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Monday, July 20, 2009

Last Weekend in Israel

Today we got to sleep in late ...til 6:40!!!! We had to be ready to head to Jerusalem by 8:30..which included eating our breakfast.
We first went to the wailing wall. Since it was Shabbat we couldn't take pictures but we were told we were coming back the next day and could take them then. I have to be honest and say that I was very cautious up close to the wall. This is the closest that the Jews can get to the Holy of Holies and therefore they think its the closest you can get to God's presence. They weep at this wall, tuck in prayer, pray to it and rock to it. They wont turn thier backs on it and they must visit it a certain amount of times per year. I immediately felt broken for these people as I approached the wall....they have allowed it to become an idol. They dont' know that Christ came to break that barrier so that we can be in his presence at all times...I didn't touch the wall...I had no desire to. Adam and I of course were seperated since men and women have to approach the wall on different sides....a man came up to he and others from our group and started chanting with them and waving a plam brach at them....they chanted "shalom, shabbat....something something"...Adam thought that was kinda neat. All the men had thier head covered and most had on thier prayer shawls.
Next we headed to the Broad wall built by Hezekiah...this wall is mentioned several times in the bible. Its mentioned in Isaiah that he built through houses and that it was built in fear of being attacked.....and was later defeated by Nebuchednezzar. A cool thing is that we saw some of the excavations of the wall and right there is a house that it goes through ..awesome.
Next we head to see more remains of the Cardo....from the Roman occupation...several columns are still standing and we are told that this road would have been 6 lanes wide through Jerusalem.
After that we are given are last free time in Jerusalem to buy any souvenirs we may want and to visit anything we didn't get enough time in.
Adam and I head with John Byron and several students to walk the Viladolorsoa in the Muslim quarter. We start at the Lions gate and head up through several stations of the walk.
We pass Mary's birthplace, Anne's birthplace ( mary's mother), the flagallation station ( where christ was whipped), the condemnation station, Ecce Homo ( where Pilot condemned Christ), A stataion where Simon took the cross from Jesus, a station where Veronica wiped the sweat from his face and then we end at the Holy Sepulcre....where the traditional Golgotha is. We go back into the Holy Sulpulcre since we now have better education on why this is probably the best place for Christs tomb and golgotha and not the garden tomb...I will post a whole blog on this arguement soon. We see ancient tombs inside and places where the Crusaders carved their cross into the stones. Next we head down two flights of stairs to see the bedrock of this church where stone was quarried to build it so that it would be around the tomb of christ and golgotha.
For lunch Adam and I head to Shabban ( I dont know if I mentioned him before but he is Dr. Ortiz's close friend and gives us the best prices around). We ask him to get us swarma and we enjoy it a couple of minutes later there in his shop with the fan blowing on us. Then we had 3 WHOLE HOURS TO SHOP!!!! This was a wonderful time for me because I stopped and talked to almost every shop owner who try to convince me that I needed either jewelry or something else for my "pretty eyes". Adam got rather frustrated and stood out in the street tapping his foot. He told me not to talk to everyone and to stop making eye contact.....hahaa. I just wanted to be social. They could all tell I was from the South and many said " you from georgia"..i dont know how they knew about Georgia. We all met at the Joppa gate at 4:30 and headed back to Neve Shalom for dinner.

The next day was Sunday and as promised we went back to the Wailing Wall to take pictures...it was much less crowded since Sunday is the beginning of thier work week....i still didn't touch the wall though. Our group went through the Western Wall Tunnels which was the part of the wall that was exposed during Jesus's time....its actually the closest you can get to where the Holy of Holies was. I of course, opted out since it was a llooooonng time of being underground in tight spaces. John Byron, took me around, since he had been through before. He used to live in the Old City so we went and saw his old apartment and where he used to buy groceries....deodarant was 8 bucks!!!! We also stopped and got bagels and coffee from a local store....SOOO GOOD...the butter for the bagel cost almost as much as the bagel itself!! Then he took me back through the muslim quarter to the Damascas gate and we revisited the Villa Dolo Rosa and spent some time going through the church of the flagellation and condemnation....WONDERFUL...>THANKS JOHN!!!!!
Adam liked the tunnels...he got to see the largest stone ever quarried, 5000 tons and models of the old Temple Mount.
Afterwards our whole group headed to Yad Va Shem..the Israel Holocaust Musuem. We werent' allowed to take pictures but it was wonderful. Its shaped like a knife that cuts into a hill to symbolize how the holocaust cut into humanity. Many jews living in Israel have survivors in thier family and donate tons of things to the musuem...its very touching and emtional to see Jewish men walk through the musuem with thier children all wearing the head covering. We only had 1.5 hours inside but I could have stayed all day.
Next we headed to the Jewish quarter for lunch and Adam and I headed staright to Shabbans.....we ate SPICY FALAFFEL that day and it was SOOO GOOD!! We were amazed at our self for getting around the Old City without getting lost....we kinda orient everything around the Holy Sepulcre.
Next we head to the Archeaological Park on the Southern tip of the Western Wall where they have been excavating for quite some time. They have found Robinson's arch which was an old arch that come off the western wall and at the base covered several shops. These shops have evidence of being money changing shops and places where people could buy thier sacrifices before entering the Temple Mount. THere is also a micfah where people could bath before going up to offer sacrifices. The corner of the trumpeters tower was also found in the excavations which had an inscription identifiying it as the place where the trumpeter would sound to let the city know that the sabbath had started.
We also visited the Holda gates on the Southern wall where the triple aches ( which are filled in now ) used to be the most used entrance to the Temple Mount and the double arches were the most likely used exit gates. Mary and Joesph more then likely went through these gates as they came to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices about a month after Christ was born. The steps up to the Holda gates were built in a rhythem by Herod ( another way to suck up the Jews ) so that as they walked they could sing the 23rd Psalm.
Finally we headed back to Neve Shalom for dinner and to our last Church service. John Byron spoke on how we don't need to strive to answer all of the biblical questions with archeaology....it will never happen....but we need to have faith that God will answer everything in his own time and we are to obey and believe his WORD!!!!!

Pictures from last week of digging and last weekened

Last Full Dig Week

The next day was the start of our last full week of digging...we were all well rested and ready to go. I started doing some more stratigraphy drawings since they need most of the bulks done before we leave the dig. Adam's supervisor, Ghassan got stuck in Jordan over the weekend and they are holding him at the checkpoint...apparently this happens alot. Alot of the upper sondage squares are closing down and coming down with us as we start yet another new probe and several new squares in hopes of finding more of the revetment wall. We end up finding some layers of plaster..which is great since the pottery underneath will have been sealed in and we can date it without too much confusion. The lecture for the day is given by the guy leading up the Survey team and its very interesting. They have found tons of caves and some burial tombs. They have also found wine presses, olive presses and other installations. The Israeli Antiquities Authority told our director that if everyone did such as a good a job of surveying as our team then they would be pleased. I also start a recreation drawing of parts of the Tel during the Hellenistic period.

Tuesday-Today we open even more square as more and more people are sent down to the lower sondage. Ghassan returns from the Jordan and tells Adam that he was kept because he is "of that age"...we are just glad he is back. Our lecture tonight is from Heather..our conservator...its quite interesting on how she preserves and restores the things we find. Here is a short overview.
Basically she tells us that Conservation is to impede further detoriation of a peice.....Restoration is to reveal or enhance a peice as close to its original state and Curation is to manage a collection of objects while conducting research on them. She is a conservator for this dig so her main focus is to prevent further destruction on the things she finds by controlling light, temperature and humidity. For dinner we have pita pizza and as you know ITS GOOD!!!! We say goobye to two people today..Steve, from Swaziland and Terry- from Ohio...we will miss you both!

Wednesday- I wake up with a migraine and skip the first half of the workday to sleep. I catch a ride with Eddy....a local Israeli who brings 2nd breakfast out to the Tel. On the way he tells me that his main income is as a Poker player and that he will be in the states next year for the World Poker Tournament...which costs 10,000 to enter. When he asks where I am from, I say Alabama and he immediately smiles. His exact words are " When I think of America, I think of Alabama....New York and LA are thier own little worlds....but Alabama, this is what America is about....:).
The last half of the day is very productive on the Tel...Mariah and I get about 2.5 straitgraphy drawings done and Adams square finds 6 MC's today ( Material Cultures)!! We have a lecturer come and talk about modern Israel and the modern Kabbutz. Main points from his lecture are this...
A Kabbutz is for Jewish people to live together, share in each other lives and to rebuild the greatness of Israel. He is very umm....political in his talking and sometimes I think he talks in circles. He lets us know that his kabbutz no longer share their income but they do pay into a fund that takes care of the sick and elderly on the kabbutz and that also covers lawn maintenance and the pool. Thier kids no longer sleep and play apart from the parents and they no longer share land....so its kinda like a glorified Home Owners Association. He also talks about the current situation between the Palestinians and the Jews. He does think they can live together but that there will have to be sacrifices.....i think he wants them to sacrifice a little more though. He says things like "the arabs need to understand that this is our land and even though they have a right to live here its not the right thing to do"......i dont know about all that....God did give this land to the Jews..but I dont think it was so that they could run the Arabs out. Its funny how fast the oppressed become the opperessors huh? Enough about that...its touchy for everyone.
I also finish the recreation drawing today and Dr. Ortiz says he will have some contract work for me in Texas as they begin to publish thier work about Tel Gezer!!

Thursday-Today on the Tel we find yet another plaster floor....there is only about 1.5 feet in between the two floors so everyone is coming down to the square and offering thier opinons. Mariah and I finish two more stratigraphy drawings.....there is alot that goes into these....we have to take levels at several points and then draw it to scale with all the gobbly gook and other layers that we dug through in the right spot. Adam finds a snake in his square today while digging and Boons square finds a large stone that could be part of an installation...not sure yet. During our two hours of free time a big group of us play Empire and Killer Uno.

Friday-today is the last day for the Lancaster group. We dig through the plaster and date the pottery...i can't say to what yet i dont think. We take a loooonnng Tel Tour after fruit break today since there has been so much found over the past week. There is another cobble surface found and they arent sure if its a street or part of a admin building? We have free time after lunch but Adam heads up to do pottery washing and reading since this will be his LIFE :). I do all of my laundry ( well most) and make a card for the life guard at the pool. Then I go hang out with everyone and write some more of the blog :). After dinner a huge bunch of us take over the dig house and watch Princess Bride on the projector screen...great way to end the week and to tell Lancaster bye!!

I will post pictures with the next blog.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kirsi, Boatride and Jordan River

Next we headed to the Eastern shore of the Galilee to Kirsi where in Mark 5 Jesus cast a legion of demons into swine. This location fits the story as there are steep cliffs here running down to water where the swine would have ran off and died. The Byzantine monastary here at Kirsi was found by mistake when they were widening the roads in the early 1980s.
However, swine is a problem in this story since Jews dont eat pork.....why were Jews herding pigs? The answer....this is probably an early contact that Jesus had with gentiles in that area....probably a Roman city but definitely not Jewish.
In the monastary there is an olive press for income and to also make annointing oil. There is a beautiful mosaic floor here and even though it was a Byzantine church you dont see any images. This is probably because they were defaced when the Muslims conquered the land and carried out the Islamic Law of no images.....or destroyed by the Greek Orthodox....you can see where images may have been in the floor but were torn out.
There is also a crypt to the right of the main room where 35 priests who served in this monastary were buried.
Up the hill from the church is a small shrine dedicated to the spot where Christ encountered the demon possessed man. You can see the Sea from the top and its easy to picture how the swine would have run off.

After Kirsi we headed back to the shore of the Galilee to get on a boat and ride around. We went towards the Mt of Beattitudes and Capernaum. As we were out there I thought about Jesus calming the storms and walking on water. It was a gorgeous day and everyone was glad to be together. They raised the American and Israel flag and we sang and listened to both national anthems. Afterwards the captain put on christian music and we all sang familiar songs as we went along.

Back on land we headed to the Jordan River for the last part of our day. Our tour guide told us that we could get baptized here but no swimming. In fact, to enter the water you are supposed to have a white robe on. There were several large groups of people there singing worship songs and lining up to be dunked. Two girls from our group wanted to be baptized there....one to resubmit her life to Christ and also to accompany our friend Savannah as she was being baptized for the first time. Savannah grew up Catholic and had never been baptized by submersion. A pastor in our group, Steve Allen, who is a missionary in Swaziland (spelling) baptized them. It was a very special time and I hope it spoke to the nonbelievers in our group.
By the way, there are huge catfish in the Jordan River and at times it is less than 4 or 5 feet wide. After that we headed back to Neve Shalom and got ready for our last full week of digging.

Pictures from Kirsi, boatride and Jordan River

Monday, July 13, 2009

John 21 and Capernaum

So after the Mount of Beattitudes we walked right across the street to see a church that notes the site where in John 21 Jesus tells Peter and the other fisherman to cast their nets on the other side of the boat and when they do they catch a ton of fish. As we walked up we could hear people having mass outside and singing at the top of their lungs..it was quite wonderful and made me miss my church family at Heritage.
The town here is called Tagba and means 7 springs...all which come down from the Mount of Beattitudes. Six of these ancient springs have been found.
One of our group members Dan Haggerty mentioned to us that in John 21 we have Peter who has gone back to his old life as a fisherman and he has been out to sea all night long and not caught a single thing. But when Christ comes and tells him to turn around and cast on the other side he is able to catch many fish. It parallels our own lives as we keep returning to our old ways and habits when Christ is asking us to turn and try his way. I was encouraged by that. Thanks Dan.

Next we drove just a little ways down the road to Capernaum were Jesus moved from Nazareth to conduct his ministry. THere were several trade routes throughout Capernaum and it was a very busy place. The white synagogue here is the one where in Mark 2 Jesus would have healed the demonized man in. This place of worship was built by God-fearing centurions who were stationed here with the Roman garrison...simply a customs booth.
St. Peter was from Capernaum and many of the apostles were from around this area. In the remains of Capernaum they found a roman mile marker, several olive presses and St. Peters house!!!!
In the house is pottery that dates back to Jesus's time and graffit looking marks that say something about this being Peters house. THere is also a pilgrim record of Peters house being beside a synagogue and this house is. Of course, the Roman Catholics have come along and built a spaceship looking church right over the top of the house but we could walk into the church and look down into the remains of the house.
That's enough for one blog...if you could please remember to pray for us....we still have not sold our house and I haven't heard from any jobs in Texas...we might have to stay in TN longer to get the house sold. Also, please pray for the unbelievers here....there have been so many discussions and some of them are asking questions.....They have become my dear friends and I want them to know my Lord and experience life with Him.

Pictures

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jesus Boat, 4th of July and Mt. of Beattitudes

The last part of our Saturday was to visit the Jesus Boat. In 1986 two brothers who fish for a living went out into the sea while there was a drought looking for things stuck in the bottom. They found a boat...from ancient times. It is big enough for 5 guys to ride in and matched many of the boats found in mosaics dating back to the time of Jesus. It was also built in the style used during that time which was to put planks together and then add the frame ( which is opposite of how we do it now). In order to move the boat out of the mud they had to call in underwater archaeologist to come in and dig it out. However, the wood was so well preserved under the mud that any sudden changes to its atmosphere would cause it to decay. Preservationist were called in and they kept the boat soaked at all times and put special cloths over it. The archeaologist couldn't walk on the boat or around it so they built a frame and had to hang over the boat to work on it. They then wrapped the entire boat in fiberglass and floated it down the river to its new home at the museum built just for it close to Nof Ginossar. It was probably the neatest thing of the day.....plus they showed us a lenghty video on the whole process of finding it, digging it up, preserving it and getting it to the musuem!!

We went back to the hotel after that and rested a while before heading down to the Sea for some pictures before dinner. There was no way I was going to eat my weight in cheesecake and then slide into a bathing suit. After pictures we ate a LARGE and wonderful dinner.
Next we all headed down the shore for some 4th of July fun. Willie found some cardboard and tore it to spell July 4. Then we borrowed a lighter and lit it on fire while we sang patriotic songs....which was kinda funny. It was a great way to end the day and to celebrate the 4th of July with people from all over the US while on the Sea of Galilee. Plus we got some neat pictures of the Sea at night and how Jesus would have seen it...with no city lights, just the moon.

The next morning we woke up early and headed to the Mt. of Beattitudes where Jesus gave the sermon on the mount found in Matthew 5. There is a church on the summit that was built in the 1930 and was paid for by Italy's Musselini ( spelling?). It was neat to walk down the mount thru banana plants and tall grass and kinda view the area as it would have been during the time of Jesus. There was hardly anything modern in view and we were able to walk it at our own pace. You can see the Sea from there and local farmers were at work.
More from that day later!!!!

Pictures of Boat, 4th and Mount

PICTURES

Here are the pictures from Baniass and Tel Hazor......they are in the same album as those from Tel Dan so scroll through.....ENJOY!!!

Pictures

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Baniass/Caeserea Phillipi and Tel Hazor

After we left Tel Dan we headed to Ceaeserea Phillipi or modern day Baniass. This spot was a cultic site dedicated to Pan- who is the spirit of caves and is connected to water. Herod built this pagan city on the edge of Israel and made a shrine to pan and a temple beside it dedicated to Caeser. Herod Phillipa, his son, made it his capital city. It is within this region that in Matthew 16, Peter recognizes Jesus as the Messiah.
When Agrippa II comes he builds an even bigger palace here and Josephus tells us that jewish slaves were brought here to be sold after the great revolt. They were also forced into playing gladiator games against one another for sport.
It had been called Paniass ( for pan ) but since the arabs dont have a p sound they called it Baniass.
In the pictures I will point out the ruins of the city of Paniass, the Palace of Agrippa II with Mt. Hermon behind it and the Vaults of the Crusaders.
The very last ruin is the church where the women who was healed from ongoing bleeding ( mark 5) made a statue of Jesus and gave it to them....this is only tradition.

Next we headed to Tel Hazor which was the acropolis during the Caananite period. It is the largest Tel in Israel and some of it has been taken over by agriculture fields. Tel Hazor is mentioned in the Armana letters as part of a trade route . We also know that there were letters between Tel Hazor and King Akhenaton ( spelling?) asking for help from invaders but none arrived.
In Joshua 11, Hazor is captured by Joshua and everyone is killed and its burned to the ground. Another destruction of Hazor found in history is that on the Merneptah stella where the Egyptian pharoah talks of conquering Israel and they assumed Hazor is part of that. After doing some archeaological digs there they have found a destruction layer but aren't sure as to which story it fits.
After being mentioned in 2 Kings 15 Hazor becomes a minor city until the Hellenistic period, and finally the last big mention of Hazor is found in the Book of McAbees.
Just as Gezer, Hazor was fortified by Solomon in 1 Kings 9.
As we walked around the site we notice a very familiar 4 room Israelite house, like the one we have at Gezer and also a stable and storage room.

The internet is being WAY slow tonight so I will let you know when pictures are uploaded!!!!
By the way.... even though I am writing about events that happened on the 4th of July, today is July 11th and its my Grandparents 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!!!!!
HOW AMAZING IS THAT? I am truely blessed to have so many great examples of marriage to look up to amongst my family and my in-laws. Nana and Papa, I wish you the best day ever and I hope you have fun at the party/reunion. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you!!! BIG HUG AND KISS!!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tel Dan

First of all...this was the 4th of JULY!!!!
We had already celebrated back at Neve Shalom on the 2nd so we had a full day of touring ahead of us!!!
First we went to Tel Dan which is mentioned in both Joshua 19 and Judges 18:27-31. We also know that Abraham pursued Lot to Dan in Genesis 14. Sampson's parents are Dannites but we are not sure why people settled here...were Philistines too powerful?
Tel Dan amazes us because there are running streams and waterfalls and ponds. We have been to several Tels by now and all of them are hot and on top of a mountain. Tel Dan is located in woods and there are several water sources.
The first major thing we see is the Canaanite gate that had an ARCH!!!!! Now you may have been told that the romans invented the arch but that's wrong because the Caananites clearly did way before the Romans thought of it. Its a very impressive mudbrick gate and they are reconstructing it.
Next we go to the Isrealitie gate where in the floor an insrcription was found that mentions the House of David and dated to the mid 9th century BC. They had nothing mentioning the House of David before because the only place we could probably find evidence is on the Temple Mount and you are not allowed to dig there.
Right inside the gate there is a throne looking thing that is modeled after the throne in Jerusalem. In 2nd Samuel 19 we are told that the kings would greet people at the city gate..so this fits.
Next we go to the Cultic High Place which was framed out by metal to what they think it would have looked like.....look familiar( looks like horned altar from Beer Sheva). An inscription was found here that mentions the god of Dan...so obviously there was some pagan worship going on.
The last couple of scenic pictures are actually looking at Mt. Hermon in Israel, then the valley is no man's land and to the left we could see into Lebanon. The Lebanese have been after Mt. Hermon for years and as we leave to head to Caesarea Phillipi we see signs along the road that say " danger, mines". Our tour guide tells us that the road we are on is safe because it follows the road that was previously there...however, the fields surrounding it aren't and occasional hikers will get stranded or farmers will send thier cattle out into the fields to find the leftover mines.

Tel Dan Pictures

Lunch, Zippori, Cliffs of Arbell and Sea of Galilee

Next we headed to Zippori or modern day Sepphoris which dates back to 1st Temple period. It was the main capital during Jesus's time. After King Herod's father appoints Herod as govenor of Galilee his uses Zippori as his seat. Alot of people were not happy about that. We also know that the parents of Mary, Jesus's mother were from this area...there is no historical evidence but more traditional.
The reason they took us to Zippori instead of Nazareth, which was close by is because as a carpenter and artisan Jesus probably would have worked in this city as it was growing during the days before his ministry. It also helps us to see why Jesus formed the opinon he did against riches and the poor. He came from Nazareth which was a poor city and Zippori was a roman city and showed off its power and wealth. It also neat to think about Jesus preaching about the "kingdom of God" and maybe comparing it to the Empire of Rome.
There were over 18 synagogues in Zippori and only one was found not facing Jerusalem....which is odd. There are several mosaic floors in these synagogues and other places and they are beautiful!! ( check out the pictures).
In one synaogue ( ill point it out on the pictures) there is a zodiac, which presents a problem since they were not allowed in Judaism. Josephus even talks about how one of the veils in the temple has sun, moon and stars but specifically left out the zodiac. However, we have 7 synagogues throughout history with the zodiac in them....we aren't sure why.
Next we headed to the Cliffs of Arbell which is an awesome lookout point. However, it was closed....but our tour guide led us under the gates and we went up anyways. It was beautiful and the breeze was blowing rather hard. Adam stayed close to the ground the whole time and yelled at me for walking to the edges...us and our phobias :).
After the Cliffs of Arbell we went to our hotel...Nof Ginossar and had the most wonderful dinner buffet ever!!! They had brisket, several salads, stuffed tomatoes, several breads and the best part was the 5 or 6 different cheesecakes, torts and other pies to choose from for dessert. We even had creme brulee!!! I think everyone ate at least 4 plates...i know i did!
Then we all walked down to watch the sun set on the Galilee and swim. Afterwards we all loaded up in Mariah and Kelley's room to watch "Bride and Prejudice".....the Baliwood remake of Pride and Prejudice.

Pictures of all the FUN

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Galilee Tour Part One

This morning ( Friday, July 3) we leave at 7:30 for the Northern part of Israel...the Galilee. Our first stop is Caesarea Maritime which was built by Herod as a Romany city. Herod wanted to build a port city that would rival Rome and Alexandria. As a roman and gentile city he dedicated it to Ceaser ( kinda to suck up to him). There was an outer, middle and inner harbor to protect docked ships. In Acts 12 Herod's grandson, Herod Agrippa arrests James and cuts his head off...he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews so he also arrests Peter and keeps him in prison here in the port city. An angel later appeared to Peter and the chains fell off his wrists. Later on in Acts 12, Herod Agrippa addressed the people in the ampitheater and since he was wearing a bright garment the sun shone on him it made a bright glare and the people started saying " this is the voice of a god, not a man (acta 12: 22). Because he didn't revoke them an angel immediately struck him down and he was eaten by worms.
Down by where Herod's palace would have been an inscription was found that mentions Pilot. This presents a problem, because when Pilot was head of Judea he dedicates a place of worship to Tiberius. Tiberius was not first chioce as emperor and didn't like that Pilot had a place dedicated to him.
There were also ruins of a Hippodrome which is where Herod created 2nd and 3rd place...before that it was 1st or nothing.
Next we had to the Aquaducts that kept water going to Caesarea. There were two seperate lines since they had to add another line as people kept moving to the city.
Next we headed to Tel Meggido where you can see the Valley of Jezreel, where Armeggadon will happen. Two main reasons for this is that this is a junction for invading armies and tons of battles have already been fought here. In Joshua 12:21- we are told that Megiddo is one of the cities that was conquered by the Israelites but not expelled like other Canaanite cities. In 1st Kings 9:15 we are told that this is one the cities that was foritified with gates...just like our Tel Gezer!!!!
More of our weekend on another blog!!!
I wanted to say Hi to Jared's mom, Boon's mom and Kirsten's mom....glad you like the blog!!!
I enjoy your kids!!!

Pictures of these three places!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

3rd Week of Digging/4th of July party Pictures

Here are the pictures to go along with the last entry.

Prayers
Our home hasn't sold yet and we haven't heard from any job prospects in Texas so we are getting a little anxious but waiting on God.
People are tired here and more injuries are happening because of it.
People are missing spouses and family.

Praises
One girl, who proclaims to be Buddhist has started reading scripture and asked a ton of questions while traveling around the Galilee this weekend.
Cohesion among both groups are great!
Ghassan- traveled to Jordan this weekend and was kept there over night because he is palestinian and as he says "of that age"...he got back today ( on tuesday )

Sunday, July 5, 2009

3rd Week of Digging/4th of July party

Monday June 29
So after our glorious weekend in Jerusalem we arrived back at Neve Shalom to meet 22 new students joining the dig from Lancaster Bible School in Pennsylvania. They are only here 2 weeks and have already spent a week touring. They are divided up among the already established squares and given a very brief introduction to what we are doing..i feel a little bad for them. Its funny because Sunday night they are all up late and all of us who had been here were in bed by 9:00 at the latest....we know how early 4:15 comes. Needless to say, the next night they were all in bed early. We got three new guys and one new girl in the lower sandodge and they are all great workers. Today we moved a lot of dirt off of the revetment wall that is coming up nicely...at least 5 meters across so far. In other squares whole vessels are coming up and we have to haul those down the Tel every day to keep looters from coming at night. Adam's square didn't get any new people from Lancaster. Today is also Steve Ortiz's birthday and we celebrate with cake and ice cream after dinner. For lecture a famous guy, Anson Rainey, came and spoke to us on the Armana letters, specifically the ones that pertain to Gezer...a real treat.
A treat for the day is that Adam and I got to ride in a car to the Tel and back today since there are too many people to fit on our bus now!!! AIR CONDITION!! and a nice conversation with Steve and another supervisor Byron!!!

Tuesday June 30
Our Lancaster people are proving to be work horses. Today we have a great conversation with Joey on the validity of the bible, church membership and "sacraments" of different donimanations. He has lots of questions and we are glad for it!!! The dig day is same ole, same ole. I sent some mail out to Jerri and Halle and right after 1st breakfast we take group shots .....as a whole and then from all the different colleges. We have a well known archeaologist come and speak from Bet Shemesh.

Wednesday July 1
Today we open up TWO NEW SQUARES. We have uncovered at least 10 meters of the revetment wall and so we are going to do a probe down in front of it to look for the outer wall. Our professors tell us that we are finding some of the same type of structures that were found in the City of David...the milo! We are also told that some other things we are finding in the upper fields will be in text books for years!!!!!! We can't wait to come home and tell you all the details. I know that we have been working for almost 3 weeks now but my back and left ankle are starting to hurt....the Tel is aging me. My square talked about how the presidency ages you, the military ages you and we decide that the Tel ages you just as much.
Adam finds Roman glass in his square today....thats all we can say for now!! We have pictures!
Today we don't have pottery washing but we do go on our grocery run. This week we buy another water cooler, another pepsi and some popsicles!!!!! We get home and finally find some English on the box that says " Diet Lemon and Lime Popsicles"....oh well, its cold and good!!!

Thursday July 2
LAST DAY OF WORK WEEK. They are giving us a 4 day week in honor of July 4th!!!! and we get to go to the Galilee for 3 WHOLE DAYS.
So at the dig today we dug straight down into our probe.....straight thru layers and layers of rocks...back breaking work.
During the Tel Tour we are shown some really neat installations..some in Adam's square.
After we get home we are free until our party so Adam gets some much needed sleep and works on his essays for his final exam. I go to the pool and wash all of my laundry!!!!
The 4th of July part is beautiful. Its held out on the lawn overlooking the hills towards Tel Aviv and they make us Israeli BBQ......beef patties inside of pita bread. We also have french fries, coke and bbq sauce.....all of which we haven't had. For dessert we have several different kinds of baklava and gelato.....3 different flavors. We were stuffed!!!
Then came the fun part...the Gezer's Got Talent Show!!!!! The first act was three of our friends, Katy, Kelley and Boon who did a "Get Fit Gezer" and did a workout routine using all of the equipment and new phrases we have learned...it was absolutely hysterical. I filmed it for Kelley so we will share that with you when it gets uploaded. After that Radu, a professor from Romania quoted all of 2nd Timothy. Then we had some songs and some guitar playing. Afterwards they gave us free reign of the stereo system and we hooked it up to an ipod. We all got out there and danced and sang...along with our professors. Adam really showed off his great dance moves and surprised all of his professors!! He did the worm, the robot, the carlton, and really anything else you can think of.....I think Dr. Ortiz was shocked...but he kept everyone laughing.....any of you who know Adam probably aren't surprised at all. Then they put on country music and I did some line dancing. Overall it was a great night and we were all excited about our upcoming weekend.

Pictures will have to come later...with the additional 22 people sharing internet here we hardly get enough signal to do anything online. Once again I will let you know when they are posted.

Pictures from Temple Mount

Sorry these took sooo long to upload. We just got back from a 3 day trip in the Galilee.....so watch for tons of more updates!!

Pictures of Temple Mount and Old City Jerusalem

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Temple Mount

On Sunday we left for Jerusalem right after breakfast. We wanted to get there early in order to onto the Temple Mount..where security checks can keep lines backed up. We were instructed not to wear anything that had a cross, a verse or anything that said Jesus. I couldn't even bring my journal since it has a cross on it....oh, and definitely not a bible. We were also told not to bring any sharp items...several times. However, while standing in line to go through security check we hear the (armed) guards start saying " patiche, patiche" which is Hebrew for "hammer". Then our sweet sweet friend Katy comes walking back out of the security check holding her patiche from the dig. Apparently she forgot to empty out her bookbag and was trying to sneak in a hammer onto the Temple Mount. One of our instructors hid it behind a wall while we were up on the mount and then grabbed it when we got off since those cost about $35 bucks. So, from now on Katy is "Patiche".
When we first entered the Temple Mount we saw the Alask a Mosque ( say that how it sounds..i am almost 100% sure I didn't spell it right). This is the most probable site where Jesus would have thrown out the money changers. Right behind this is a a stone where supposedly Jesus was tempted to jump...i think I mentioned it earlier in a blog from our visit to Jerusalem.
The gold dome on top of the Dome of the Rock was a gift from King Hussein. It houses the rock where Mohammod's footprint was found after he ascended....yeah right. I would like to see you leave a footprint in a rock...believe me we walk on 500 rocks a day and there are no footprints. Anyways, one neat thing was that while we were walking around the Dome ( which we can't enter because we are not muslims, and we had to walk up a wooden gate since Muslims are the only one allowed to use the main one) ...so as we are walking around we look over at the Mount of Olives and they are clouds right above...once again unusual for Israel during June and one of our friends reminds us that Jesus ascended into the clouds from the Mount of Olives...awesome( check out that picture.
Next we head to the Wohl Musuem where the excavations of ancient mansions have been perserved and a walk ramp has been put around them. We are not allowed to take pictures inside but its a very neat exhibit and there are conservationists working as we walk through. These mansions are from the Herodian period.
Next we head to the Israel Musuem. First thing we head to see is the Shrine of the Book where the original Dead Sea Scrolls are housed. The musuem is in the shape of the lid of the pots that the scrolls were found in. The inside of the musuem looks like the inside of a thrown pot....very interesting!! We see a 2100-2200 year old copy of Isaiah. You can't take pictures in here either and you have to be very quiet. Adam was shushed by a grumpy old man after he clicked his tongue to see how much it would echo....haha.
Right outside of this musuem is a model of Jerusalem. Afer having gone to Jerusalem 3 times it was really neat to see it all laid out and to see where the 1st and 2nd period temple walls were and how it was added to. We are also able to see Herodian three towers, for his wife, brother and dad and the City of David. It helps put things into perspective.
After that we are given 3 hours of free time in the old city of Jerusalem to shop and eat lunch...AWESOME!! At this point I am tired of being herded and I was looking forward to alone time with my hubby!!!!
We ate at this little hole in the wall restaurant called Old City Restaurant. We both ordered Kebabs.....which are pitas stuffed with cucumbers, tomatoes, ranch dressing like stuff and hopefully lamb ( we aren't sure but it was good). The owner was a cute little guy and when we finished he said " picture" and went and stood in front of his shop with his arms raised ( see picture). He told us to come back and I think we will during our last weekend here. Then we met up with some other friends and shopped til we dropped. Old City Jerusalem is set up like an old market ( well it was one) and you can barter. We got great deals ( especially after dropping that we were from Alabama). At one shop we tried to barter and decided we could get it cheaper elsewhere so we walked away and he started yelling after us " they have no money, they have no money"....haha. We have about 4 more things to get before we leave but we were very happy with our buys and hope that the recipients enjoy them as well. After that we went back to Neve Shalom and met the 22 new people arriving from Lancaster Bible College to dig with us for the next 9 days.

Praise- After asking for prayer for chances to witness, God gave me an awesome one.

Internet is slow today so I will add pictures to this blog tomorrow-hopefully. I will let you know when I do!