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Scrapbooking Israel Trip!

I’ll be starting my scrapbook this weekend, and wanted to share this with the rest of my fellow travelers . . . I had asked on a messageboard if anyone happened to have any papers or embellishments for this book, and look what arrived in my mailbox! Many many thanks to Laurel Jean for these . . . wow!The stickers have a web address on them: The rub-ons and patterned papers say on them. (I don’t know if you’ll find these items in your local scrapbooking store, but at least the manufacturers’ information is printed on them!

I’ll be starting my Yardenit (Jordan River) layout first…I can’t wait to get rolling!

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Shalom: The Video

*NOTE* to anyone subscribing via WordPress, my apologies that you’re getting a lot of re-post notifications. I’m cleaning up my blog, deleting and recategorizing things, and I can’t figure out how to get it to stop sending out emails! agh. If you see one that says [New post] in the title, just ignore it. Or know that it’s old! You can unsub that list by clicking on the link at the bottom.

I made a simple video using photos and video clips from my 2007 trip to Israel; below the video is the list of sites pictured. The video was created in iMovie. I was really bad at videos when I made this, and didn’t know how to export properly – so it’s awfully blurry!

Photos in the video:

Opening sunset and water soundbed: Sea of Galilee
Israeli flag, boat, and water view: boat ride on the Galilee
White flowers: from Mt of Beatitudes, overlooking Galilee
Two views of a river: Jordan River, site called “Yardenit”
Scripture: plaque at Yardenit
Baptism: Me in the Jordan River!
Rocks and water: Gideon Springs
Video of water: Mediterranean Sea at Caesarea
Tree with blue sky: from Tabgha, overlooking Galilee
Gnarled tree: a 2,000 year old olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane
Overlook: from Mt of Beatitudes, overlooking Galilee
Pathway: Garden of Gethsemane
Flowers against blue sky: Golan Heights
Flowers in the rocks: at the Garden Tomb
White flowers: Golan Heights
Ancient aqueduct: Caesarea
Mountainous overlook: Galilee view from Golan Heights
Valley overlook: Jezreel Valley from Mt Precipice near Nazareth
Two ocean overlooks: Caesarea, palace ruins
Pathway with benches: Garden Tomb
Rapid views: Church at Gethsemane, Via Dolorosa, carvings at Capernaum, Church at Gethsemane
Two views of steps: at Caiphas’ house (Jesus walked up these)
Via Dolorosa: Way of the Cross where Christ carried His cross to Calvary
Street view: Via Dolorosa
Overview of city of Jerusalem: from Mt Scopus
Rapid views: four views of the valley from Tel Megiddo (Armageddon)
Desert view: Masada
Video pan across valley: from Tel Megiddo
Ray of light: in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Box full of candles: in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Wreath in front of a fire: at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial
Round stained glass: at St Peter Gallicantu (where Peter denied Jesus)
Votive candles: at St Peter Gallicantu
Stained glass window: at St Peter Gallicantu
Video pan across Jerusalem: from Mt Scopus
“Hole” in the rock: Garden Tomb
Sign: on the door inside the Tomb

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The Power of the Cross

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” —I Cor 1:18

This evening I added two new crosses to my “crosswall”—this is an ever-growing collection of crosses from around the world. A friend used to have a website called Crosswall, promoting the idea of a collection of crosses as a conversation-piece in homes . . . unfortunately the site is no longer active. But it was a collection of crosswalls around the world—in living rooms, retreat centers, above baby cribs . . . ever since seeing that site I’ve always kept a crosswall in my home. (And I’m glad I have this large wall over my fireplace to house my collection!)
The large slat-style cross in the center is from Jerusalem, and the script on it is the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic.
The cross below is called the “Jerusalem Cross.”

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Shalom: His Name is Great!

“‘My Name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to My Name, because My Name will be great among the nations,’ says the Lord Almighty.” —Malachi 1:11

Indeed, the Name of the Lord is Great (and Wondrous! Magnificent! Perfect! and so much more!)—in Israel as well as in all nations!

My farewell image from Israel was this beautiful sunset as we departed Jerusalem. It was the only sunset I saw from that city, since we had our convention events each evening. What a blessing as we boarded our bus for Tel Aviv!

The trip home was fairly uneventful; 25 hours from the hotel to disembarking the airplane in Seattle. The last leg home—the shorter one—seemed so much longer than the first leg (10hrs), probably because it was light and everyone was awake (and the inflight movie was a terrible one!). After our ride home from the airport, and picking up my dog at the sitter’s, I promptly collapsed in sleep! I alternated being awake and asleep for the entire day and night (since it’s really daytime where my body thinks it is!) and now I’ve been up since 4am. Anyone have tips on how to re-set a body clock?

Thus ends my travel journal for this odyssey to the Holy Land; I know I will be returning there sometime, I loved it so very much. There is so much more I want to see, to know, to touch, and to experience. As I said earlier, I’ve never felt so “at home” in a land I’d never seen; and now I know it’s a place I’ll be connected to forever.

In coming weeks as my mind processes thoughts, I may post more on this blog about the trip, and the titles of those posts will begin with the word “Shalom,” if you would like to follow along with them. This blog will now likely turn back into a place for recruiting more assistance in making cards for our soldiers, as well as sharing my little creations with all of my artisan friends! Many thanks to all who followed along on this adventure with me!

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Shalom: He is Risen!

“Don’t be alarmed,” he [the young man dressed in a white robe] said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here!” —Mark 16:6

Today was our final day, and what a final day it was! The morning was spent with some friends walking around the Old City, both in the Christian and Moslem areas. In the Christian quarter I met a wonderful Christian Arab silversmith who gave me his testimony about coming to the Lord while he showed me his silver jewelry—much of it had half the writing in Hebrew and half in Arabic, pieces intended for Arab converts. (And of course I had to buy a piece!)

Our touring for the day included Caiphas’ house, St Peter Gallicantu (where Peter denied Christ 3 times), and closed by visiting the Garden Tomb and sharing in communion there at the end of our journey! A frantic bit of packing and a quick meal filled a short return to the hotel, and we boarded buses to Tel Aviv. Margaret, I have some bad news for you—your suitcase zipper finally bit the dust! So you now have a lovely red one, and it’s larger than your green one because I bought so much stuff!

The strike was averted for today so we’ll be on our way home shortly. (I’m posting this from Ben Gurion Airport.) We have a much shorter layover in Newark this time, PTL!

A crazy journey into the market! The photo on the left is a steep downhill—the young man in the black shirt is “riding” on a tire attached to the cart; it’s what they use for “brakes” when driving these heavy carts pell-mell down the hill!

This is Caiphas’ house with the Church of St Peter Gallicantu built over it. The actual dungeon is there, and we shared devotions at the bottom of that pit; a very powerful time.

These are the steps Jesus would have been marched up to Caiphas’ house. The real stones!
He really isn’t in the grave in the Garden Tomb, I checked myself!!
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Shalom: The Stones Cry Out

“I tell you,” He replied, “if [my disciples] keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” —Luke 19:40

The stones here in Jerusalem do indeed speak volumes, though I pray that they don’t stand in my place—the praise and worship times we have had at convention allowed us a powerful outlet for giving glory to God!

The stones pictured are all from the first century: upper left, the large stones on the Via Dolorosa are the old ones (they are in scattered locations along the streets) and the smaller ones are from later construction; lower left is from the heart of Antonia Fortress, the place where Christ was flogged, and the carvings in that stone are from a game called King’s Game—where a prisoner was chosen to be dressed up as a king and dice rolled for his fortunes. The photo on the right is another from the Fortress.
These photos are from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. These photos focus on the light that intrigued me, though I did take some of the ornate decoration all over the church. This church is likely not the actual site of Christ’s death; it would have been outside the city walls, and this church lies within it, but it’s a powerful remembrance nonetheless.
The Pools of Bethesda from the 5th Chapter of John. Not much water left there now, but it was a delight to see even a puddle way down there now.

The Via Dolorosa—where Christ carried the cross. A sobering, long, uphill walk in narrow streets.

Tomorrow we have convention in the morning, a few more places to visit in the afternoon, and then we begin the long journey home. I probably won’t be posting til I’m back in Washington (praise the Lord we have a short layover in Newark this time!)

A prayer request: please pray against a general strike in Israel tomorrow—if that happens we’ll be staying longer, and all services etc will be shut down for at least 12 hours, not the way to end our trip!

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Shalom: The Gift of Remembrance

“Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” —Joel 1:3

On pondering this evening, the theme for my day seems to be remembrance. This morning I found myself remembering the details of my day yesterday (sometimes quite a challenge), and struggling to write down what I did recall; I don’t want to lose a thing, so I have been trying to make notes as I go. I plan to create a scrapbook with not just photos and memorabilia from this trip, but the things God spoke to me throughout, as well as Scriptures that were preached at each site and others that came to mind during those visits.

After giving myself permission to miss the morning convention session, I took the 11am bus to the conference center where I’d meet up with my tour group for the afternoon. I got there early enough to take a wonderful walk around that area of town (very safe, no worries!). I met several locals, bought a newspaper, went to the ATM, and it felt very normal. I found what I thought was a subway station, but upon asking around for a subway map, I don’t think that was really a subway! When I found myself somewhat turned around (the area has many crisscrossing roads), an arrow-prayer seemed to set my feet to remembering where they needed to go.

We boarded our tour bus and were taken to Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial. It’s a difficult place to describe; and a difficult place to be in. It’s a beautifully created place, full of powerful memorabilia of all sorts from personal items left by those who were executed in the gas chambers, to photos and videos, text descriptions (all available in Hebrew and English both), audio and music. I read the captions and descriptions for a short time . . . but found it overwhelming. I began to cry as I wandered the zigzagging hallways, stopping to look at a photo that caught my eye, or a piece of video, but most often turned away and walked slowly through the exhibit. My pace slowed, I looked at fewer and fewer of the exhibits, and the hallways seemed to go on forever and I just wanted out. The evil that was perpetrated on the Jews—and in the name of Jesus—was horrendous, and somehow seeing this quantity of information at once tore me apart inside.

Close to the end of the exhibits is a Hall of Names—a large round room with a “cone” above the center, that space covered with photos and details of those who died. The outer walls were lined—and I mean lined—with hundreds and hundreds of notebooks filled with the names and biographical details of those who perished at the hands of the Nazis. The sheer size of the room and the number of books makes the victim count so very real. And so very crushing.

Two other buildings follow a walk through the memorial: one is pictured below, a fire in a very large dark room, with ashes gathered up from the gas chambers, a place for those who died to be buried and remembered as one people.

The final building is the most devastating, and is dedicated to the 1.5 million children who perished. The exhibit is a very very dark, large, round room with railings needed to make your way through. Mirrors around the outside reflect the dozen or so small votive candles in the center of the room; the reflections go on and on forever as haunting vocals float through the space. The names, ages, and countries of the children are read one by one, in voices that seem to come from different parts of the room, and are in the languages of each child.

I left with a profound sense of loss, and my spirit drained from the visit there. I’m glad I went, but I know that remembrances of that memorial will be with me for a long time to come.

Our next stop was something called “Model City”—a huge model of the old city of Jerusalem! Talk about a wow. It really helped in orienting my brain to all that I’ve learned, and gave me a real sense of what Jerusalem was probably like in Christ’s day. It helped that our tour guide reminded us of places we had been, and those we would be going on in the last two days of touring. (Last two? Did I really just type “last two”? Now I’m bummed!)

My final episode for the day was our convention session for the evening. We began with wonderful praises to the Lord, led by Tommy Walker again (he rocks!) . . . and were treated to a solo by a Venezuelan man playing some sort of Armenian flute-like instrument. This is the instrument he used when recording music for The Passion of the Christ! His interpretation of O Come O Come Emmanuel could not have been more appropriate for this place.

Pastor Jack Hayford preached the Word tonight, including a prophetic message concerning the breaking of strongholds. The whole assembly then broke into small groups to anoint one another and pray for one another, and the man who prayed for me reiterated so much of what God has already spoken to me on this trip! It felt as if the Lord was telling me, “Okay, let’s give it to you again, just so you remember this when you get back home!”

So I’m off to write in my (paper!) journal about those things, to engrave them even more fully into my heart. Goodnight, all, and be blessed!

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Shalom: Entering His Gates

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” —Ps 100:4

Oh how I have waited to post a blog entry with this verse! We’re here, inside the old city!

I took the morning off from conference today; I am just so tired. So here are some photos from yesterday. I need to jet to meet the tours for the afternoon (We’re going to Yad Vasham, the Holocaust Museum), but I at least had time to process some photos for you to enjoy.

The Regency Hotel where we’re staying. That’s our bus driver Gabi on the motorized wheelchair—does he have a license for that thing??

The Garden of Gethsemane contains trees that are inexplicably 2000 years old.

We took the Palm Sunday Walk from the top of the Mt of Olives.

Entering Zion Gate!

Misc scenes inside old Jerusalem.

Inside the Jewish Quarter in an underground-type area on a street called (?) Cardo. Lots of places to shop as well as many excavated ruins from Christ’s time! I’m hoping to get back down there, I had to leave early to help a fellow traveler.
The approach to the women’s side of the Wailing Wall. These lower stones are the original wall, and people pray there remembering the destruction of the city and praying for the future rebuilding of the temple as prophesied.

Our tour guide Naphthali is so awesome! He’s a Levite, by the way.

This is the original flooring! The large stones from the temple fell and created the cracks you see. The single stone, upper right, was once the stone where the herald would stand and blow the ram’s horn.

The Southern steps—lower ones are from Christ’s day! They stretched all across the side of the wall. The steps are built in a musical pattern—one deep step, one shorter, and you couldn’t rush across them because of the irregularity, causing everyone to slow down to a more meditative pace.

The first evening of the conference, with Tommy Walker leading worship. He actually wrote a song while here, all about “Goin’ up” to the Holy City, how appropriate!

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Shalom: Shabbat Shalom!

There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.” —Leviticus 23:3

I wish the spot I am sitting at had a better view of sunrise! This is all I can see from here.

“Shabbat Shalom!” is the greeting used here for Shabbat (sabbath) weekly here. People greet each other with that phrase in stores, on streets…even the tour site announcements on intercoms began with “Shabbat Shalom!”

Shabbat in Israel has been a real learning experience for me. It began Friday evening and lasted until Saturday evening—reflecting the rest God took during His work of creation. No work can be done on Shabbat, and many things here are arranged to accomodate that. El Al doesn’t fly. Stores and government services are all closed, with the exception of things needed for security and other urgent services. People do all their cooking ahead of time, and eat only pre-prepared cold foods. I got stuck in the “shabbat elevator” at our hotel—it stopped automatically at every floor (and does so all day every day anyway) so passengers need not press a button. Even the air conditioning and lights in my room have a shabbat setting—meaning they go off automatically so no switch-flipping is required. (Today I have to find out how to turn that off; the last two nights I got up regularly to get the air back on . . . the only way we found we could do that was to open and close the hotel room door!)

Even though these practices are quite foreign to my American sensibilities, what a witness to God’s command to rest! I am always busy busy busy. Even when sitting still I have a million things processing in my mind (or on my laptop!). Watching a whole country shut down for 24 hours proves that all that “busy-ness” is not required . . . life can be lived without constant work! (Who’d a thunk it?)

I’ve spent a little rest time with the Lord this Sunday morning out on the balcony of the hotel. Just sitting and watching, listening, drinking in this city that oddly feels comfortable. Like someone said to me last night, it feels like we’ve come home to a city we’ve never been in before. The promises made to Abraham are also given to Christians, grafted into the family of Abraham by faith, so we also are promised the restoration of God’s holy city, so that could be why. Yesterday I purchased a beautiful pendant; it is silver with mixed colours of roman glass in it, and the silver detail shows a fish grafted into the Star of David, with a menorah atop both. I loved it so much when I saw it, because of its reminder of my heritage with Israel as part of the family of God.

It’s been very quiet til just a little bit ago; I’ve been listening to crickets, and a dog barking somewhere in the distance. The soft rumble of a few cars is turning slowly into an occasional hum. A few birds chirp off in the distance, hopefully enjoying the cool morning air like I am, and watching the sky go from a slate greyblue to brighter sky blue, with a tinge of purple all around the horizon.

The view from our hotel balcony.

Well it’s about time to go off for another day of touring, and the convention begins this evening . . . I should be posting more pictures again when I get home, but depending on how crazy the schedule gets, time may be more limited for the rest of the trip; they tell us we’ll be busy busy busy so I guess that means Shabbat really is over!

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Shalom: Making a Way in the Desert

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” —Is 43:19

Today we witnessed prophecies being fulfilled in our modern times! The Dead Sea is coming to life as we speak; 30 years ago it was completely undeveloped, and we witnessed new trees and agriculture, farms that are watered by newly appearing underground streams. There is a “way in the desert” (the highway we drove on) that did not exist before. People didn’t live there except the bedouins in tents. But now—life is returning to this formerly barren region, and God is blessing His people here.

Morning view from the balcony of my hotel.

Bedouin tent camps along the road beside the Dead Sea. What a hard life!
The history of Masada was absolutely fascinating, despite the 103 temperature and burning sun. I may have to do a bit of reading up on this whole piece of Israeli history; I never knew Josephus was tied to Masada, but I learned differently today!
Checkpoints—fewer and less scary than I expected, but still there. Soldiers at these checkpoints were friendly and waved to us.

Swimming in the Dead Sea is just plain weird. You can’t stay upright—the water forces your body backward or forward til you’re floating on top….great exercise for your abs to fight the water’s power!
This sign was in the Dead Sea parking lot. If only it were as easy as words on a sign . . .