January 10, 2020

In Cyprus, New Year’s Dinner Highlights Role of Adventist Community Centers

Marica Mirilov, Trans-European Division, and Adventist Review

Forty special guests enjoyed a family-style dinner at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Meeting Point Community Centre in Larnaca, Cyprus, on January 4, 2020. Among them was Jason Jasonides, deputy mayor of Larnaca, who praised student missionaries Melina and Elías Orlando for what he called their unselfish service to the community.

The Orlandos arrived in Cyprus from Argentina in March 2019 to serve at Meeting Point, an Adventist-sponsored community center that has become a hub of life-building activities. Elías is an enthusiastic teacher who offers Spanish and English language classes, with guitar lessons as a bonus.

Together with Melina, the couple has put together programs with a focus on health, sharing diet counseling and free massages. Inspired by their enthusiasm, a dedicated church member, Anne-Sofie Nielsen offers free Greek lessons. These are well attended. A Kids’ Club is also run with much love and imagination, according to those acquainted with the initiative.

Most of the forty guests for the special New Year’s dinner were contacts made during a week-long health expo in the summer of 2019. The health expo took place on the main promenade in Larnaca and attracted around 400 visitors at the time, who enjoyed a wide range of medical services offered.

Dinner invitees are now friends of the center and regular students of the different classes offered at the Meeting Point.

“Unfortunately, there was a limited number of seats at the dinner table, and some will be the first on the list for the next event,” Elías commented after the dinner. The number of positive contacts that the team has developed far exceeds the capacity of the center.

After enjoying an international vegetarian dinner and tasting the flavor of the Meeting Point spirit, Jasonides was exuberant in his words of praise for the young couple and the whole team volunteering at the center. His only regret, he said, was that he had not brought his wife with him to enjoy the evening.

Meeting Point is an example of community centers of influence that are developing across the island. After the event, Branislav Mirilov, president of the Adventist Church in Cyprus, said that the activity stresses that the Adventist Church focuses on community service.

“Today, the vision of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cyprus being a church that serves the community has proven a reality,” Mirilov said. “We have church community centers in each major town in Cyprus, and we want to be a blessing to our neighbors, leading them not only to a wholesome life here but to eternal life too.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Trans-European Division news site.