Monday, 5 April 2010

Happy ‘Beaster’ (as Alana puts it!)

We enjoyed a very different Easter experience this year, which was influenced by two differing factors. The first being local elections on Easter Sunday, the second being the decisions of the local church we attend.

Easter Sunday may seem to be an odd choice of date for local elections, but for a president who is anti Catholic/Christian what better day than this to disrupt any celebrations. During such a day of voting, there are a number of restrictions put in place that causes the country to come to a stand still. Everything shuts down, people are not permitted to travel, or even drive their cars on the roads without special permission (which has to displayed in the windscreen), no alcohol can be brought or sold up to 24 hours before the day or on the day, in an attempt to ensure people are sober to make their vote, and that violence is kept to a minimum. The other significant aspect of this day is that no gatherings are permitted to be held, thus church services are prohibited.

This all makes for an eerily quiet day, with streets deserted of any traffic on what normally would be busy bustling thoroughfares. Many people are out in the streets with their families, and people of all ages are out on bicycles, which is a sight not normally seen. This makes you wonder if people only ride their bicycles on days of elections and strikes!

The local church, which we attend, decided to make some rather radical decisions this year in face of the circumstances presented. The first decision was to reschedule the usual Sunday morning service to the Saturday evening. So we arrived at 6.30pm when it started, thinking that it would be shorter than the usual 3 hours due to the change in time. When we finally arrived home at 9.45pm we were all quite exhausted. The Sunday school class starting at 8.30pm proved to be just that little bit too much to take in for Alana, who was literally bouncing off the walls by the end from being up so late. For someone who is normally in bed and asleep by 7.30am, the expectation of sitting down for a class at 8.30pm was just too much.

The second somewhat ‘different’ decision that they made was to actually preach on death and resurrection. This was something very controversial, as here in Bolivia the evangelical church would normally make no reference whatsoever to the day and what it celebrates. To many of us this seems very odd when we consider the death and resurrection of Jesus to be central to Christianity. The reasons behind this, so people say, are to distance themselves from the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church.

So our Easter Sunday was spent at home, sharing the Easter story together and setting Alana off on an Easter egg hunt!

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