When I woke up on Easter morning, I saw the Mediterranean Sea glistening in the sunlight.I was on my School of Evangelism outreach in the Middle East. It was a memorable experience to see what it was like celebrating a holiday in another country, especially one so different from what I am used to in America.
I began thinking about what an honor it was to celebrate the resurrection of Christ so close to where it actually happened. I literally got to walk in some of the places that Jesus walked, and saw places that Jesus would have seen. It made everything that I had ever learned feel real and accessible. I could visualize what it would have been like to be there, and what it would have been like to see, experience, and feel the things that Jesus' disciples did.
At the same time, I was in a place where there was so much spiritual darkness and heaviness. So many people are trapped in religions of works instead of faith. The country seemed to be split between Islam and legalistic Christianity, with a handful of believers scattered in between.
Because of a large population of refugees, different people had different beliefs depending on where they were from. Shortly after Easter, we watched Muslims celebrate Ramadan. There was such a stark contrast between the happiness of Easter and the heaviness of Ramadan.
On Resurrection Sunday, we had a celebration! We built relationships with missionaries, and they had us over for the morning. We sang songs, did a devotional, and took communion together. Due to the pandemic, we were not able to go to a church but we still got a feeling for the reverence that the believers there have towards Jesus and the resurrection. We ended our day by enjoying fellowship together as a team and sticking our toes in the sea and playing games together.
Experiencing Easter in another country gave me an appreciation for the way that I grew up celebrating it, but also showed me the beauty of other cultures. It gave me a deeper understanding of what it is all about.
Sometimes you have to sacrifice the familiar when you do missions. It was challenging for me to not do what I am typically used to on that holiday. The reward of being obedient, and being there showed me beauty that I had never seen. I was able to grow closer to the Lord and built deep relationships that reflected Christ.
Are you ready to step into a journey that takes you deeper in your faith as you say yes to Him? Reach out to us to find out how to be a part of one of our Discipleship Training Schools!