NORTH AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST (BP)–The flat concrete roof doesn’t have any good corners for Easter egg hiding. The yard doesn’t either. It’s just desert sand for miles around.
Even so, the rooftop proved to be a fine place for an Easter party hosted by Walter Proudfoot*, a Christian worker among the peoples of Northern Africa and the Middle East.
Everyone who was invited to Proudfoot’s rooftop celebration showed up. “The cool thing was it was a bunch of people who would not normally celebrate this holiday [who] came over to do it,” Proudfoot said. “In fact, the whole thing started when one of them asked me if we could have a party for Easter.”
Proudfoot wasn’t about to pass up that kind of openness.
On New Year’s Eve, he had hosted a group of guys for a party on his roof complete with fireworks, music and shrimp gumbo. It was so successful, they asked for another.
So Proudfoot set his sights on Easter.
“I started to work on making a barrel -– ‘birmeel’ in Arabic — into a smoker, and I got some of my friends to help me do the work on it,” he said. “It really united everyone, getting to work on it together, and then Easter was supposed to be the big unveiling.”
Believers and nonbelievers of several different people groups in the area were on hand as Proudfoot said a prayer over the five chickens smoking on the birmeel and shared the Easter story and Gospel message.
“It was the perfect opportunity to share in depth — they were already open, they knew it was Easter and they said they were fine with praying together.”
Proudfoot, who had shared the Gospel with some of them previously, prays that the Easter gathering watered the spiritual seeds even more in their hearts.
“You get to the point,” he said, “where you can say, ‘You’re like a brother to me and I care about you so much that I want you to know this message.'”
*Name changed. Ava Thomas is an International Mission Board writer/editor based in Europe.