Love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your life! Deut. 30:20

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Late Easter

Since we were in Israel over Easter (which I'll post about later), we had a late Easter celebration today at the folks'.  My brother and his wife and their dog, Gracie, drove down from KC. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Getting started

Our first day began with a scrumptious breakfast that included cheesecake squares, pita bread, lots of veggies and my favourite, persimmons!   I grabbed an extra persimmon for lunch.  LOVE them!  We had them in Japan when I was a kid.

After breakfast, we boarded our tour bus (the one in the middle).

We were told to find 2 other "buddies".  Whenever we got back on the bus following an excursion, we were to make sure they were on board so that no one would be left behind.  My "buddies" were Jan and  Louise, and Al's were their husbands, Chris and Bill.

First stop was at this grocery store.  We were to purchase items for our lunches for the next few days.


Because Obama was in Jerusalem, there were road blocks everywhere, so Jim felt it was best to leave town.  But first he wanted to give us an overview of the surrounding area.

Looking outside of town toward Jericho and the Jordan Valley.

Then looking at Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.  The rectangular, salmon colored building on the top right of the hill is the King David hotel where Obama stayed.

As we left town, Jim pointed out this hill - called the Hill of Saul.  It is where King Saul had dwelt and where David would have played his harp for him (1 Samuel 16:23).  From on top of this hill, he would have had a good view of the valley.
Do you see the unfinished building to the right?  It was to be the Royal Palace of King Hussein of Jordan, intended to be his summer residence.  Construction started in the mid 1960's but was interrupted when Israel captured the area after the 1967 war.

In this valley below, Jonathan and his armor bearer crossed to attack the enemy (1 Samuel 14).  Back in those days, this area would have been forested.  In the 1500's, during the Turk invasion, the people were taxed according to how many trees they had, so  they chopped them down!

When we signed up for this trip, we assumed that we would see lots of Biblical sites and Jim would tell us the history of each location.  BUT, we were in for much more!  We were to learn many lessons and in fact have felt like we have taken a seminary course!  We were blown away and it will take a long time to process it all.

The Bible is timeless.  Its truths are secure and solid as stone.  We can read in the Bible "prophet's warning, a patriarch's prayer, a poet's psalm, or a preacher's challenging reminder." (Swindoll) The Book of books lives on.

It is an ancient Book, but it has never lost its relevance. God speaks through this Living Word; His very thoughts spoken to us.  Do we listen?

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Biblical study trip to Israel

We signed up to go on a trip to Israel with Jim Martin* many months ago.  And finally the day came.  Jim's sister, Sarah, who is my dear friend, took us to the airport. 

Our daughter, Mindy, came by to give last hugs - and took this photo.  The plane took us right over our town and I could see our house and the folk's house too.  I love looking down on clouds!

We arrived at Chicago.  Our next flight to Philadelphia kept getting delayed due to mechanical problems.  After several hours, they told us we would not be able to make our connections to Israel so they re-routed us to Newark to catch that flight to Tel Aviv.  Unfortunately, our seats were not going to be together.  But a kind, elderly lady was willing to trade so I could sit by Al.  I enjoy resting my head on Al's shoulder - don't think some stranger would think too kindly about that!

While walking down the aisle, I noticed another couple who were holding in their hands the itinerary of our Israel tour.  I introduced myself.  This couple was Jan and Chris, who became good friends during this trip!  Incidentaly, Jan's sister is married to Jim and Sarah's brother.   I also found out that she is also related to our friend, RJ Tippin! Sarah had told me they would be on this flight so we'd been trying to guess who they were.  There were not a lot of Caucasians on this flight as many Jewish families were headed to Israel for Passover. 

It was a long flight over the ocean, but we finally arrived in Tel Aviv!!  We mostly had carry-on, but our one check-in luggage (along with Lortab) was still stuck in Chicago!  It would be 2 days until it arrived.  Luckily, we had packed our carry-on for just such an emergency!  

Guess who also arrived in Israel on the same day we did?!  The President of the United States!  And it did affect our travel plans somewhat.  Our tour guide is very flexible and he told us ahead of time we might need to shuffle days around.

 The adventure is about to begin!

*James C. Martin founded Bible World Seminars in 1989. He currently offers biblical study travel programs on location in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Greece. Over the past 25 years, Martin and his wife, Stacey, have been involved in aerial, land, and museum photography and video filming throughout the Middle East and Europe. Their photos appear in works such as theNIV Archaeological Study Bible and Halley's Bible Handbook, among others.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Getting ready

We went on a trip to Israel!
Of course, Lortab had to come along in our suitcases.

He is the hospital pharmacy mascot and he has traveled around the world!

 The pharmacy gave Al a going-away gift.

The grandchildren had to play "tie up Papa" one last time!
 We knew we'd be missing these kiddos!!

There will be many posts and pictures to share!