Greetings to you all.

I hope you are enjoying the onset/first touches of spring as you prepare for the coming Easter season. This year, Greek Easter and western Easter are about as far apart as they can be, so whilst you all enjoyed pancakes a few weeks ago we are only just about to have our equivalent, tsiknopempti, this coming Thursday which, for many, starts the Orthodox ‘great fast’ leading up to Easter on 5 May this year. Instead of pancakes, tsiknopempti is a day for eating barbecued meat which has the wonderful effect of making everywhere smell delicious.

It’s been a busy few months for us in Cyprus, particularly with various strands of St Barnabas Bible School teaching. Here are some of the highlights:

  • I have been teaching every Tuesday evening, to a small but committed group. Whether or not you are teaching forty or four (as in my case) the amount of prep doesn’t change. It would be nice to have more coming along but at least I’ve had the chance to develop material that can be used again. If you would like to listen to recordings of those classes, you can! They’re available as a podcast: https://linktr.ee/loveGodloveNeighbour
  • Just this last weekend we ran our second day conference, teaching on the Bible’s view of sex, marriage, gender etc. As last time, there was another event on at the same time which prevented many that we hoped would come from attending. Nevertheless, we had around twenty adults again this time. You can find the talk I gave (as well as other material from the event) here: https://t.ly/18PlY
  • I continue to write blog posts (www.stbarnabasbibleschool.org/blog) for the Bible school as well as recording podcasts (https://linktr.ee/StBBBSPodcast). Talking of the podcast, I recently had the privilege of interviewing Pastor Uri Brito of Pensacola, Florida about his new book ‘The War of the Priesthood’ for the podcast. It was a delight to talk to him, and I recommend listening to the interview (https://t.ly/s1PgW) and reading his book if you can.

We had hoped to plan a longer, residential, summer intensive for the Bible school. Unfortunately, due to administrative issues with the campsite we would be using, we are unable to book it at the moment. And being unable to book it means being unable to publicise it, and when we’re talking about the summer holidays, advance warning is crucial. Unfortunately, this likely means that we’re unable to it at all this year.

I shared in the autumn that the pastor of the Greek Evangelical Church (and my sole colleague on the St Barnabas Bible School (SBBS) project) is stepping down as pastor of the church. He had hoped to stay in Cyprus working on SBBS. However, he has recently accepted a position as the chair of Bible and Theology at Geneva College in the US. He and his family will be moving back to Pennsylvania around the beginning of August this year. In various ways the future of SBBS is therefore more uncertain than it was earlier this year.

Pray for our church as we have an election for the new pastor this Sunday, with one of the current elders being the recommendation of the session.

Work with the Youth Group carries on much as it has done since the summer. We’ve recently been teaching through some Old Testament narrative passages as well as making sure that all the newcomers are clear on what the gospel is, and who it is for (spoiler: it’s for them). Pray as we plan our summer camp. We use the same campsite as we were hoping to use for the SBBS camp and whilst an established camp like this is less at risk than a brand new one, we still need plenty of time to arrange leaders, speakers etc. and for that we need concrete dates which are hard to get when the site isn’t taking bookings at the moment.

In family news, we recently celebrated Phinehas’ first birthday. He doggedly insists on using all sorts of gymnastics to move around the house instead of just learning to walk. Both he and Aurelia are very enjoyable children to be around. Margarita continues to do excellent work managing the home and is an enormous help to my ministry. She catered our spring conference this weekend, much to the great culinary delight of all.

The question of Aurelia’s schooling looms ever larger on the horizon. We found out recently that the technicalities of compulsory ‘education’ in Cyprus mean that Aurelia would be required (under threat of fines and eventual imprisonment for me) to attend pre-school this September, a full year before we thought the crunch point would come. We are convinced of our biblical duty to provide thoroughgoing Christian education for our children and the Cypriot government is convinced that it ought to be able to shape our children in its own image. Pray for us as we think through our options.

We are looking forward to our visit to the UK this summer. We’ll be back slightly earlier than last year. We arrive on 13 May and return to Cyprus on 22 June and we hope to see many of you then.

That’s it for now. As always, thank you for your support. It is a great joy for us to know that you are behind us.

All the best,

David, Margarita, Aurelia and Phinehas Ely

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Please pray for...

  • Pray for GEC pastor elections this Sunday.
  • Pray for Youth Camp plans this summer.
  • Pray for schooling decisions for Aurelia.

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