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From Faithful Muslim to Lutheran Pastor ‹ — › Easter in Malawi – Same, Yet Different

Anauka! Anaukadi!

Lisa Sargent serves with her husband, Missionary Dan Sargent, in Zambia, Africa.  Lisa writes about their family’s Easter celebration in their guest country.

“He is risen, He is risen indeed.”  I remember hearing these comforting and joyous words in a taped service we were listening to one Easter in our home in Chipata, Zambia.  For many years we would worship via the WELS taped services in our home as most of the churches in the Eastern province preached in the local language of Chinyanja.  As I did not know the language well enough to get the full meaning of a sermon we would often use these English taped services to hear God’s Word and receive our spiritual nourishment.  But whether these words are spoken in English or Nyanja, the message is still the same.  Our precious Lord, who so willingly went to the cross to bear the full pain and suffering of our sins, conquered death and now, is risen. Risen indeed!

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That same message is shared throughout our churches here in Zambia.  Often during the weekend of Holy Week many congregations will gather together for a “camp meeting” where they will sing songs of praise, using only their voices and simple musical instruments such as homemade drums and shakers made of seeds and seed pods.  The camp meetings often consist of choir competitions, skits revolving around the Passion story and Bible quizzes.  These activities often begin on Saturday and carry on throughout the night.  By morning many of the choir members are quite hoarse from all the singing.  But no one seems to mind, as they have been singing songs of praise sharing the wonderful message of Jesus’ resurrection.

Those who attend the celebration will often bring food to share like maize, cabbage, tomatoes, beans and meats such as chickens and goats.  The women will prepare their traditional meal of nshima (stiff maize porridge) with side dishes of meat and vegetables over open fires.  Then everyone will gather together for the church service where they will hear the pastor proclaim “Anauka!”  He is risen!  And the congregation responds “Anaukadi!” He is risen indeed!   When the service is finished, everyone gathers together to enjoy the meal the women had prepared earlier.  A foretaste of the heavenly meal we will share with our risen Lord one day.

Last year was the first time in 24 years that I was actually in the United States for an Easter service.  My mother had passed away a few weeks before Easter and my family and I were there to attend her funeral.  As we listened to the pastor’s sermon on that Easter Sunday, these great words of comfort came to me once again, He is risen, He is risen indeed!  I knew my mother was at home in heaven, enjoying that glorious resurrection.  I also, with all my brothers and sisters in Christ, both here in Zambia and around the world look forward to that joyous day when we too will sit at our risen Savior’s feet

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