Day 7 – Turkish/Cyprus Delight
Kids are now with Sarah’s parents. They are recovering from the flu. The Childers are getting better too. Praise God for giving the Childers the strength to get through that!
This is now Saturday. The conference is over and no work to do. So, Axel, Rita El Mounayer and Terry Ascott from SAT-7 offered to take a group to the Turkish side of the island. It all starts by crossing over the U.N. checkpoint. Now, this is a first for me.
We journey to a town where we stop and have coffee (you’ll soon notice a trend). This time I’m wise enough to order a cappuccino. Not bad. Then we’re off to the recently excavated ruins of Salamis. Think ancient Roman city, Apostle Paul and Barnabus. Here’s an excerpt from wikipedia:
Traveling via the port of Seleucia Pieria, Barnabas and Saul’s initial destination is the island of Cyprus of which Barnabas had intimate knowledge, as he grew up there Acts 4:36. Preaching throughout the island, it is not until reaching the city of Paphos that they meet the magician and false prophet Bar-Jesus, described by Luke as “full of deceit and all fraud”. The two rebuke the magician, causing him to go blind and, upon seeing this Sergius Paulus, is astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
It is awesome to be in a place with such history. They have recently excavated the main road into the ancient city. This is the road that Paul and Barnabas would have walked coming and going.
We then traveled east toward Famagusta. We stopped at a restaurant for fish, hummus and of course, coffee. Famagusta has a storied history. It used to be a tourist destination up until the Turkish invasion. We walked on the beach where there were many, many hotels that were damaged and abandoned during the skirmish. This area called Varosha was sealed off by the Turkish army. The buildings are vacant and pock-marked from bullets and mortars. The Turkish military presence here was intense. Big men with big guns. I was taking
a photo of the buildings and was sternly reprimanded by one of these fellas. He meant business. I stopped taking photos in such an obvious manner. This area even has cranes that were in the middle of building new buildings that are still sitting where they were in 1974. It’s a very strange site.
We then traveled to the old city of Famagusta. Think large stone walls, castle and ancient cannons. There is also a large catholic church that has now been converted into a mosque. We were there during call to prayer at dusk. This was somewhat disconcerting.
Last stop of the day was for, of course, coffee. We also had a fried cheese/sugar syrup dessert. It would have been pretty good with a tenth the amount of syrup. We bought some Turkish Delight – think Narnia here. That naughty Edmund!
Day 8 – More Multicultural Worship and Some Chicken
It’s Sunday and we were able to attend the International Church of Nicosia. Rick Dugan, a new friend in Cyprus who is from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is the pastor there. The church is there to serve the many internationals that come to Cyprus. It’s focus is on discipleship. The day we were there, Pastor Kwame from Ghana lead the service. The appropriate response to “Amen” is “Halleleujah” and vice-versa. Again, singing praises to the Lord with this group of people was a slice of heaven in Cyprus.
Sarah and I spent the afternoon walking around the old city of Nicosia. Again, big walls narrow streets and lots of history. Only this time, there was a Starbucks. I’m not saying whether or not we stopped in. We did stop in for lunch at a place that was semi-deserted. This was our first and most direct contact with native Cypriots. The only English spoken in the place was “Chicken” and “Potatoes”. We said, “Yes” and ate heartily. On the long walk back to the Schmidt’s home, we stopped at a park that was supposed to have parrots and monkeys. We saw neither but decided that this park would forever be called, “Monkey Park”.
Day 9 – Meeting and a Mercedes
Our last day in Cyprus consisted of a morning in the SAT-7 offices for meetings. I actually took part in a normal staff meeting. It was a realization of many months work. My name is now on the staff calendar with items to accomplish.
We then prepared to meet the bus that was to take us to the airport. Only, a Mercedes taxi shows up. We get in and SAT-7 covers our trip to the airport. We come to find out later that it was meant for someone else. Missionaries, Mercedes and Bugalows…that’s how we roll!
Flight 4 – Larnaca – London: We board our flight on time and head to London and a 15 hour layover.
Day 10 – Going Home
Fight 5 – London – Philly: Uneventful. Two movies a nap and a Greek Orthodox monk sitting next to us.
Flight 6 – Philly – Dayton: This one is uneventful also.
We head to pick up the kids, hug, hug, hug and get back home at about midnight. We started that day at about 12am Indiana time. No trouble sleeping this night.