Cyprus has a long Christian tradition. It was the first European country visited by Paul and Barnabas and has maintained a Christian outlook through the centuries. The vibrant and welcoming Adventist community numbers just over 100 baptized members.
October 27-30, 2022, was a special time for the Cyprus Mission, as 96 persons, Adventists, and friends of the church, mostly from Cyprus but also with a most welcome representation from Greece, gathered in the small coastal town of Polis Chrysochous, for the annual youth and family weekend.
It was a blessed weekend! The keynote speaker, Pastor Dejan Stojković, Trans-European Division (TED) Youth director, inspired listeners with his engaging story-telling style. He challenged everyone not just to be fans of Jesus but committed followers.
With music an integral part of worship in Bible times, it could be no different during this special weekend. Most Cyprus congregations are small, which makes congregational singing a challenge – but not this weekend. A larger number of people praising God in unison, led by a talented worship team, offered a worship experience to savor.
Alongside the spiritual nurture, opportunities for fellowship and wholesome enjoyment were offered. On Friday afternoon, attendees cruised to the famous Blue Lagoon, where they could swim in the cool but refreshing October sea. Pastor Branislav Mirilov, president of the Cyprus Mission, led the group in diving from the top deck of the boat!
It was during Sabbath afternoon that we experienced God’s nature from another angle. Members climbed to the Smigies fire lookout station, which offers stunning vistas of the surrounding countryside. God’s nature, even after 6,000 years of sin and corruption, is amazing in beauty and tranquillity.
Every year, several friends of Adventist families join us and participate in the activities. God works in mysterious ways and sometimes we impact people we never expect to. One such moment happened during our retreat this year with the proprietors of the property that is used yearly. Katina and her husband, have been very welcoming and often listen in on the songs and sermons. Katina’s brother, who lives In Nicosia, on the other side of the island, was present at a couple of past events helping his sister. A quiet retired man, he would say little but observe a lot. This year, he was there when we arrived, but could not stay on. He approached one of our pastors and asked for details of our church location and meeting times in Nicosia. It seems that God has been speaking to him through the weekends he’d been observing. It is our prayer that the living witness of a group of believers interacting in love and harmony marks the beginning of a new life for this kind gentleman.
[Photos: Dejan Stojković and Kim Papaioannou / CC BY4.0]