Monday, 2 March 2009


We arrived in Cyprus in the early hours of Saturday morning and got to the hotel in Larnaca near the airport around 3am and checked in. We were really glad to get some sleep and just settled down when Ian’s phone chirped twice - two messages welcoming him to the Cyprus network. Grrr! I had been asleep about an hour when our neighbours in the next room turned up, I thought they were being rude, inconsiderate and loud - Brits abroad! Ian thought they were just chatting and it was the thin walls that were the problem - I guess I wasn’t feeling very gracious at that time in the morning. Finally got back to sleep then the phone rang, Ian scrabbled around thinking it was his mobile phone but it was the hotel room phone, “Is this room 611? This is your morning call” Arrggghhhh! We hadn’t booked a morning call, especially around 6am in the morning.

At least we got to meet up with our friend Toulla, who I had last seen almost 10 years to the day and I was really pleased to be taken to a fish restaurant, I was looking forward to some fresh mediterranean fish. We had the Greek style sort of meal where they bring lots of different sorts of dishes out, so there was octopus, deep fried crabs, some small fish - a bit fiddly to eat but delicious anyway, squid (calamari), prawns, mussels with rice, and lots of salad and just when I didn’t think I could eat any more they brought out the best fish - I nearly rolled out of there. They had brought down a nice hire car from Nicosia for us and helped us to purchase a map and sent us on the way to a hotel up in the mountains. Gulp! It is 11 months since we have driven on the left hand side of the road so it was a bit scary to be let loose, at least the road signs are in Greek and English and amazingly we actually turned up on the right road for the hotel, more by luck than good judgement. All we knew was that the hotel was in a place called Platres but weren’t exactly sure whereabouts in Platres it actually was. As you can see Platres is rather steep and the roads were very twisty, some of the houses look like they are just barely perching on the rocks, wouldn’t fancy being in one of those in a storm.

Not sure if God is trying to tell us something or if it was just an amazing coincidence but when we checked in to the new hotel we were booked into room 611. So if anyone has any revelations about what it could mean I would be very interested to hear. At least we didn’t have any random early morning phone calls this time.

This weekend is the start of Lent for the Greek Orthodox church so lots of kids were dressed up in costumes, and we saw fairies, tigers and spidermen on the streets and in the hotel. There was also some traditional dancing on a stage on the beach which looked like Morris dancing to the wrong beat from where we were stood on the hotel balcony. On the Monday they call it Green Monday it is traditional to eat a fish buffet with salad, so more octopus, squid and little fish and lots of green vegetables (hence Green Monday), it was a bit pricey but delicious. (Sorry no photos yet, will wait until we have a longer connection time)

March for Ian and I is a month of anniversaries
March 1986 Ian started work in the Northern General Hospital which was a good job as our daughter was due in the May and we needed someone to be working in the family. (Do you remember the days when even graduates were finding it hard to get jobs? Somethings don't change much)
March 2003 We left the UK to go to Denmark
March 2006 We left Denmark to go to the US
March 2008 We left the US to come here to Latvia

It is strange how some things seem to work out like that. 

I have been very encouraged just lately. On my course there is a student cafĂ© online and I join in a few of the groups, one of them is the Christian Fellowship forum. Someone was feeling rather down about a situation so I posted a picture of an angel standing behind a quaking little fella which I drew ages ago and she found it very encouraging, a few others also wrote in and said how encouraged they were by it which was rather nice. Then one lady was having prayer at her local church and they could see Gideon's angel standing behind her while she was a quivering heap so told them about the picture and then sent it to them. One lady downloaded it and took it to a man who has a brain tumour and is really sick at the moment and can't communicate well but she told me how the picture had really touched him. I just feel so incredibly blessed that the picture has been really useful to so many folks and been used to encourage them. 

There are some headlines that make me want to scream and the headline that Latvia's debt has been given junk status was one of those. It just seems that there is no good news coming out of Latvia at all, and I didn't want people to think that Latvia is junk. On reflection I thought maybe this is not so bad, the debt indeed was junk when it was given in many cases and that is where it should be consigned to, the junk. But how to climb out of the mess? God has got something in the pipeline of that I am certain but what. Come on Latvia, come together! Latvia is a country with a big heart, how do I know that? Because it is a nation that sings and you need a big heart for songs to arise from and I call now for the song to arise from the Baltic nation, sing in harmony, sing for the world to hear! 

I wrote the above earlier in the week and here I am on Friday with a burden to share. 20 years ago on 23rd August a third of the population of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia stood side by side, hand in hand, in a peaceful and nonviolent protest against the occupation by the Soviet Union. A human chain that spanned 600km called the Baltic Road. I believe that this year the people of the Baltic States should come together to stand with each other, hand in hand, as a commitment to help each other through the tough times. I also believe that this time people from other nations should also come and stand with the Baltic peoples, in solidarity. So many waves of people have come into dominate politically and economically and now we should stand with the oppressed and say "No more!" 

When we came into Latvia about a year ago a prophecy was spoken over us 

"There have been many voices that have come to you and these voices have said why? How do you know? And your crazy, and God just speaks to you that your not crazy, but that you are on track for the very purposes of God. God says that even the joining of hands that was spoken of tonight is something that will be important to you, because the Lord says that he is placing you where he is placing you because there is a divine strategy and you are part of a strategy for a nation."

So I believe that now is the time to call for a joining together of hands across this nation of Latvia that stretches out to the other Baltic States on the 23rd August 2009. A crazy idea? Perhaps! Possible? Who knows! But God is the God of the impossible!


  1. Hi Joanna, Sounds as if your visit to Cyprus holds myriad blessings...and that you are being a blessing as well. May your stay be refreshing.

    I envy your access to that Mediterranian food. :-) Though I'm not sure I could eat all those different types of seafood.

    I, too, like your drawing of the Guardian Angel behind the warrior. It says so much.

  2. Hi Grace

    The different types of seafood are wonderful, you just have to taste without looking too hard sometimes.

    Glad you like the drawing too.

  3. HAHA you can tell where you two are, there seems to be a big blob over cyprus at the moment :p
    hope your having fun.
    say hi to Toula (i dont know if thats spelt right)

  4. Lol it is funny where those blobs appear, and sometimes don't.


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