The Apostle Paul targeted Cyprus, the isle of Aphrodite, for his first missionary outreach. In recent years, however, the island more often has been the scene of Greek-Turkish confrontation.
Salamis, the first city visited by missionaries Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark, fell under the occupation of Turkish troops during the 1974 invasion. Turkey took control of 37 percent of the island, mostly in the north. As a result, more than 200,000 Greek refugees resettled in the southern portion of the island. (Cyprus is 78 percent Greek.) The ancient city of Paphos, Paul’s other stop, is under Greek control.
The Turkish-occupied north now functions as a self-proclaimed, but unrecognized, entity, while the Greek sector represents the official Cypriot government. And though the island has been an area of international crisis, at least its Greek section shows signs of healing. Wide-scale evangelism—as in Paul’s day—is taking place there.
Cyprus has reaped benefits from the tragedy of the Lebanese civil war. Numerous business enterprises, banks, and other organizations have moved from Beirut—the former hub of Middle East business activity—to Cyprus. Nicosia, Limassol, and Larnaca have become the shopping centers of the Middle East.
Several Christian institutions also moved from Lebanon to Cyprus: Middle East Christian Outreach (MECO), Operation Mobilization, Living Bibles International, Southern Baptists, Youth With a Mission, and Campus Crusade for Christ (recently moved from Iran). Trans-World Radio presently broadcasts through medium wave (AM) Cyprus Broadcasting facilities in Persian, Arabic, Armenian, and English languages.
These religious groups have enjoyed extensive religious freedoms, which open doors for evangelism in Cyprus and ...1
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