What is Cyprus like?
Did you know greek is one of the languages spoken in Cyprus? That’s right! Cyprus is a sunny island in the East Mediterranean with beautiful landscapes - from mountains and waterfalls to beaches. In Cyprus, you will have sun most of the months of the year and until October it is possible to go to the beach with nice weather.
In Cyprus you will also be able to plunge into history to see some of the places of the Bible (i.e. Acts 13). Historically also is the division of the island in two, since the war with Turkey in 1974, which resulted in the northern occupied part by Turkey and the Greek south. This makes Nicosia the last divided capital in Europe, but for you, it only means you might need your passport to cross over sometimes.
What is the present state of the work?
Cyprus IFES (CYFES) exists in different cities around the island.
In the Greek south we are involved with students who study at the European University, University of Nicosia and University of Cyprus, as well as some colleges. The main CYFES group meets weekly and is very diverse. We can easily have a meeting with 10 to 15 students - ALL from different countries! This is so much fun and also a great opportunity to learn and see how the gospel is meaningful for all cultures, as well as depend on God for the cross-cultural adventure. Apart from the main group, God has brought about frequent opportunities to meet students one to one - be it to find out more about the Bible, to answer difficult questions about life, or both! It has happened that for some of these international students hear the gospel for the first time and then respond in a step of faith.
But this is not all.
There are also CYFES groups in the north. These CYFES students are super organised and initiative takers. The groups are composed of students mostly from Nigeria and Kenya and meet each week to celebrate Jesus, as well as during the week in small group discussions. They absolutely love to be visited and ask for teaching on several occasions. They are very eager to be helped in growing as disciples as well as knowing how to share Jesus with their friends in creative ways.
Other than that, CYFES is a pioneering movement. But it now has national board who is eager for it to be more established. The board was just recently trained by IFES on governance procedures and we trust God will use them develop the movement until it can be affiliated in the IFES World Assembly in 2019! How cool would it be to be part of this historical moment?
What does the team do?
On the student level, and as you read above, CYFES is a place for creative experiments, and a very relational sharing of the gospel. Much like in the gospels, stories and connections with students that lead to friendship, and with that, the security to have more meaningful conversations, often happen around the table or fun gatherings for cooking workshops, movie discussions, and even snorkeling outings. We strongly feel God is on the move through weird and wonderful stories that happen over here, and if you come to help CYFES you’ll be able to run alongside students to train them and encourage them in being part of stories to be told for eternity.
We train students to live and lead as disciples and reach out to others in contextual ways. In practice this may mean things like reading a lot, preparing teaching, meeting with students on small or big groups, or simply going for a coffee to pray with them, encourage them in their faith and in life’s day-to-day challenges. From experience, as you come alongside students, you can grow so much as you discover together how Jesus’ teachings affect our everyday lives. This will certainly change you.
The InterAction team is based in the Greek South, working mainly in Nicosia.
What about accomodation, living costs, jobs, courses?
Average living costs are €800/month for living expenses and ministry expenses, with ministry training conference and flight costs in addition to that. Financial support is normally raised from churches, friends and family back home. Ideally, we would like team members to be full time in the ministry. However, if you need to find a job for financial or visa reasons this can be discussed.
Visas: EU citizens do not need a visa. If you are coming from outside the EU, visitors’ visas are only for three months so one must leave and re-enter the country every three months to renew, or team members can register at the college to obtain a student visa.
Language: If you don’t speak Greek, it is expected you engage in learning of the language upon arrival, as this shows respect for the local culture and provides for many many bridges of connection with nationals. Besides, learning Greek is fun! Greek is desirable but it is quite easy to manage in English as most Cypriots speak English as do the international students
Nicosia (population 236,000)
Greek, with English widely spoken
Open proselytizing is not allowed in either part of the country. In the Greek area (RC) the Orthodox Church is influential; and in the Turkish area Islam is dominant. Over the whole country, 18% is Muslim, and 78% Greek Orthodox, and 4% Maronite, Armenian Apostolic, and other. Protestants are likely around 1% of the population.