Close encounter with Pastor Ed and his card tricks

How many of you heard Pastor Ed share about his magic card trick during last Sunday’s sermon? Well, that story brought me right back to my childhood days. I don’t think I was in Secondary School yet. I was not a regular member of the then ECF church. I attended church only when my old friend MT invited me. Back then, Pastor Ed was not called Pastor Ed, we called him Uncle Edmund because he had not graduated from SBC yet. This blog entry is about a memory I have regarding an encounter I had with Pastor Ed when I was just a child.

MT invited me for a Board Retreat one long weekend. The Board Members of the church and their families had organised a retreat at a Fishing Kelong and MT invited me to be a guest. I still remember that very fun speedboat ride we took from the beach to the Kelong. It was very scary and very fun.

The Kelong was a big attap house on stilts. I think the stilts must have been very long to reach the bottom of the ocean. Either that or the Kelong was near enough to the beach to still be in shallow waters. If you needed to pee, or poo, you had to walk across a strip of bridge to a annexed hut. Mind you, this was all in the ocean. In the hut was a hole, you squatted on both sides of the hole and peed. If you looked down, you could see fish swimming around below you. I remember being so horrified that I held my poo for the entire weekend and refused to do a “number 2”. I was horrified because I was certain that all those people at the Kelong could look out and see my poo dropping into the water. After all, the hut was on the same level plane as the kelong hut, and that meant the it was a long way from the floor of the hut to the ocean below. MT’s brother told us that when he pooed, he could see all the fish attacking his poo the moment it landed in the water. MT rightly said that this was a complete food cycle. I tried not to think about it each time I had a meal at the Kelong. By the way, the food was delicious, fresh seafood with every meal.

In the afternoon, we took a speedboat to an off shore island. MT’s father said it would be a chance for us to have a bathe. I was scared stiff in the speedboat. You see, I didn’t know how to swim, and I don’t recall any of us wearing life jackets. When we were near the shore, MT’s father yelled out “JUMP and SWIM to shore!” Now, he’s quite a fierce chap, so when he said JUMP, I jumped and managed to doggy paddle to shore. We had loads of fun on the beach. An adult found a well, and we had to draw buckets of water from the well to bathe. We were pathetic as kids. Water is heavy, and so we only managed to bring up ¼ filled buckets each time. We laughed so much that most of the water fell out by the time the bucket reached the top of the well. The water was also freezing cool, but we were grateful for clean fresh water. I did feel that the bath was useless, because when it was time to return to the speedboat to get back to the Kelong, we had to swim to the speedboat.

That night, MT’s dad and a few of the other elders went fishing on their own. Hours later, I was awakened by someone to gather and pray because the men had not returned and the wives at the Kelong were worried that they had gotten lost or worse… I remember us sitting in a circle and praying fervently that God will keep them safe and bring them back soon. We prayed and prayed. Then, there was a pause; no one really knew what to do next. Then, Pastor Ed prayed and he thanked God for bringing them back safely, and ended the prayer. We sat there, facing one another in silence. “What a bold prayer,” I thought. What now? It was silent for a few minutes. Then, we heard the faint rumble of a motorboat, and ran to the edge of the Kelong. And there, in the distance, was a small light. They were safe! And not just safe, MT’s dad had caught a shark, or maybe it was a humongous fish, I can’t remember, but it was a huge creature. MT’s dad was beaming ear to ear! We were so relieved that they were safe that I think all the wives decided not to scold their hubbies for scaring us like that. So anyway, that night, I witnessed an episode where God spoke to Pastor Ed and assured him of the men’s safety. Three years ago in 2012, I sat across Pastor Ed during a dinner and asked him if he remembered this episode. Would you believe it, he couldn’t remember it at all. But to date, this event is still quite vivid in my memory.

Coming back to Pastor Ed’s card tricks. Pastor Ed was a very charming Uncle. He could relate with us kids very well, and we would often gather around him and pester him to entertain us. Once, during the trip, he took out a pack of cards and showed us a trick. He performed the trick while telling us about a story about 4 knights, 4 queens, 4 kings and 4 aces. He shuffled them all up and then placed them down one by one in a square pattern. After he placed all 16 cards down, he picked up and turned each pile around and we saw that all the knights, queens, kings and aces were placed in the same pile! We were flabbergasted, and he looked so smug! MT’s brother cornered him and refused to let him go till he told us how the trick worked. Pastor Ed said that a magician never reveals his trade secret, but for us, he did. I still remember how he did the trick, and I once played it with my Big D. It’s really impressive when you do it, but I try not to do it so often, because it’s so obvious and simple once you know how to play this trick.

Uncle Ed was already a very wise man then, even at his youth. I remember that during the trip, I went up to him and asked him how to figure out what God’s will was for me. You know how Pastor Ed is always spewing out his alliterations, eg, his 3A, and 5Ds, and 4 principles? Well, he was like that even when he was young. He told me that there was the Universal Will and the Specific Will, and then proceeded to explain the terms to me. I think was way too young to grasp the concepts, but years later, when I read it in a book, I remembered that I first heard it from Pastor Ed.

So there you go. A little memory of my childhood days in this church. Let me know if you want to read more.