Saturday, March 27, 2010

Everyday In Jerusalem

Posted by Colleen

So, what is it that we do when we aren’t visiting ancient sites or roaming the Old City?

This is a question that many have asked us. We have also had many ask about our home. Believe it or not, life is very normal here in Jerusalem. There are a few differences that we experience but if we moved from downtown New York, there may be even fewer differences.

DSC_0086_00 Shopping at Mamilla Mall just outside the Jaffa Gate. We had a hard time finding the right size shoe for Celine.

We live on a busy street right across from President Shimon Peres’ home. It is a very unassuming residence except for the armed guards, high fence and large steel posts (at his house, nor ours) that prevent anyone from entering or leaving without permission. We often benefit from the frequent bands that play for international guests in the President’s garden. Our street is often void of cars to allow the president to leave and return. Recently, when Biden visited, the sky was busy with helicopters, the street lined with police and locals had to find another way to the connecting street, HaPalmach, and other main roads in the area. The other day Eric left for school and heard a screaming Jet approaching, when he looked up he saw a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) shoot across the sky then straight up followed by a loop and then exit stage left, upside down.  Very cool. Not sure who the show was for but it impressed Eric. We also heard it in the house and I sent the girls upstairs. Tally was the only one that got to see it.

image Similar to what Eric and Tally saw flying above our home.

If you walk a couple of blocks down the street and turn left, walk another 4 blocks, you will come to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence. Again, the actual home is large but unassuming (at-least from the outside). It has a high fence and many guards present. Unlike the President’s home, the Prime Minister’s home limits who can drive, not just on the property but on the entire street. Each end of the street has the large steel posts that can retract into the ground when someone needs to pass but only after going through the proper inspection and approval. We walk by often as this is how we get to Ben Yehuda, one of our super markets and sometimes to Old City.

100_9995 A view of the President’s house from the gate of our front courtyard. The covered area is where guests walk-in. The street is blocked off right now as you can see with the tape. 2 guards are in picture.

With all the amazing sights to see and people to meet and watch, there are many days we, the girls, stay home. School is the priority on these days. When that is completed, our day takes on many forms. Building forts is a popular past-time. For every fort, there must be furniture. Normally, in Texas things like empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls are thrown in the trash. However, in Jerusalem, we put them into a sizeable pile. Sometimes Lillian spends an hour just cutting them into tiny pieces. Other times they become a beautiful Barbie couch or pair of binoculars. The girls also like to play Uno or Spoons or put together puzzles. One of Lillian’s favorite things to do is play dress-up. Celine is the fashion consultant on all fashion shows and Tally uses her drawing skills to create paper dolls and props for whatever is happening.

one of the many forts with furntiure Celine with one of the forts that have been constructed in our home.

For St. Patrick’s Day, Celine got up early and decorated the house with signs. One read “Wear Green” another “St. Patchricks Day” (yes that’s how she spelled it). Scarves, baby blankets and paper ribbon have all been used for decorating our small home. She also plans games for us. One of the big hits was when she divided us up into 2 teams. We then had to perform a play for the other team. Eric and Celine’s play was called, “Meatballs in Israel.” Tally, Lillian and I named our play “Princess Wise.”

IMG_0473 Eric and Celine posing after their play called “Meatballs in Israel.” This was taken in our living room.

Of course, there are the regular activities like grocery shopping, laundry, housecleaning and such. We have even taken in a trip to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo where you will find placards telling about the Genesis Creation account and Noah being the first Animal conservationist. At the end of the path, just past the safari, you come to a large Ark, the kind you would find in any story book. Inside, there is a movie the kids can watch about where all the animals come from geographically. Upstairs, you can relax with an ice cream bar. The coolest thing was visiting the Lemurs. They just walk around in the same area with you. Some had a baby clinging to their belly—very cute.

IMG_0633 Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. Yes, that’s a real, live lemur! 
The Lemurs were in a section where we could walk among them, like a children’s zoo except we weren’t allowed to touch them. They would come right up to us though. Some had babies clinging to their tummies as they walked around.

The other day, the girls and I took a trip to Old City where we climbed atop the Petra Hostel and then made our way over to Habad St where you find many Bedouin vendors, climbed an open metal staircase to the roof of the covered markets. These markets were covered during the crusader period. It is believed that the hot sun was just too much so they enclosed this section of Old City.

rickety wooden staircase leading to roof top of Petra The “rickety wooden staircase” inside Petra Hostel leading to the roof. There are many views of Old City from outside the gates but this was one of the rooftops you can climb to see what surrounds Old City from within the gates. Petra used to be a high-end hotel.

We have also climbed down into the Hinnom valley, then walked down to where it dead ends at the Kidron Valley. This is also in east Jerusalem where the Arabs live. It is north of here that the riots you may have see in the news recently have occurred. On the north side of the valley we saw an enormous herd of goats, 2 kids (the human variety)  racing—one on a donkey, the other on a horse. We also came across a group of teenagers climbing the trees on the south side of the valley. These kids run on these hills like it is a soccer field but it is nothing of the sort. These hills are so steep, sometimes I wonder if my ankles are supposed to bend at such an angle. So far, so good.

IMG_0398 Lillian in the Hinnom Valley. If you look on the hill behind her, you can see a herd of goats and off to the left is a boy on a horse. Lillian and Celine LOVE picking the flowers. They really are beautiful especially the red poppies that grow everywhere.

Last week, Eric joined the other students in a game of ultimate Frisbee. He really enjoyed it. They play in the Hinnom Valley at Sultan’s Pool which is below their school.

IMG_0486 Eric playing ultimate Frisbee with the other JUC students in the Hinnom Valley below their school. He is in the foreground with long pants. He didn’t have the luxury of changing clothes after class because he lives off campus.

Though most of Eric’s time is spent in school and on field studies, he also spends much time studying and reading. His professors are amazing. The professors include Christians, Jews, and Muslims all teaching at a high level of expertise. The students are from all over the US, Europe and Australia.

IMG_0678_00 Eric studying at the table – after a hair cut and beard trim by an old fashion barber in the Muslim quarter of the Old City.

On our days home, the garden (backyard), is a wonderful place. Celine is currently working on a walking path. The girls have also constructed a Barbie mansion that the hail/rain storms destroyed along with our beautiful flowers. There are also beautiful parks in Jerusalem that we frequently find ourselves enjoying.

IMG_0680 Celine has raked the yard and plans to return the gravel to make a path. Hopefully, this happens soon so our garden won’t be mud if it rains. The squeegee in her hand is what is used for a mop here in Jerusalem. You buy a rag type thing that goes on the end. When you are done mopping, you throw it in the wash. Good idea. Today it was a rake though.

Tonight, after a day of laundry at Eric’s school, we enjoyed a Passover Seder with the students at JUC. It was a lot of fun complete with the kids trying to find the Afikomen (half of the matza) that is hidden in the early part of the Seder. Afikomen means that which comes after or dessert. Matza is an unleavened bread that is eaten during the week of Pesach (Passover). As we go into the week of Pesach, things baked with leaven are not available in the grocery stores. My brother is arriving tomorrow evening so I thought I should stock my freezer with pita and bread. I wasn’t sure if he was prepared to eat matza all week. The description below is very abbreviated. There is deep meaning in the Passover. If you are a Christian or Messianic Jew, there is a Messianic Passover Seder available that you can use at your own Passover Seder. I would encourage you to participate in one and maybe begin the tradition with your family. The symbolism of Jesus Christ comes through so vividly in the Passover story. He is our Passover Lamb.

Passover Seder plate:

IMG_0681_00  Moror- bitterness in Egyptian slavery (horseradish), Charoset- mortar used to build storehouses in Egypt (a mixture of apples, cinnamon and nuts), Karpas- pain and tears of Jewish slaves (parsley dipped in salt water), Z’roa (not shown)- Pesach sacrifice or sacrifice made at the Temple (roasted lamb bone), Beitzah- mourning over the destruction of the Temple (roasted egg which is the first thing served after a funeral.)

In the narrative of the Exodus, God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Hebrew slaves, with the tenth plague being the killing of all of the firstborn, from the Pharaoh's son to the firstborn of the dungeon captive, to the firstborn of cattle. The Hebrews were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term "passover". When Pharaoh freed the Hebrews, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover, no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Matza (unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday. This bread that is flat and unrisen is called matzo. (Taken from Wikipedia)

Shabbot Shalom!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

There's Now A 12 Year Old In The Robishaw Household!

By Tally

On Monday March 1st I turned the experienced age of 12 (or so my Grandma calls it). It wasn't a very cheery day outside, it was pouring down rain. Dad had school in the morning, while we took it slow at home. After eating breakfast I read for a while before we went down the street to get some groceries and ice cream.



From now on every time I do a blog I'm going to put in a side bar an outrageously out of the blue comment.

Here's this blogs "CRAZY COMMENT":


When we came home I read some more until dad came home (The Fellowship of The Rings). Then Celine and Lillian gave me a beautiful pinkish salmon colored stone Mezuza. And Mom and Dad gave me a fish Webkinz (I guess I'm still a kid at heart) and an awesome bag that literally screams Jerusalem. Celine and Lillian made a Barbie doll house and I made Mezuza's for it.

IMG_0373 The Screaming Jerusalem Bag.

Tally is scratching her arm with Mom’s new back scratcher.

After some lunch we headed out to get a cake as we had a bit of Cabin Fever. We had seen a cake at a pastry shop on the intersection of Ben Yehuda and Jaffa St so that's where we headed. We discovered a short cut that leads us right past the Prime Ministers house. It's totally secure with every street that leads to it blocked off by poles that stick out of the ground but can be let down if a car needs to get by, and those long stick thingys that you see at the entrances and exits of car garages (that if you go backwards you get a flat tire).

Instead of going in regular garb we headed out in our Purim costumes since it was still Purim. Anyways, at first we didn't see anyone out in their costumes, but then we got to the crazy 5 way intersection of King George St. There was this group of guys dressed up as very shapely women. With one you had to look at him at least 3 times before you finally realized that he was a guy. He had make up, a dress, a very convincing wig, high heels, and jewelry on. He also had a formed chest. We thought it was hilarious! I had kinda forgotten where the pastry shop was. But thankfully mom of all people remembered where it was. WHEW.

We stopped for a while to people watch where crazy on-top-of-car dancing was going on. It was really funny seeing the Orthodox Jews dancing like they had no care in the world. With their long curly side burns flapping all around. Then Lillian realized that she had to go to the bathroom so we hurried over to the coffee shop to see if we could use their  bathroom. They let us, thank heaven, otherwise there would have been an accident. A few doors down was Sam Books, the pastry shop.

There were so many cakes to choose from that I must have stood there for at least 5 minutes just deciding which one. I would think that I had decided on one then some one would mention another one and I would have to choose all over again. I finally decided on a cheese cake with berries on it.

On the way home we got a few slices of Sbarro pizza on Jaffa St. When we got back home we were tired and ready for cake and ice cream. The cake was definitely cheese cake, but the after taste was like whip cream. It was delicious. The ice cream was chocolate and vanilla flavored. Very icy and disappointing, but Lillian liked it. After we finished eating we watched Iron Man, then went to bed.

Happy 12!

 Cheese Birthday Cake for the 12 Year Old!

Happy Birthday.

On Wednesday we went to this restaurant called Foccaccia Bar. We ordered a Goat cheese pizza with spinach and goat cheese on it, and a Goose breast and cheese foccaccia. Foccaccia is a type of delicious bread, which you can order with or without toppings. Goose breast has it's own special taste, but it also tastes like every normal meat combined. Dad thinks it tastes a lot like bacon. It's really weird, but good. Because it’s meat from a bird you can have it with cheese, whereas other types of meat cannot be combined with cheese and remain kosher.

IMG_0170 Waiting for the delicious food to arrive at Foccaccia Bar.
IMG_0169 Now we’re talking!  Food!

The water at this restaurant is served in wine bottles – a cute novelty.

Shalom from your favorite blogger,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Short but Sweet!

Posted by Colleen

IMG_0293 Trish and Colleen at the Inbal swimming pool.
IMG_0292 Tally, Ryan, Collin, and Lillian in Inbal pool.

Well, the Weeks’ stay was short but we loved every minute of it. They certainly are going home with a lot of knowledge and I believe a deeper love for Israel.

They loved swimming in the Dead Sea and seeing the world from on top of Masada. By the way, there is a mini-series called “Masada” staring Peter O’Toole, if you would like to learn more about it. You can even see a movie prop while visiting the fortress ruins—ancient history meets recent history.

image “After the destruction of the Second Temple, 900 Jewish zealots hold out against a 5000 man Roman legion on the mountaintop fortress of Masada.”

Their visit also included a trip to Migdal Ohr, an orphanage that the John Hagee Ministries supports (the organization they won their trip through). It is Israel’s largest youth village serving thousands of Israel’s orphaned.

They spent one morning at the Garden Tomb which they spoke fondly of. It was a peaceful place where it is believed the tomb of Jesus is located. Remember, the Holy Sepulcre also claims that it is built over the location of the tomb? This is common among these very holy sites. Remember we told you in a previous blog that as westerners, the historicity is very important to us. However, here, among the eastern world, belief is just as important. Eric reminded Trish and I that much of what we base our “facts” on was given to us from the eastern world – including what we count as Scripture. Ultimately, we can trust in a sovereign, infallible God and His Word. Praise Him!

The Weeks skipped a visit to the Israel Museum to spend some time with us. We were so honored! We met them at the Inbal hotel and went swimming. By the way, make sure you ask the price before you send your kids on ahead of you at these very high-end hotels. For the price it cost to swim, Eric and I could have rented a car and spent the day in Galilee. The upside to it was we got to have the boys stay with us while Trish and Richard enjoyed an evening out by themselves. They attended the Night to Honor Israel at the Jerusalem Conference Center with John Hagee. They even got to hear Israel’s Prime Minister, Netanyahu speak… cool! We swam with the boys then took them down Yemen Moshe! Yeehaw! Lillian and I stayed at the top while Ryan, Collin, Tally and Celine ran down then up all 253 steps. I had a common Israeli chocolate treat called Bueno waiting for them when they reached the top. We then walked to our home for a dinner of chicken and toasted pasta, apples, carrots and day-old pita bread (it is so much better fresh, sorry boys). We headed out to see if the ice cream shop with swings was still open—it was! That was fun. On our return we played Uno and spoons until Trish and Richard returned from the celebration. The girls LOVED having the boys over and the boys needed a break from the intense “school” they had been having with the tour group.

IMG_0299 Collin and Lillian at Inbal pool. Lillian showed her love for the boys by incessantly kicking them… sorry boys.
IMG_0303 Celine and Lillian swimming at the Inbal pool.
The boys and girls at the Windmill Ryan, Collin, Lillian, Celine and Tally at the Montefiore Windmill, which contains a small museum on the life of the British philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885). In the middle of the 19th century Montefiore bought the area round the windmill and founded the first Jewish settlement outside the Old City (Mishkenot Sha'ananim). At the end of the century the area to the north, Yemin Moshe, was also built up; it is now an artists' quarter.
Yemen Moshe Collin, Celine, Ryan and Tally just ascended the 253 steps of Yemin Moshe. The stairs drop off in the background. Trish and Richard made the same climb.
Eating Bueno chocolate treat Ryan, Collin, Tally, Celine and Lillian eating Bueno chocolate bar.

The next day they visited the Memorial of the Holocaust (the one that Iran claims never happened—very sad) at Yad Vashem. They said if was very intense and overwhelming. Something that I have learned recently is that as a Christian, I am not viewed in a good light by Jews. Instead, the word “Christian” is a very ugly word to many of them. I never would have thought that I would be looked at as anything but a friend of the Jews. In reality, many Jews have been murdered in the name of “Christianity.” My prayer is that no matter what people do in the name of  “Jesus” or “Christianity” it doesn’t take away from Who Jesus is or what He came to do for all of us, Jew, Gentile, Infidel, etc. Jesus, himself a Jew, said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” Pray that Christians world wide will do His will and not their own.

All of us holding our signs before the Rally Richard, Ryan, Tally, Collin, Celine (behind the Israeli flag) and Trish getting ready for the Unity Rally to begin.
Here we go!  Here we go… Notice Lillian in the bottom of the picture waving her flag.


The next day, we met the Weeks at the Convention Center for a luncheon before participating in a Unity Rally through the streets of Jerusalem. The girls and I arrived at the luncheon but couldn’t find the Weeks. We finally decided to find a place to sit. God was gracious and placed us with 2 couples from the Dallas area. They were so kind and very generous to my girls. We had great conversation and sharing of what we love about Jerusalem. They had been on the tour before but just had to come back. I failed to get their names but hope to run into them again. They attend Chuck Swindol’s church in Dallas which Eric and I look forward to visiting when we get to Dallas. Chuck Swindol spoke at Eric’s undergrad graduation (12 years ago now!) and speaks occasionally in Chapel at Dallas Theological Seminary. As the luncheon ended, Pastor Hagee gave the benediction and we were all dismissed to the busses. Trish had asked if we could ride with them. That was great because the march was going to be at Ben Yehuda which was not close to the Convention Center. We were given Israeli and American flags along with signs that read “Christians United For Israel” on one side and “אנו תומכים בישראל” on the other side which says, “We Support Israel.” The Israeli people were very receptive and welcoming of our large crowd marching through their streets. We heard many telling us  “thank you” and “God bless you.” Richard saw a man on his balcony with a sign that read, “thank you.” We had many asking if they could have a flag and both Richard and I ended up giving away our signs. The response was wonderful. There was a group of young men playing their drums as we walked. At the end of the march, I turned and told them thanks for joining us and playing. They responded with, “Thank you and thanks for supporting Israel.” It was an honor to be a part of such a positive experience. There weren’t many kids, so you can imagine everyone wanted Lillian’s picture. Tally, Celine, Ryan and Collin also were the subject of the photographs being snapped. I am keeping my eyes open to see if their picture shows up in any publication.

IMG_0320 Collin and Ryan during the Unity Rally.
IMG_0327 Collin and Lillian getting their picture taken.
IMG_0323 Tally with the Shofar guy. During the Unity Rally, he play Amazing Grace and the Israeli anthem with these shofars. You can check him out at www.shofarsogood.

The Unity Rally proceeded down Ben Yehuda then down Jaffa Street toward Old City. We ended the Rally at the Municipality building to hear a few speakers then dance with an Israeli girls’ dance team. Celine and Trish joined them. It was a lot of fun.




When the Rally was done, we took the Weeks over to Eric’s school where they got a brief history of the buildings they use. His school is only 200 years old but it is built over top a Hasmonian era tower (160-40BC) that once stood there. You can see the Hasmonian stones they reused, and the old steps leading into the tower—and we thought that recycling was a 21st century idea.

IMG_0345 Eric is explaining how part of the school was built on the wall fortress towers dating back to the Hasmonean period.
IMG_0348 On the roof top looking out toward the Weeks’ hotel, Yemin Moshe and the Windmill with Hinnom valley below and between.


We can see the Inbal from his school where the Hinnom valley looms below and between. On the way back, we took them down into the valley which of course led us to the infamous Yemen Moshe. I asked for forgiveness beforehand. However, they were real troopers—not one complaint. It is a pretty walk which can distract you from the breathless state you find yourself in as you ascend.

The last day of their visit, they visited the Western Wall tunnels, very cool, a kibbutz and the Archeological gardens which is at the southwest corner of the Dome of the Rock. It is a beautiful place.

We missed them there but met back up with them at their hotel. We had about an hour to visit before they had to load their luggage on the bus. It was sad seeing them go but what a blessing it was to see them and share this experience with them.


IMG_0383 Farewell photo!
IMG_0385 Saying goodbye to Trish was hard. What a joy to have had the Weeks with us in Jerusalem.

They are now back in Kyle. Welcome home Richard, Trish, Ryan and Collin. We enjoyed your visit to Israel.

To everyone else… Shabbot Shalom!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Weeks Arrived!

Can you believe that God arranged the Weeks to be here during our 4 months in Jerusalem?!

IMG_0181 Outside the Inbal Hotel in front of the banner welcoming the Weeks’ tour group.
IMG_0188 IMG_0187
Lillian and Celine with their new scarves. This is how the married Jewish ladies where their hair. I got one too, I’m just not as cute as Celine and Lillian…  

I’m sure many of you in Austin are wondering if the Weeks arrived in Jerusalem and if we ever hooked up with them. For those of you who don’t have the privilege of knowing the Weeks, they are friends of ours from our home school family who won an all-expense paid trip to Israel. Well, they did arrive and were immediately swept off touring this wonderful land. The first couple of days were brutal and no, they weren’t able to sleep on the plane. They spent their first 4 days in Tiberius.

On Friday, we knew they were going to be at the Western Wall before having their Shabbat dinner. We hadn’t heard from the Weeks due to the very busy schedule they were keeping but knew that Shabbat dinners were usually around 6pm so we figured it would be before then.

Around 2:30PM, the girls and I left for Eric’s school. After meeting up with him, we headed for the Western Wall. As we came down out of the Jewish Quarter we saw that the plaza was filled with police and security vehicles. It was overwhelming. Below us, just on the other side of the metal detectors there was a man flanked with secret service. After passing through the gates, I asked who it was (hoping it was Perez or Netanyahu). Though not who I had hoped, it was the head of police in Jerusalem. 

IMG_0200 The head of police is flanked with security. The plaza was swarming with police, soldiers and riot police.
IMG_0193 The Dome of the rock in the background. See the wooden, elevated walkway? This is the gentile entrance to the Dome of the Rock which is where the riots were last Sunday.

The entire plaza was quite exciting. As we waited, riot police would go by, both ways, as would police and soldiers. I finally asked one of them why there were so many police present. They said it was because of the riots at the Dome of the Rock all week.

IMG_0231 One of the riot police. He said all his equipment is heavy. Eric was really impressed with these guys. This gentleman told us that he would like to be in college “but someone has to do this.”
IMG_0226 This was one of the groups that hung around. They had already seen action that morning. We have felt very safe in Israel. They don’t mess around.

Sunday, a week ago, people visiting the Dome of the Rock had rocks thrown at them. The officer I was talking to said that the riots have been going on all week and that it is still dangerous. Hence, the police. However, in a few hours, all the vehicles were cleared out and the number of police had reduced some. Eric and I had decided to stay out of the way so when the Weeks arrived they could really experience the Western Wall the way we did. It is really impressive and inspiring. Sometime after 6PM, Eric and Celine, who were posted at a “lookout” spotted the Weeks. Eric sent me a text to let me know he had seen them. Sure enough Tally, Lillian and I found them. We stayed back while Richard took Ryan and Collin to the men’s side of the wall, while Trish went to the women’s side. We then went to say hi! It was so exciting and so bizarre. Here we were talking to the Weeks at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City.

IMG_0219 Western Wall on the Women’s side. The women pray as passionately as the men.
IMG_0222 Celine at the Western Wall. 
IMG_0227 Pastor John Hagee preaching at the Western Wall. He was being filmed. He arrived about an hour before the tour groups.

When it was time for their tour group to head back to the bus and then on to their hotel, we began our walk to Eric’s school then on to home. The Weeks are staying at The Inbal, which is 4 blocks from our home. 

As we reached the top of Yemen Moshe, we get a call that the Weeks had arrived at the hotel. We would be walking by their hotel in just minutes so we stopped to visit. They had about an hour before dinner so we invited them to our home. The kids and Eric walked. Trish was in heels and Richard had just showered so I road in a taxi with them. Since the walk to our home is up a very steep hill, we didn’t want them to get all sweaty before their Shabbat dinner. Anyway, they got to come over for a few minutes before we headed back down to the hotel. We all walked back since it was all down hill. It is really so weird that we are so close to them.

IMG_0251  Top of Mt. Scopus looking north—opposite Jerusalem. Notice how “deserty” it gets as you leave the area of Jerusalem.
IMG_0247 Top of Mt. Scopus looking out over Jerusalem. Very green and of course, crowded with the city.
IMG_0257 On the top of Mt. Olives. A Bedouin and his donkey. He is giving rides.
IMG_0254 On the top of Mt. Olives. Bedouins also bring their camels for rides. We haven’t ridden one yet, although Trish was hoping to ride one today at the Dead Sea.

The next day, Eric had to leave at 6:30AM with his class for a 3-day field study to the Negev. The Weeks were going to be at Mt. Olives in the morning then back to the Old City. The girls and I were torn where we should meet up with the Weeks. We ended up walking over to Mt. Olives, catching a taxi to take us to the top of Mt. Scopus then dropping us off at the top of Mt. Olives. It would take another blog to describe how awesome that was. We made our way back over to the Dung gate, planning to grab a bite to eat just outside the Western Wall in the Muslim Quarter (restaurants in the Jewish Quarter were still closed for Shabbat).  We decided to eat at a place right inside Jaffa Gate. As we were making our way over to Jaffa through amazing crowds, we came to where we needed to turn left. As we were waiting for a pesky tour group to pass, Celine noticed the teal flag of the Weeks’ group, then Tally noticed they were wearing the same tags then she saw RICHARD! We stepped in and “bumped” into Richard, then I ran ahead to “bump” into Trish. It was awesome. They were walking the Via Dolorosa in reverse order ending at St. Ann’s Church. Because they still had about 6 stations to go, we decided to go eat and meet them back at St. Ann’s. As we were walking to St. Ann’s, we met up with them as they were coming out of another church.

IMG_0281 Here we are with Richard, Trish, Ryan and Collin by the Pools of Bethesda. They are beautiful! The pools are too.
IMG_0278 Richard, Trish and Collin enjoying a lesson from the Bible in front of the Pools of Bethesda.
IMG_0277 Lillian with Ryan during the Bible lesson. Lillian LOVES having the boys here—a real highlight for her.

St. Ann’s was really cool. The whole John Hagee group was there and they filled the church. We sang for about 15 minutes then they had an anointing service. Afterwards it was time to go home so we headed out the Lion Gate to the bus. Trish had asked if we could ride the bus back to their hotel—that was nice. We got to hang around with them until dinner.

The fact that we are here, the Weeks won a trip here, the trip was while we are here AND they are staying just 4 blocks from us is all incredibly amazing, don’t you think? God certainly graces us in peculiar ways.

IMG_0284 Richard and Trish in their room at the Inbal. Trish is such a good wife!
IMG_0283 They were so excited about seeing each other. It was an awesome reunion. This is Collin and Ryan’s room.

Today, the Weeks are at the Qumran Caves, Dead Sea, Mesada and then a Light and Sound show with Jason Crab. They are due to return around midnight—long day. What is cool is Eric is in the same area. They won’t see each other but they are seeing the same things. Eric will be swimming in the Dead Sea tomorrow and climbing Masada  before returning to Jerusalem—I digress. We should see the Weeks tomorrow—maybe at the Garden Tomb. We will also be attending The Night to Honor Israel with them tomorrow night at the Convention Center.

If you miss the Weeks and would like for me to pass on a message for you, just send a comment and I will make sure they get it! They are having a great time and learning more than they will be able to share—for sure!