Jordan trip 2013

This was my second trip to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a nation next to Israel which the two enjoy mostly good relations.   Jordan effectively became a new country taking the eastern two thirds of the British Mandate of Palestine in 1946, two years before the creation of modern state of Israel using the other third.

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Petra is a big national park, we spend a day and a half there which was just right to see most it.  Getting around is done by donkeys, horses and camels, the standard mode of transport for the traditional Arabian people.

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The terrain here is stunning, there are hundreds of caves, narrow passageways and hill tops to explore.   These Roman soldiers were a nice touch and didn’t remember seeing them last time.

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There are people selling stuff everywhere, mostly traditional style jewlery, its almost like the vendors go to a special bedouin sales school, as they tend to use the same phrases to trade, “its happy hour, special price!”  was heard at almost every hour of the day.  Coke machine in the desert!    Sadly you can’t buy ice cream here, as it appears the vast expanse of the place means everything runs of a generator, and freezers are too difficult to run this way I think.

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This is the iconic temple carved into the rock used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, although it doesn’t get more than a minute or so exposure.

I’ve always wondered if George Lucas might of had coffee with the then King Hussein of Jordan, seeing the movie put Jordan on the map for film loving visitors to the Middle East.

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Some of the sellers of items we ignored with the intention of making some deals in the way back down the hills, these coins were interesting as Roman heads can be seen on them.  By the time we came back down to take a better look at these items, the traditional Arab woman was half asleep smoking a marijuana joint, and her 7 year old girl was running the shop!    Theres a small number of feral cats here, I’m sure there descended from the felines brought over by the British to keep the mice under control.  This kitten we fed with some left over cottage cheese from our lunch seemed happy.

Petra is an unforgettable experience, and without a doubt one of the wonders of the world.

May 2013 plans and studying

Not written much in a long time, will try and catch up with some writings of what I have been doing.

Next week I’m studying for a theology course I am doing with Bridges for Peace to be a better advocate for Israel and all things biblical.

Please pray for this to go well, its going to be hard work as its likely I will be in class from about 8am till 9pm at night.

I have all visa paper work from now until February 2014 which is a huge blessing.    Thanks for your prayers.

Jonathan

Jerusalem’s Old City music event

P1060612Actually those lights I mentioned wasn’t that unusual.    Its my camera which is a bit rubbish, its some coloured lights glowing from this:-

There was a musical festival in Jerusalem’s old city walls, consisting of artists who were both Jew and Arab, a nice evening for me and some friends to take a stroll around the evening.   In fact, pretty much forgot about the whole Obama visit thing.

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Outside Christ Church.

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Jordanian bikers come for the day.  Take a close look at this guy’s jacket.  Its extremely unusual to Jordanian plated vehicles here.   Not sure if these chaps were part of the entertainers.

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P1060624The Cardo, behind the stone pillars were these guys.   One of them looks like a kind of Robert Smith of the Cure.  I had visions of the Cardo becoming a sort of biblical style mosh pit.   :)

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Beautiful music and beautiful instruments from Jewish, Arab and Armenian Christian residents of the Old City.

Egypt, jam and prophecy

Lately I have been getting back into reading Isaiah, the book with highest amount of prophetic value in the scriptures.  I haven’t been to Egypt but been curious about the past and present in the surrounding middle east nations.

Isaiah 19 : 4 I will hand the Egyptians over
to the power of a cruel master,
and a fierce king will rule over them,”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

Although Egypt’s previous government run by Mumbarak and folks trashing museums in Cairo seems horrible, things sound like they could be a lot worse with the Muslim Brotherhood running the place.   I was talking to some people in my bible study, and they pointed out this passage.    Until recently Egypt has a just about ok relationship with Israel, but with this new leadership they could be as dangerous as Syria or Iran.

Isaiah 19 : 16 In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the Lord Almighty is planning against them.

18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun.[a]

(a) – Isaiah 19:18 Some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Symmachus and Vulgate; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text City of Destruction

Looking at this Hebrew version of this passage on www.bible.cc, it says this also.  My regular NIV people says Destruction, with message at the bottom, about it also being ‘City of the sun’.

city of destruction

“Speak the language of Canaan..”, how about this article?

egyptians speaking hebrew  orangejam
Here is a jar of Marmalade I bought from an Arab shop near my house here in Jerusalem.    Its labelled as “Orange Jam”  and its made in Egypt, this is a city just outside Cairo.

After I looked in Wikipedia about 6th October City:-

1973 – Egypt launches a coordinated attack with Syria against Israel leading to the Yom Kippur War.
The city was established in 1979 by the 504th presidential decree of president Anwar El Sadat. It is 17 km from the great pyramids of Giza and 32 km from downtown Cairo.[4] The city has a total area of 97.4 thousand feddans (400 km2) and is expected to eventually have 3.7 million inhabitants.[5] It was announced as the capital of the 6th of October Governorate in April 2008. Following the governorate’s dissolution in April 2011, it was reincorporated into the Giza Governorate, to which it had originally belonged.
The city’s name commemorates the commencement of the October War on 6th October 1973 to liberate Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. For this reason, the date was also chosen as Egypt’s Armed Forces Day.

My primitive knowledge of Hebrew tells me that שמש – Shemesh is sun.   There is a city outside of Jerusalem called Beit Shemesh.

Just out of curiousity, in case there was another definition, I did some translating.   This other word “Chamah” which I don’t recognise, could be sun, or heat, rage, fury or wrath.   Now I think I know there is two different English biblical interpretations of this.

shemesh

Funny, I only went out to get something to spread on some pita bread, interesting what inspires me to see what Isaiah is talking about regarding what will prophetically happen to Egypt one day….

Is revival heading toward Egypt one day, yes, check out this link for 70,000 Egyptian believers in Jesus got together at the end of 2011.

http://www.tyndale.ca/news/egypts-remarkable-prayer-gathering 

shopping at my local Arab corner shop

As I mentioned previously, where I live is in between a Jewish community and an Arab Palestinian community, there is a local Arab corner shop you can buy supplies when most shops are shut on Shabbat.   As I dislike boycotts and think small businesses of all types are important, I sometimes go out and get stuff if I run out of anything at the weekend.

Here is some Marmalade, actually its called ‘orange jam’ and its made in 6th of October city (strangely a real city!) in Egypt.  Jam seems to vary a lot in quality, some is excellent, and some is fruit flavoured liquid sugar.   This particular stuff is really nice actually.

I wanted to make some couscous for lunch using Chicken I had left over from yesterday, but then I realised as I was cutting up vegetables I had run out of couscous, so off to the store, I had to ask the man there (they usually speak a small amount of English) if they had any, he grabbed me a bag, and I gave him 12 shekels.

 

When I got home, I was kind of surprised at the very political (Dome of the rock) packaging!   actually its not really couscous its a similar wheat type product which is I think popular in Africa, however it came out quite nice anyway.

I got some non alcoholic beer, I am not driving or on medication, its just they didn’t have any proper beer.   This stuff was actually quite pleasant really.  Please don’t hate me, real ale clubs!

The previous week I got some of this fruit flavoured malt drink with the branding of a popular beer manufacturer, kind of odd, as was just malt and mango soda to be honest.   A good way of using beer brand names to a mostly Islamic audience I suppose.   Don’t remember now where this stuff was made.

This was a surprise, this box which presumably contains boxes of noodles, is made in Saudi Arabia!   I would of thought the wealthiest Arab state in the world would be exporting food more exciting than this! :)

Please “slicha” (excuse) the poor quality of the pictures, I took them discretely on my phone in the shop, don’t think they would of been pleased with me using a camera in their shop!

In all honesty I think there is a lot of similarities between Jewish and Arabic food, especially with humous, pita and falafel being massively popular throughout the middle east, no one can agree who invented it, like politics here in general, but at least the tastes are the same :)

Of course the shop has nuts, Turkish delight and other Arabic made candy and usual other things I see, as well as a bakery making their own bread on a ancient squeaking conveyor belt oven behind the counter too!!

It sad and pathetic that the anti-Israel and BDS bandwagon are quick to boycott different food products here, I will write an article on food manufacturing soon and destroy some common myths the west has been force fed.

Roman Holiday 36AD – a story by me

Some friends of mine from my church back at home run a writing club from a bar in Southsea, Portsmouth.

Rosie’s wine bar in Portsmouth is a well known place often for live music.

When I was back in the UK during Christmas, I wrote a story for this event on a fictional Roman couple on holiday in the Middle East.   Its short – the rules state it should be under 5 minutes when I stood up to read.


Here it is, if you’d like to read it:-

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gVMZYCVj7FTYocYoJ8Mx7uUPdoKVhCD0t8pcbzEzszM/edit 

If you would like to write or just listen to locally produced short fiction in a small friendly group, please visit Write Invite here:-

http://www.write-invite.com/

The competitions are done in Portsmouth, but you can also do them online anywhere in the world.

video interview from Uriel Ben Avraham

I got interviewed in the street whilst out during my lunch break at work.

youtube interviewClick to see the video.  Its worth checking out some of the opinions of other folks he spoke to.

Uriel seems like an interesting guy with a passion for this country and listening to what the public has to say, we chatted for a bit afterwards, so I’ll try and meet up with him for coffee one of these days.

 

 

unless you change and become like little children….

Whilst I was at church on my first weekend back in Israel, after the service I noticed something amazing;

There was an Arab family in the hallway as I was leaving, I had not seen this couple and their daughter who was only about 4 years old or so.    I introduced myself to the man but didn’t think he spoke much English.    I was just leaving and I noticed the little girl tugging on the sleeve of her friend another girl the same age, who had blonde hair and Jewish.

It took me back to see this, with all these attempts at meetings between nations on peace, when you realise any kind of prejudice in human beings is not preinstalled in us but is sadly picked up around us.   For all the problems that exist between Arabs, Jews and Christians, its us needing to be like children as Jesus mentions here:-

Matthew 18
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

ebay bidding systems broken for people in Portsmouth

I have bee a regular user of ebay for 13 years now, and use it to mainly obtain all those hard to find spare parts for computers I fix.

After getting back to UK 4 days ago, I tried to buy a nonworking laptop for a nice winter indoors project, and give to a friend who needs a cheap laptop, in this case the seller doesn’t ship to the Isle of Wight, which I don’t. I live in Portsmouth.

For non British people (actually I think post codes in Canada work similar to UK possibly…) Post codes are one or two letters for the city and then some numbers for the localised area of the city then a gap and more random letters and numbers, like this:-

PO1 5EQ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PO_postcode_area

This above wikipedia article tells you how the localised codes work for the Portsmouth, Chichester and Isle of Wight areas.

If you live in the Isle of Wight, their post is handled by Portsmouth’s sorting office.

Basically it boils down to the fact, Isle of Wight is used by PO30 – PO40 post codes. If you have a post code of PO3 6__ like me, ebay’s infrastructure refuses you to buy this item as that the seller won’t ship to the Isle of Wight, which the parcel couriers naturally charge a bit more.

There is a space between the two halves of the post code which is entered correctly on my ebay account details, but it interprets me as being in PO36 area it seems.

So ebay, in return for reporting an infrastructure issue, and being a loyal customer since 1999 and 2000+ feedback, any chances of a nice pressie for Christmas?

Rockets hit Jerusalem

The last few days things have been heating up with bigger rockets coming out of Gaza.

Until recently cities in the more south of Israel, like Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva, were being hit with around 1 million people needing to regularly go into bomb shelters.

Now, longer range missiles hit Tel Aviv yesterday, landed on grass, no damage.   This is unusual as the regular GRAD missiles can reach a maximum of 40Km, so these are a different breed of weapon.

Today after I went home from work, an alarm sounded at about 16:45 – Jerusalem just had its first rocket attack in a long time.

After just getting on my shoes, coat and keys, me and my room mate ran downstairs to see most people hovering on the stairs that go into the basement where a large heavy door that has our bomb shelter is.

Having a bomb shelter is a legal requirement for all homes and businesses here.

Not many of my neighbours came in actually.   There were Ethiopian Jews, Russian Jews, one British lady and the rest of our block I think are sabra Israelis.  I have not seen on my neighbours together so this brought out a community spirit.  The elderly Ethiopian lady in her traditional clothing look noticeably in tears.

Across the road are two houses with Arab families which will having to deal this threat as well.   Something the mainstream news never really mentions.

This large room has some of other peoples stuff here, and someone painted some cartoon pictures on the wall, which actually makes the place look worse, like some kind of communist era prison.   This is an awful place to be, it feels like a prison and the toilets are grim, and a water tank is empty.  Actually I have to bring back some bottles of water which have to keep handy for disaster planning reasons.

I didn’t hear any explosions but there were some (maybe 2 or 3) from the west part of the city which friends told me online.

As today is Shabbat, the holiest day for Jewish people, this is a deliberate effort to frighten and worry people in the most holy city on earth.   There is a worry more attacks could happen (Saturday, the remaining part of Shabbat)   but we need to keep praying for safety and for a swift end to this war.   I know civilians in Gaza are no doubt going to be also stuck in the middle of this with possibly tragic consequences.

I have no desire to leave back to the UK, nor does anyone I know out of the three dozen Christian ministries I know that is here, we will continue to help this nation by prayer and in physical assistance.