Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Farewell Fireside

We are so humbled by all the well-wishers regarding our mission call. Our friend Steve Eyre who is the Hollywood Ward Mission Leader has been working with the High Priests Group Leader, George Ksajikian on a special fireside featuring our family on June 10th. We are very happy to have the fireside and hope we don't disappoint our audience. When Steve sent me the following letter to all the bishops of the Los Angeles California Stake I was deeply touched by his use of the scriptures to announce our mission call. Here's the letter -
This was sent to each bishop in the stake this morning. "So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, . . . sailed to Cyprus." Acts 13:4. It's official: the Vargases are going to the Greece Athens Mission, with their primary assignment as CES Missionaries on the island of Cyprus! We're delighted that prior to their missionary journey, they will be speaking at a fireside on June 10th at Hollywood Ward. Please include the following announcement in your ward bulletin, and include the announcement in your meetings this Sunday: Fireside featuring speakers President Antonio Vargas and Sister Susan Vargas, music of Miguel Vargas and Ramona Vargas Chronis. As the Vargases prepare to follow the footsteps of the apostle Paul and serve as CES Missionaries on the island of Cyprus, part of the Athens Greece Mission, they will share an hour of inspiration and music at a special fireside at Hollywood Ward. Sunday, June 10, musical prelude begins at 6:45 pm, fireside at 7 pm. Refreshments and fellowship following the program. Hollywood Ward, 1552 North Normandie, between Sunset and Hollywood, Hollywood 90027.
I was so touched when I read the quotation from Acts because we are following in the footsteps of Paul the Apostle. We are still amazed at our assignment and anxious and ready to serve in the Greece Athens Mission.
In recent times, Cyprus is known as one of the most religious countries in Europe, with the majority of its population being members of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Cyprus. Therefore, it is interesting to note that Cyprus, as mentioned in the Bible in Acts 13, was the Apostle Paul’s first destination when he was first sent by the Holy Spirit into a missionary journey.
(Left: A painting that portrays the Apostle Paul writing his epistles)
Born in Tarsus, Silicia under the name Saul (he changed his name to the Greco-Roman name “Paul” upon leaving Cyprus), the Apostle Paul together with the Apostle Barnabas went down to Seleucia before sailing to the island of Cyprus. His very first visit to the island of Cyprus was not very difficult for Paul as his companion Barnabas grew up in the island (Acts 4:36). In addition, Paul and Barnabas were also accompanied and assisted by Mark the Evangelist (who later left them and returned to Jerusalem). In Cyprus, they first went to Salamis then went through the whole island preaching and proclaiming the word of God in synagogues until they reached Paphos, where they met the magician Elymas who was a Jewish false prophet (he was also called “Bar-Jesus”; Acts 13:6). Such encounter with Elymas, perhaps, was one of the highlights of Paul’s visit to the island. The magician opposed them when they were supposed to preach God’s words to the Roman Proconsul, Sergius Paulos. However, Paul rebuked Elymas and blinded him temporarily (Acts 13:9–10), and so they were successful in converting Sergius Paulos to Christianity.

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