Monday, February 22, 2010

Grand Kids Visiting Jerusalem

WOW ... talk about feeling your age!
22 years ago we brought our children to Israel as their graduation gift from college.  Laurie had graduated the year before, married Tim, and he came with us but paid his own way.  The deal was "if you don't graduate from college, you have to pay us back!"  And here we are today, Laurie's two oldest children are visiting us in the Garden.  We are having a wonderful time!
Yesterday we took them to the Dead Sea, Masada, hiked back into en Gedi (where David hid from Saul), worshiped at King of Kings and had supper on Ben Yehuda street - love those falafels and Shwarma's.  
The day was incredibly exciting...
 When you hang out with Grand Parents,
you can expect almost anything!
Gotta love riding a Camel!
It's not so bad...
and at Sea Level no less
I don't speak Arabic,
so I am not sure what he was asking me...
he may have been offering to trade the camel for Kristin...
I turned him down!
Kristin was really happy to get off that camel!
Masada was pretty impressive

Kristin & Jeff both enjoyed it.

Roman siege ramp leading up to Masada
One of the falls in En Gedi

School kids cooling off at the falls.
We wondered if David's men did the same thing?

We came back to the parking lot and found an Ibex
(wild goat) wondering among the cars.
Being tourists we took pictures of course.

he jumped up on the cars so he could eat the trees!

We were not parked under the trees
and will NOT park under the trees in the future!

All and all a wonderful day.  We love sharing the Land of our Lord with family and friends from the USA. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Week Two in Jerusalem 2010

We always love walking through the Old City of Jerusalem.  This week we walked past the Western Wall into the Jewish Quarter.  We visited two excavated homes from the Second Temple period.  One was a wealthy home and one was a home of a priestly family responsible for making incense for the Temple.
During lunch we watched two families go down to the Wall for bar mitzvah.  It was a joyful parade with lots of singing.  When a Jewish boy turns 13 he has a ceremony where he becomes a son of the law.  During that ceremony he reads the Torah (first 5 books) for the first time.  The ceremony in these cases take place on the men's side of the Western Wall.  The women stand on chairs at the fence separating the women's side from the men's side and observe - throwing candy at some points.  It is special for them to be able to have this at the most holy spot for Jewish people, the Western Wall of Temple Mount.
Young School Boys on a field trip to the Western Wall

The "Burnt House" was fascinating.  A home belonging to a member of the priestly family responsible for making incense for the Temple.  The house was destroyed by the Romans when they destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  A young woman died in the fire.

Young Jewish boy on the way to the Wall for his bar mitzvah.


I (Al) especially like this picture.   13 year old's are the same the world over ... notice his tongue.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shalom from Jerusalem

Wednesday was our first day back at work in the Garden, with visitors from around the world.  The day was beautiful with many reminders of why we are here - sharing the Gospel with visitors in the midst of the most wonderful visual aid of all time. 
There is something very special about standing in front of the empty tomb as you remind people that He lives!
The garden itself is beautiful.  Surprise surprise - flowers are blooming in February in Jerusalem - an incredible reminder from God that ... though He was dead yet He liveth!  
We are living in a different apartment this year.  It is one of the largest apartments.  We are looking forward to our grandchildren, Jeff & Kristin, coming next week.  Dean, Tracy & Torrey will visit mid March and Laurie and Amanda will visit in April.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In Jerusalem

We have arrived safely in Jerusalem.  Our flight out of Atlanta left a little late but arrived in Israel on time.  One of our bags (Al's) took a side trip to Miami and arrived in the Garden late last night ... a little over 24 hours after we did.

We rested Monday night, were up out and about all day Tuesday.  The weather has been awesome.  Went shopping in the Jewish Market (fresh veggies and Strawberries to die for!), visited the Jewish grocery, had a falafel for lunch, back to the garden and out again to the Western Wall (had to go pray), saw a wedding pary, military being sworn in and returned to the garden and dinner with friends.

Great nights sleep and we are beginning our first day back in the Garden this morning.  Pictures later!  Thank you for praying for us...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Soon and very soon...

Is it time to go back to Israel already???  I can hear Carly asking that question and know that others are asking it too... but yes, soon and very soon...

We leave Tampa Sunday Evening at 6:30 PM February 7th and connect with our Delta flight to Israel in Atlanta leaving at approximately 11 PM.  We will spend 3 months in Jerusalem at the Garden Tomb.  

As you think of us, please pray for us and others who labor at the Garden for Jesus.  Aren't you afraid?  Of what?  Jesus has called and we are responding - trusting in His faithfulness.  Yes we are aware of political events heating to the boiling point - but all we have ever wanted to do is to serve Him.  And the place He has given us to serve Him, at this time, is in Jerusalem.  And what better place could there be to serve our wonderful Lord than in His Garden?

You can read all about the Garden and see some pretty amazing pictures (look for Al!) at the Garden Tomb Web Site -  The "A Brief History" section has a lot of good information.  

This will be our 4th trip to live and work in the Garden and we are pretty excited to be going back.  We will be in the Garden for three months through May 6th.  Oh YES!  Easter Sunday in the Garden.  

We do not know for sure if this is the place where our Lord Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead for our sins.  The disciples left us a written record of the crucifixion and resurrection.  They did not leave a map with a cross marking the spot where it happened.  I think maybe God was more interested in us knowing about the Person of the crucifixion more than He wanted us to know about the Place!  However, the site is an incredible visual aid for sharing the Gospel and it sure looks like what the disciples described in the Gospel accounts.

Some of our family will be coming over to visit while we are in Jerusalem; Jeff and Kristin (our oldest grandchildren) will come over February 19th, Dean, Tracy & Torrey will come mid March and Laurie and Amanda will come in April.  We are looking forward to sharing Israel with them!  And we expect to see some friends in the Garden as well - will you be among them?

Al & Judy Melton
In front of the Garden Tomb
October 2009