Phinehas Gad, Deshauna Shalom, Malachi Sheep
—How We Survived the Cyprus Coup and Invasion—By Phinehas Gad, Deshauna Shalom & Malachi Sheep‚ September, 1974No. 311—GP
P.O. Box 31‚ London WC2E 7LX, England or GPO Box 3141, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936
1. CYPRUS IS NORMALLY THE MOST PEACEFUL PLACE YOU COULD IMAGINE. The pace of life is extremely slow and the people good-natured and amazingly friendly. That's why the events that occurred were such a surprise to everyone. We were not, of course, totally unprepared for such an eventuality as MO has been preparing us through the MO Letters for situations like this.
2. BUT LIKE MO SAYS, EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER, and we would like to share with you some of the practical lessons the Lord taught us through this that perhaps may be of help should you be caught in a similar situation.
3. MAKARIOS WAS PREPARED: HE HAD AN ESCAPE ROUTE PLANNED in case of an emergency and it saved his life! (It was something like the old fire drill routines.) All of us on the field have to keep in mind that these things always happen suddenly, and no matter how remote the possibility seems it never hurts to be prepared.
4. SO AN ESCAPE ROUTE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE IN A CITY‚ IS ESSENTIAL. Know where you can go, how you can travel there and what you'll need to take with you, keeping in mind that the roads will be full of people all trying to do the same as you.
5. WHEN THE COUP STARTED MONDAY MORNING WE WERE IN THE COLONY preparing to go about our normal daily activities. After hearing shots and explosions in the distance we decided to wait before heading downtown, and suspecting what was happening we got down in prayer for Makarios and ourselves.
6. THE RADIO WAS OF NO HELP IN THE EARLY STAGES. We normally listen to BBC, but it was several hours before they broadcast any reports of the coup over the Cyprus radio station, which was one of the first things the Greek military rebels took over. With the communications centre at their disposal the Greek military rebels had a tremendous advantage.
7. THEY BEGAN BROADCASTING THAT MAKARIOS WAS DEAD, which had a devastating effect on the morale of people and definitely limited his supporters' effectiveness to resist in the crucial early stages of the coup. By the time Makarios' men could set up a makeshift transmitter to broadcast the news that he was not dead it was too late.
8. THE ENEMY DIRECTED ITS EFFORTS AT KEY GOVERNMENT INSTALLATIONS such as the main police stations‚ the radio and TV communications centres, the telephone exchanges and airports, and they were soon in complete control of the island.
9. EXCEPT FOR THE CURFEW AND THE SOUND EFFECTS, THE FIRST DAY OF FIGHTING HAD LITTLE EFFECT ON US. This changed radically the next day and taught us all valuable lessons about never letting your guard down. By the second day, the fighting had died down considerably. The military had tanks to control the situation and there was no weapon the opposition had to counter them.
10. THE NEWS WAS ALSO BROADCAST THAT MAKARIOS HAD ESCAPED TO LONDON and was on his way to the U.N., so perhaps his supporters were adopting a wait-and-see attitude rather than trying to uselessly confront the tanks. We could still hear sporadic gunfire around the city as the military completed mopping–up operations‚ but still there was no gunfire in our area. So the day being hot we just opened up all the windows and doors and did little jobs around the Colony to keep ourselves busy.
11. SUDDENLY THE SILENCE WAS BROKEN BY HEAVY MACHINE GUN FIRE just down the street, and almost before we realised what was happening a full scale gun battle was raging outside our window. We had no chance to close any of the windows or doors.
12. WE MANAGED TO CRAWL TO THE CENTRAL PART OF THE HOUSE WHERE WE LAY FLAT ON THE FLOOR for the duration of the battle. It went hot and heavy for about three hours as we stayed on the floor quoting psalms and listening to the bullets ricochet around outside. It was almost like listening to the soundtrack of a war movie.
13. BUT WE WERE JOLTED BACK INTO REALITY AS A TANK PULLED UP TO THE HOUSE which was offering the resistance and cut loose with four tank shells that rocked our house to the foundations and put an end to the battle, killing six people in the house which was only about 100 meters from ours. In the lull that followed we got up to close the windows and doors and spent the night on the floor just in case.
14. WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THIS ENCOUNTER WAS THAT WE HAD TO STAY ON A STATE OF ALERT as long as the situation had not stabilised. That meant keeping the doors and windows closed, since an open window can be looked upon as a threat to a nervous soldier in the street. However, DON'T try to close doors or windows once bullets are fired, as it might attract attention and get you fired upon!
15. WHILE THE BATTLE WAS NOT DIRECTED AT US, STRAY BULLETS FROM IT WERE A DEFINITE DANGER. Many of the buildings on our street were pockmarked with bullet holes, so while the shooting is going on it is a good idea to stay flat on the floor away from windows and get as many walls between you and the shooting as possible. This point cannot be emphasised enough!
16. AS CIVILIANS YOU ARE GENERALLY NOT THE TARGET OF A MILITARY OPERATION, but we learned that almost as many people were killed from stray bullets as in actual combat. So stay down and keep down until you're sure it's over. We claimed Ps 34:7 continually, and it was a great comfort to know that God's angels were all around us protecting us.
17. THE CURFEW WAS STILL IN EFFECT THE NEXT DAY AND WE STAYED AT HOME prepared for any eventuality, we thought. During this time our survival food came in handy. Our survival supplies played a very important part in our survival: We were well-stocked thanks to MO's warnings‚ but because of not keeping a constant check on the supplies many of the cans had gone bad! Please keep yours checked on! The curfew was lifted for a few hours during the day to allow people to buy groceries, but since there were no deliveries going on the shops were soon out of food.
18. THE FOLLOWING DAY THE CURFEW WAS LIFTED FOR ABOUT TEN HOURS and people seemed eager to get things back to normal. We ventured out of the house and headed to Famagusta to share our experiences with the brethren there and to counsel about our next moves. We agreed that as long as the peace held we would try to carry on with our work.
19. THE NEXT DAY THE CURFEW WAS ONLY FROM DUSK TO DAWN, so we decided to get in a full day's work at the print shop and our other ministries, but here we made a serious mistake in sending people out alone to perform their tasks. Things were quiet but the situation definitely had not stabilised completely and certainly not to the point where we could send people out alone.
20. AGAIN WE RISKED THE DANGER OF NOT TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY ENOUGH. I am sure the Lord did not want us just sitting around all day, but He at least expects us to have the good sense to take some basic security measures. Someone caught out alone might have to remain alone for an indefinite period of time, so being alone is not a situation which should be encouraged under these conditions, and the events that followed only pointed up the importance of staying in teams for the duration of a crisis.
21. SATURDAY MORNING WE AWOKE AT DAWN TO THE SOUND OF MACHINE GUN FIRE‚ BOMBS AND JETS flying low overhead. We called U.N. Headquarters and found out that the Turks were invading. Our house was only half a mile from the line separating the Greeks and Turks‚ and though the Turks were concentrating their invasion on the Northern part of the island‚ fighting quickly broke out between the Greeks and Turks on either side of the dividing line in Nicosia.
22. SO WE MADE PLANS TO EVACUATE THE PREMISES. We called the brethren in Famagusta and told them what was happening and that we would try to make it there if we could, since Famagusta didn't then seem to be of any real military importance.
23. RIGHT AFTER THIS OUR CYPRIOT FRIEND TELEPHONED TO TELL US HE HAD SEEN TURKISH PARATROOPERS LANDING near his house and that he would be right over to help us. He arrived in his van a few minutes later and by that time the news of the invasion had spread and our neighbours were crying and fleeing to their cars with hardly a possession in hand to avoid the heavy fighting which appeared to be imminent.
24. THE FIGHTING WAS REALLY GETTING HEAVY!—PLANES WERE STREAKING LOW OVERHEAD, MACHINE GUNS WEE RATTLING NEARBY and the ground shook periodically as the Turks began bombing military targets in Nicosia. In the midst of this confusion we had to make some hard and fast decisions about where to go and what to take. Again we could have facilitated matters by being a little better prepared.
25. WE HAD DISCUSSED THE POSSIBILITY OF EVACUATING BUT HAD NOT REALLY PREPARED FOR IT, so we spent precious minutes gathering things we thought we would need. These first few minutes are vital! Afraid the road to Famagusta might be too dangerous, our Cypriot friend headed us in his van for the mountains. It was only the Lord that got us through the roadblocks that were set up to control the flow of traffic and commandeer vehicles for military use.
26. SO AGAIN WE REPEAT, HAVE AN EVACUATION PLAN READY and even several alternatives available. The point is to be able to move at a moment's notice so as to beat the rush on the roads and the complications that may arise as a result. We not only faced the danger of having our vehicle commandeered but also the danger of having our Cypriot friend impressed into service, since there was a full scale draft in effect and he had to make himself available for military service.
27. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POINT TO REMEMBER if you are forced to travel with any nationals during an emergency that forces mobilisation: Foreigners fleeing is not an unusual sight, but fleeing with nationals could create some problems. At the checkpoints we told them we were Americans and they waved us on through.—USE IT!
28. WE REACHED A MOUNTAIN VILLAGE FROM WHICH YOU COULD SEE NICOSIA ABOUT 25 MILES AWAY. While there the village priest and his family took us in‚ fed us and just showed us so much love and concern. Their insight into what was behind the fighting including the superpowers' role just amazed us, and we knew that only the Lord could reveal these things to these simple, precious villagers!
29. MOST OF THE MEN IN THE VILLAGE HAD GONE OFF TO FIGHT, including two members of the priest's family. After sharing with them the power of prayer we prayed for the safe return of their men.—The Lord wasted no time in answering as they both returned that evening! It seems the army had run out of guns and these men were told to return home. This completely blew their minds and it wasn't long afterwards that one of the priest's daughters grabbed everyone's hands, formed a circle and announced that we were going to pray for all the soldiers!
30. WE SPENT THE WARM NIGHT ON THE ROOF OF THEIR HOUSE AND COULD HEAR AND SEE THE BOMBING AND FIRES resulting from them in and around Nicosia till early morning. We had every intention of sticking it out in the village until the fighting died down, but the next day we were tearfully informed by our hosts that there were problems with certain villagers about our continued stay. We prayed about evacuating Cyprus and asked the Lord to open the doors wide if it was His Will to do so.
31. THEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED ON THE RADIO FOR ALL FOREIGNERS TO REPORT IMMEDIATELY FOR EVACUATION. So we decided to head back to Nicosia hoping to get in on a U.N. convoy heading for a British base. We missed the convoy but thought we should head for the base anyway. We stopped off at the U.S. Embassy who kindly supplied us with two American flags to drape on our vehicle (Use it!), and we headed down the road in the growing darkness passing by many bombed out buildings and burned out fields until we arrived safely and thankfully at the British base.
32. THE SCENE AT THE BRITISH BASE WAS A BIT CHAOTIC. There were thousands of people there from many different countries including many Greek and Turkish Cypriots seeking refuge from the fighting. At this point we were still reluctant to evacuate, but through an unintentional blunder obviously prompted by the Lord we somehow managed to find ourselves ahead of several thousand other refugees and were processed immediately!
33. WE FOUND OURSELVES HEADING FOR LONDON ON A ROYAL AIR FORCE CARGO PLANE THE NEXT MORNING! On the plane we became friendly with a newsman who had also had a very narrow escape, and our story so interested him that he interviewed us for his network.
34. IT TURNED OUT HE WAS JOHN CONALLY OF ABC NEWS, and although we didn't mention the Children of God in the interview‚ we told him in no uncertain terms how the common people love Makarios and that it was only the work of the Greek military rebels that forced him out of office. He was really inspired by our testimony and before we parted we gave him an "All Things Change" to read.
35. ONCE IN LONDON THE LORD CONTINUED TO DO MIRACLES as the British Air Force did all they could to help people. They even provided us with warm clothing and free train tickets, and at the end of the train ride they had a van waiting which carried us right to the Colony door! We were overjoyed to see the brethren and it just inspired us so much to hear how they had been praying for us! Of course it was the Lord who kept us all, and we truly learned step-by-step obedience to His still small voice.
36. THE NEXT DAY WE TELEPHONED THE SONS OF ONE OF OUR GOOD FRIENDS IN CYPRUS. Three of them study here in London, so when we told them we were from Cyprus and we knew their father they rushed right over, as they hadn't heard any news from their family since the fighting started. We told them we had talked with their father briefly after the coup and that he was doing well.
37. SOMEWHAT RELIEVED AT HEARING THIS, THEY THEN LISTENED AS WE SHARED TESTIMONIES WITH THEM AND THEY ENDED UP BY ASKING JESUS INTO THEIR HEARTS! They stayed for dinner and inspiration and fell in love with the Family. We found out that our friend's cousin had been named acting President of Cyprus and that our friend‚ Mr. Clerides, might be representing Cyprus at the Geneva talks and even come to London to see his sons!
38. HALLELUJAH! WE LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PRAYERS! Believe me‚ they were certainly manifested in the many miracles the Lord did despite our mistakes! But we learned from them and pray you can too!
39. IF YOU'D LIKE MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ON HOW TO SURVIVE in such a time of war or crisis, write us today for our pamphlets on "Survival" "Emergency Survival", etc.—You may need it tomorrow! Don't delay! Write us now! Tomorrow may be too late! May God bless and keep you! We love you!
40. VISIT ONE OF OUR NEAREST COLONIES IF YOU NEED HELP. There are thousands of us in hundreds of Colonies in scores of countries around the Globe!—Or come to one of our Discos for fun, food, fellowship and love! We have what you need: HAPPINESS IN JESUS! Come today!—We'll love you!
P. S. By MO:
1. DEAR FAMILY: GREETINGS IN JESUS' PRECIOUS NAME! THANK YOU AGAIN FOR ALL YOUR FAITHFUL NOTES, LETTERS, REPORTS, GIFTS, ETC. We read each of them with great interest and appreciation for your thoughtfulness and faithfulness and concern for us. God bless you for all of your help to us and to others of His Kingdom and most of all to Him as labourers in His vineyards. Praise God!
2. THANK GOD THE CYPRUS SITUATION IS BEGINNING TO STABILISE and be resolved as I am sure God would have it in answer to our prayers, and our Children there were all miraculously spared and‚ as last we heard, have escaped to safer areas‚ some of them amongst the very people for whom we prayed, and as we prayed they would, Praise God!
3. JESUS NEVER FAILS! HE ALWAYS ANSWERS when we stir ourselves to call upon Him with a whole heart, as we did in "The Sword of the Lord"‚ a prayer and prophecy which the Lord gave us at the time and copies of which you should have received by this time. Praise the Lord! His Words are true and never fail! Amen.
4. HOWEVER‚ THE SITUATION IN CYPRUS IS STILL VOLATILE AND COULD ERUPT INTO FURTHER CONFLAGRATION AT ANY TIME INVOLVING A CLASH BETWEEN THE MAJOR POWERS for control of the island to dominate the Eastern Mediterranean and Mideast which could even lead toward the final invasion of Israel by Russia and the "kings of the East" in the battle for oil and world domination as predicted in Ezekiel 38 and 39. So hold onto your hats, it may not be over yet!
5. AT LEAST IT LOOKS LIKE THE POOR PERSECUTED TURKISH MINORITY ARE AT LAST GOING TO GET A BETTER DEAL with Turkey as their defender and protector after years of suffering and uncertainty and extreme economic poverty. Turkey has taken over the Northern and Eastern third of the island for them, including Cyprus' two best ports, Famagusta, where we lived awhile, and Kyrenia, of which we dreamed miraculously in "Mountain Island Villa Dream", and the amazing discovery of which we related in "Mountain Island Villa Found"! So we are very familiar with all of that territory and are following with avid interest the news of its present plight as God fulfills His predictions and answers our prayers! Praise the Lord!
6. THE LORD HAS ALSO TOPPLED NOT ONLY THE STRONGLY ANTAGONISTIC, DICTATORIAL, RIGHTIST, OR MILITARY GOVERNMENTS OF CYPRUS AND GREECE IN OUR FAVOUR, BUT ALSO A NUMBER OF OTHERS in recent months including Portugal, Argentina, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Australia, the United States, Britain, Ethiopia, Thailand and many others, and I am sure that there will be others to follow as their cups of iniquity are filled and God disposes of them to make room for His Children and succour the poor, Praise God! His truth is marching on and nothing can stop it! Hallelujah!