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Day 4: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

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I know. This post may seem outdated but I still want to complete my post on my once-in-a-lifetime-trip to the Holy Land. I want to keep my word and continue sharing with you our memorable trip in the land of the heroes of faith. I so appreciate your patience in waiting for this to finally go live.

On Day 4 of our Bible Lands exploration, a cloudy and yet cozy morning greeted us. All of us were excited to see that our itinerary included Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Jesus’ Boat Museum, a boat ride in the Sea of Galilee and a quick stop at a farmer’s market.

Oh yes, we had St. Peter’s fish for lunch that day. It was a bit funny for some of us. I personally thought St. Peter’s Fish is something I haven’t tried out before. To my surprise, it was a Tilapia–a kind of fish I usually had back in the Philippines. (lol!) 🙂

First Stop: Chorazin

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A city cursed by Jesus–that’s what Chorazin is known for. It was cursed because people there did not accept Jesus’ teachings (Matthew 11:20-24, Luke 10:13-14).

The very first thing Bro. Yoni, our tour guide, showed us in Korazim National Park was a tree with thorns (i.e. Zizyphus spina-Christi)–the type of tree from which the crown Jesus wore on the cross was made.

Dr. Berrey took his turn to orient us about a few things in the said park. He showed us an ancient synagogue allowing us to imagine what it was like to be sitting and listening to Jesus’ sermon. We also found the replica of the Seat of Moses from which Torah used to be read.

Significant ruins shown to us by Bro. Yoni in the park included houses made with black basalt stones, carved pillars, ritual baths (mikveh) and olive oil press among others.

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Chorazin

 

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Just sharing a beautiful shot by a kind brother in Christ. I was trying to jot down notes so I can remember a few of the many pieces of information from our trip, which I hope to relay to you. 🙂

Bonus Stop

Bro. Yoni Simmons graciously showed us a sycamore tree before we headed to Bethsaida. We all had fun there as Pastor Matthew Yong tried to portray Zacchaeus. Pastor Gilbert Castillo was asked by Dr. Berrey to read a passage that mentions a sycamore tree.

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Pastor Matthew Yong on his way to the top. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Photo credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

Next Stop: Bethsaida

Along with Chorazin, Bethsaida was cursed by Christ for the same reason–the people there failed to repent after hearing His preaching.

Bethsaida is in the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was rocky and has beds of wild flowers.

Some claim that the god Moloch was discovered there.

Different areas of the park are labeled using big slabs of stones. Below are a few of them.

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Next Stop: Boat Museum

Our next stop was in a stellar boat museum where the “boat of Jesus” is preserved. Thanks again to Bro. Kenneth Cheong for allowing me to borrow his photos to show you how Jesus’ boat looked like. We were shown a video clip on how this boat was preserved.

Also, we took a few minutes to see a couple of model boats, fossils and remains related to fishing during the time of Jesus.

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Jesus’ Boat

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A few notes: We met a Filipina who has been living in Israel and of course, as a typical Filipino would do after finding a “kababayan” in another country, we took a photo with her. The rest of the photos are some of the displays in the museum. The one on the lower left has a label that says: “‘Judea Capta’ Coin (Enlarged Replica) Minted by the Romans to celebrate their victory over the Jews in a maritime battle, possibly in memory of the battle of Migdal. The coin shows Titus in a triumph pose, his foot resting on the prow of a ship. “

Next Stop: Boat Ride in the Sea of Galilee

Memories of joy flow in my mind as I remember sailing through a calm Sea of Galilee on that windy day. It’s been their custom there to make pilgrims sing their respective national anthem as flags of represented countries were raised and so we did. We also sang hymns and just observed the places around this significant sea.

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Photo credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

Next Stop: Capernaum

Capernaum is just another city in Galilee where Jesus used to preach (Matt. 4:13; Luke 4:31; Mark 1:21, etc.) It is also known as His hometown. Sadly though, it was cursed by Jesus since the people there, just like those in Bethsaida and Chorazin, did not heed to his message (Matthew 11:23-24).

There, we were shown ruins of an ancient synagogue made of limestone. Just like in Chorazin, we saw an olive oil press, carved pillars and ritual baths (mikveh).

St. Peter’s synagogue is also situated there which is believed to have been the place where a paralytic man was lowered in Mark 2:1-12.

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Last Stop: Farmer’s Market

I don’t have any photo of the place but it was where pilgrims get some souvenirs for their loved ones. I remember getting a $7-worth of a piece of chocolate bar for Joanna. Yes, things in Israel are bit pricey. Souvenirs you can find there were dried apricots, figs and other fruits, tea, candies and others.

Reflection:

Remembering the places we have visited always humbles my heart. These places are evidences that my Jesus is real. My faith is not in vain.

Have you believed Jesus to be your own Savior and Lord? Have you heard the gospel preached? Have you accepted it?

I am ending this post with these verses.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-19

If you are a believer of Jesus like me, let us remember to thank Him for the eternal life we have through Him. If you haven’t believed on Jesus as your Savior and Lord, may this be the day of your salvation and start journey with God.

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

The KEY SECRET to Awesome Spaghetti

My husband loves eating but he didn’t really care for spaghetti at all. That was true until I did something different!

Having grown up in the Philippines, I cannot give up my delight to eat spaghetti just like that. The painful thing is I cannot find here in Bangladesh the exact Filipino style spaghetti sauce I grew up eating.

Thankfully, some of my friends from the Philippines thoughtfully send me Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce from time to time. My husband also lets me buy a lot of that whenever we go to my home country. May God continue to bless them for their generosity! 🙂

Today, I am sharing with you the secret to making your husband LOVE spaghetti even more.

Here you go:

Ingredients:
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp onion paste
3 tbsp ground beef
2 tsp green chilies (optional but strongly recommendable for spicy food lovers) 🙂
1 tsp. black pepper powder
1 tsp coriander leaves/parsley (optional)
6-7 tbsp Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce
Parmesan cheese or any grated cheese available
1/4 kg pasta

Instructions (for the pasta):
KEY SECRET: Boil your pasta SEPARATELY until it’s al dente (i.e. slightly undercooked) then set it aside.

Instructions (for the sauce):
1. Heat the wok. Add the olive oil.
2. SautÊ garlic paste until golden brown. Add in the onion paste, green chilies and ground beef. Season with salt and black pepper.
3. Add in Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce and thin it out a little bit with water. Add in your pasta. Adding your al dente pasta into your sauce while it is being cooked in the wok enables the pasta to absorb all the bursting flavors of your mouth-watering sauce. Cook the pasta in the sauce until it’s succulent enough to eat.
4. Serve while it’s warm.
5. Remember to drizzle your delectable spaghetti with grated cheese!

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The last thing you have to do is brace yourself as you hear your husband’s compliment about your Spaghetti. Enjoy! 🙂

“She (a woman who fears the Lord) rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.” Proverbs 31:15 [emphasis mine]

I hope you are continually enjoying your duty as a mom and wife! Be blessed! 🙂

Leaning on Jesus,

 

 

4 Easy Steps: Banana Muffins Even Toddlers Can Bake

Banana Muffins Even Toddlers Can Bake

“Baking is how you start kids at cooking in the kitchen. It’s fun whether it’s baking bread or cookies. With baking, you have to be exact when it comes to ingredients.” ~Sandra Lee

My daughter is now three years old and she loves spending time with me. One of the activities she enjoys doing with me, of course, aside from playing, is baking. I would like to share with you a photo of my little moppet and I while baking.

Joanna & I baking

Joanna is in charge of mixing up the dry ingredients and I mix up the wet ones. She’s one little happy baker.

Writing out this first-ever recipe that she has tried is worth-doing. Maybe some moms would agree with me so here is the recipe that we have customized.

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
3/4 sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp custard powder (optional)
1/2 tbsp cinnamon powder
1/3 cup of oil
1 large egg
3 big bananas or 6 small ones

Instructions:
1. Mix up all the dry ingredients.
2. Mix up all wet ingredients (whisked egg, mashed bananas and oil).
3. Scoop them up into the muffin tray.
4. Pre-heat the oven and set  it up to 190°C (375 °F).  Bake for 12 minutes.

Now, you can either print this recipe out or get a pen and recipe card and jot down this simple recipe. Please try it with your toddler. 🙂 I promise that this will be such a fulfilling experience not only for you, but most especially for your toddler who enjoys adventure at this stage.

What activities do you enjoy with your toddler? Please share it with me so my daughter and I can try it as well. Thanks in advance! 🙂

Banana Muffins

What Life is Like in Bangladesh Part 1

“Are you really in Bangladesh now?!?”

“What are you doing there? What is life like over there?”

I know. It’s a little fascinating at times that most of the new people I meet always get shocked, or I should say, excited when I tell them that I am living in Bangladesh! I really would love to give them a detailed answer but normally, we just have a limited time so I can’t really elaborate my answer.

Considering the aforementioned situation, I had a meeting with me, myself and I in the conference room of my brain and I concluded that it would be interesting to write out my answers so I can also give a much better thoughtful response using a good chunk of time.

Now, it’s finally here. The answer to the top FAQs of every person I meet the first time, after mentioning that I live here in Bangladesh, a beautiful green pasture. Green Bangladesh “Wait, did you say ‘Green Pasture?!?'”

Yes, you heard it right. Bangladesh is literally covered with green meadows especially in the rural areas, but this isn’t what the world considers to be a so-called “greener pasture.”

Alright, enough beating around the bush since I don’t want to make you wait too long. 🙂

1. Why do you live in Bangladesh?

This is the top question I am asked in any first time conversation. Well, I came here first of all because my husband is a local of this country and I am here to support him in his desire to do his share in penetrating this nation with the seed of the gospel. That was the theme of our sacred union anyway–to join as lights together for Christ. 

2. What’s the general flavor of Bangladeshi food?

Bangladeshi food is generally hot and spicy. The main spices present in every dish here are onions, garlic, plain cumin powder, plain turmeric powder, plain chili powder. bay leaves and garam masala, a fragrant blend of ground spices used in Indian cuisine, often containing black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, and turmeric.

I have learned to cook local Bangladeshi dishes and they are pretty simple and easy.

Watch out for some recipes I would share with you in the future.

Now, I have to debunk the myth that Bangladeshis, just like Indians, eat just chicken curry everyday. I would say that it might be true for other families but not for ours and the other Bangladeshi families I know.

We have what we call “Daal” or Lentil soup, “Shak” or sautĂŠed greens, “Alu Vorta” or mashed potatoes, “Daal Vorta” or mashed lentils and many more for lunch and dinner.

Bangladeshi Food

upper left: Fish Curry; upper right: alu vorta (mashed potato with fried onions and mustard oil) lower left: crab curry; lower right: sautĂŠed water spinach (kangkong)

Daal Vorta

Daal Vorta–mashed lentils in mustard oil and chopped onions

normal Bangladeshi combo meal

Here’s a typical Bangladeshi set of meal: chicken curry and shak (any vegetable tops). Chicken curry can be replaced with fish, shrimp, crab or assorted veggie curry.

Fried eggs and boiled fish with greens. See? These dishes don't have so much spices.

Fried eggs, boiled tomatoes and boiled fish with greens. See? These dishes don’t have so much spices.

In our family, we usually prepare Biryani (see photo below) and fried aubergine when we have guests at lunch or dinner. If we serve Pulao rice, we pair it with chicken or beef curry.

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Yummy Biryani-a mixture of steamed aromatic rice, meat, spices , potatoes and other optional vegetables.

I hope I didn’t make you drool by showing these mouthwatering dishes. Please come and visit us sometimes and I’ll be more than willing to cook these dishes for you.

3. Describe Bangladeshi people.
Bangladeshis are beautiful people in and out if you get to know them deeply.

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These are friendly college girls I met years ago in the village and I praise God for the privilege to share the gospel with them. They were quite receptive to the gospel. They did not outwardly profess faith in Jesus Christ right there and then, but I was thrilled to hear them ask questions about God.

Generally, their generosity is displayed when someone visits their house. They wouldn’t come to your house empty-handed. If you invite them for lunch or dinner, they will give your household some sweets in return.

Bangladeshi sweets come in different shapes and colors. They also have varied flavor but the main ingredients of these sweets are milk and sugar.

Bangladeshi sweets come in different shapes and colors. They also have varied flavors but the main ingredients of these sweets are milk and sugar.

They are also very hospitable. Take a look at the caption of the photo. While coffee is popular in the US or in the Philippines, tea is the common drink served to their guests.

Bangladeshis are so hospitable that they offer and serve whatever they can despite their poverty. Sometimes, that's all they have.

Bangladeshis are so hospitable that they serve whatever they can despite their poverty.

People here are creative. Their love for arts is depicted in their folk dances, music and clothing. (I’ll talk about clothing later.)

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Part of any program intermission is either a folk song or any traditional dance number.

4. What’s the primary religion of people over there?

Approximately ninety percent of the people here are Muslims, most of them though are just nominal ones. In the village where I stayed, people are mostly Hindus. It is said that around 8-9% of her population is Hindu. Only a little percentage of people are Christians, Buddhists and of other religion. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I learned later that you can tell a person’s religion in this country by his or her name. No wonder my husband’s name has a Christian influence.

It’s our earnest prayer that we could reach a few of these unsaved souls with the gospel.

Alright, I guess these would be all for now since I know that you might need to run an errand after reading this but please consider praying for us as we continue to stay here and shine as lights together for Christ.

Watch out for the next part of this post.

With love,
Nance