Friday, May 30, 2008

Artsy Doodle Inc.

Today was the ribbon cutting ceremony for my friend Bonnie's new store Artsy Doodle. I am so excited about this place and believe it will be a great learning center for kids and adults to express themselves in artistic ways. She has a great vision and love for art and people. It is a wonderful combination. Visit her web page http://artsydoodleinc.com/ for more information about her business and for upcoming events. May 31, 2008 will be her grand opening to the public. I suggest you stop by and see how amazing she and her store is.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Progress

Sometimes progress seems slow
I'd ask "Was I even growing?"
There is no visible sign
It was times that I never saw progress on the outside
that deep within roots were being formed
into attributes that last longer
than mere outward beauty
When these roots cling deep
Beauty can't help but to arise
it transforms all the waiting
into a masterpiece
that would never have arrived
without much anticipation

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Peter's Mother-In-Law is Healed




"When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began waiting on them."

Matthew 8:14,15


I can't express what I felt when I was where Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law. I knew being where Jesus stood and ministered would be powerful and I accepted the awe and wonder of it. Driving and experiencing Banias and the Sea of Galilee was my favorite part of the trip. I was so blown away by all the history of the area. Jesus walked on water here, He ministered and healed people and spoke boldly about God. All around me Jesus could have been, and I longed just for a moment to see what it would have been like to see Him love in person. Just a glimpse into that age and time would have been amazing. But being in this area and seeing things like Peter's house in the video above, I felt like I actually did see a little taste of what it was like.


When reading the Bible I often felt disconnected from Jesus and His time. It seems so long ago when people lived in places without modern accoutrement's and were ruled by kings. But walking and seeing buildings and places Jesus visited made the Bible so much more real to me. It didn't seem like this far off phenomenom that happened. I touched stone that Jesus possibly walked on and was right where He was. I still get chills right now.


Bryan and I talked about what Jesus did at this place and why it pressed on my heart so deeply that I had to pray there. We got on our knees and praised Jesus for what He did there and asked our Savior if He would heal me to. I have prayed this prayer many times and even if the road will be longer, I will never accept Lupus as something that is ok in my body. I will ask and plead to my Jesus to heal me and I believe He will (if He has not already!!!). I was overwhelmed with joy and amazement that I could pray right where Jesus healed someone for my healing as well. I thought of so many instances of hope and faith and prayed God would honor my desire to simply "touch the cloak."


Being here was one of the most memorable moments of the trip in the aspect of feeling the power of Jesus. It was pure and real right down to the stones we sat on and prayed beneath our feet. There was nothing more than asking and pleading and wanting Jesus so bad. I was honored even just to be where He was. We don't awe Jesus as much as we should.

Floating on the Dead Sea: Our Last Day

Finally we thought, something to cool us off! I was so excited to float. I heard so much about this place. I was actually kind of worried because I heard you might experience some pain because the water is so salty on your skin. You are not supposed to shave that day or even use the bathroom (# 2) because it will hurt your skin. I shaved the day before! Would I be ok?


Our journey to this beach was exciting. We actually hitch hiked. We had no bus or taxi to travel from the Dead Sea Caves to the beach. If you look at how far the cave was from the Dead Sea you can sympathize with our dilemma. We walked down to where the bus originally dropped us off and kind of looked at each other like, "What are we going to do next?" We sat at a covered bus stop and thought. No buses would be by to bring us there. It was either walking...or hitch hiking. Bryan stood out on the road and pointed his pointer finger down. In Israel you don't put your thumb up, it means something bad. I am not quite sure what it means, but we didn't want to aggravate anyone, we wanted a ride, so we pointed down. About 13 cars drove by before I realized what I needed to do. I had to sacrifice my shade to use my womanly beauty to help the situation. I told Bryan I should try and sure enough the second car that drove to us stopped and we jumped in. It was a Jewish man our age and he was very kind to us. Usually someone who picks up a hitch hiker will bring them as close as they can without going out of their way. But this man drove us all the way down the long driveway to the private beach we wanted to go to. Hitch hiking is very common in Israel. Nice normal people do it, so it wasn't abnormal or necessarily dangerous for us to do it. I enjoyed it and loved the AC in the car for that 5 minutes. Imagine if we had to walk all that way? No way!

The beach we went to cost money, but it was well worth it. I t was clean and they had chairs and a good bathroom and showers. Can you see my excitement?

The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth. It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. That is WAY salty. The primary source of the Dead Sea is the Jordan River. It flows here and stays here and because it has no outlet it becomes salty.

So here I go! I went first and Bryan took photos. I was actually apprehensive to sit down and float. The water felt slimy too and the bottom was slippery. I wasn't afraid of any water creatures though...it is impossible for them to survive (or at least I think so). I did feel pain from the water even though I shaved the day before. That stuff is way salty...some got in my mouth by accident and I nearly threw up.

Ahhhh....a nice relaxing day at the beach!

Here goes Bryan!

Now it is time for the all well known mud. It is important to take it from the bottom of the water. It feels good on the skin.

My mud girl pose! We didn't have enough time to let it dry because we were going to try and make our bus back to Jerusalem.

Now it is Bryan's turn. He is my favorite mud sculpture man.

This photo captures the relief I had after I showered. We didn't have soap, but just to get the salt and mud off made me feel like a new person.

After we got rinsed off we headed back to the main road. We were driven to the beach and now we hoped that someone would pick us up on the way back to the main road, but we had no such luck. In fact we waked the entire way which probably might have been 2 miles. I hallucinated and nearly cried because I was so hot. There was nothing around us but desert and random cement building with no windows or doors. Finally we got to the bus stop and we determined after 10 minutes that we missed our bus and had to wait another hour perhaps for the next one. It was at this moment that I simply expressed my frustration. I am sure the desert animals had fun listening to my frustrations. I also had to pee very badly. I had to drink a lot of water while of the trip and I prayed for places to go to the bathroom if needed. It had to be our last day that there was not hope for a restroom. So I gave up grumping about being there and went behind this cement wall. Then I walked back to the bus station and waited.

This sign points to where we walked from...just reading Desert Oasis proves that we really were in the middle of no where. But soon our bus came. It picked us up and we finally relaxed to be on the bus with AC and then we noticed it was pulling into a stop station and he stopped the bus (& AC) and said they were taking a 15 minute break. Bryan and I looked at each other and just laughed. Finally we were brought back to Jerusalem safely. Bryan had to stand most of the way though. We were let off near our hotel (which is uncommon for bus drivers to do) and walked to our place and waited for our friends to pick us up.

We ate dinner with them and they drove us to the airport. We left right after midnight and I was so happy because Bryan got them to change our seats to the front row of our section. That meant more leg room! If you have ever been on a 12 hour flight you might understand how valuable this was. On the flight there I was in pain because I had no where to stretch. So Bryan and I took turns laying and sleeping on the ground throughout the flight. It actually went by nicely. We had two more flights to go and we were silly and happy as we were completely jet lagged and exhausted. I laughed at everything.

It was great to be back finally and see Gracey. She pouted for a couple of days just to make her point that she missed us.

Now that I am done with posting photos, I hope to post only really neat video clips of the area. I also want to write more of my reflections and all the many things the Lord showed me and did in my heart during this trip. I never thought I would get to do anything like this. I am so thankful for God's love and continued healing in my body. He gave us the opportunity to go and I am glad we listened and took the challenge!

Qumran: Dead Sea Scrolls

This is sadly our last day in Israel. We woke up early, had breakfast, packed all of our stuff and brought it to be gaurded in the lobby, took pictures with our staff friends at the hotel and then headed off to the central bus station and hoped a bus to Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found starting in 1947.

We travels over an hour and our bus dropped us off here. Where is here? I am not sure! It is kind of in the middle of a desert. We saw tons of camels and shepherds as we traveled here. So I knew we were heading towards desert land!

We went to the place where the Essens lives. They were a deeply Jewish religious sect that lived here to be alone with the Lord. They lived mostly in silence and prayer and studied God's word and copied it. The Dead Seas scrolls were a copy of scripture that was hidden in the caves because it was ordered that Biblical documentation be destroyed. These copies of scripture survived. They include:
Frequency of books found Books Ranked According to Number of Manuscripts found (top 16)
Psalms 39, Deuteronomy 33, 1 Enoch 25, Genesis 24, Isaiah 22, Jubilees 21, Exodus 18, Leviticus 17, Numbers 11, Minor Prophets 10, Daniel 8, Jeremiah 6, Ezekiel 6 Job 6, 1 & 2 Samuel 4.

This is a scroll. I don't think it is an actual dead sea scroll, but perhaps a representation of what one would look like.

These are the caves surrounding the site. They look so inviting! I couldn't believe I was in the actual area where they were discovered. I remembered studying about the Dead Sea Scrolls in high school and now I was actually there!

Here is our cave. Bryan and I climbed to it! can you see it way up there? I KNOW! We weren't exactly allowed to, but we weren't stopped by anyone so we just continued. It was a very very very hard climb mostly because it was extremely hot. But I couldn't pass the opportunity up. It was our last day!

This is the view from the cave. You can see the dead sea in the distance. The air is very stale and dry. We were very high up.

Here I am still trying to catch my breath. It was amazing though because I was able to do this without getting sick. I really feel like the Lord has given healing to me body and this was the event that proved it. I climbed a mountain in the desert!

We took a picture together celebrating what we did together!

Bryan looking out towards Qumran.

The Temple Mount

To go into the Temple Mount area you have to wait until the Muslims basically allow you to. It was never a Muslim territory, in fact the actual Temple Mount (the golden dome building) was simply a Jewish monument, not a Muslim Mosque. So we waited in line until the Muslims had their call to prayer and worship time and then entered in. I saw this sign where we were waiting and thought it was interesting so I shot a photo and this man walked by and accidental got in it. I liked it better, however, then the clean cut photo I took after.

Here is Bryan entering the bridge that leads to the Temple Mount area.

We noticed destruction as we walked along the bridge of some of the city wall.

As we entered in there are guards everywhere. It is a very heavy area because of the wars and symbolism of what the Temple Mount stands for. It was not uncommon to see military everywhere with guns and weapons ready to use.

This is at the actual Temple Mount. I got this photo of this Muslim praying to his god. Right after this we were completely discriminated against by the person standing at the door. He didn't allow us to enter because we were not Muslim. It was very rude.

Here is the golden dome that is a very well known site in the Jerusalem sky line.

This little boy was the highlight of this whole experience. In fact going to this area was so hard and hurtful because of the way we were looked at. They knew we weren't Muslims and were not afraid to show us with their stares and frowns that they did not like us. This boy was completely exploring on his own. I never saw his parents of siblings anywhere. What a playground to have!?

After we shopped a little. We were still in an Arab section. I actually tried to go to the bathroom in a public restroom but was basically not allowed to go because again, I was not Muslim. All the women who were kept going in front of me and not even caring I was waiting. This man was such a difficult bargainer. We wanted to buy something and he was trying to sell us very expensive stuff. After like what seemed an hour we did purchase something from him and at a reasonable price.

We left the old city and this is what I saw as I looked back on the wall for the last time that trip.

We headed to the bus and actually made it to where we wanted to go. We are experts now!!!

Ben Yehuda street is a major street in Jerusalem. It has many attractions for everyone. This man was playing his violin and it sounded very pretty so we dance right here!

This is Mc Donald's. We went in here to sit down and cool off since it was a very warm day. A value meal was about 10$.

This is a mural on a building. It was very life like!

Kippa's!

We went inside the mall and the entrances are a little different from what it is like in the states. You have to go through security.

Monday, May 26, 2008

ORTHODOX ISRAELI YOUTHS BURN HUNDREDS OF NEW TESTAMENTS

Orthodox Jews last week burned hundreds of New Testaments in the latest act of violence against Christians in Israel. Uzi Aharon, the deputy mayor of the Israeli town of Or Yehuda, says he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and urged people to turn over hundreds of New Testaments recently distributed by missionaries. The books were dumped into a pile and religious students set them afire in a lot near a synagogue. Aharon called the arson "purging the evil among us." He later said he was sorry for the book burning and was aware the incident may have caused damage to relations between Christians and Jews. Bible Society Director in Israel, Victor Kalisher, the son of Holocaust survivors, said, “As Jews we were raised and taught that where books are burned, worse things can happen.... What worries me is that nobody has stood up against this. It seems there is a war against Messianic Jews in Israel. Nobody cares about the many cults in Israel. These cults, which are not based on the Bible, don't pose a threat to the establishment. But God forbid a Jew learns about the Messiah from the [Christian] Bible," Kalisher said. (J.Post) "They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service." John 16: 2

- Sid Roth's Messianic Vision, May 22, 2008 Jerusalem Online

1st Century Road and Capital

This is the Mt. of Olives with the church of Nations in the back ground. To the far right you can see the wall seperating the Mt. of Olives and the grave yards that I spoke of before.

This is a tomb of probably a king. I am not exactly sure which one it was but I know it was in Biblical times.

Another tomb.

These are the graveyards. I explained previously that there are different section...a Christian, Jewish, and Muslim ones.

This is a First Century road meaning it is one Jesus would have seen and walked on. The tall colomns are called capitals. Every city had them on their main street.m So this was the main street in th Biblical Jerusalem.

A cute little painting on a window.

Bryan posing as we walked down the Frirst Century main street.

Bryan took this photo of me sitting on the side of the First Century Street. How I wish the stone could talk!