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Day 5: Bible Lands Exploration 2016

Your patience in waiting for this next update on our Bible Lands Exploration 2016 is highly appreciated!

As Day 5 came, we realize that our days in Israel were getting shorter and shorter but at the same time, they were getting more and more exciting!

Our tour guides had arranged to take us to the following places on that day:

  • Mt. Arbel
  • Mt. Precipice
  • Nazareth Village
  • Beit She’an National Park

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Facing a cool weather each morning in Israel, we would normally put our jackets and mufflers on. That was the same on Day 5.

First Stop: Mount Arbel

What is significance of this place in Israel’s history? Where was this place mentioned in the Bible? Those are the usual questions an explorer has in mind when visiting a place in the Holy Land.

According to our tour guide, this mountain was never mentioned in the Bible but climbing up this mountain enables a Bible Lands explorer to catch a view of Sea of Galilee.

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This shot was taken on top of Mt. Arbel. (Photo Credit: Bro. Jerry Teng)

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View from the top of Mt. Arbel (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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The way we were seated here reminds me of the Sermon on the Mount. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Next Stop: Mt. Precipice

We climbed up to this mountain and we were given an opportunity to view Jezreel plain and the whole Nazareth village.

Below is a borrowed photo from Bro. Kenneth Cheong, which describes Mt. Precipice.

I didn’t have enough camera charge so I was not able to take a lot of photos there.

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

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View of Nazareth Village from top of Mt. Precipice (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Next Stop: Nazareth Village

Our stop here was one of my favorites as we were given a chance to experience what it must have felt like to live in the times of Jesus. We were shown a shepherd and his flock of sheep, locals dressed up in ancient clothes, a wine press, a replica of the grave of Jesus, a few fossils related to Jesus’ life, an oil press, and a synagogue.

The highlight of our visit there was the Passover meal we shared with other Bible Land explorers from other groups.

Take note, this was the place where we met Biyahe ni Andrew’s Team who were also exploring the holy land in order to feature it in their program.

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Passover Meal (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

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A winepress (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Two men in our group with an actor shepherd. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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A farmer with his donkey. (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

Last Stop: Beth Shean

Beth Shean is a city in Israel which reflects Roman influence. We learned that this area belonged to the tribe of Manasseh.  It is known to have been the place where King Saul’s body was hung by the Philistines based on 1 Samuel 13:10.

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Beth Shean (Photo Credit: Bro. Jerry Teng)

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Distant View of Beit Shean (Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong)

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Photo Credit: Bro. Kenneth Cheong

Reflection: 

I will always be humbled to have been to these places. The areas I have seen personally will always aid me as I read God’s word as I now have a vivid picture of them in my mind.

I would like to acknowledge the many photographers in our group who shared high quality photos of the sites we visited so we can always look back at how our memorable, fun and edifying our tour went!

Leaning on Jesus, (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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)

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.1915378_1288640821150_7725397_n
  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. People still cross the river by 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 3: Bible Lands Exploration 2016 Part 1

Hi dear readers and friends! My sincere apologies again for keeping you waiting. Thank you so much though for bearing with my slow updates on our visit to the places mentioned in the Bible. 🙂

Here was our itinerary at a glance for Day 3 of our Bible Lands Exploration 2016.

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On Day 3, we had breakfast at Leonardo Hotel and we got ready to board our bus. The strong winds outside the hotel made it challenging and yet memorably fun to get on our bus. (lol!)

On that beautiful windy morning, we had our first stop at the aqueduct created by King Herod.

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This aqueduct is said to have been built by King Herod in 1 BC to provide water supply to the city of Caesarea. I apologize for the date stamp on this photo. It should have been March 2 but I had no more time to edit this. 😉

The body of water you can see behind this aqueduct is called Mediterranean Sea or the Great Sea. Below are some of my photos with my fellow Bible Lands Explorers. 🙂

Mediterranean Sea (1).jpgHere’s a few more photos of that place.

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Our next stop was at Caesarea Maritima National Park, another stellar handiwork of King Herod. This was where the Roman government seated in Judea.

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Behind me is the Roman Fountain or Nymphaeum which was also created by King Herod. After getting into this park, I tried to take my selfie and a kind brother in Christ, Bro. Kenneth Cheong, graciously offered to take my portrait with his more advanced camera.

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It is believed that somewhere near this spot, the Apostle Paul powerfully preached the gospel to Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice, Felix and some prison custodians. (Acts 24-26).  On a side note, I so admire Paul’s passion in preaching  of the gospel so that, not only the Jews but also the Gentiles, like you and me would get to know the saving knowledge of the gospel through Jesus Christ alone.

Here are some more of the views we saw inside Caesarea Maritima National Park.

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The park was a vast area. There was a section for entertainment where people watched gladiatorial games. There was also an an area for horse race. We also saw many pillars made of marbles that portrayed much Roman influence. My favorite part of this site was the first photo on this grid. The port behind me was used by the Apostle Paul to arrive at this area and be tried before the governor and other Gentiles. Feel free to zoom in this photo as some of the remains are labeled and I intentionally placed them side by side for your reference. 🙂

So those are some of the photos of our first stop on Day 3. Feel free to review my album of Day 1 and Day 2. On my next post, I am hoping to share some more pictures that are full of memories taken at the next place on our Day 3 itinerary.

How about you friends? What place have you visited lately? What lessons did you learn from the places you went to see? What is something you realized from that visit? Please don’t hesitate to share them with me in the comment box. Until next time! ❤

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!