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Our connection thr ough Frankfurt was tight - with only 50 minutes between flights, we had to trave l to a seperate terminal at the airport, then go through an intense security scr eening. Luckily, we had a guide arranged for us to guide us through the airport, and they were able to hold to plane until all of us were safely on board. After landing in Tel Aviv, we quickly passed through Passport Control, collected our luggage (Praise God for no lost bags!), and climbed on a bus to take us to our first hotel in Tiberias, right on the Sea of Galilee. All of our rooms have balconies with gorgeous views of the sea, and we are spending this evening relax ing and getting to bed early. Our wake up calls are at 6 AM tomorrow morning as we prepare for a full day of sight-seeing. Be sure to check back again tomorrow for pictures and a full report! God Bless!
02 Photos from Day 1 Most of yesterday was spend travelling, but here are a few photos from along the way! Our group at BCA before heading to the airport to begin out long journey. Beautiful scenery on the road from Tel Aviv to Tiberias. The Sea of Galilee, as seen from our balcony.
03 Day 2: Mediggo, Caesarea, Akko, and Nazareth Though our 6 AM wake up call was definitely early, it was worth it in order to f it in all the amazing things we were able to see today! Pretty much everyone had a different "favorite thing" of the day. Our first stop was Meggido, also called Armaggedon. This ancient city, existing now as scattered ruins on a hilltop, was in such a politically strategic positi on that there are 20 layers of settlements on the site, dating from as far back as the 3rd millenium B.C. According to John in Revelation, this is the site will the final battle will take place at the end of the world. We walked through the chariot gates, through the remains of the walls, temple and stable, and climbed down into and through the fortress's water tunnel. Our next stop was Caesarea, right on the Mediterranean Sea. Caesarea was built b y Herod the Great around 29-22 BC, and was the home of the Roman procurators, in cluding Pontius Pilate. At Caesarea, Peter preached the gospel in Cornelius's ho use, which was followed by the Holy Spirit pouring out as at Pentecost, opening the gospel to Gentiles. Paul also visited the city several times, and spent 2 ye ars in prison there. The remarkable theater and aqueduct built by Herod still s tand to this day, and we were able to climb on and through them. When we exited the theater, turned the corner, and suddenly saw the Mediterranean, we were in a we of the gorgeous view! We also saw where Herod's palace was at one point, inc luding the pool he built right into the sea. Finally, we were able to walk alon g the beach and stick our feet into the Mediterranean, a first for me and I'm su re for many others as well. Next up was Akko, Acre, one of the northernmost ports on the Mediterranean and a
You should know that everyone is safe. and the Jordan River As great as yesterday was. with the beatitudes.the Christian Worship Boat "Faith" . Fr om the kinnutz. and doing well. Daniel. and he spent his childhood. shwarma sandwiches for others. and had almost as long of a day. of cou rse. and I can't wait to see where t he Lord takes us in the days to come.and set sail on the Sea of Galilee. and was the last one to fall whe n they were eventually forced to retreat. Capernaum. Quinn and Nick read some scripture. where we viewed an amazing 2. and young adult hood there. We ended up at the city's harbor. and a little bit of string. Either way. Today was a full day. It was so beautiful. where we walked along the pier and climbed on a large statue of a whale that you could climb into a hole through it's middle it reminded me of the story of Jonah! Our last stop of the day was up in Nazareth. so off we went! Next we headed up to the nearby Mount of Beatitudes. and it is in Nazareth that the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her of her impending pregnancy . ducking at times when they got too short . Our first stop of the day was Kinnutz Ginosar. and I'm sure the time will fly until we see you again. it felt very adventuresom e winding our ways through the tunnels. Mount of Beatitudes. We saw Pastor Rob use huge wheel to pretend to squish olives in the first step of the olive-oil-m aking process and Pat attempt to use an old-fashioned drill made of sticks. Mary. Caesarea Philippi. heard Britt. and it was hard not to stop to shop. and the few hours we spent there were not enough to tr uly explore the dynamic area. We started out grabbing some lunch at a cafe . hap py.000 year old fishing boat that was found in the area and carefully reconstructed. of course. We h ad another special time of prayer and worship. that we were all still up for exploring even after dinner. today was even better! We woke up just as early.it could have been escape tunnels fo r times of war or just tunnels for sewage. There is a pretty complete and still-s tanding old city in Acre. Be sure to check back again tomorrow for another update! God bless! 04 Day 3: Sea of Galilee. followed by traipsing through some of the undergrou nd passageways of the city. of which there are many. we boarded a boat . Then we explored the Crusader Ci ty and halls of the Citadel. We walked through a large souk. from tend ing animals and working in the field to carpentry and weaving. and sang wors hip songs before heading back to shore. the site were Jesus gave hi s famous Sermon on the Mound.fal afels for some. The main thing we were in Nazareth to see was a specially build Naza rene Village museum.also called the Annunciation. You all are missed. as well as a message from Pastor Rob. youth. But we had more stops to make.Mary and Joseph were both from Nazareth. It's not exactly known what the tunnels were originally intended for . One of the most interesting parts of the tour w as our guide in the village.site of major contention between the Arabs and the English during the crusades. The trip is off to a great start. and Jesus returned to N azareth when Jesus was a boy. or market. we could have staye d out there all day. While floating on the sea. with another 6 A M wake up all. which begins. and tomorrow will likely be no different. stri ng. Nazareth's claim to fame is. we listened to a message from Pastor Rob. Joseph. as the hometown of Jesus . then peeked inside the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes on the site before . but it was so filled with memorable and special th ings. with buildings built to period specifications from Jesus' t ime. who is a Messianic Jew. Akko was the Crusader's principle stronghold. and actors dressed in part to show us the tasks of everyday life.
a group of us walked to the center of the city and wandered a bit getting some frozen yogurt and sorbet before heading back to the hotel. but we said our farewells by reading some scripture and singing a few hymns as we took our final drive south along the shore. but Bernita and I hadn't. so we settl ed for wading in the river. but it didn't really work. and this spot is a particular favorite of Pa stor Rob's. and the spot where Jesus' s tayed when he was in the Galilee region for ministry. After dinner. because both the layout of the city and the bases of structures like streets. Our last and most special stop of the day was at the Jordan River. so we took a walk down to the lake and climbed acr oss the rocks. The caverns are quite impressive. cafe. What a fun end to a fantastic day! Tonight is our last night at the hotel in Tiberias . a nd had my own little worship service right there. but it seems as though each day keeps getting even mor e wonderful. Caesarea Philippi. which is a white fish similar to Talapia. and the Dead Sea It is hard to believe it. and possibly some of those others mornings when I was sleeping. but there is still so much more left to still discover! Today almost felt like a vacation day from our vacation. because we were able to slow down a little an d relax more. Known today as Banias. and on e by one. the temple.000 years until an earthquake in 749 AD demolished the city. we head to the De ad Sea! Check back again tomorrow for another update. and will testify to it's beauty. and a special thing to witness as a group of friends and believers. we headed over to the old synagogue in Ca pernaum. My day started by miraculously waking up right before sunrise beg an. Peter's Fish". Near the spot where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. and at one point seemed to spring directly from the rock caverns. and were baptized by Pastor R ob. What is so special about this fish? Well. I know some of the others also saw the sunrise this morning. We tried walking on water. In . "On this rock I will build my church. We headed up north next to our northern-most Israeli spot on the tour. The vas t complex gives you an interesting and informative view of Roman life. Next stop was Capernaum. which prompted Pan -worshipers to build their temples at the spot. which was continually occupied by various groups of people f or nearly 4. After lunch. Qumran. the best-preserved Roman/Byzant ine city in Israel. which is famous for being Peter's hometown. this is the spot where Jesus originally said of Peter's confession of faith. they serve it to you fried up with it's head and tail still attached! It's quite an experience to pick one of those apart. It was sad to say goodbye to the Sea of Galilee. parts of which still stand today . particula rly in the 1st century BC. It was an important and touching life event for all of us who were baptized. but somehow fe lt more energized and ready to see and do more. and we pray God is blessin g you as much as we feel blessed. Many had already explored Tiberi as. Our first stop of the morning <b>Beth Shean</b>. pool. so I was able to see the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee from my balcony. and restrooms remain. 05 Day 4: Beth Shean.heading on our way. confessed our faith. 11 of our group dressed in robes.tomorrow. shops. and time for lunch! Our guide took us to a special rest aurant where they serve what they call "St. The springs at Caesarea Philippi are also one of the major sources of the Jordan River. stood in the river. We arrived back at the hotel at about the same time as yesterday. Already it feels as though we've been here forever and seen so much .
then lean back a bit into a sitting position. A Bedouin shepherd happened to find a cave full of jars. and worked in a complex like a commune at the base of the cliffs. we set off on a 3-hour drive through the Judean Desert to Eilat. then there you are. and what has made it so popular as a touist destination is the beautifully clear waters of the Red Sea. and it is amazingly miraculous that these caves were ever found at all. inhabited the caves in the cliff side. all you h ave to do is wade out. Also in the complex is the city's ampithe ater. yet again. and then waded out to float in the sea. We were lucky to make it to the hotel in the early afternoon so we had the rest of the day free to relax as we wanted. Many of us were already familar with the story of these scrolls as an exhibit of them came to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle a few years ago. This location was particularly special to m e because I studied the Dead Sea Scrolls in college. Next up was <b>Qumran</b>. slathered up in the mud. and could hardly believe my luck to be standing in the place where they were actually written. Essentially. as well as rules for what is likely a Jewish sect called the Essenes. and in the end. which was used for gladitor fights. where we enjoyed some non-salty swimming time and rel axing by the side of the pool. trying to force your legs underwater to stand up. Today was a great day. so we went down to the Dead Sea. today was a day of true vacation! After getting up ea rly again. I think almost everyone made i t down to the beach. tomorrow will b e even better. A fter being in the salty water of the sea. I also have to me ntion that the introductory video we were shown began with sweeping panoramic vi ews of different sites around Israel. and it felt very much like we were on the ride "Soarin'" at Disneyland/Disney World. A few of us had bought the local black miner al-rich mud. relaxing by the pool or in their . It was fun climbing around the ampithe ater. and it is easy to i magine sitting there. Aft er arriving in Eilat at about 11 AM. and if past experience is any indication. because from there it is easy to flounder and end up on you stomach. and the boys enjoyed climbing into the little chambers under the seats whe re they would keep the lions. Thank you for all of your prayers and support.addition. many of us headed back up to the hotel and straight to the pool. the site of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947.000-seat theater still remains most intact. The Dead Sea is lowest body of water in the world . who wrote the scrolls. hidden and e ventually found. The cliffside is beautiful. Some of the group stayed at the hotel. even if they didn't cover themselves in mud. but at a museum in Jerusalem. a re sort town on the coast of the Red Sea. the 7. so they could enjoy the experience of floating along in the Dead Sea. The rema ins of this complex have been excavated. Contained in the se scrolls were books of the Bible. especially it's coral reefs. Very cool and fun! Our final stop of the day was our hotel at Ein Bokek on the <b>Dead Sea</b>. floating with no effort. The scrolls themselves are not kept at the Qumran site. and give us clues as to how these men l ived their lives. You just have to be carefully not to tip on to you side. Big thanks to Bernita fo r being our official Dead Sea Photographer as most of us floated in the water. and we should see them later this week.000 years. and we can't wait to tell you even more about it when we see you! 06 Day 5: Eilat If yesterday was relaxing. and it's high salt content makes it impossible to sink. It was fascinating to walk through the old stone rooms and see how they lived. enjoying a show. Eilat is Israel's only town on it's 7 mil e stretch of coastline. proving that the Bible existed back then in the same form we have it in today. we had the rest of the day free to do as we liked. th ey found in multiple caves along the cliffside jars containing 190 linen-wrapped scrolls that had been preserved by the desert for 2.
A group of us also headed to Coral Beach. After a great afternoon. It is truly surprising and amazing. eventually he would dart forward and nip at t hem. we stopped for a quick lunch. it was another memorable day. unless you want to hire a carriage. cut into the rock wall. En Gedi & Jerusalem We said goodbye to Eilat and the Red Sea today. and then headed back to the border to cross back into Israel. then expanded and strengthened by Herod. We f ound one fish that was darting around by one of the rope bouys. First up was Masada. we walked further into the canyon towards the city. a mountain-top fortress near the Dead Sea. Lisa even bought an Indiana Jones-style hat to commemorate the occasion! We walked through the mile long Siq (cleft in the cliff wall). and if you held your fingers or toes still by him. The hike into the city of Petra is a bit tiring. At this point . but both the coral reef itself as well as all the fish we saw were amazing! We had to have seen at least 30 different kin ds of fish. and about 5 more stamps in each of our passports! Day 7: Masada. we couldn't help singing the theme song while walking through the Siq. So many beatiful colors together are inspiring. but mos t of it is by foot. On our way we made a few stops. and somehow still exhausting. stoppin g to admire the stones and hear some history of the site. and it was fun trying to spot fish hiding amongst the coral. and a few rested before heading ba ck up the hill in one of the horse-drawn carriages that run through the Siq. we had some time we could spend as we like before we needed to head up the hil l towards the bus. Some of us walked further down into the actual city. where some of us rented masks and snorkels so we could snorkel above the coral reef. others c limbed up the cliffs to explore in the tombs. and one that is almost impossible to fully take in at the time. It truly is an amazing site. Petra is also well-known for it's part in Indi ana Jones. It's not specifically mentioned in the . stopping when we reach ed the towering cliffs of the Royal Tombs. from the entrance of the Siq to the visitor's center. Then. which boasts a unique underwater obser vatory. One of the most specta tular moments came when we rounded a corner in the Siq and suddenly saw the Trea sury through the small opening. was built originally around the 1st-2nd century BC. capital to the Nabataeans around the 3rd . others went to the large aquarium. Check back tomorrow for another update! God bles s! 07 Day 6: Petra Today was the day for our side trip over into Jordan to visit the city of Petra. After leaving Petra. but the true test comes when it is time to climb back up out to th e visitor's center. What was a rather nice down-hill 2 mile stroll becomes a 2 m ile test of endurance and strength. There are horses you can ride up the last 1/ 2 mile of the way. of all different colors and sizes. and one of the mos t impressive archeological sites. Not only was it refreshin g to float along on in the cool water. Masada.1st centuries BC. Tomorrow is going to be another long day as we head o ver into Jordan to visit Petra. and headed back north to Jerusal em.rooms. especially in the hot mid-day sun. we all met up for dinner. There's not much to say about today other than it was a wonderfully fun day. and of course. Overall.
It was a beautif ul place. they are referring to Masada. and it is unfortunate that the entran ces to the Temple Mount from this site have been closed off since Roman times. they found over 900 people dead inside. we walked across the street to the original City of David. with only our flashli ghts to guide us! What an experience! When we exited. though many believe when a "stronghold" to which David flees is mentione d. Our first view of Temple Mount through the city was breathtaking. Our main reason for visiting this area was to walk through Hezekiah's Tunnel. and we were able to take a cable car from the base to the top. with only a few women and children surviving. the site David seized from the Canaanites to make his capital. It was a hot day today. After the next leg of the rocky hike. Just past the archeological site are the southern steps that would have led up into the Temple. we immediately came to the Pool of Siloam. Aftering climbing up to the first waterfall. and the remains of an arched stairway tha t would have led up to the money-lenders' hall. It is an impressive sight. then each other. have uncovered remains dating back to the 1st and 2nd Temple periods. so we had fun wading throug h the calf-to-thigh-high water in a long single-file line. I t was fun to sit on the steps. Next. which lies just south of the Tem ple Mount. a few of us decided to stay at the waterfall and wade in the water a little (and a little mo re than wade for some). though. . so no hiking at this spot! The views from the top were bea utiful. and sitting where he sat. and what a hard decisio n to make. an oasis in the Judean Wilderness that was close t o Masada and the Dead Sea. and the fortress with it's palaces have foundations that remain to tell the story of what a majestic place this was. and the corr ect location of the pool has only recently been discovered and excavation begun. to the second waterfall. a few d ecided to head back down to the Visitor's Center to get out of the head and rest up. and this is the entrance he used to ent er the Temple when approaching from Bethany. and already we are overcome with the magnitude of actually walking where Jesus walked. The leaders had decided th at they would rather die honorably than live in slavery. You can see the original large stones of the Herodian wall. Many of these st eps are original from the time of Jesus. After our two stops in the desert. and we stopped up at a viewpoint to take in the city before headed to our hotel to relax for the rest o f the evening. Such a sad story. climbing the steps where he cl imbed. Because of the springs. while to rest finished the hiking loop. We started out at the Southern Wall of the Temp le Mount at the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. we headed straight up to Jerusalem. The Pool of Siloam was the site where Jesus healed the man blind from birth. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day as we explore Jerusalem! Day 8: Jerusalem & Bethleham Today was our first full day in Jerusalem. Masada is most famous in history for being the site of the last stand of the Zealot Jewish Patriots in 73 AD. En Gedi has beautiful waterfalls and vegetati on coming out of the rocks. a shoping street from Herodian times. Excavations in this area. One of the most m emorable parts of this trip is hearing this story told at this site. and is completely dark. which have been ongoing since 1968. When the Ro mans finally broke through the Jewish defenses. but luckily there was a nice breeze going around. talking together where Jesus would have s at and talked with his friends and disciples. It was in one of the caves at En Gedi that David hid from Saul. where the spring water would pool out in Jesus' time. and very hot up on the cliff top. Our next stop was in En Gedi. build by King Hezekiah around 700 BC to bring water into the city from Gihon Spring during the Assyrian invansion.Bible. This 1.750 feet long tunnel flows wi th spring water to this day. and so they killed thei r wives and children. where he most frequently stayed whi le in the area.
dancing . beneath which is the front part of the cave of Jesus' birth. which was in use in Christ's time as th e main pathway that connected the Kidron Valley and Mount of Olives with the cit y and Mount Zion. While excavation has shown this unlikely. for which it was named. where a silv er star marks to spot where Jesus was born. After leaving Bethleham. Toda y. After viewing the "face" in the rocks of the cliff and climbing into the tomb. This is the site of Jesus' agony and betrayal. and chanting. Peter in Gallicantu was built on top of them. :) After getting back to the hotel. all that remains of the house are the ancient caves that were it's basement. and prayers being made everywhere. we left Jerusalem and headed south to Bethleham. we headed over to the Garden Tomb. It's really a special place to visit. or whether it was a hund red feet to the north or south. with Pastor Rob speaking. In the afternoon. These caves have been preserved. we found our first Israeli Starbucks. and also of his Ascension into H eaven. following Jesus' ste ps from the Mount of Olives to Mount Zion. around 2. Our starting point was the top of the M ount of Olives. and the spot on which Joseph was supposedly sleeping when he rece ived his dream that they should move into exile in Egypt. a British general visiting Jerusalem noticed a face appearing in a natural rock formation and posited that this was in fact the location of Golgatha. Join us tomorrow as we take a 5 mile walk through the city. a few of us walked into the city to the Western Wall to see the excitement and festivities at the Western Wall as Shabbat began . to see what remains of Caiaphas' house.000 years ago. built in the 4th century AD over the supposed spot of Jesus' birth and now shared by the Roman Catholic. . the important thing we felt here was the certain ty that this was it. and the likely spot of Jesus' imprisonment. Jesus was born. It was truly an unforgettable experience. Nestled next to the Church of the Na tivity is St. we took time to have a small service. God b ecame man. the church St. and was the path Jesus' was likely taken up when arrested and brought to Caiaphas. This is it. and to remember Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and his res urrection. Regardless of whether these exact spots are the places these events happened. It was quite an experience. where we had a panoramic view of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. was also covered with olive trees. the birthplac e of Jesus and the hometown of King David. and in Bethleham. In this spot.in the late 1800s. This hill has been used as a cemetery since 2400 BC and during Jesus' ti me.We hopped on the bus next and headed over to Mount Zion. and in 1931. and worship. there really is very little evidence for that fact . the home of the high priest who insisted Jesus be crucified and the place where Jesus likely spent most of the night before his execution. Oh. commun ion. Beneath the church is the Grotto of the Nativity. Catherine's Church. Day 9: Jerusalem & Herodion We began today a little later than normal today and ended a little earlier as we ll. with the men in the men's section singing. Armenian and Greek O rthodox Churches. The most important site to visit in t own is the Church of the Nativity. in commem oration of the tradition site of Peter's denial of Christ. the Garden Tomb is still a wonderful place to visit to see what the tomb was like in it's natural setting. but we still managed to fit a full day's worth of sight-seeing as we spent m ost of the day walking around the city. While some people be lieve this is the site of Golgatha and Jesus' tomb. You can also still se e the remains of the Hasmonean stairway. and all to save us.
we walked down the path of Jesus' Triumphal Entry on P alm Sunday and paused at a few stops along the way to the city. After reaching the bottom of the hill. you could find in the Souk. and revamped throug h the years. although it is amazing to be in the site it all took place. Eventually. the parents of Mary. and though we might not be the best group of singe rs. to Golgatha. you can go up and see the Golgotha. The church is well-known for it's wond erful acoustics. Remains of the steps into the pool can still be seen to this day. and stained-glass windows m ake this a great place to sit and reflect on the beginning of Jesus' journey of sacrifice. you can go into Jesus' tomb. we passed through the Kidron Valley and h eaded up to the Temple Mount. and what you can see is almost overshadowed by the massive and ornate cathedral that surrounds it. which we tested out by singing a few hymns. named for Stephen. which wa s built around the cave where Jesus' body laid until his Resurrection. commemorating the different events of Jesus' journey w ith the cross. In the garden is also the Church of All Nations. Our first stop right inside the gate was at St. also known as Lions' Gate. the site where Jesu s' prayed with his disciples. 000 years old. We can't know if these sites are 100% accurate. Our next stop down the hill was at the Garden of Gethsemane. A tiny fraction of the original site remains. but it is still beautiful to walk in. who was stoned to death supposedly near this site. the first Christian Martyr. We crossed into the Old City through St. It was tough to stay together . and some of the original street and paving stones from Jesus ' time. I think most of us found it more special to do s o at the Garden Tomb. On the opposite side of the church. We also spent some time each by ourselves in the garden across the pa th. where Jesus cured the pa ralysed man who could not make his way to the waters. and you can easily imagine what Jesus saw as he looked out and wept for the future of Jerusalem. Pretty much anything yo u could possibly want. After viewing the pool. Stephen's Gate. we went into the church. praying and reflecting. built in 1924 wi th donations from 12 countries over the site of multiple churches from as early as the 4th century BC. we headed down the street a little. and we even noted the special markings for the "stations of th e cross" along the route. and it has been rebuilt. On the site of the church are 2 large cistern s that were built in the 8th and 3rd centuries BC and under Herod turned into cu rative baths. In side. where he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. we popped in to the garden surrounding the Dominus Flevit Chapel. or market. where Pontius Pilate was. The view from this garden is also great. which took him from Antonia Fort. enlarged. including one that is 2. where he was crucified. we sounded wonderful! From St. and where he was arrested by the Romans on the night before his crucifixion. Anne's Church. which literally means " The Lord Wept" and commemorates Jesus' tears over Jerusalem. When we came back on top. and there still remain some centuries-old olive trees. The garden i s much smaller than it was it Jesus' time. It was crowded in th ere both with tourists and vendors trying to get you to buy anything from jewelr y to stuffed animals to funny t-shirts to antique coins. Luckily. the path that Jesus walked with the cross. domes. Anne's. the rock that Jesus' cross was placed in to. good acous tics can fix a lot of issues. This is the site of the Pool of Bethesda. Though that site is probably not accurate as the actual lo . and then down underground t o see the moat from Antonia Fort that was later turned into a cistern so they co uld build above it. a Crusader church built in the 1130s AD on the supposed spot where Anne and Joachim. The first chuch was built here arou nd 326 AD by Constantine. but we managed. The beautiful mosaics. First.From the top of the hill. we made our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. As we reflected on Jesus' sacrifice and his death and resurrection. the likely site of Golgotha and Jesus' tomb. lived. but excations and evidence support this s ite as the most likely one for both the crucifixion and burial. Much of the Via Doloros a winds through the Muslim Quarter and the Souk. we started walking along the Via Dolorosa.
After climbing the hill and walking around the top. gave them the first communion. we headed south of the city to visit Herodion. and excavations progress each day. M ostly women come to pray in this area. where we saw the rema ins of the Cardo. we read from the gospels the story of the Last Supper. rem embering the honoring the event. The tu nnel runs beneath what is now the Muslim Quarter. Durin g the second Jewish revolt in 132 AD.you can tell they value their peace and quiet. and the site of the Last Supper. which was described by Isaiah. Jersalem's main road in the Byzantium era. and perhaps the reason w hy this particular upper room was chosen. and rather unadorned. we can see that Jerusalem was orgi nally laid out with wide streets like we saw in Beth Shean. This is also the site of Herod's tomb. Herodion became the Jewish headquarters. so hopef . a nd the rebels turned the cisterns inside the hill into a series of escape tunnel s. While we visited. No one really k nows where exactly on Mount Zion the Last Supper took place. in spirit and feeling. By the placement of the columns. and tomo rrow promises to be no different. as we leave at 6:30 to explore the Western Wal l Tunnels. th e circular city and fort Herod the Great had built in 24-15 BC and named for him self. We also saw the foun dations of a 22-feet thick wall thought to be built by King Hezekiah in the 8th Century BC to fortify the city before the Assyrian invation. archaeologists have excavated this tunnel along the out side of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount to explore it's foundations. this site has been traditionally know as the place where Jesus' held his la st Passover meal with his disciples. Though no evidence has been found to either support or refute this claim. as well as the ream ins of houses from that time period that were demolished to make way for the wal l. Once we boarded our bus again. it reflects more of Jesus' time period and how ev ents really unfolded back then. we headed to the Jewish Quarter. and washed t heir feet. After leaving the Jewish Quarter. then prayed. It is fascinating to s ee such an ancient part of the city. today was our last day in Jerusalem and in Israel as well. Accessed through the Western Wall Plaza. you can see the arches of the bridge built by Herod the Great to access the city directly from his palace. we walked alongside the Armenian Quarter and h eaded to the top of Mount Zion. In the tunnel. which was destroyed in 1948 during t he fighting between the Arab and Jewish armies. but since the Crusa des. Check back to see how we did tomorrow! Day 10: Jerusalem Sadly. The fort was built upon a man-made hill that is volcano-like in appearanc e and can be seen from miles around. originally built by the Romans. There were sti ll a few important sites to see.cation. Below this upper hall. on which sits the recently reconstructed Hurva Synagogue. Today was a long day packed full of interesting and significant places. t his site has been considered so since the 11th century AD. the room is crusader in style. so we could leave for the Western Wall Tunnel at 6:30 AM. we were able to climb down the winding steps and passa geways through the cisterns. Today. especially in front of the part of the wa ll closest to where the Holy of Holies was in the Temple. Mount Zion was the la st stop on our 5-mile and 5-hour walking tour. After leaving the church. It felt like a maze that you could easily get lost in if you weren't paying attention. We walked through Hurva Square. is the supposed site of King David's t omb. though! Our wake up calls this morning came at 5 AM. whic h has been found only in the past year and is still not open for visitors. taking in the view of the surrounding countryside. You can also walk for a long stretch right along the Western Wall. Walking through the streets of t he Jewish Quarter is much more relaxing than walking through the Muslim Quarter .
Lanny. Though much of the museum is closed at the moment for renovation. which we visited earlier in the week. and we weren't allo wed inside to view them closer. is significant to Ju daism because it is the closest Jews can get to the site of the Temple to pray. so it is a significant site not only to Jews and Christians. built to scale (1:50) and with the same materials as used during the o riginal construction . to the orthodox who come dressed in t heir prayer shawls. Our bus leaves for the airport tonight at 1 AM (or tomorrow morning. we walked through the grounds. this is a tough place to visit because of the unbelievable and overwh elming atrocities.mostly limestone. non-Muslim access to bot h the Dome of the Rock and the El-Aqsa Mosque is restricted. from t hose that come just wearing their kipkahs. which was built specifically to house the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumr an. rest. in separate sections for men and women. before having one final dinner together in the hotel's dinin g room. and then exited the Old City through St . like the ones in which the scro lls were found. viewed t he Dome and the Mosque from the outside. there were a few main att ractions open. and an eternal flame. so I will let you go for now! Check back tomorrow for news on our arri val in Turkey. we walked up the ramp through security to the actual Temp le Mount to view the grounds and the Dome of the Rock. winding corridor carved into the mountain. we headed over the the Shrine of th e Book. Because of this. the museum and monument built to mem orialize those who died during the Holocaust. horrible affair. a cask et of ashes from the cremation ovens. is a lso the mountain on which Abraham was willing to sacrifice his soon Isaac to God . and headed back to the hotel to s wim. fi lled with artifacts. It is hard to believe our journey through Israel is at an end. After exploring the tunnel. and we pray they will arrive hom e safely. the mosque built on top o f where the Temple lay in Jesus' time. or pack. Then. The museum. so you can see many all over th e wall. Stephen's Gate. It's a fascinating place to visit. It was really exciting to see some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and o ther artifacts in person after viewing the site in which they were found and fol lowing their whole journey from discovery to national treasure. which was built by Herod the Great as part of the retaining wall surrounding the Temple Mount. is engaging and informative. who currently control the grounds. Judaism 's most holy site. if only to watch the diverse groups of people that come through. After leaving the Temple Mount. first-person stories. It was fascinating to see the city in t his way. Also on the grounds is the Hall of Remembrance. Both Jews and Non-Jews are welcome to pray at the wall. which consists of one long. You can see a wide range of Jews worshiping at the wall. Instead. This uniquely shaped building was desi gned to echo the shape of the top of a clay jar. we went out to visit the Western Wall Plaza. The only sad part of this journey is that not all of us are continuing on to Turkey . We all received special Pilgrim Certificates to commemorate our visit to Jerusalem. We finished with our touring by mid-afternoon. This site. but a re excited to head on to Turkey and visit the 7 Churches of Revelation. which will hopefully have more consistent internet than Israel ha s had. and it really gives you a sense of how massive the Temple complex was i n comparison to the rest of Jerusalem. as well. but also to Musli ms. a ctually). Ruth and Debbie a lot. God bless! . which act s as a cemetary as it contains the names of the main concentration camps. and many that come believe that prayers written and shoved into the cracks in the wall are especially effective.we will miss Lorie. Our last stop of the day was at Yad Vashem. and other elements for prayer. This section of the wall.ully they will continue to find more and more. The first thing we viewed was a giant model of Jerusalem from abo ut 70 AD. As well put together as it is. and the history and context off the w hole. From the Western Wall. also called Mount Moriah. we headed over to the Israel Museum.
especially up at the acropolis. so anything the village covers will remain hidden for now. Croesus. There i s little to see of the ancient city as the current-day city of Akhisar rests on the exact site. with not much time f or sleeping. It's location in the center of the city plus it 's size are evidence of the strength and wealth of the Jewish community in Sardi s at the time. What we were able to see from the lower city was quite impressive! Dominating the skyline is the ancient Gymnasium and Bath house. or high city. This ornate and beautiful church is no longer used for regular services. the modern-day village of Sart sits on the site. the acr opolis at Sardis. Sardis. T hough much of these ruins had been scattered through earthquake. Pergamum (Bergama) & Smyrna (Izmir) Today we visited 3 more of the 7 churches of Revelation. We will have time to visit sites throughout Izmir over the next few days as our hotel is located here. Debbie and Ruth made it home safely. but there is a square of l . so we feel lucky that we were able to walk around inside. We pray that Lorie. we headed back to Izmir. It was a long morning. one of the large st ancient synagogues excavated. and immediately headed to visit Sardis. was so rich it gave rise to the expression "as rich as Croesus. The majority of the site of Sardis is not open to visitors because major excava tion is still taking place. Gigi. this is just the tip of the iceberg of what we will see here in Turkey! After leaving Sardis. despite being practically impregnable. Sardis was then conquered by Alexander the Great and by the 2nd century BC it was under Roman control. one of the seven churches of Revelation and a 90-minute drive from Izmi r. Tomorrow should be another busy day.Day 11: Safe arrival in Turkey. and so little excavation can be done. which we know based on carvings and artifacts found on-site. and saw lots of Roman r uins! This morning. Lanny. and special arrangements have to be made to view the interior. and Izmir (Smyrta) We left Jerusalem at 1 AM this morning to head to Tel Aviv to make our 5 AM flig ht to Istanbul and then on to Izmir. Polycarp was martyred for his faith in 156 AD by being burned at the stak e with a group of 11 others from Philadelphia. Eventually. Turkey's 3rd largest city and the site of the ancient city of Smyrta. which signs on them noting what each was for back i n the Roman time. and they are greatly missed already! God bless! Day 12: Thyatira (Akhisar). built in the early 1600s to h onor Polycarp. what was left has been rebuilt and fortified so we can see what the city might h ave looked like at the time. Polycarp Church. so we are making tonight an early night so everyone can catch up on their rest. the patron saint of Izmir who was the bishop of Smyrta from 115-1 56 AD. but Jesus said it was in fact dead spiritually. was infultrated by the Persians and taken over and used as their capital in the 6th and 5th centuries B C. whose last king. we all made it off the plane and collected our bags safely! We met up with our Turkish guide. Right next door to the bathhouse was a large Synagogue. war. Also on the site you can see the remai ns of the shopping district. Sardis was the capital of the Kingdom of Lydia. The ruins of Sardis are certainly impressive. and from what we were told. so today the only si te in town we visited was the St. around the 3rd Century AD. a large complex that was built in the center of the city in the 2nd centu ry AD. but eventually. In add ition. we started out by heading to the ancient city of Thyatira. Sardis is mentioned in Revelation as being a church wi th a reputation for being alive. and time.
and has always been an important port city on the Aeg ean Sea. to the king of Pergamum in 190 BC. Thyatira was well known for it's trade and m anufacturing guilds. This particular Agora was surroun ded by a basilica that housed government buildings such as a courthouse. but was rich in spirit. and playing with a group of turtles that w as also wandering around the grounds. however. You can still see. The main set of ruins visible in Akhisar today i s a basilica from the 5th century AD. and was the capital of the Pergamene empire until passing to Roman control in 133 BC.000. we had a spectacu lar view of the surrounding city and region. of the Roman city. but membership in these guilds had a price . Passages and cisterns run beneath the building. used for state gatherings.it seems every corner we turned. The first place we visited in Pergamum was the Red Ha ll. The ruins of the acropolis are more than i mpressive . Thyatira was cautioned in Revelation not to tolerate the i mmoral or idolatrous teachings. The most signifi cant remains in the city are those of the Agora. built in 125 AD. despite living where "Satan has his throne". who had fun ded the project. but were warned not to compromise their faith. but simply a public building. The Lydians conquered the city in 600 BC and it fell into decline until the Roman period in the 1st century BC. we climbed down and walked through the long corridor of arches built to hold up temple courtyard. The resulting sunbeam seems like it is coming directly from he aven. bec ause that would have fit in with our tunnels and cisterns theme this trip! Flank ing the Red Hall on either side are large round towers with circular skylights t o let in the sun. the large red brick temple that was built in the 2nd century AD and originally d edicated to the Egyptian god Isis.to belong. whic h to this day covers most of the courtyard's ruins. which sits perched on a hillside above Bergama. which is nestled at the base of the hill in the modern city of Bergama. Our last stop of the day was back in Smyrna. Thyatira wa s founded by the Lydians and eventually passed to the hands of one of Alexander the Great's generals in the 3rd century BC. or modern day Izmir. until Ma rc Antony took many of its 200. there was more to see.and in the center of the city with some ruins on it we were able to see. a nd then on to the Romans in 133 BC. was ruled for a time by one of Alexander the Great's generals. After grabbing some lunch. it is brought there to display.000 scrolls to Alexandria as part of his wedding gift to Cleopatra in 41 BC. This si te is currently still under excavation . and was later converted into a church in the 4th century AD. we ha d fun wandering around the buildings. Smyrna was mentioned in Revelation as t he church that was poor and persecuted. Though the space was small. you can see the columns of t . One of th e most fantastic sights was the theater. In Revelation. which is thought to be the throne of Satan referred to in Revelation. we wou nd around the hill and climbed back up past the site of the Temple of Zeus. which was built in the 3rd century BC a nd has a capacity of 10. This temple. or central market. so we couldn't climb through them. Aftering climbing down all 80 rows of seats. The city was a great center of learning.currently. who broug ht most of Alexander's wealth to the city. It was too bad. Pergamum was originally settled by Greeks in the 8th cent ury BC. one usually had to participate in immoral religious practices. which was a problem for early Christians. which today is home t o the city of Bergama. which date to about the 2nd century AD. We walked pa st the ruins of the great library. which was not in fact a church. They were so cute! Our next stop of the day was the ancient city of Pergamum. and had the second largest library in the world at one point. From there. Pergamum is commendated for holding f ast to Christ. w as excavated in the 1870s and moved to a specialty museum in Berlin. The city's ori gins date back to 3000 BC. but it is unfort unately closed to public. The whole time while walking around the site. and stopped in front of the massive columns o f the Temple or Trajan. we headed up to the Acropolis of Pergamum. and any time something is found in the city.
Across the court yard. marbl e covered street . Turning right after exploring th e library. as well as several of his other trips. Thi s morning. and safe arrival in Istanbul I feel like I am repeating myself when I mention how long our days are. Near by the basilica. we packed up our stuff and hopped on the bus and headed to Ephesus. Ephesus is a popular tourist destination. Under the Romans. built in the 6th century AD. whi ch was a fun treat from home.the Library of Celsus.the ap ostle Paul visited this location on several occasions. more progess will have b een made! After our day of site seeing. John. A great end to a fun day! Tomorrow promises to be a long day as we travel down to Ephesus and then back to Izmir for our flight back to Istabul. who lived for the last part of his life in Ephesus. We strolled through the city starting at the upper gate. who were mad that he was encouraging the Christians to stop buying the idols the silversmiths made. m ore of the site can be reconstructed. much more so than any of the other sites we had visited in Turkey thus far. After some coffee and a stroll along the waterfront. Along the way. as one point living there for 3 years before being driven out following a silversmith riot. Ephesus played an important role in the spread of Christianity . we stayed in Ephesus and headed over to see the Basilica of St. E phesus is one of the most complete and impressive ruined cities in the western w orld. This is the theater spoken of in Acts when Paul is trying to defend himself against the silversmiths. we eventually came to the gigantic 25. into which it is not unknown to squish 40. Lysinachus. because you know anytime you come back. but I re ally can't help it because we do cram so much into such a short time period. was well as the arches that supported the second level of the basilica that was built up so they could place the agora on a hillside. Temple of Domitian. One lonely column is all tha . It's hard to believe our trip is soon com ing to an end. Ephesus is the first of the 7 churches of Revelation written about by John. It is fascinating to be on an active archa eological site. but you can still se e many of the columns standing. Miletus. stopping to admire the Odeon (small public meeting t heater). and we hope you stick with us as we finish out our last few days. is the author on the book of Revelation.he Agora. as it feels just like any other Starbucks inside. This riot. it was already moderately crowded. Perhaps the most spectacular view came at the end of the long. God bless! Day 13: Ephesus.000 people today. Temple of Hadrian. Ephesus because the chief port on the Aegean. and the city we see there today was founded in the 4th century BC by Alexander the Great's successor. building in 117 AD. and most of the surviving structures are from this period. written while he was exiled on the island of Patmos. some of the group walked the short way to see wate rfront to see the Aegean Sea. has two stories of columns and towers above the rest of the city. and the ancien t restroom. It is truly an impressive sight! After leaving the ancient city. John. and although we arrived first th ing in the morning. is documented in the bo ok of Acts. and then watched the sunset on the Aegean before head ing back to the hotel. and the baptistry in the center section of the c hurch was recently uncovered. built on the site on John the apostle's supposed tomb in E phesus. Gate of Hercules. is largely in ruins. other than the girl at the register being slightly confused by Bernita's complic ated coffee order. we grabb ed some pizza at Domino's. we also found a real Starbucks. and we sat in the seats while Pastor Rob stood in perhaps the same spot as Paul and read fr om the Scriptures. The basilica. pieces of arches and columns are numbered and sorted so that eventually. It's location on the Aegean Sea was made it a convenient location througho ut history.000 seat theater. Due it's proximity to the coast and the excellent condition of the r uins.
and require intensive labor. we are settled in our hotel ne ar Taksim Square. While it lies surrounded by Israel. we stopped by a Carpet Center to have some lunch and get a demonstration on how Turkish carpets are made. so I will leave you here! Our trip is quickl y coming to an end. and after a drive through the city past the Sea of Marmara. and I hope you stick with us through our last days.t remains from Ephesus' great Temple of Artemis. business is not good. as it is our only day to see Istanbul. the city to which Paul retreated when it was too dangerous for his to return to Ephesus on his thi rd missionary journey. and there is a wall around the city. Because of this. which was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. Not much remains of the ancient city. of course. restr ictioning travel in and out. like the shop we visited t hat specializes in carvings out of olive wood. they can also be quite expensive. which was a model for the Turkish Baths. but as they are handmade. hopped on a plane to Istanbul. God ble ss! CUT FOR POLITICAL REASONS: Bethleham is also interesting to visit because of it' s unique political situation. the streets feel almost deserted . tourism seems to be quite down for the city. the city itsel f is under control of the Palestines. We have a busy day tomorrow. In comparis on to Jerusalem. We headed back up to Izmir after that. the Times Square of Istanbul. After leaving Ephesus. and for businesses that depend on tourism. Our last stop in the Aegean region was down to visit Miletus. and walked through the Baths of Faustina. These carpets are beautiful. but we saw a beauti ful theater.
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