Newsletter: June 1998

Dear Friends

Apologies to those of you who did not hear from us at Christmas; we managed to send out some newsletters by a UK courier but then ran out of British stamps!  We did not send out the email version of the letter at all and by the time we remembered, it was too late. We had intended writing a further newsletter around Easter but time has rushed by, and suddenly we realise we have been here for nearly 8 months.

If you receive this but would prefer not to in future (or thought you had been removed from our mailing list!) please do let us know.   Equally if you would like frequent updates on our news, and have access to email, let us know as we send out regular brief bulletins by email, mainly for use in prayer groups and other church organisations.

By the time you receive this Sue and the boys will be back in the UK for a six-week visit, mainly in Birmingham staying with Sue’s parents, so the boys can go back to St Francis School for the end of the year, and one week with Richard’s mother in Sussex. We shall also be stocking up on UK stamps! Richard had planned to be in Egypt for part of this time, having meetings and taking an intensive Arabic course, but has decided that there is too much work to do here in Larnaca for the moment. He has been studying Arabic with a local tutor but finding it extremely difficult; for the moment it doesn’t seem as if fluency in Arabic will be necessary for his work although understanding the culture better has been useful.

Work and ministry

Since arriving, Richard and his Canadian colleague have (among other things):

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Completed MECO Promo - this shuld encourage more people to join and pray for MECO

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Arranged broadcast of two TV programmes on 3 satellite TV channels - 2 per year for 2 years

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Learnt how to operate new computerized video editing, sound editing and dubbing systems

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Created a catalogue of video and literature resources - first ever, English only at the moment

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Rebuilt the studio into three rooms to enable us to better use the space

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Created web site for MECO and VTV to enable people to find out what we are doing

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Installed network and new computers, and email for everyone

Office photograph
Richard's office at work

If you would like a copy of the recent MECO magazine which features VTV, let us know as we still have a few available. This work has all been very time-consuming, so as yet no new videos have been produced.

However VTV is hoping to produce some new programmes in the Autumn: a drama series set in Egypt (with the script written already by an Egyptian Christian who is a professional script-writer) and a video to go with the equivalent to an Alpha Course which is very successful in the region.Richard has been working for some weeks now on grant proposals, which he hopes to send out soon to various trusts.   Please pray for the funding for these two productions, for the right people to come together to make them, and most of all that they will be widely used.

House and church

We spent some time looking at both flats and houses before deciding to rent an old house with a huge, run-down garden at a very reasonable rent. Richard has had to do some decorative work and it is impossible to keep the garden looking tidy, but we like having plenty of space. We have had several visitors from the UK and hope to have more.  We have slowly been able to furnish it, mainly second-hand, and at the last count can sleep eleven people (including ourselves) easily - fifteen if we take out the air mattresses as well.

Although we had intended visiting all four of the English-speaking churches in Larnaca, we found ourselves quickly belonging to the ‘Community Church’, a congregation of about fifty who share a building with the Greek Evangelical Church. We have made several friends there and the boys have enjoyed Sunday School and playing once a month in the music group.  Our church needs a pastor; we would appreciate prayer for the right person soon as the leadership load is heavy for those who share it, mostly other missionaries. Richard is helping to lead the Larnaca Inter-Church Youth Group, something that forces him to stay away from work for a few hours at least once a week!

Having decided to teach the boys at home for a short time, we looked at the available schools and decided for various reasons to continue home education until the end of this school year. It has been going so well and is so rewarding for both Sue and the boys that we have decided together to continue for a second year. We have used a variety of books and schemes, loosely based on the UK National Curriculum, supplemented with several CD-Roms and research on the Internet, and a borrowed Greek Linguaphone course.  Daniel in particular appreciates the ability to work at his own pace and go into more depth with topics that particularly appeal to him.  He has taught himself some BASIC programming this year and also designed his own Web Site. Timothy misses the social aspect of school although he too enjoys the flexibility of learning at home, and the freedom from fixed lesson times.  He has joined a Greek-speaking Cub pack which he very much likes.


Timothy playing the piano
Tim playing the piano

Thank you to all who prayed about the boys’ music lessons. Our very first piece of furniture, on loan as long as we are here, was a piano!  Brenda, one of Richard’s colleagues, was able to give them piano lessons until April when she and her husband retired.   They very much enjoyed this and miss her weekly visits.  Another colleague, Margaret, currently in the UK, is going to continue teaching them in September.

We had a more difficult time finding a clarinet teacher for Daniel but eventually were given the number of the Town Band leader who speaks excellent English. He auditioned Daniel and was so impressed that he agreed to squeeze him into his busy schedule for lessons. Daniel hopes before long to be playing in the Town Band.  A friend from the Greek Evangelical congregation has agreed to teach Timothy the guitar starting in the Autumn, and we are still hoping to make contact with someone who runs a recorder consort in Limassol, about an hour’s journey from here.

Other news

The computer course we wrote for primary school teachers has now been completed and published; it is being distributed by LCP, an educational publisher, who are currently mailing all the UK primary schools about it. If you know anybody who might be interested, please let us know!  This too has a web site that goes with the course, helping primary school teachers to use the Internet.

Recently Sue and the boys have been suffering from the heat and humidity that arrived with June, made worse because it never rains during the Summer.   The reservoirs are very low and another dry winter would cause severe problems for the island.  Please pray for us as we cope practically with reduced water supplies, humidity without air conditioning, and an increasing number of insects which thrive in old houses like these. Mosquitoes and biting spiders are particularly annoying.

This week we seem to have been adopted by a kitten, much to our delight. He will provide company for Richard while the rest of the family is in the UK for the Summer; we hope he* will not have forgotten the rest of us when we return!

* That is, the cat!