“I am following you, Jesus, through the torn curtain” sang the choir in four parts. The choir’s contribution was just one of the many highlights of the Easter morning service at the Mennonite Church of Ouagadougou. The children sang several songs, including “Celebrate, Jesus, celebrate.” The drums kept up a steady beat and at one point continued on for ten minutes after we finished singing. The joy on the drummers’ faces matched the joy in the congregation. We were celebrating two things at once: first, the resurrection of Jesus and second, our new church home.
After seven years, the student hostel has finally moved out of rented facilities and into the church’s own building. The move took place on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Some of the students jokingly said they were on their way to Canaan. The hostel includes meeting space for the congregation so we will hold our worship services at the new site.
As usual, the congregation was a young crowd and the exuberant service was full of youthful energy. We were also pleased to see some of the builders join us for the service: the mason with his wife and the painter had been specially invited to celebrate the first service in the new building that they had worked hard to get ready in time for Easter.
Pastor Bananzaro read through the last hours of Jesus life and the story of his resurrection. He reminded us that Jesus promises to be with us always until the end of the age. He encouraged us to share this good news with the people we know who are anxious, discouraged and suffering. We have peace because we know that nothing is impossible for God.
After the sermon, Samuel, one of the children in the Sunday School prayed for the pastor. His simple prayer was a fitting end to our meditation: he prayed that God would bless the pastor and help us to listen to the pastor and to do what he told us to do.
After the service we enjoyed a potluck meal with plenty of delicious food. Some of our new neighbors from the surrounding houses joined us for the meal.