Tag Archive | Places

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.

Olive Tree Hotel

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,

 

 

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Bangladesh National Zoo (Photos)

I’m enthralled. Joanna, my daughter, just started going to school. Just imagine how teary-eyed I was when I first dropped her off at school. Can anyone relate to this?

Recently, she experienced her first-ever visit to the zoo with her teachers and class friends. This is her fourth time to visit a zoo but this one is special because she went with her new friends.

I’m sharing some snap shots of her memorable event. Please enjoy. 🙂

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Smile! 🙂

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The Zoo’s Map

 

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Everyone started walking to the animal’s cages.

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Monkeys everywhere!

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People enjoy watching the monkeys play inside their cage.

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Can you find some more monkeys?

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There were a few flower gardens!

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Crocodiles are called “Kumir” in Bengali.

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Take a look at them!

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Peafowls. I’m very sorry to have missed seeing these peacocks opening their feathers. Our camera’s battery died even before Joanna’s excursion finished. I should have brought a charger but I would not have found any place to charge our camera.

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Joanna enjoyed running around the zoo with her school friends. She was also happy to see this colorful bevy (i.e. a family of peafowls).

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My first time to see a rhino and a sheep. 🙂

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This one is chained and amazingly, elephants in this zoo don’t smell since they are given a bath from time to time in a day.

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Oryx–one type of a deer. I haven’t seen this in the Philippines before. Thank God for this privilege!

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Another type of deer. Can you realize how creative our Creator is. He makes every animal unique!

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Signboards are all around. Go figure. 🙂

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These donkeys reminded me of Jesus’ triumphal entry.

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Giraffes. Trivia: Giraffes spend their life standing up. In fact, they doze and give birth standing up.

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Peafowl.

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I am just amazed at how clean Bangladeshi zoo is! The animals we saw were well-fed.

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Joanna is concentrating on how hippos eat and is carefully listening to what one of her teachers is telling her. 🙂

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More hippos at a different angle.

I’m grateful to God for giving my daughter this privilege to see His wonderful creation. As I have mentioned, my camera ran out out of battery so I missed taking photos of other animals such as lions, tigers, different types of birds and so on.

I’m also glad that God enabled me to meet other mothers from Joanna’s school too! It is my prayer that God will use me to share with them the gospel in God’s time. For now, I can only pray for their salvation.

Anyway, just a few comments about Bangladesh National Zoo.

Pros: 

  • The entrance fee is very cheap. It’s only 30 taka or about $0.375
  • There’s a variety of animals available for viewing.
  • The place is very clean.
  • Signboards are quite informative.
  • If you are going to have a picnic there, there are water tanks available for washing your hands, plates and glasses.
  • There are wide and breezy spaces where you can lay your picnic mats down.
  • Food is available for purchase inside the zoo.
  • Visitors are allowed to bring their own food.

Cons: 

  • Vendors keep handing balloons and other toys for sale to the kids. Kids end up persuading their parents to buy what are not so necessary.
  • Foreigners might find it hard to understand what are written on the name boards of animals if they are not familiar with Bangla.

OVERALL: The place is a wonderful place for picnic and enjoyment. It’s also an excellent place to see God’s handwork. Isn’t it amazing how animals declare the glory of God?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!Praise the Lord!