Saturday, September 22, 2012

We Travel to Lefke in North Cyprus

This post will inform you all of what it is like to travel to the Northern, or Turkish side of Cyprus. As we visited Gloria today in Lefke we were struck (as always) with the stark differences between the northern side of the island and the southern side. Just a reminder, we live on the southern side. As usual we do not wear our name tags when we pass through the border patrol as they are not amenable to our faith, and some others as well. Our primary focus of these Saturday excursions to the northern side is to bring comfort and peace to those members who cannot worship with us in the south because their passports/visas do not allow them travel between the two sides. Many countries do not allow their citizens to travel into Cyprus because they have no agreement to do so. Therefore, we must travel to them to bring them assistance, spiritually speaking. As I said, today we visited Gloria in the north. Gloria is a spunky young adult woman who is in the third year of her studies at the European University of Lefke, Cyprus. She is in her third year of studying and will graduate next year - hopefully. Before she came to northern Cyprus she had been Young Women President and Relief Society President in her ward in Nigeria. Gloria is one of eight children and was raised in the Anglican faith in there. Her parents remain in that faith but she says all seven of her siblings and herself continue in different faiths. They are not interested in hearing about her faith at all, but they do not make her life difficult because of her dedication to it. Here is a picture of Gloria in her very tiny apartment just off campus:
Gloria has been invited by her school friends to attend other religious meetings and when she declines they ask why. She says she tells them, "Because you only have part of the truth - I want all the truth." She is not shy about sharing her faith, nor afraid to speak of it to anyone who will listen. As long as we are on this island we will continue to serve those in the north as best we can. Today we were able to teach Gloria a short Gospel lesson from Matthew 3, then Elder Vargas prepared and administered the sacrament to all three of us. After that we visited with her some more and found out some things she is in need of. The next trip back we are going to try to bring her what she has asked for. God bless Gloria.

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