Monday, December 05, 2011

Day 12 of Touring the Holy Land

Wow! One more amazing sunrise out my window over the Holy City of Jerusalem. I can hardly believe we've now arrived on the last day of our tour. Even just posting on Facebook this morning that this was our last day, I received a couple of comments of how our journey couldn't possibly be over because they didn't want the tour to stop. I'm so glad that you've enjoyed our journey so much. :) As I finish up this last post while sitting in the Minneapolis airport,  I am also saddened. We've already said good-bye to Anne this morning, Connie this afternoon and soon Valerie will be leaving for her flight home too. The rest of us will board our plane in an hour to come back to Saskatoon. The photos will need to be posted from home tomorrow. :) It's been great to spend this time together.

I've heard a bit about the Temple Museum and so I asked around and found a way for us to go for a tour there. I am grateful that Arie was able to book a time for us there so we could go on our own as it wasn't part of our itinerary. We had a free day until 3pm so we left the hotel at 9:30 took a half hour walk to the Old City, through the Jaffa Gate to find the Temple Institute.
The scriptures tell us in Zechariah 6, of a time in the future when the Temple will be rebuilt. So seeing and hearing of the artifacts that have been restored and are being restored in anticipation of the restoration was quite exciting.
I know there is controversy whether it will be rebuilt like the 2nd Temple or the 1st, or whether man will rebuild it or will The Messiah. It was still really really interesting to tour it and watch the video of how the 2 million dollar gold Menorah was built and moved to its spot across from the Western Wall. It was an important and exciting time for many of the Jews.

One of the women in our group has a family member living in Jerusalem so she came and walked with us to the Temple Institute as she had never been there before either. That was great cause then we didn't get lost walking on our own through the Old City. :) After we left there, because we were so close to it, we walked through The Herodian Quarter, which is the largest and one of the most important sites from Second Temple times. It consists of 6 houses built on a hillside overlooking the Temple Mount. In the courtyard of one of these houses is believed to be the place where Peter denied Christ and in another where some Jews believe Christ was accused.
It was amazing to stand in these places underneath the main Jerusalem streets today, that were dated back 2,000 years ago. 
I was so glad to be able to see these two places with her today.
She also took us to The Christ Church, which is the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East, built in 1849. It's a beautiful church with no ornamentation or gawdiness, just simple but elegant beauty.

On our way back, we stopped at the Arab market by the Jaffa Gate so I could pick up a gift for Alysha and my boys at home. One last chance to have some fun bartering in the market.  Then we went back to our hotel and packed, weighed, repacked, weighed again, repacked and then weighed our bags once more. :) There we go, got them all under 50 lbs so we're not charged extra for bags that are too heavy from our purchases.

 So the bus is packed, we took our group picture with our driver and our guide. Now we have one more stop before we leave Jerusalem. The sun was getting lower as we made our way to the Garden Tomb. This is one of my favorite places to be. As we walked in, groups were singing worship songs, and others were praying. 

It was beautiful heavenly music to our ears. How could our hearts not fill up while we walked through the Garden. We listened to our guide give the evidence of how they believe this may be the more probable site of where Jesus was crucified and buried.
Seeing the empty tomb with the sign "He is not here, He is Risen" was extremely moving. I read the crucifixion account from the book of Matthew and we sang Hallelujah and had our own individual communion and prayed. Matthew ends with Christ commissioning his disciples to "go into all the world and preach the Good News".
This was such a perfect send off from Jerusalem. What a wonderful way to leave the Holy Land and go back home. We have walked where Jesus walked and healed others and preached the Good News. Now it is our turn to share His Love with others.

We had one more "last supper" together at a quaint little restaurant in an Arab town just outside of Jerusalem. What a lovely meal of falafals and meat and rice. So tasty!  Arie knew just the wonderful place to take us too. :) He knew we'd need one more good meal before sending us off onto the plane in Israel to go back home. I know I'll miss this place...I think we all will. We've grown quite fond of the Holy Land and very fond of the Jewish people. Such wonderful people we've met and will hopefully continue to grow relationships with...and we know how we can continue to pray for all Jewish people. God has not brought us here for nothing. Our eyes have been opened in many ways and so now we know much more than we did when we first came here.
Now it's time for nearly 30 hours of airports and flying. We slept, read and acted silly to pass the time. Kyrstin was having quite the time of making funny pictures and videos on Danielle's computer so that we could all laugh and be goofy together. :)  What fun!!  It is so good to have all ages, from young to not as young :) in the group (right Frances?) :)

 Kyrstin had Frances in front of the computer making silly faces too, along with others right there laughing and bein goofs. :) It was good. Yes we had to wait in the airports for a while but at least we weren't rushed to make our flights on time and we had time to get used to the time changes. It was all worth it cause we were coming home with amazing memories of walking where Jesus walked. But the challenge to us is not only having walked where He walked, but are we walking AS he walked.  That is our calling each and every day.

No comments: