Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The hike was quite streneous and we did very well thank you very much. We could not have done the hike on our first visit to Ein Gedi when we first arrived. But today we are in significantly better shape than when we came - some what lighter as well! One of the especially good side benefits of serving the Lord in Israel!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Judy at the door to Nativity Church
The Star marks "the place" of Jesus Birth
If any of you traveled with us to Jerusalem in 1980, you have very fond memories of Phil Pantana getting in trouble at this confessional in St. Catherine's Church!On our return to Jerusalem we walked through the Old City... Judy bought me my Christmas gift... I get it on Christmas day. Yes, I helped her pick it out - "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" from the Song of Solomon (6:3a) in Hebrew is your clue... I love it and will appropriately act surprised on Christmas day! Or Christmas Eve as I understand the Houston plan is... but that's OK because Judy has promised to act surprised when I give her her gift as well... Yep she helped pick it out too. We are such dorks!
After our shopping trip we climbed up onto the roof tops of old Jerusalem (now, we finally begin to feel like Christmas! "up on the roof top click click click" ) ... HEY! I already confessed to being a dork, leave me alone! What an incredible thing to do. We got some amazing pictures and had a wonderful time. Especially when we came down the wrong staircase and wound up in the Yeshiva restroom to the shock and great dismay of one of the Jewish students! We retreated to the roof top giggling and laughing (remember I said we were dorks?) and found the correct staircase down.
Up on the roof tops
Doesn't Judy look relieved ... not from the restroom but by virtue of the fact that I finally found the way down!
We plan to go to Ein Gedi on Sunday and walk to the springs where David hid from Saul. However, if it rains, the spring may be closed because of flash flooding. In which case we will visit one of Herod's palaces on the Herodian instead. Either way, we will travel about with our friends from England and have a great time.
We are looking forward to seeing some of our family and friends in Tampa in a few days. May God bless you with a wonderful Christmas from Jerusalem!
and just incase you ever wondered...
New York doesnot hold the patent on weirdo's ...
Meet King David of Jerusalem circa 2008!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Once for a Sight and Sound show of the history of Jerusalem and again today just for a visit. We spent a couple of hours at the Citadel. I loved it! The view of the Old City are fantastic!
Adding to all of that, we have dearly enjoyed our leisurely walks through the old city. We had lunch today at our favorite Falafel Cafe and joined the Sunday mobs in the narrow old city streets.
This week we plan to visit Bethlehem on our day off and Ein Gedi with our friends next Sunday. We will walk to the falls and visit the caves where David hid from Saul in Ein Gedi.
We are excited that we will be heading home in a few days (December 16th), looking forward to seeing the kids in Tampa, going on to Houston for Christmas with our family there, and spending time afterwards with our church family at our home church. Those two weeks will go by all too fast as we return to Jerusalem January 1st for three months.
We are so incredibly thankful that God has chosen to use us here at this time to share His love with countless individuals in the Garden Tomb.
... and, as usual, we end our day in the Garden!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
We had coffee this morning at the Cafe at Christ Church with Steve and Sue (friends from the Garden) - got there too late for church, will worship elsewhere tonight. Had lunch at a great Arab cafe in the old city. We were trying to go up on Temple Mount and finally made it but were not allowed to go into the Dome of the Rock or the Mosque that is on the Mount. Several people told us; "you are not Muslim" ... to which I wanted to say, DUH! I guess no one but Muslim's are allowed in now. Muslim's believe that God will hang scales on the arches you see in front of the Golden Dome of the Rock in the picture below to weigh the souls of humankind on the day of last judgment.
But we did enjoy being on the Mount and got a great picture of the back side of the Eastern Gate (below) that is walled shut. It is through this gate that, according to Jewish Tradition - the Messiah will enter Jerusalem and that is why they believe the Muslim's walled it shut in the seventh century.
Back down through the Arab Quarter, visited our friend Issa and I did some Christmas shopping while Judy picked up things that were ordered by other people.
We are resting and looking forward to church tonight..
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
We went up on the Mount of Olives this morning - took a local bus that took us within a half of a mile to where we wanted to go. We walked down across the Mount of Olives (supposedly on the route that Jesus would have taken on Palm Sunday). We stopped off in the Garden of Gethsemene. Some of the Olive trees there are over 2,000 years old. Took pictures of the Eastern Gate. We were going to walk back up to the Garden - but the road coming out of the Kidron Valley is a lot steeper than it looks from the top. We opted to take the bus but while we were waiting we talked to one of the street peddlers and he offered to drive us up to the Damascus Gate so we rode with him.
We bought falafels and some veggies from the market near the Garden and went back to our apartment for lunch. After lunch we walked back to the Damascus Gate and down into the Arab Quarter, visited our friend's shop and had coffee in the Austrian Hospice ( a small hotel). We went up on their roof for an incredible view of the old city.
We went to King of Kings for church again tonight (same place we went last week), Joel Rosenberg was speaking. The Chairman of the Board of the Garden Tomb Association and his wife took us in the Garden Car (we will use this car next weekend to go to Galilee). The Service was great. Afterwards the pastor interviewed Joel asking him some very pointed questions re the end times. We walked home with the lady that runs the gift shop and Reception Desk at the Garden. She came as a volunteer sixteen years ago and has not gone home. Don't panic Jennifer or Carly, that is not what we are up to!!!
And tomorrow begins week three in the Garden. Where is the time flying to?
Monday, November 10, 2008
Today was our day off and we set off early to walk the wall. The guide book said this adventure was not for the elderly or infirm - that instantly became a challenge to us. We are neither ELDERLY nor INFIRM and we set out to prove that. To which I should say; stupid, stupid, stupid. Early into the walk I told Judy that we should do it again and count the number of stairs we went up and down. Before we finished I was saying I did not care! The wall walk was awesome and I am glad we did it ... but as the kids say we have been there, done that and don't have to do it again. However since we started at the Jaffa gate, went North came around the corner and crossed over the New Gate, Damascus Gate and Herod's Gate exiting at the Lion's Gate near Temple Mount we want to go back one day and go South to the Dung gate near the Wailing Wall.
All in all the walk on the wall was a great experience. We are exhausted. This is definitely a Tylenol PM night! We have walked so much and hurt in so many places sleeping may be difficult... we are certainly getting old!
From there we walked to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The traditional site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus for Catholics.
Then we walked on to the Cardo, a Roman excavation in the Jewish Quarter
It was pretty exciting to visit this area that was under excavation on one of our last visits and see how much has been excavated since we were here last. From the Cardo we walked back to the Garden, rested and then walked to church (25 minutes up hill ... no one told us it was UP HILL!)
We worshipped at King of Kings. When they spoke of Jesus they called Him by His Hebrew name Jeshua and instead of Christ they called Him Messiah. Very often the two names were together - Jeshua Messiah. We sang many songs that we sing at home and some in Hebrew as well. We were blessed.
Our children keep telling us that they are waiting for the day when someone we know walks into the Garden. Well, we walked into church last night and we heard a chorus of "Al, Al, Al" from up on the shelf (where else whould our class sit?) Judy was shocked but it was a group that had visited the Garden Tomb the day before from Canada. We sat with our new friends. What a great way to spend a great day - from walking the streets of Jerusalem to worshipping the King of Kings at the King of Kings with new friends!