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Photo: Back to God Ministries International
Kurt Selles and Sergei Sosedkin
Photo by Back to God Ministries International

One of my favorite Easter memories comes from when my family and I were living in China.

We often attended church services at an international church that met in a school building. As Easter approached one year, parents wanted their children to experience the Western tradition of hunting for candy.

The parents hid Easter eggs all over the school cafeteria a few hours before the service and when Easter Sunday came, they were excited to let their children hunt for the eggs. But as the event began, we soon realized there was no candy to be found.

It turns out nobody communicated our plans to the Chinese staff who worked at the school. The staff had no concept of an Easter egg hunt, and they’d picked up all the candy.

That’s when it hit me. Not only did they not understand how we were celebrating, they likely didn’t understand what we were celebrating -- our Risen Lord!

No candy hunt could ever explain the miracle of the Resurrection, and I felt grateful to God for this reminder of the importance of sharing the Easter story with the worldwide church.

Lessons from Russia

Since I began serving with Back to God Ministries International, I’ve had several more opportunities to learn about Christian holiday traditions from around the world. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned can be summed up in seven words: “In the name of our risen Lord.”

I usually hear these words whenever BTGMI’s Russian ministry leader, Rev. Sergei Sosedkin, closes in prayer. It’s a subtle difference from other closings to prayers, but it reminds me of God’s diverse world and the lessons we can learn from the entire body of Christ.

Every time I hear Sergei pray those words, I remember that he grew up in a different faith tradition—one that places particular emphasis on the Resurrection.

This week, most of us are preparing to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, but how can we, like Sergei, remember to do so all year?

How about you? How have people from different traditions, backgrounds, or cultures strengthened your faith?