== CYPRUS SENTINEL ==
From Orville and Edith Jenkins
Hello from Nicosia, Cyprus, in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Ocean, a few miles south of Turkey. Here are some highlights of the world as we see it.
Easter is interesting in this part of the world, with three calendars in operation for certain peoples and churches. The Eastern Easter followed the Western Easter by one week. Each year the dates of the two Easters vary because the Eastern Orthodox churches follow the old Roman Julian calendar. The Armenian Church celebrates on a third calendar.
Eastern Holy Week in Cyprus is a full focus on the final week of Jesus' life, his passion and death, followed by the resurrection. The whole society is oriented to this religious focus. Greek Cypriot culture is intertwined with the Christian calendar of the year.
The TV schedule shifts to heavily Biblical themes, not only the life of Christ, but Moses, David, and, it seems, anything they can get their hands on. These are in English, or sometimes French, with Greek subtitles. But there are a few original Greek ones. Anyone who watches a few of these, or thinks about what is going on around him in this society cannot help but hear the Biblical message.
It is exciting and challenging to live among a different people, and further, to look out to our east and south and wonder at the hundreds of ethnic groups and dozens of languages spoken! Their culture and religious faith is different. But there are Christian citizens of most of the countries in this part of the world. Many trace their heritage to the first century and those first followers of Jesus.
What is involved in communicating across such vast cultural differences? How do we develop our cultural worldviews? How does this affect the way we think and relate to others?
Basically a worldview is the common idea of life and reality based on the shared significant experiences of a certain group of people. The more similar the set of life experiences, the more similar the worldview. This is the frame of reference for beliefs, values, expectations and decision-making.
Training is a part of our work here, and Orville just returned from the UK leading seminars on worldview and research. Edith conducts sessions on computer use and Internet use for research. She also has set up a new computer accounting system for another company here in Cyprus.
What is a People Group?
We are in Nicosia, Cyprus, where Orville works in Cultural Research on ethnic groups, or “people groups.” What do we mean by "people group," anyway? Check out this article by Orville.
How to Do Research Over the Internet
Much of the research work and communication of information is carried out over the Internet. Orville has published - on the Internet - a short guide to research over the Internet.
In Cyprus things appear more Western than in Africa where we lived for so long. Yet there is a slow ease about life, a very eastern flavor, with a strong emphasis on family and home. It is good to see families doing so much together, fathers spending time with their children.
Even in the busy, European orientation, the family is the focus of life for the Greek Cypriot. The extended family is important. But there are many influences, as Cyprus presses to join the European Union, and become more European.
Here there seem to be no poor people, with a very high standard of living for the 800,000 Cypriots, boosted by the international business and tourist economy. Yet there are thousands of "refugees," Greek Cypriots who were driven out of their homes or left in fear at the 1974 invasion by Turkey, which still occupies the northern third of the island. All public life and identity revolve around this situation.
Cyprus is a cultural hub, with people here from most countries in the Middle East and Europe. Nicosia is like a large village with a lot of foreigners, while Limassol is a port city and busy international tourist and business centre, and the site of most of the crime. There are many Russians here, and signs flash in Russian alongside Greek and English, Italian and some French. In Limassol, you can choose Indian, Mexican, Lebanese, Greek, Russian ....
As Western Christians we are in a minority here, attending a small evangelical international church. To be Greek, or Greek Cypriot, is to be Eastern Orthodox. In the Eastern Orthodox fellowship, each regional or national church is self-governing. The church in Cyprus is the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Cyprus, which claims to have begun with Barnabas, a native of Cyprus, and Paul, on their first missionary journey. On this trip, in AD 45, Governor Sergius Paulus, believed the gospel.
Cypriots claim Barnabas as a "patron saint." Lazarus is also honored here, as the first Bishop of Cyprus, where tradition says he came to minister after his resurrection by Jesus.
The Armenian Church (an independent, ancient church) is prominent here also, serving the many Armenian refugees from Turkey, and the Lebanese Maronite Church accounts for another large minority.
Orville visited with our children and other family members in February after a training conference in the US.
Kevin just finished his junior year in computer/business studies at Hardin-Simmons U in Abilene, Texas. Gareth is taking two weeks of vacation to come with a friend to see us in June. So we will see some more of the historic sites in Cyprus, and catch up a bit.
View our photo albums of Cyprus and other places:
This has been an unusual year, with a warmer, but wetter winter time, flowers blooming at Christmas. But the drought conditions persisted until some recent rains, which gave us a few more days of water reserve. The local water system is on for 9 hours twice a week.
We had two "Desert Storm" weeks in the last two months, with desert sand from the Middle East clouding our skies into a yellow-brown haze and dropping grit on everything. Our last precious rain cleared out the skies and refreshed the thirsty grape vines and orange trees!
Between storms, we suffered, along with hundreds of others, with a new virus. It took the form of viral pleurisy for Orville, causing loss of about two weeks, and low strength for a third week. God is good and we have recovered!
After Kevin moved to a different house, his allergic asthma diminished. Thanks!! There are so many good things going on in our lives! Be part of them by letting your thoughts about us be prayers to the Creator!
Worship -- A Life Focus
Things fit together differently in a view of life if thoughts are centered around worship. Paul challenges us: "If you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God's glory." If daily life is integrated by that focus, things look different, even in intense trouble or debilitating illness, like we recently experienced. There is no reason to lose hope, if thoughts center on God and the goal of life from him, in him and for him.
Why try to compartmentalize life, like the pagan society of America wants us to do? Don't put faith (sometimes confused with "religion") into a separate, comfortable, controllable sphere. Let it organize your life. Think of life as worship!
OBJ and Edith
First distributed by email 09 May 2000
Posted 23 July 2001
Links updated 13 February 2013
Copyright © 2001 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use. Please give credit and link back. Other rights reserved.