Cyprus is predominantly Eastern Orthodox (in the Greek south) and Sunni Muslim (in the Turkish north). However, a secular worldview prevails on both sides.
Over half the students in Cyprus are from Africa, Asia, or other parts of Europe. While the students have freedom to practice their faith, temptations and pressures of student life make it difficult for many to remain spiritually vibrant and active as a witness for Christ. Additionally, many have come to Cyprus under the impression that they would be able to work to cover fees and living expenses. This isn’t true and they often find themselves in desperate financial situations.
Cyprus is a pasture ripe for harvest, but opportunity to fulfil the Great Commission is being lost because of a lack of staff workers. Our IFES staff team there remember the exciting ministry recently that came through six IFES InterAction volunteers spending between one and three years with them as full-time workers (IFES Interaction sends people to serve, equip and strengthen student movements across Europe). Not only was the movement strongest when they had these workers, but the volunteers themselves became better equipped to reach and disciple students when they returned home.
This lack of workers has led IFES Cyprus to focus even more on the need to equip students to lead and to produce new disciples. They have begun a one-year initiative on a campus. Over the course of the year there will be training, small group prayer and accountability, and intentional efforts to share the gospel relationally with other students.
View from the inside:
Rick Dugan is an IFES staff worker in Cyprus. He says ‘students are the future of their countries. When it is increasingly difficult for full-time workers to be adequately supported, students will have jobs and access to opportunities that traditional Christian workers don’t have. In addition to getting an education while in Cyprus, we’re equipping students to reproduce disciples and lead the church. What could be more exciting than that?'’ In this light, Rick holds close to his heart John 15:8: ‘It is for my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit.’
- that God would raise up workers to serve the students who come to Cyprus from around the world
- that students on the new training course would grow into leaders and evangelists