DTS Reflection Part 5: Three things last forever
The final instalment of our DTS reflections series for now, Mark Carson looks at Faith, Hope and Love.
I am back In Cyprus. As well as working with an organisation called Oasis which supports refugees on the island, we have been doing evangelism on the streets of Larnaca, the town we are based. I lived here so it’s been great to reconnect and build on relationships. I will write more about Oasis in my next update but first I want to give you a feel for the place I have stepped into.
Three things will last forever – Faith, Hope and Love – and the greatest of these is Love. 1 Corinthians 13 v 13
Arriving in Cyprus there is the atmosphere of a divided nation and a religious presence that keeps people safe but not free. It reminds me of home.
The division here is Turkish in the north and Greek in the south. I try and understand the conflict as best I can but I realise being raised in Belfast it’s hard for someone looking in trying to figure it out.
I got talking to a young Greek man who just finished serving in the army nd was flying back to Greece. He was delighted and showed me a video of himself singing and leaving his post for the last time. He seemed free and happy and said he was here to protect the freedom of the Greek people here on the island because it was a Greek island.
The next day I was in Nicosia the city on the border between north and south. I walked across into the north and met a Kurdish Turk who was also serving in the army. His name was Anderson and he looked like he hadn’t slept in days. His English was limited but I gathered that he missed his home in Turkey where he had worked as a teacher. I offered him prayer but he didn’t understand and just kept saying mosque.
When I was in KFC I felt led to talk to this delivery driver named Doros who looked really sad, then he turned and started talking to me. We quickly got onto the hot topic of the moment – the divide between north and south. I said that in Ireland all we could do was pray and that was the answer as God was bigger than all of this. He agreed and I asked if he needed prayer for anything. He had severe anxiety and depression. I wanted to pray then and there but he was working for the colonel and had to go deliver. He had a big smile now though as he put his helmet on.
I’ve found myself hanging around fast food joints. It’s cheaper and people tend to be more liberal with the oulde chat. The 75 cent ice cream at McDonald’s is a missionary favourite. Sam and I got talking to a guy called Marco and we arranged to meet him for a more upmarket Hagan Das. He told us about his Greek orthodox background and how he had to flee to the south after the Turkish invasion. We talked about unconditional Agape love, God’s love (I thought that would be right up his street because he is Greek) He didn’t seem too angry at the Turkish for what they did. He was at peace. But as I was finishing off my giant waffle I knew this man had a good heart, a soft heart but he was missing that relationship with the God he believed in. Marco is excited to meet again and we are praying he encounters Jesus.
Through my encounters on the streets I have learned of a real commitment from the people of Turkey and Greece to lay claim to this Island. Looking back in history it was the Assyrians, Romans, Ottomans and the British but I know how it ends. It doesn’t say that power will last forever, it’s faith hope and love and the greatest of these is Love.
So I have really been holding onto those foundational things: Faith, Hope and Love in times where the worlds foundations seem to be shaking those are foundations of a Kingdom that will last.