Easter across Africa

Amy Crofford
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Editor's note: Nazarenes in all six of Africa's fields report how they celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ this year.

He is Risen!

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Yesterday several of the Africa East Field missionaries celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at Central Church of the Nazarene located in Nairobi, Kenya. Our service began with the children singing about Jesus and what He did for us by dying on the cross, and how He is no longer in the grave. This was followed by a wonderful message by Reverend Fredrick Opondo. The title for his message was, “The Risen Christ, Our Victory.” He based his message on 1 Corinthians 15 and Luke 24. – Lisa Johnson, missionary, Africa East Field

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All the Ladies who are full members of the Church of the Nazarene in Zimbabwe and are married or widowed wear this kind of uniform.  It takes some kind of commitment on the side of the women to be allowed to wear it.  The Ladies also sometimes use this uniform when they are singing.  Some of the songs they sang includes "Were you there when they crucified my Lord; Low in the Grave, He lay; He is Risen, and many other Shona and Isindebele songs.

I have held the Easter Camp for the past nine years.  It is a holiday in Zimbabwe from Good Friday through Easter Monday.  So the congregation at large comes to Camp at the Church as from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon.  We will then have as many holiness lessons, preaching, singing "choirs", Holy Communion on Good Friday, receiving of new members, baptism, etc. . This year we had about 764 in attendance. – Rev. Noah Sibanda, pastor, Gweru, Zimbabwe, Africa Central Field

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During Holy Week, you will see wooden crosses placed at several of the traffic circles around the city of Lilongwe, Malawi. I have been told that groups of Christians have placed these crosses around the city for several years now.  The one pictured is one of the best.  Some of the crosses have a small red cross painted on the upper part of the wooden cross.  Some crosses, as the one in the photo, are placed close to the roundabout but others are placed directly on the roundabouts. – Marquita Mosher, missionary, Africa Central Field

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In Bénin, faithful Christians celebrate Easter in diverse ways. For faithful Nazarenes, this celebration begins with fasting and prayer several days before Easter. The Friday and Saturday just before Easter are reserved for all-night prayer and praise meetings at the church. Easter Sunday we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The focus of the Easter service is communion. Some areas organize a march called the “Celebration of Holiness.” – Moïse Toumoudagou. Sahel Area Coordinator, Africa West Field

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In South Africa, Good Friday and the Monday after Easter are national holidays. With a four-day weekend, people are free to travel and join together for major campaigns and camp meetings. Some church clusters or districts join together for three days of training, praise and prayer. This may mean staying as a guest at the house of a local Nazarene family or even camping. Mariasburg Church of the Nazarene had a three-day campaign. The youth presented skits and sang both at the Saturday and Sunday services. – Amy Crofford, missionary, for the Africa South Field

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On any given Sunday, you can find our Nazarene brothers and sisters from Democratic Republic of the Congo dancing and singing, praising our Lord. This Easter Sunday was no different. We came together to dance and sing in celebration of our Risen Savior! -- Jillian Fothergill, missionary, DRC, Africa Middle Field

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At the church that meets in the chapel of the Seminário Nazareno em Moçambique, 17 believers were baptized on Easter, with those participating numbering 1113. The older women sitting on the floor in the front have the best view of the ceremony. -- Carlos Bauza, missionary, Mozambique - Africa Lusophone Field