Easter is celebrated here with a “sunrise” service. Now, why that would be the name, I have no idea. It starts at 4 am, a couple of hours before the sun peeks out. Everything American in me wants to cry out and petition for a second service at the later time. But, no, its 4 am to about 8 am. So, I set my alarm for 3:15, but then calculated how long I thought I would need and snuck in an extra 3 minutes, so make that 3:18. I woke up on my own at 5, realizing within a few moments that I had set the alarm for pm, instead of am. So, I threw some clothes on, grabbed my umbrella, and rushed out into the drizzling rain. The mile and a half walk was slick mud from the frequent showers. That, combined with darkness was a set up for brown splatters all along my skirt. But then I heard the drums ahead, and my attention turned to catching up. The church gathers far from the church building, at one of the chaplain’s houses. Then all together, they begin a long walk through the community, beating drums and waving branches in the air. It is like a call to celebration of the resurrection. I can imagine that people who don’t go to church probably don’t appreciate it, but it actually was kind of fun. I finally caught up with the others and slowed my pace down to a crawl, following in the crowd behind the drummers. Women and girls at the front of the crowd waved branches, leading the others along. We made it to the church building, where the service continued. It was definitely a worship experience to be remembered.
Then, since church was over so early in the morning, all the missionaries met for brunch. Cinnamon rolls and casseroles, everyone filled their plates. Children moved from the eating toward the Easter egg hunt. As the egg hunt finished, I could hear a nap calling to me, so I answered the call. It was a delightful rest. In the evening I met with some friends for dinner. We had the best American feast that we could come up with in the midst of West Africa. It was like being at Grandma’s house back in the old days – barbequed chicken, fried okra, roasted potatoes, sautéed vegetables, and then some mango-peach cobbler to top it off. Mmmm. So many reasons to love Easter!
Such wonderful things to fill a day of celebration, and the best of all we continue to rejoice in - He is risen. He is risen indeed. Praise His name!