We woke up early once again to begin our day with another amazing breakfast by the sea and getting to Ephesus for the moment it opened. We knew there would be many many people as we saw the cruise ships rolling in. :) Our tour guide told us that the city of Kusadasi has become such a tourist spot for cruise ships and it has made him quite sad. There are good and bad things about places becoming tourist attractions. Just like we find it at the lake at times, it's so quiet during other times, but summer it becomes triple triple the amount of people. It is good for business but the people who live in a place full time, it's not always great for them. :)
We loved staying at this place on the Aegean Sea, I know I did, and others in our group did as well. The sound of the waves in my window every morning and evening, watching the sunrise and the cruise ships coming and going, it was a real picturesque place.
So, back to getting on our way to Ephesus. :) Yes, it was filled with tons of people. There was lots to see and many ruins that had been restored. Very impressive to see. We walked the streets, saw the library, sat in the theatre, and walked through the terrace houses. In its day, it had been the 3rd largest city and Paul had been there 3 times. One time a riot had started in the city in Acts 19 and the people were filled with much confusion. Why? because Paul had been speaking about the One True God and the Ephesians were loyal to the great god of Artemis. Paul was being accused of persuading and misleading the people by saying that their gods made by human hands were not gods at all. Oh my, what a horrible thing to say! :) Paul was speaking truth though and the letter to the church recorded in Revelation 2:1-7 told them that they had lost their first love. Jesus knew their works, their labor, their endurance and that they didn't tolerate evil...but they had fallen far from him and he called them to repent. This is what we're all called to do, repent when we are not going in the right direction. The area here was full of unbelievers and full of paganism. But even though the people of the church had served faithfully, worked hard, they endured hardship and had sound doctrine, their hearts had gotten hard and calloused and unloving...they lost their first love. Our guide called this church a legalistic church and Mark Driscoll calls it a Fundamentalist Church. Let's be sure to keep sound doctrine but also listen to the Holy Spirit, allow Gods compassion to flow through us and not replace compassion with contempt. Repent and keep our first love....Jesus Christ.
After we left Ephesus, we toured through a Turkish rug factory and saw how they made their rugs which a truly a work of art. Women in the area will take up to 1 or 2 years to make a rug and then it's sold at this business. We saw and walked on all the different kinds of quality rugs and saw the differences with our own eyes. We were also given some lovely Turkish tea to drink, which was quite good. :) It was neat to see the women weaving these rugs with great care and dedication. Although, I was grossed out a bit seeing the live silk worms...ewww...but it truly is amazing how God uses everything in the world He created to be useful and not wasted in any way.
Before we went back to our hotel, we stopped at St. John's Basillica near Ephesus. This was cool to see too. Yes it was more ruins, but there's such rich history here. I really enjoyed seeing one of the first baptistries and discussing the meaning of baptism here. From on top of this place, you could also view the inside courtyard of a mosque in the valley below which we stopped at to tour as well. This mosque was a bit different than the one we saw in Istanbul but still the same idea. All their great windows face Mecca and they're encouraged to pray 5 times a day. I pray that their eyes will be opened and they would see that Jesus is Gods Son and Muhammad cannot save them.
Oh....and we also saw storks and turtles :)
We arrived back at our hotel with some time to enjoy the nice pool with the ocean view. Ah, I took full advantage of that! :) It was great staying here! The sunset was absolutely breathtaking here tonight too!! I'm so thankful for this trip and all that I'm learning. Tomorrow we're going on a cruise and off to the island of Patmos....can't wait!! :)