Upon the start of my final week for my travels this summer, here is a potentially final update for my experience within RP Missions in 2017. Word of warning, this may be a long one.
This week was the most anticipated of the Cyprus trip. After doing some preparations all last week, we worked towards pulling off a Holiday Bible Club (or VBS) for the kids that were a part of the Trinity Evangelical Church, as well as any in the surrounding area.
The Holiday Club was from Monday to Friday, from 9:00am-12:00pm. We were also still working under very hot weather conditions, with very limited air conditioning (until the final day, of course).
The day consisted of games, bible lessons, memory work, snacks, and crafts, with some outdoor games at the very end. The first day we had eight kids, but it grew on the second day, making a fairly consistent thirteen for the rest of the week. We had ages 5-12, and worked at trying to make a fun and encouraging day for the varying levels.
We would work hard in the mornings, keeping kids engaged and behaving, but we also spent our evenings working as well. First of all (if you did not already know), no one does much in the middle of the day. Its so hot in the summer that not even the ice cream shops open until evening. So we took that opportunity to rest.
However, when the evening came, we babysat Jassar, a young Irakian boy.
We took him to some indoor play areas and gave his parents a quiet evening. Jassar is a great kid, but his parents are older and he is full of energy. They think that he has very mild autism, which has made it difficult for them to feel confident in their care for him. However, the evenings with Jassar (even though he cannot speak much English at all) have been enjoyable and a blessing for his parents.
Also, in Holiday Club, throughout the week we worked with the kids learning about the Parables of Jesus. I started with asking the question of what a parable was, and why Jesus decided to teach with them.
Matthew 13:10-13  Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”
And then talked about how we are to apply God’s Word through these stories.
Mark 4:21-25  He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?  For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”  “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you — and even more. ”
I then took one section of parables each day, talking about the Pearl of Great Price (Mat. 13:44-49), the parable of the Mustard Seed (Mat. 13:31-33), the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds (Mat. 13:24-30), and finally ending with the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24).
The team worked hard to fight the heat and to keep up with the kids, but we did well and it was enjoyable for everyone involved. Upon reaching Wednesday, the team was able to meet with the young adult group (college age and older) to enjoy some great souvlaki and fellowship. A lot of them had just gotten back from school, so it was a fun time for them to catch up with each other as well.
It was a nice break from working with kids for the past week and a half, and spending time with our peers (many of which were familiar from last year for me) was really encouraging and a breath of fresh air for us to continue our work in Holiday Club.
As the week went on, we worked with the kids on memorizing a bible verse. The Holiday Club bible verse for memory work was Psalm 118:28-29, which says,
“You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever.
I wanted to pick a Psalm that would encourage and assure the kids of God’s goodness, his power, and his love. We had kids from a lot of different backgrounds and homes. Some were German, some were from Sweden, but most were from Cyprus and the Middle-East.
The final day was busy. I wanted to get more pictures, but there were so many things to run around and do that I never had the chance. However, I will claim that the kids were very sad to leave, and I will also claim that their favorite game to play was “Monster Nate”, which made a comeback from last year’s Holiday Club.
So we went back to our flat after Holiday Club had been completed, relaxed at the beach, and then prepared for some adventuring the next day.
There are more pictures and stories to come, including our team photo and video evidence of me jumping off of a cliff into the sea (you know, the boring stuff).
Our final week in Cyprus will consist of continuing to help babysit Jassar, babysitting the pastor’s kids, working on the church building itself and even doing a little more exploring around the island.
Then on Friday, our adventure ends and I will return home.
- Please pray for safety throughout our final week, as well as for the team’s respective journeys from Cyprus.
- Please pray that the kids will be blessed from the Holiday Club, and that we will have the chance to continue to facilitate their growth even in our final week.
- Please pray that God’s will would be done here in Cyprus. There are people desperate for hope and relief.
Whether or not I will do an official update at the end of this week, I do not know. But you can expect pictures and stories to surface soon.
But I will leave you with a particularly convicting piece of scripture, and with a heartfelt thank you to all who have supported me for these trips and who have been upholding me through encouragement and prayer.
“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the counties and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”