Trip to Turkey 5. Spirit filled believers from Cappadocia

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My phone isn’t readable in bright sunlight, I’m glad I brought a real bible 🙂

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Acts 2 : 2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Me myself, I’m still trying to learn about tongues and spiritual gifts, its great to know there were so many believers of such different backgrounds in the middle east and beyond, which might sound completely unthinkable today.   I believe we will see true peace when Jesus returns soon.

I put the different ethnic groups of people into Google Maps to see how the body of Christ were all over the Levant.

Previous 4. The cave town in Goereme
Next 6. Hot Air Ballooning

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Why to say Israel is an apartheid state is completely and utterly false, here’s a different method to prove it

Ok, photos can easily be manipulated, so for Muslims, liberals, lefties and political hipsters who seem attracted to the Pro-Palestine movement, instead of showing you photos and links why this is not at all true, let me try a different approach;

I like Google street map view.   In fact I’m a huge fan of most of Google’s services.   Using Street map view is a great way to look at where you went on holiday or where you are planning to go.   You can see such things as what is next to a hotel, a building site or a nice view of a beach.  There all kinds of uses for this fantastic web based app.   It great for bloggers as it a doddle to put a window into the world in an average typical WordPress blog like mine.

So I also think its a good weapon against political propaganda.

Please click and wiggle your mouse on any of these links

So Israel an apartheid state?

Well, would a country hateful against Arab people bother putting all the street signs in English, Hebrew and Arabic?

Is this sign discriminatory?  actually it is!!   An unusual idea in Israel’s highways, is they have a special fast lane.   Pay more money and dodge the traffic by travelling in a special premium lane.   This is ‘unfair’ to normal tax paying motorists but useful if you want to pay to get somewhere quicker.   The Sherut vans tend to use those.   Oh, Sheruts are yellow minibuses which are cheap and go to your door.   They have drivers who are Arabs or Jews and have passengers who are Jews or Arabs or foreigners.

Ok, recognise this place?  its a religious monument to the Bahai faith.   I don’t agree with the Bahais as they are sort of Universalists.  They believe in a little bit of everything, I don’t know much about this faith, apart from their pretty garden which stands out in Haifa.   But this group is allow to have their own freedom of religion here.  Can you image this happening in any other middle east nation?

What about other ethnic groups in Israel?

The Armenian Christians live in own community in Jerusalem

When a Turkish Pro-Palestinian ship went to dock with Gaza, on a ‘peace’ mission.   The Armenian Christian community put up a lot of posters reminding people of the 1 million or so Armenian Christians murdered by the Turkish in 1915.   An event largely forgotten and not willing to be reconcilled or any forgiveness by Turkey since then till now.  😦

Jews and Arabs work in the Shuk, the open air market for fruit and vegetables, and Jews and Arabs shop together. Jews and Arabs also go to modern supermarkets and malls too.

I like the fact that actually Jewish and Arab people tend to eat a lot of the same food too.

Jericho – 5. The tree

After leaving the mount of temptation, we drove past the cable cars that took passengers up From a kilometer away or so, would of been fun to go on these, but the road signs took us to the foot of the cliff.

Back to the town I saw this mosque and church close together:

I was quite excited to visit this next place…

This tree is meant to be the one that Zacchaeus, the tax collector, climbed to see Jesus, as he couldn’t see him through the crowd.

Luke 19: 1  Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.  7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

I think its interesting that Jesus asked him quite bluntly that he needed to stay at his house that night, where as in the culture of the UK, we would probably feel more embarrased about having to ask someone we had only just met if we could stay over at short notice.   Here in the middle east, hospitality is such an important thing.

Theres no guarantee on the authenticity of this place, its interesting that the tree is burnt from being struck by lightening at some point.

The tree is well protected by these railings and there is no way to get right up to it, let alone use it as a place to see someone speaking in a crowded in a public place.   It does seem like a good place to imagine Jesus speaking in a prominant part of city though.

My friend didn’t buy this scarf in the end, the man selling them, taking our picture wanted too much for it, and these Palestinian scarves were made famous by Yasser Arafat, so not really someone in history that should be remembered fondly.

This was the last place in our brief day trip to Jericho is we went back to the hotel and showered and went out to church.

Sadly I didn’t get to see any traces of history of Jericho’s old city walls or inhabitants, seems this was on the other side of town.   Never mind I think I will be back here again.

1. Crossing into the oldest city in the world2. Jericho’s town centre3. Church on the cliff4. View of Jericho’s plain –  5. The tree

August in Israel, Missile attacks, Glen Beck visits and ELAV 2011

Its now close to the end of August, and thought I would briefly comment on some things happening here of late;

Glen Beck comes to Israel

I’ll be honest that I don’t know much about Glen Beck, all I know is he is some US TV celebrity, hes a Mormon and he supports Israel.

A lot of people around this land including people from many Christian organisations went out the Caesarea this week to see him speak, along with John Hagee and some senior Orthodox Rabbis.

There seems to be a frenzy amongst Christians to see Glen Beck, but I am not sure why as hes not a Christian.  Its nice that he is out here showing support.   My message to any believers here looking forward to seeing this event or watching it on Christian TV stations is discernment, discernment and discernment.   In the past theres been dubious things dressed up meant to be Christian, so it great to see this man show support, and mingle with Christian organisations, people just need to be careful.

Terrorism

You will of heard about the recent bus attacks in Eilat, the bottom corner of Israel which looks out onto the Red Sea, my Japanese housemate went to this place only 5 days earlier, I have traveled on this Egged bus service but not since November 2009.   This tragedy is significant for several reasons, again this was just ordinary civilian Israel folk on this bus that were shot, and another bus had an RPG launched at it resulting in 8 innocent people dead, there has been reports that Palestinian terrorists also were wearing Egyptian army uniforms and therefore risk dangerously damaging relations with Egypt.

Often the war between Israel and the Palestinian militants, is not just a war of deadly weapons, its also done with the media, something that manipulates the news, so Palestinians always look like the victim.

Lately one of the main BBC reporters Yolande Knell who does many of the recent stories about Israel and Gaza also works for the Muslim Brotherhood English web site!

Its rare I see any pro-Palestinian organisation or secular news source ever to look at Christian Arabs being persecuted or how the main political group Hamas acts as a mob over the people in Gaza.   I do know of wonderful Christians that work here who have a genuine love and compassion for Arab people here though.

At the moment, there is a sense of nervousness because of a high risk of terrorism alert, and last weekend I was advised by a friend who is in the IDF not to use the bus or go near any crowds.

This week the several years overdue light electric rail system finally went live in Jerusalem, although to me this seems like bad timing as it could well be a target.

I work with people who have family in places like Ashdod where missiles are being rained down upon, and its upsetting that around 1 million Israelis (from places like Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva) are having to sit in bomb shelters lately, as well as two people killed and several seriously injured also.

I don’t like talking about politics but these are some important things to be praying about.

Christian events in Israel:

ELAV 2011 – www.elav2011.co.il 

Some friends from my church went to the ELAV youth event in Tel Aviv last week, this is a Christian worship event for Jewish and Arab believers, I didn’t go, but heard encouraging things from friends (Christian foriegners and local Jewish and Arab young believers)

Yad Ha’Shmona (Hebrew for ‘hand of eight’)  www.yad8.com

Also with my church I went to an outdoor worship event in this town just a few minutes outside of Jerusalem this week, this was also an youth event, with some really good Hebrew worship music.

In the craziness of things happening in this part of the world (as opposed to a different type of craziness of people stealing and burning things in several parts of the UK!!) its massively encouraging to see great relationships between Jews, Arabs and overseas Christians at these type of events, and friendships and reconciliation.

Still with the places I visit, my job looking after equipment and resources for a Christian organisation to bless the Jewish people, and my church here and my friends of all different backgrounds here and around the world, I wouldn’t change it for the world!!  😀

Mini Israel – holyland in minature

I went with some folks from work to Mini Israel a place with lots of models of famous sites in this country.

Downtown Tel Aviv.  Here there is a street with moving Scaletrix style cars and trucks that go up and down.  A lot of the trucks having recognisable brands such as the blue, green and red one being Tvuna, Israel’s largest dairy.

You do actually feel a bit like the oversized main character of a B movie walking along very detailed places here!

This tourist place is a kind of Israel’s “greatest hits album” as its a way seeing a hundred odd places in one location, and a good way of seeing a glimpse of places you have yet to visit, everywhere from Mount Hermon to Eilat. 🙂

Capernhuam next to the Galilee, one of the places Jesus preached.   I also went to the real one in May.   Will write on this soon.

Here is the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem.

More sights of Jerusalem’s old city.

Tel Aviv water front.  Looks great but is there a model of the Zohan? 🙂


Here is Jaffa too. 🙂

The attention to detail on the models is excellent.  There are small background noises put in, such as traffic, crowds etc.   Only trouble is maintaining this stuff must be a full type job as the hot temperatures and dust has caused some of the models to crack in places, so regular repair is often needed.   There are a lot of places miniaturized, not just religious sites but even Coca Cola factory and people working a Kibbutz.

http://www.minisrael.co.il/

This was a nice day out, although some scary experiences on the way home…..

Tel Aviv – robotics competition Part 2 Meet the robots

Another 5am start – urrrgh….

But it was worth it also.   As the robotics event was already in full swing, I did get to miss out on the Lego event that happened earlier in the week sadly, as my colleagues from work were helping out on the monday and tuesday.

The electronic signs didn’t show English, but some other signs around the corner did show which gates at Jerusalem bus station are for which city.

Tel Aviv bus station is hugely complicated.   Its a bit reminiscent of the now gone Tricorn shopping centre in Portsmouth, UK, for its concrete angles.   When your bus gets there you are high up as its like a multistory car park, quite a clever design really and you have to use lifts or escalators or steps down.

I just seem to go round and round looking for an exit, and got into an abandoned wing of the shopping centre which looked a bit seedy and smelt of wee.  Got to like the “Parkings” sign!

Back at the Nokia arena, I got to visit some of the contestants there…

Meet the robots!  They are all made of mostly steel, weigh upto about 40 kilos, have an upright arm for grabbing objects, share the same control system (wireless by laptop)  and are sponsored by companies big and small.   There is a bumper, a rubber or foam insulator around the whole thing to protect from knocking into things.   I don’t know much about the rules and specs they had to be built to, but I do know they are not mean to attack each other or people 🙂

The teams are almost all Israelis, secular and religious Jews, Arabs and a team from the military too, plus was one foreign team from Bosnia.

Part 1: Setting up at the arena
Part 2: Meet the robots
Part 3: Robot inner workings
Part 4: Competition

Yad Vashem uses Google to document the holocaust

I have always been a big admirer of Google, they always have exciting projects on the go, I like the fact they are the most innovative company on the planet, driven by creativity, leveraging a vast number of talented people to make all kinds of large records accessible to everyone previously not possible.

One of the ugly sides of the internet is hate groups.  Quite a significant amount of this is antisemitism, and quite a significant portion of antisemitism is holocaust denial.

Google are now inviting those who had family lost or survived the holocaust to submit pictures and data to this site as a big collaborative project, to stop history from being forgotten or revised, especially as the number of people survived this ordeal are getting few.   Google use a fair bit of their own OCR software to turn scanned text into searchable data.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/explore-yad-vashems-holocaust-archives.html

The convenience store

If I look at out of my balcony to the right I see the Arab district as I live on the 1949 armistice line.

But aside what typical Middle East journalists say, what is it really like to live in between Jews and Arabs?

Back home in Portsmouth and probably most parts of the UK you have a corner shop, well not always but mostly on a corner, and often run by Asian people.  They are often usually from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh and could be Muslim, Sikh or Hindu.   As Britain’s last defenders of small businesses fight against the mighty retail continent of Tesco and their still aggressive marching in of Express stores, our Asian community serves us well so quick trips no more than a mile away shopping for newspapers, fags, phone credit, sweets and milk and food supplies forgotten from the last big supermarket run can be obtained easily.

Here in Israel there are also convenience stores by both non-Shabbat observing Jews and Arabs.  To be honest I have no idea if some Arab shops open on Islamic holidays or if this frowned upon by local Arab communities.

At the end of my road here in East Talpiyot, just outside of Jerusalem, is a local shop.  My house is on the 1949 Armistice line, therefore just over the threshold into a neighbouring Arab part of Jerusalem.  In most part I don’t see any trouble, I saw the police car blocking the middle of the road once for something. (exactly what I don’t know, it wasn’t in the news at all)    I would be very naive to say there is never any disturbances sometimes though, to be honest I have seen two car accidents in my street this month though.

Here is the shop, behind the tree ahead.  In front to the right is a car tyre place, rear right is a pizza takeaway, on the left of the shop entrance is some garden ornaments (!)   an interesting cluster of different businesses.   Oh, and the back is a scrap yard, I can see a tower of scrap metal behind.  Just next to this place is a field of olive trees, and in the distance are many minarets and mosques.   From my house I occasionally hear the sound of the air drills used for taking the wheelnuts of cars from the tyre business.

When I am in this junction, there is a feeling of uneasiness, that you are in a place you don’t belong, I mean that not in an unkind or bigoted way to Arab people, but from the uncomfortable spiritual atmosphere of a place as this area is heavily shrouded by Islam.

Of course some items are sold which are not available in a conventional Israel store.   A couple of weeks ago I decided to try some (probably not very unkosher of course, and big surprise – imported from Brazil) corned beef.  This meant my dinner was made using a screwdriver and some pliers, as the wretched key broke off the top and tin openers don’t work very well with square tins.  Oh well 🙂

There is a bakery in this shop at the back so I can get pita bread and cake here, there is only a few products I can see with just Arabic only labels on them.  Incidentally, the Palestinians seem to be very good at making candy, I see boxes of sweets (sold individually) favourites like Turkish delight, Havah (which I think its made of ground up almonds) and some nougat type stuff which is all made by a company in Nabulus.

I think only one of the staff speaks English at this shop, but I have picked up a knack of using gestures (which is a common thing anyway amongst all cultures in this corner of the world) when need to convey what I am buying once at the counter.

Today when I got some milk and bread, the Arab teenager who served me and his friend in the shop had some large scars on their faces that looked like that had been caused by a knife.   I think there is a lot of violence goes on between Arab people in parts of the world like this.   Domestic violence and partner abuse happens quite a lot in Muslim families in the UK but isn’t spoken about much.

The district of Arab Al Sawahira if you turn left at this junction.  The bus I get to work when it rained or if I have my bike fixed goes around this junction.  Beyond this shop, I think the separation wall is another 2kms from here which separates East Jerusalem.

Its sad that often when there is a terrorist attack like 9/11, 7/7, etc, the local Asian or Arab businesses in the UK may be the first people to get blamed with threatening behaviour or vandalism as if they are responsible.  As a Christian, in the UK I think we should pray for our Asian and Arab shopkeepers that their businesses continue to serve well our communities, and that one day they are touched by the true love of the Lord.   Here, there is always the worry from violence from these sorts of places but through my church or friends, or first hand, there are Arab people who have found Christ, and as a side effect of this, have genuine love and compassion for the Jews.

Hannukah 2010

December is upon us, and often two holidays run almost parallel with each other. Christmas and Hannukah.

Orthodox Jews light the lamps for Hannukah, at the Shuk (the Mahane Yehuda market)

Apparently some traditions insist doing this left to right, and some right to left.   Kind of like writing varies from left to right (English & European languages) or right to left (Hebrew and Arabic)

Something new appeared to the right of the men’s side of the Kotel (Western Wall) today (friday) when I went after work…

Firstly, it seemed quite quiet.  A stand has been erected with a large bronze Menorah.  This has 9 candles on it.

These two doves appeared before a Rabbi came and did the prayer and lit the candles.  After which there were a lot of people grouped around to sing and dance in which I joined in.

Of course, there are candlabras all over Jerusalem, including on top of the Kotel Plaza roof here.

Left: Last week I saw this Jerusalem municipality truck with workman putting up decorations on the streetlights.  Right: Lastly with the huge amounts of Sufganiyot (doughtnuts) being sold in the too-numerous bakeries I see here, I spotted this clever machine, the doughnuts were being made and this man was doing the finishing touches to them, by impaling them on this spike and pushing on a lever to inject the jam into them.