation.

“Oh yes, I am very happy with my home. I am so pleased to have so many things that I can use, but…”

“Go on,” encouraged Harmony.

“I would very much like to make myself some more clothes and some for the other women too. Do you think we could get some material and some needles and thread?”

“I will talk to the angels. They can get things like that from the resources in Zion. The city is full of inventive people making all sorts of things for others to use.”

“Really? I’d love to meet them one day.”

Harmony was pleased to hear this, as Eshe could be so timid around other people.

“I’m sure you will. Can you imagine being in a new place?” she asked.

“If there are angels to protect me, then yes I can,” Eshe replied.

“Well, there are many angels there doing all sorts of important things. In Zion, you won’t need protection from anyone or anything. Only people whose lives are in tune with agape love are allowed to go there.”

“Ok, it sounds as though I will not need protecting. But maybe I will need reassurance. New places are so scary for me.”

Harmony pondered on this distinction into the evening.


“Do you think people will feel daunted and overwhelmed by Zion when they first go there?” Harmony asked Anne when they met later that night.

“I think it may take some getting used to,” she replied.

“I guess so. Maybe one thousand years of learning how to live by agape love meant that we had no fears when we finally got there.”

Anne nodded in agreement. “I’m sure that when the time is right, it will be the same for Eshe and for everyone else.”

The two friends bade each other goodnight and retired to their respective camps. Each group was arranged in the same way with a circle of cabins facing inwards. The women could choose whether to go in and out through their front or back doors. In the centre of the circle the communal campfire was often smouldering as it was used every day for cooking and heating water. There were benches made from logs and thick-set tables where the women could make things, prepare food and enjoy each other’s company.


A few weeks later Harmony placed a steaming mug of cocoa on Adilah’s windowsill and was about to continue to the next cabin when she heard the door open. Turning, she was delighted to see Adilah standing there.

“Thank you,” Adilah said quietly and picked up the mug. Without saying anything more, she gracefully crossed the wooden porch and stood next to Harmony.

“You’re welcome,” replied Harmony with a warm smile, slightly surprised by this response after weeks of watching the cocoa go cold.

“Shall I come with you?” offered Adilah.

Harmony nodded and continued towards the next cabin.

“This one is black coffee,” said Harmony, motioning with her head toward a mug on the far side of the tray. “Could you put it on the windowsill for me?”

Adilah did so, still holding her own mug in one hand, and returned to Harmony’s side.

“The last one is for Eshe. She usually joins me.”

Eshe saw them coming and skipped out of her cabin, her long colourful dress that she had made herself flowing behind her.

“Good morning, Adilah!” Eshe beamed at her sister. “Let’s go up to the tree house.”

“Come and see,” Harmony invited Adilah warmly.

The three women sipped from their mugs as they walked to the tree house, balancing them carefully as they climbed the steps to the viewing platform.

Settling into their chairs, the women gazed out over the forest. Birds swooped and wheeled above the canopy and all kinds of animals could be heard in the trees below.

Adilah looked at Eshe and Harmony, noting how peaceful and contented they seemed with their warm morning drinks. She felt a wave of envy well up within her.

Noticing her stare, Eshe asked, “Are you ok, Adilah?”

Adilah looked at the wooden floor for a few moments before replying.

“How do you have this peace, Eshe? There are days when I still feel frightened and want to hide. You come from the same place as me, yet you can just sit here contentedly drinking your coffee.”

Eshe was surprised by what felt like an accusation.

Harmony put her mug of cocoa down on the floor and folded her hands on her lap, which encouraged Adilah to continue.

“And you are always so happy!” said Adilah, looking directly at Harmony. “You have never suffered like me. Your American life was comfortable. You had money and food and never had to work.”

“I see why you think that,” Harmony said gently. “I am from a rich and powerful nation in the Previous Age. I know this afforded me many privileges.”

Adilah burned a little hotter inside.

“That’s right. The West never helped us. Our civil war was not something white people cared about. We were forgotten and left to suffer. Eshe, why are you not angry like me? Have you forgotten where you come from?”

The painful memories of those terrible times and seeing her sister in such distress brought tears to Eshe’s eyes.

“Adilah, you know that Harmony left America to help people. Why are you angry with her?”

But Adilah refused to be pacified.

“I’m not just angry with her but with all the so-called good people who did nothing to help us. Remember how they raped and killed so many of us? Remember how they turned our brothers into soldiers and forced us from our homes?”

Eshe was becoming distraught and turned away, sobbing.

“And don’t look at me with such pity,” Adilah said indignantly to Harmony.

Harmony didn’t defend herself and lowered her eyes.

Adilah began to pace the floor.

“You both look so peaceful and calm. I want to be like that too. But inside I feel… so many things. I feel like a pot that is boiling over.”

Adilah’s face displayed the intensity of her feelings.

“I still dream that the men are on top of me,” she said with a trembling voice. “I still see the flames of the fire that burned me. All the hot cocoa in the world cannot take those memories away.”

Harmony sat still, but her eyes were filling with tears.

“I know they will come to this place,” continued Adilah. “They will find us. If they are raised from the dead, they will find us and make us their property again. Jesus should keep them dead!” Her voice was now raised. “Or torture them like they tortured us! Is he not the judge? Are they not guilty?”

Eshe turned to Harmony, trauma etched on her face. “Yes, he should keep them dead. If they stay dead, they will truly never find us.”

Harmony could sense their rising panic and could understand their anxiety.

“I hear you,” she said supportively.

Eshe stood up and drew close to Adilah’s side.

“Or maybe it would be better if we had stayed dead?” she said, desperately. “Harmony, tell us. What can really stop those men finding us here?”

“What if the men who hurt you were kept away until they no longer had any hate or wickedness in them?” asked Harmony, careful to keep her voice calm and reassuring.

Adilah and Eshe looked at one another for a second.

“But how can this be?” asked Eshe.

“Jesus determines who is in each community and prevents the communities from mixing. He is making everyone new. Every single person is going through a process designed to help them live in agape love. Think of it like this – in a way, those men you knew won’t exist anymore, because what made them bad will be healed within them.”

Adilah and Eshe were now listening intently.

“Let me tell you about a man called Saul. He was very aggressive in his religious beliefs and hurt people who disagreed with him. He even looked on and approved when they were killed by angry mobs. Jesus came to him one day and Saul’s heart began to change in a big way – so much so that his name was changed to Paul. So, in a way, Saul was destroyed and Paul was the new and healed version of the man. The same divine essence lived in both, but the person after the encounter was very different to the original.”

“But will they be changed as quickly as that?” asked Adilah.

“It’s unlikely, but you never know. Saul was obviously ready to accept who Jesus wanted him to be. He changed a lot in a few years, and some who come into communities on the New Earth are able to do the same. However, most people take a long time to learn all they need and let go of their harmful twisted desires. But everyone will get there eventually. Papa God’s agape love never fails. Every person is important to Papa God, and he knows when they are ready for complete reconciliation.”

Adilah suddenly seemed tired. Looking a little deflated, she sat down cross-legged on the wooden deck.

After several minutes of reflective silence, Adilah spoke again.

“I wish I could see Jesus again. When we first met, I felt safe and he answered some of my questions. But I have many more questions now.”

“That’s ok. It’s quite normal,” Harmony reassured her. “Maybe you could write your questions down?”

Adilah looked upset again. “See, there it is! We never learned to read or write. We were not educated like you in the West.”

Harmony was disappointed in herself for not thinking. She hadn’t meant to hurt Adilah and quickly apologised. “Adilah, I am sorry. I should have thought before I spoke. I shouldn’t have assumed.”

Adilah looked at Harmony and for the first time in the conversation there was a look of dignity in her eyes.

“I am not ashamed that I am uneducated. I do not know the things they teach in schools, but I can cook, and I can sew, and I can dress any wound you show me.”

Eshe nodded, feeling affirmed and dignified by Adilah’s words.

Harmony gave thanks that her thoughtless comment had resulted in Adilah recognising her abilities and her worth.

“Please forgive me. I want to learn more about your lives. I don’t want to presume anything.”

“It’s ok,” said Eshe. “You’re a good person, Harmony.”

Harmony was grateful for the reconciliation. The three women sat in silence gazing out over the treetops.