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Day 3: Bible Lands Exploration 2016 Part 2

I know. I would like to sincerely apologize for making you wait this loooong for the sequel of our group’s Bible Lands Exploration 2016-Day 3. I hope it’s still fine if I share with you this long overdue post. I so appreciate your patience! 🙂

Now, let’s have a quick recap before I continue sharing photos of our Bible Lands Exploration 2016. specifically Day 3, Part 2.

Feel free to click on the links below to review my album. 🙂

General Review of Bible Lands Exploration 2016
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3 Part 1

So let’s resume our virtual tour around Israel! You must have read that we visited King Herod’s Aqueduct and Caesarea Maritima National Park on Day 3. Then our…

Next Stop: Tel Megiddo National Park.
Description: This is an archaeological mound of great historical significance. Many battles were fought here and this is said to be the site where the Battle of Armageddon between Jesus and Satan will take place in the future. Walking through the site, we were shown and told of the many layers of history evidenced by the ruins all around. We also saw how an ancient chariot and stables looked like. Today, you can still see many palm trees and rock flowers all around the area. Across from Megiddo Park is the beautiful view of the Jezreel Valley,  the valley where Gideon led the Israelite’s victory against the Midianites, Amalekites and children of the east. In addition, we were privileged to walk through a water tunnel inside the park, which is said to be the main source of water in Megiddo.
Biblical References: A few passages in the Bible that mention this prominent place are Joshua 12:21; 17:11; Judges 1:27-28; 5:19-21 and so on.
Photos:
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A beautiful shot of Megiddo Water Tunnel by Bro. Kenneth Cheong.

Next Stop: Ein Harod
Description:
Do you remember when Gideon was tasked by God to conquer the Midianites and he had to choose warriors from thousands of men in Israel? This was the site where Gideon brought those men and eventually, chose 300 men out of those many courageous fighters. The ones who lapped water as dogs were chosen to fight with Gideon.
Biblical References:  Judges 7
Photos:

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There used to be water spring here but time has caused this place to dry up. Thanks to Bro. Jerry Teng for capturing this beautiful view of Gideon’s Spring.

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Reflection:

These places are testaments of how Gideon trusted God’s wisdom. We can remember that God is not concerned about our skills when we are facing our battles. He is concerned about our faith. Are we willing to surrender our earthly battle plans to win against our spiritual foes? Let’s trust God’s word in fighting our spiritual warfare.

Last Stop: We capped off our day’s exploration with a sumptuous dinner in Leonardo Hotel in Tiberias and went to bed early so we could have enough rest for our next day’s journey.

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I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos and may God bless you in whatever you are doing! Please watch out for my next post on how our DAY 4 of Bible Lands Exploration fared last year! 😉 Thank you so much for your time. 🙂


What Life is Like in Bangladesh Part 2

What my life is like in Bangladesh is in demand. Many of my online students are still in awe after hearing that we are missionaries here in Bangladesh, I am posting a few more photos I took around my husband’s village years ago. The following informative pictures should give many of you, my friends and relatives, an idea what it’s like to survive in a Bangladeshi village. 🙂

Brace yourself if you are not so used to facing culture shock. 🙂 Let our virtual journey begin!

  1. People in the villages still continue to cook using this clay stove.

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  2. Women cut/slice their meat and other raw ingredients using what they call “boti.” No, knives are not commonly used by Bangladeshi women in the villages. 🙂1915378_1288640861151_6672681_n
  3. Most families in the village own a man-made pond where they can grow their own fish.
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  4. While hollow blocks are commonly used in building houses and constructions in the Philippines, bricks are the ones favored by builders here in my adopted country.
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  5. In the villages of Bangladesh, rickshaws rarely exist. They have what they call “van” and it is the most common mode of transportation by village peopleIn the Philippines, if you hear the word “van”, you’ll think of a vehicle that can accommodate about 10 people.  Now, take a look at the big difference. 🙂

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    I love taking Bangladeshi vans in the village though. 🙂 It allows you to view the beauty of the green meadows clothing the whole village. 

  6. People mourn over their deceased loved ones in their homes and they don’t provide any coffin for them. The bereaved bury their loved ones’ corpses as they are beside their homes using clay soil.
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  7. You cross the river with wooden boats. In my experience, I remember Jesus and His disciples every time we cross the river by boats.
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  8. Most vendors in Bangladeshi markets are men. They have a very patriarchal society. Take note that men also buy groceries for their families. 1915378_1288658061581_7850140_n

Some people pity me upon hearing that as I live in Bangladesh, I have to go through a lot of adjustments. However, I consider it a privilege to be serving my husband in his home country so he can pursue the call God gave him–to win souls for Christ. To me, going through a culture shock is a cause of inconvenience, yes, but God is working in my heart. There’s a mission work in progress within me and even though I don’t realize what He wants me to do with the experience I have been having here in Bangladesh, my calling is to remain steadfast in my faith that He is doing something. His mission work through us and in us is ongoing.

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P.S. I stayed in the village for a year and that’s how I was able to learn to speak Bengali. A year later, I had to face another  acculturation when we moved to Dhaka. Hopefully, I can share with you a few photos I took around Dhaka so please stand by for the sequel of this post. 🙂

Also, I hope that this list would prepare you if you are considering to come over and visit us in the future. 🙂

 

 

 

Review: Ahsan Manzil Museum

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While browsing my photo album on my computer, I stumbled upon a folder of my visit in Ahsan Manzil Museum from last year. This museum is one of the oldest historical buildings in Bangladesh and it happened to be beside our cousin’s house in Old Dhaka. He initiated to bring us (Joanna, my father-in-law and me) there. That was last year. It was risky to go but thank God for His protection. Anyway, Wikipedia describes this place as:

…the official residential palace and seat of the Dhaka Nawab Family. The magnificent building is situated at Kumartoli along the banks of the Buriganga River in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The construction of this palace was started in 1859 and was completed in 1872. It was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture. It has been designated as a national museum.

Our visit there was surreal and an indelible one! I’m not exaggerating. I have to apologize ahead of time though, since I will not be able to show you what I saw inside this building. Before our entrance, the guard told us that we cannot take any photos inside the building. 😦

These are all I can share with you. Hurray!

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Well, despite that, let me share with you my honest review about this particular museum.

GOOD POINTS: 

  • The entrance fee is very cheap.
    • The fee for kids is almost free (i.e. about $0.13) while local adults should pay about $0.30. Foreigners are expected to pay about $1.20. Isn’t that cheap?
  • The place gives you a surrealistic feeling.
    • Most of the antique furniture and memorabilia were indeed worth-viewing! One of my favorite parts of the museum was the enchanting dining area where there was an extremely long dining table. In my assumption, it can seat more than 30 people. The setting of the dining area hinted that it was indeed owned by a royal family. If you were inside, you would feel like you are inside an ancient palace. My other favored compartment was the drawing room. The kitchen wares looked really expensive and primordial while the furniture in the said drawing room looked really elegant and grand!
  • The memorabilia are well-labeled. It’s a thumbs-up for foreigners who cannot read the local language-Bengali.
  • The place in itself is certainly attractive to foreigners who are curious about Bangladeshi history.
  • Photos of the ancient residents were posted around the house. I felt like these photos were there to entertain us and I imagined that they were showing us their phenomenal home.
  • It’s safe to tour around the premises. The security guards are very responsible and friendly.
  • It’s not overcrowded.
    • This is a big deal for photography enthusiasts. You won’t have so many photobombers. (lol!) 😀

POINTS FOR IMPROVEMENT:

  • The displays were obviously dusty. 
  • The lightning in the museum  needs a little more improvement.
  • They don’t sell any souvenir. 😦
    • I am not sure about you but one of my passions is collecting magnets from the places I visit. So if in case you are like me, please prepare your heart to be a “little disappointed” that you cannot bring home any magnet to display on your fridge later. 🙂 Thank me because I warned you ahead of time. (lol!)

In a nutshell, I believe that this place is worth-visiting and if you happen to be in Bangladesh, don’t miss going to this bygone yet fascinating tourist spot!

Alright! I hope you can come and visit this place. If you are a friend of mine and you have plans to visit my family here, I will surely give you a chance to visit this place (Lord willing). 🙂

And here’s a verse I would like to share with you today:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

God bless you! 🙂

Leaning on Jesus,

 

 

Day 2: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

Hi again! I apologize for the long hiatus I took from blogging. I hope that you are still looking forward to hearing about our recent tour to the places mentioned in the Bible.

Are you ready for another virtual Bible Lands Exploration?

“Yalla!” (i.e. “Let’s go!” in Hebrew)

I’m done telling you about how Day 1 went so please allow me to narrate how we fared on Day 2. 🙂

Day 2 BLE Itinerary

Our Day 2 Itinerary at a glance. Can you see the map? 🙂

We had our breakfast at the Dead Sea Spa Hotel. I was amazed that some of the staff at the hotel’s restaurant were Filipinos!

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Just a view of how the lobby of Dead Sea Spa Hotel looks like.

After breakfast, we surrendered our keys and checked out all of our luggage. We then hit the road and crossed over Jordan River via King Hussein/Allenby Bridge to get to Israel. Oh no! We did not cross Jordan River on dry ground by the way! We did take our tour bus. 🙂

Below are some of my snapshots while crossing Jordan border to Israel.

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The following are: 1) Upper Left: Bedouin tents  2) Upper Right: River 3) Lower Left: flock of sheep and other livestock 4) Lower Right: young olive trees orchard

Before facing Israeli customs officers, we said goodbye to Mr. Basam, our Jordanian driver and Ms. Jihan, our tour guide. We were not allowed to take photos in the security check area. We queued up to have our passports stamped with VISA. The custom officers were very strict. I personally felt nervous because one lady questioned why my old passport is stapled to my new passport. I said that it works that way in other countries. I was relieved that she let me get in after her inquiry to the other lady custom officer. The custom officer in the next window was so lenient that she did not ask me any question after showing her my documents. Thank God!

For some people in our group though, the custom check took rather too long.

After the long wait, we praise God that everyone in our group was allowed to get in!

Coming out of the customs, Mr. Yoni Simmons welcomed us warmly and introduced us to “the best driver in the world”, Mr. Firaz.

These two people made sure we are safe and are enjoying our tour with them.

Here was our first stop.

Ruins of Jericho

This is known as Tell (i.e. man-made hill) es-Sultan located in Jericho, which is considered the oldest and the lowest city on earth. I got extremely fascinated to see this site because this is a testimony of God’s faithfulness to His promise to Joshua and his army. We saw some remains of food storage and evidences of conflagration on some parts of the walls which must have been caused by the fire from Joshua’s troop’s torches. This site is an evidence of Joshua and his army’s victory after following God’s instruction on how to defeat the Canaanites (Joshua 6).

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Next, we had our quick lunch just across this location at a restaurant called Mount of Temptation Restaurant.

After our meal, we boarded our bus and went straight to our next destination–Antipatris. According to our tour leader, this was the half point way between Paul’s journey from Jericho to Jerusalem (Acts 23:31). This was also the place where Paul was brought on the way to Caesarea to be tried before the Roman procurator. We also learned that this place is also known as Aphek in the OT. This is the “Philistine base against the Israelites at Ebenezer” (1 Samuel 4:1; 29:1).

While listening intently to Dr. Berrey

This is how we normally look like while absorbing all the information being shared by our leaders. 🙂

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You know what? At this point of our travel, my camera’s battery died so I had no chance to take as many photos as I wanted. Thank God for Bro. Kenneth Cheong, who is willing to share some of his snaps to make this post possible. The following are some of his still shots with lower resolution in Antipatris.

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Another good photo was taken by another brother in Christ, who also diligently took videos of snippets of our daily tour. Here’s another side of the site.

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Before heading to our hotel, we were supposed to get off our bus to observe the sunset from Mount Carmel but we ran out of time. Consequently, our tour leader showed us the said mountain from the bus. This site was a mountain range unlike my   misnomer about it (i.e. a cone-shaped mountain). This lime-stoned mountain is known for its beauty and this is the place where Elijah challenged the worshipers of Baal to call upon him (1 Kings 18).

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So yeah, that’s how we fared on Day 2! We are humbled to have stepped on the places tread by heroes of faith such as Joshua, Elijah and Apostle Paul. I can’t thank God enough for such privilege. Glory to His name!

I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos and I hope to see photos of your recent travel too. God bless you as you continue to seek God daily!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

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This sounds like what one preacher said, “Any believer [of Jesus] is a spiritual Jew.” based on Romans 2:28-29. FYI: David Ben-Gurion was the very first prime minister of Israel.

It is all by God’s generous provision that I was able to join a group of believers from the USA, Singapore and the Philippines to explore the places mentioned in the Bible last February 29 to March 11, 2016.

I cannot but praise Him for this humbling experience to walk where Jesus walked, grew up, and had His ministry. Seeing the probable place where He was crucified, died and was buried reminded me of our Heavenly Father’s sacrificial love and mercy in order to give us our undeserved salvation.

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It’s a huge bonus to witness ruins of the many places mentioned in the Biblical narratives.

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Jerusalem at a glance

I have this ineffable joy to see places I only read about in God’s Holy Word.

Definitely, one of the questions I am often asked after my return from the trip is, “How was your trip?!?”

Let me break my answers down. 🙂

Airline: Any international tour is impossible without a plane or a ship cruise. I took Emirates from Bangladesh to Dubai and my flight was apparently on time and smooth. The flight attendants were very much approachable. The crew from the same airline for the next leg of our trip (Dubai to Jordan) was also warm-hearted.

Regarding the food I had from Bangladesh to Dubai, I have to say that it was enormous in amount but the taste of prawn biryani is not as good as the one served on Biman Bangladesh. I have to be bias because I live in Bangladesh and I’m proud of the tasty food they serve on their national aircraft. 🙂 Please forgive me for that.

I thank God for the safe flight He gave me back to Bangladesh, likewise.

I would like to recommend Emirates for their passenger-friendly facilities and staff on the plane.

Emirates

Agency: As far as I can understand, Highlight Tours organized all our itineraries in coordination with our team leader Dr. Berrey, one faithful couple from Gospel Light Baptist Church and another godly brother from Singapore. I would say that the agency is very responsive in dealing with the participants. They sent us necessary documents in time and they even gave us freebies (e.g. name tags, ribbons, a booklet of our itineraries, and a small pouch for our passports and VISAs.) That was totally unexpected!

The other two agencies we had were Vision Tours and Sar-El Tours. Vision Tours handed out some maps for us and provided our group with a very professional driver named Basam and a kind and graceful tour guide named Jihan.

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Shots of Ms. Jihan, our beautiful Jordanian tour guide and Mr. Basam, our driver during our tour in Jordan.

It made me so happy that Sar-El Tours gave us some freebies as well (e.g. a cap and a small backpack.) They also made sure that we had a very protective tour guide, Bro. Yoni, who sincerely took care of us as we traveled and he never felt tired to remind us with his resonant voice of how grateful he is that we visited Israel. The said agency also provided “Firaz, the best driver in the middle east.” according to Bro. Yoni. We, as a group, eventually agreed with him!

with Firaz and Yoni

Sar-El Tours representatives: Bro. Firaz, “the best driver in the middle east” and our ever-grateful and protective tour guide, Bro. Yoni. Photo Credit: Mrs. (Kam Moon) Tang

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Bro. Yoni, while giving some background about Caesarea Maritima

If you know any group who would like to go and see the terrains of Israel and Jordan, I highly recommend the quality service of the aforementioned tour agencies.

Hotels: There were a total of seven hotels we stayed in: Dead Sea Spa Hotel, Leonardo Hotel in Haifa, Leonardo Club Hotel in Tiberias, David Hotel (Kibbutz Ein Gedi) beside the Dead Sea in Israel side, Leonardo Hotel in Jerusalem, Radisson Blu in Aqaba and Olive Tree Hotel (Geneva) in Amman.

Leonardo Hotel

This is the most memorable among all the hotels we stayed in because this is where I left my charger. (lol!)

All the hotels provided wonderful service, served good food and had helpful crews. I noticed that all these hotels welcomed us with drinks and cookies or dried fruits.

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just a sample of the food you can get from the hotel’s buffet

Regarding rooms, I would say that my favorite was that of Olive Tree Hotel since they provided a spacious room.

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Here’s a sneak peek of a standard room with twin beds. (Photo Credit: http://www.yamsafer.com

 

Team Leader: Our main team leader is Dr. Timothy Berrey. His wife, a wonderful example of godly womanhood, was the one who announced the coming trip to Israel and Jordan on her blog. I thank both of them for sharing with me a special way to join the tour.

Everyone in the group respects Dr. Berrey for his discipline and timeliness all throughout our journey. He also displayed a generous example of servant-leadership.

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A humble servant-leader worth-following. Photo Credit: Bro. Jerry Teng

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The trip made me realize personally that our leader’s stupendous skill in time management made us get to the places we planned to visit and eventually, have some time to visit extra ones.

Needless to say, it is remarkable that Dr. Timothy always tried to point us to Scripture references associated with the places we visited.

Places: I will try to publish a separate post on the places we have seen as time permits. Please hang in there. 🙂 If you are interested to know our specific whereabouts, you may check this out. This update was diligently and thoroughly recorded by one brother who is currently studying theology in preparation for the ministry God is calling him to do.

Impression: This review will not be complete without letting my family and friends know the five significant lessons I learned from this trip. I cannot stand without sharing with you what musings I had from this memorable tour.

1. I have to be intentional whenever and wherever I visit. Before this trip, my prayer was that God would reveal His purpose for allowing me to join this indelible journey. Sure enough, God answered my prayers. It was in God’s plan that He allowed me to read a few books of the major and minor prophets before and during the trip.

Contemplating upon my reading and the trip, He revealed to me how much I need to sincerely pray for the people of Israel–to pray for the Messianic Jews to be bold as they continue to preach the gospel to those who have rejected Jesus to be the Messiah.

May God remind me of this precious lesson (i.e. to be intentional in traveling) the next time I visit any place.

2. My ability to travel is a mere testimony of God’s gracious provision. As I mentioned to the members of the this tour group on our last meeting in Jordan, I praise the Lord for giving me a gracious husband who did not withhold this rare opportunity for me to explore Bible Lands. My in-laws, together with him, encouraged me to grab this chance. Since they cannot obtain a VISA to Israel, I brought home a bunch of photos from this tour. I have to give God the glory for this blessing!

3.  Traveling is an opportunity to serve and love others. I am very much delighted to have traveled with a group that loves Him and His word. I appreciate each of the group members who sought opportunities to extend help to all other members of the group in cash or in kind. We will treasure the lesson our tour leaders taught us that we should be responsible one for another.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Fellow Bible Land Explorers (posing on Mt. Nebo, the mountain from which Moses viewed the promised land.)

4. God is the Sole source of our protection. No matter how careful we are, our safety all depends on God’s protection. As His child, I witnessed how He answered our prayers for His divine protection. Praise His name because no one from our group got into any serious accident despite the rumor that other groups lose about 10% of their members! 🙂

5. Traveling is an opportunity to praise and adore Him for His creation. It was in the High Place of Sacrifice in Petra where the Holy Spirit convicted me of how small my faith is.

There have been things in my life which I fear to entrust to God but after seeing all the humongous rocks in Petra which are dependent on our Omnipotent God, I am challenged to put my trust in Him continuously wherever life may take me.

It is noteworthy that a few from the group who reached the peak of the High Place of Sacrifice with me took the time to read from Psalm 19 and sang a few hymns about God’s greatness. It was a divine fellowship–a memorable one!

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All praise to Him who reigns above in majesty supreme! Photo Credit: Bro. Jerry Teng

Indeed, seeing the beauty of Israel and Jordan is something I will cherish in my heart and mind.

Reading God’s Word will never be the same since I now have a mental picture of the places mentioned in the book I dearly love.

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on top of the High Place of Sacrifice (Petra, Amman, Jordan)

My dear friend, if you will be offered to go and visit Israel and Jordan, please do so! I assure you that you will feel more connected to God and His Holy Word.

What are the lessons you have learned from your recent travel? Please feel free to share them with me and other visitors of this blog. I am sure that your travel experience was likewise spiritually, mentally and physically refreshing as ours. To God be all the glory!

Leaning on Jesus,