I left church that Easter Sunday feeling so let down. I hadn’t been expecting Easter to be the same in Brasil as it had been back in North Dakota, but to not even mention the word “Easter” was just too much. No Easter hymns were sung, no Easter lilies (of course!) and no Easter sermon. Nothing was said about Jesus dying and rising from the dead!!
(Maybe that’s when I resolved I would change that and little by little American customs began appearing….Easter hymns were sung in church, staff kids gathered around me every year to color eggs and hunting for Easter eggs became a tradition!! One year I even made Easter baskets for everyone. Old Easter cards were salvaged from a“missionary” care package and made into centerpieces for the dining room tables. One year I organized an Easter sunrise service and posted students on the terraces of our three high buildings to shout out the clarion call: Christ is risen!! I was thrilled--whether or not any one else was I couldn’t be sure.
I was proud of myself for all the "advances" I’d made to help the Brazilian culture along. (If you know an anthropologist, please don’t tell him/her what I did.) Missionaries are supposed to adapt to the host culture—not vice versa. I know. I know. I know that, but my deep yearnings for my own culture propelled me forward because my main motivation was giving my children an "American" Easter. The ironic twist in this is that as a child, I’m not certain I ever hunted for Easter eggs, much less colored them or owned an Easter basket.
Now all of that is years behind me and I am left with delightful memories of my kids, sleepy-eyed, looking for their Easter baskets and devouring chocolate Easter bunnies for breakfast. And looking through the pictures brings it all back again and again.