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** June 2001 **
From Orville and Edith Jenkins

A lot has happened since our last issue.

Vacation Time
We had a business consultation in the USA, so we took a month of vacation time after that with children and family, seeing many family and friends we had not seen for years! We observed Palm Sunday with Christ Fellowship Church in Arlington, Texas.

Meeting God in his Creation
Orville's brother Greg and his wife Jessie took us to Lake DeGray, near Arkadelphia, Arkansas. It was pleasant to hear the water flowing over the dam, and hear the slight wind in the trees, and just to look at the lake shimmering in the spring sun.

We walked around in the woods and camping areas, thinking and talking. It was peaceful and restful, meditative and restorative. It was a great worship experience to acknowledge the beauty of God's creation and his presence with us.

Easter in Cyprus
We returned to Cyprus during the week before Easter. All the TV stations run films of the passion week or other aspects of Jesus' life, and other Bible stories. Eastern and Western churches normally celebrate Easter on different weeks, since the Eastern churches follow the Julian calendar.
Read more about the Orthodox Church in our updated article.

A quirk of the calendars placed them both on the same Sunday this year, so instead of two Easter Sundays, we celebrated only one this year, together with all the churches of all communions in Cyprus. New Life Church celebrated a Seder meal on Maundy Thursday, a stirring remembrance experience of the original Passover, similar to the way Jesus probably observed it with his inner circle just before his arrest.

Easter Sunrise was a fascinating visual worship experience in a park near our home, as the sun began to shine in the deep blue sky just cleared by refreshing rains.

Christmas Lights

Kevin Graduates
On 19 May, Kevin graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, with a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a major in Computer Science. He has moved to Mesquite, near Dallas.

Some people have asked us for our birthdays. We are also giving Gareth's and Kevin's email addresses, in case you would like to contact them also.
               Edith 24 January (long time ago)       Orville 21 July (also long time ago)
               Gareth 2 May 1977                          Kevin 24 June 1979

May Day
Americans may be surprised to learn that Cyprus celebrates Labor Day on May 1, along with most countries of the world. May Day was originally a Celtic festival.  After the rise of Communism, May Day was designated as the day to celebrate the workers of the world.

It might appear that the US set its Labor Day on another date just to avoid the association with Communism.  However, the US was actually the first country of the world to set aside a day to honor workers, first celebrated in 1882 and legally established in 1894!

5,000th Birthday of Writing
Iraq hosted an international conference marking the 5,000th anniversary of the invention of the written word. Organisers say the ancient city of Uruk, now in southern Iraq, was the birthplace of writing (in Sumerian) in the third millennium BC. The weight of scholarly evidence suggests that this location was at least one of the cradles of early writing, with tablets developed in 3200 BC.
                                                                                                ( -- BBC)

Persian New Year -- Navroze
Summer weather is upon us, with June temperatures over 100 F. Officially, however, it is actually spring, which started on 21 March, the Vernal Equinox. For the Parsee people and their Zoroastrian religion, March 21 was Navroze (New Year), the beginning of spring and their new year. Navroze is celebrated by other peoples descended from the ancient Persians, as well as the Bahá'is. Navroze has been celebrated for over 3,000 years by the Zoroastrians.

The Parsees and Zoroastrianism in History.
Read about the religious beliefs and practices of the Parsees.

June 3 was Pentecost Sunday, celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Day of Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection. Celebrated at the same time in Cyprus is Kataklysmos, with traditional dances and fairs all weekend and Monday. The Larnaca seafront boardwalk fair is the most famous. This originally pagan holiday which honored Aphrodite is now supposed to be a celebration of the deliverance from the Flood (kataklysmos).

Learn more about Cyprus in our updated article.

Libyan Arabs
For several years churches and agencies around the world have observed the 10-day period between Ascension, May 24, and Pentecost Sunday to pray for the unreached peoples of the world. In our region this included the Libyan Arabs. This name actually may refer to several people groups.

Two of these are the Cyrenaican Arabs, associated with Cyrene, and the Tripolitanian Arabs, associated with Tripoli. Many people speaking these two Arabic languages are actually of Berber (Imazighen) origin. Some now consider themselves Arabs, while some still consider themselves a separate Berber people, though speaking Arabic.

In addition, there is a smaller number of Libyan Arabs who speak Northwest Bedouin Arabic. Libya, once the strongly Christian Numidia, is now one of the areas isolated from Christian faith and witness by religious, political and social forces.

Worship is the central purpose of our lives, and integrates the meaning of the various activities. Details of activities distract from that at times, but the basic goal is to do everything for the Lord, not just do it. The focus is to have an attitude that everything is done for the Lord, even the most mundane or distasteful. All of life dedicated to the Lord takes on its rightful eternal value, and right and good are enhanced in our minds and lives. That is our partnership with God in his work.

Click here for Orville's further reflections on worship.

Cyprus Elections
Cyprus had parliamentary elections on 27 May. About 467,000 voters chose between candidates of 8 parties to fill 56 seats of the Cyprus parliament, referred to as the House. The Presidential elections will not be held till 2003.

AKEL, the Communist Party, won 20 seats, giving it a controlling interest for the first time. The right-wing Democratic Rally won 19. Both parties support the entry of Cyprus into the European Union and the reunification of Cyprus as a federated state with Greek and Turkish Cypriot regions.

A Prayer for Cyprus
Originally written 28 May 2001
I walked home the evening after the elections, and as I passed the Cypriots on their porches and in the street, talking, laughing, playing with their kids or just relaxing and watching me walk by, I was praying for these people.

I prayed for the old folks who have seen such rapid change in such a short time, as Cyprus has shot out the medieval village life organized around the Orthodox Church, into a strange world with fascinating and confusing alternatives. I prayed for the children who will not know the supportive village family life and deep heritage of Greek identity, consolidated in three centuries of survival under oppressive Turkish Muslim rule.

I prayed for the young men and women whose little children were swinging or eating their evening meal on the veranda, who voted in the election Sunday and who were perhaps anticipating more changes and new opportunities. Perhaps they were anticipating the upcoming entry of Cyprus into Europe, uncertain because of the lack of progress on resolving the division of the island.

I just invited the Lord to hear my many thoughts, and think with me, about these people, their needs and their future. With the AKEL party now leading the parliament, some changes will occur. I thought maybe as conscious change comes, Cyprus will be in a new position to break from a stalemated and stereotyped past and set the tone for progress to the future.

I was praying that among the changes, they will hear anew the gospel that is so prevalent and available in every aspect of Cypriot life.  I pray they will rediscover Christ personally, really hear the words of the Orthodox Church liturgy.

I pray that the winds of change will clarify the new options of the old gospel lying within the very fabric of their society, but accepted and often dismissed as commonplace. I pray that the words of Jesus will come alive aand become personal as the read the New Testament in their modern language, available and affordable in many books stores, such as the Orthodox Church stores. I pray that change will free them to reclaim Christ.

Visit Orville's Thoughts and Resources, with articles on several topics. ==  Cyprus Sentinel  ==

Copyright © 2001 Orville Boyd Jenkins

First circulated by email 15 June 2001
This version on Thoughts and Resources posted 2 July 2001
Last edited 13 February 2013

Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Please give credit and link back.  Other rights reserved.
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