Happy Easter from Mali! Yes, it is still Easter here. Because Easter always falls on Sunday, the Monday following Easter is a national holiday. It’s fascinating to be living in a Muslim country that celebrates a Christian holiday more than we do in the States. Actually, it’s a leftover from French colonial days, but it’s an awesome opportunity to talk with people and explain what the holiday is really about – most of them are unaware.
Yesterday our new International Fellowship held a special Easter celebration service for the expatriate, embassy, and NGO community in Bamako. Unfortunately, we suffered another terrorist attack at a hotel in Bamako last week that threatened to cancel the service. Thankfully, we had reserved a secure location and we were able to continue with our plans. The American Embassy graciously provided extra security giving everyone in attendance extra peace of mind. It was strange to pass through a gauntlet of national guard soldiers, security personnel, and metal detectors to attend an Easter church service, but that’s the unfortunate reality of our world today.
We had about 30 people in attendance from several different countries and organizations, including the American ambassador. We were excited that so many people came despite the current security threats. Please be praying that many of them will return to church next week too.
Together we led worship and John preached a message on peace and hope even in the volatile world in which we currently live. It was based on Jesus’ message in John 14:27 – “I’m leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”