The torch relay at dawn has a special meaning to Raya and her friends. Her center director, Hermin, describes, “Walking at dawn was like the morning when Jesus’ disciples found the empty tomb. We want to teach the children that Jesus has risen, and he is no longer buried in the grave — he is resurrected and lives!”
In the weeks leading up to the big day, children have been learning Easter stories and traditions at the center.
“We wanted the children to celebrate this year … we have made home visits to explain the meaning of Easter to the children,” says Hermin.
So, what does Easter mean to Raya? “Easter means Jesus has risen from the dead; he wins over death,” she says. “He died because he loves me. He is risen for me and for those who believe in him.”
As the sun rises higher in the sky on Easter morning, Raya and her friends at the Compassion center look forward to more activities. For Raya — a budding artist — the next event is the most exciting.
“To make this year’s celebration more fun, we created a competition of painting boiled eggs. We explained to the children that the meaning of [the] egg is a symbol of the new life we have because Jesus has risen,” Hermin explained.
“I do enjoy painting the boiled eggs,” says Raya. “I’m in the running to be the champion, which makes me even more excited!” Her passion for painting paid off — she finished first in the egg painting competition!
Through the activities, stories and the way in which they live their lives, Hermin and his team at the Compassion center have helped little Raya understand the true meaning of Easter and build a faith of her own. Thanks to sponsors and the faithful work of church partners in North Luwu, Palopo, her friends and family have grown in the knowledge of Jesus too.
“Easter is a moment to remember the meaning of Christ’s resurrection,” says Raya. “Why did he have to die on the cross? Because he wants me to be saved. This is what my tutor at the Compassion center said.”