The first thing you notice in Cyprus is the glorious sunshine and sweltering heat. It’s absolutely fantastic . The island itself is gorgeous with mountains, bright flowers, and beaches all around. Not a bad place to spread the love of Jesus! Time is a relative concept here. When someone tells you they’ll see you at 10:00, 10:45 is perfectly acceptable. People are much more relaxed about things. Relationships are the important thing, not schedules or tasks.
Before we arrived in Cyprus, we knew the country was divided into a “Greek side” and a “Turkish side,” but I don’t think any of us realized that there was an actual, passport controlled border; and that by crossing that border, it feels you’re stepping into a completely different country. It definitely adds an interesting dynamic to the country and to our outreach!
We do things like spending time with God, listen to & give devotionals, we worship and we intercede; During those hours we ask God what to pray for and what to share, and then we pray those things for Cyprus. We also go into the town and talk to people about life and God. On Sunday we split the team up to go to different churches (of varying nationalities) and we preach, share testimonies, lead worship, perform dramas, and share in community. We have also been working with the youth. One youth group is at the International church on Sunday mornings; the other is a Monday night young adult group. We also meet several times per week with some Sri Lankan university students who go to school on the Turkish side of Cyprus. We go over there a few times a week to hang out with them and help them practice their English. We’ve had some really encouraging experiences with them!
Our main contact here in Cyprus is a wonderful man called George. George is a church planter and the pastor of the Sri Lankan church we’ve been working with. He used to be involved with YWAM here in Cyprus. Because of his many different contacts, we’ve been able to be involved in many different activities here in Cyprus. It has been a real challenge for us to step out of our comfort zones, but also a huge blessing! Besides the Sri Lankan church we are also involved in a Filipino church, a Bulgarian church, a small, Sri Lankan village church and an international church.
We also worked with Anastasia, a 23 year old woman with a huge heart for God. With her family, she founded the country’s only Christian radio station, which has recently been recognized by the government and approved to reach the whole of Cyprus. We visited the station and as a team, we helped clean the station, we recorded a song that we had written as a team and we also did a radio interview. It’s really exciting to think that all of Cyprus will be hearing the song God’s given us, and the story behind it. That’s what you call an outreach!
It seems like we just stumble into situations that God has planned for us. We’re really able to see how badly God wants to reach His people. So for now we’ve selected one of the many stories to share with you all.
It was 2:30pm. Miguel and I (Josien) wanted to encourage shopkeepers with prayer for their businesses. We found out that not all Cypriots speak English but the ones that did were really open to talk and we were able to pray for a few business, which was very exciting. We came to a leather shop and the guy working there was about our age. When we asked to pray for him, he said, ‘”Well, I’m an atheist, but please tell me everything about your faith.” Then he gave us chairs to sit on to make the conversation comfortable. He had loads of questions and interesting thoughts for us. He was really searching for God and for truth. After talking with him for about an hour, he allowed us to pray for him. He was really impressed. “Wow!” he shouted, “You guys really prayed with your soul. You are great Christians!” He had never seen anything like that. We exchanged phone numbers to meet again. He also wanted us to meet his friends because he wanted them to hear what we believe, as well. What a great outreach experience!
Alex, Dortje, Edel, Jake, Janik, Josien, Kevin, Lisanne, Miguel, Samantha & Susie.