Tag Archives: Gethsemane

Toronto to Tel Aviv

Toronto to Tel Aviv

I picked up Matt and Becca Baker at their home and the three of us drove to Toronto to catch our flight to Tel Aviv.  Toronto to Tel Aviv is cheaper than JFK (New York City) to Tel Aviv.  So, we’re doing it this way.

Whoa!  When I got to the airport, long term parking is EXPENSIVE here.  I’m beginning to wonder if it was such a good deal to fly from here.  Oh, but we’re splitting the parking expense.  It might workout okay.

Matt and Becca made it on the flight and we met up with John and Linda at the Toronto Airport.  We’re all going to be on the same plane together.

The Flight

The people at Air Canada are nice and friendly.  The plane is a new Boeing 787, however, I am not impressed with the cabin.  They took the cheap way out.  I’m sure it is fun for the pilots and perhaps the crew, but here’s what isn’t good about Air Canada’s rendition of the 787…

  1. The seats are too narrow.
  2. The seats are too close together.  (Delta probably has barely 12″.  I think this had about 9″ between the front of the seat and the back of the seat in front of you.  For a size 11 foot… that’s not enough.)
  3. For a brand new model, the air quality still sucks.  When will they figure out how to fix the smells and stuffiness on an airliner?

Tel Aviv

We touched down in Tel Aviv and were on our way to pass through the passport checks and getting our luggage.

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On Our Way Out of the Airport

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Passing Through Passport Checks

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Passing Through Passport Checks

We got our rental car in Tel Aviv and they discovered it had a leaky roof.  So, we had to wait about an hour for them to find and clean a van for us.

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Worn out from the flight

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Jumpy – A good name for this van

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In the Van en Route to Jerusalem

The van is a Citroen Jumpy.  It’s a fitting name for a van with a Jumpy clutch.

Jerusalem

We arrived at the Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem, got checked in, and took some time to get settled.  I’m in a 4-bed dorm room, and so far, it looks like only one other person is in it.

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Father Abraham

The dorm room was too small to photograph and not impressive, but above you can see the hallway.  But, for the price… it isn’t bad.  5 nights for about $220 and that includes breakfast and earplugs.  (Yes, they have free earplugs so you can blockout your roommates’ snoring.)

Our next stop is the Mount of Olives and the Orson Hyde Gardens.  There we viewed the old city and then visited the Catholic’s version of Gethsemane.  I say the Catholic’s version because we don’t know exactly where Christ suffered and bled, just that it was somewhere on the Mt. of Olives just outside the city walls.

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A Jewish Funeral Procession

Traffic was held up and Matt spotted this funeral procession.  He stopped so I could jump out and get this picture (above).

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Outside the Orson Hyde Gardens

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Matt and Becca Baker

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John and Linda Harmer

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Gethsemane

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Matt Baker Describing the Location

Dinner

Dinner on the first night at any new location is always difficult.  Matt and I knew of places, but finding a place was another story since is getting late.

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What Are They Looking At? (I can’t remember)

We discovered a market I didn’t know existed.  (It’s rather cool!)  We went looking around and found a shawarma shop that was closing, and so we kept looking.  Finally we found a shawarma/burger place open.

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A Nice Burger with a Mid-Eastern Flavor

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Our Little Sidewalk Cafe

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The Jewish Market Area

It’s back to the hostel (the building with Abraham at the top) to get rested for a big day tomorrow.

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Our Hostel

 

Late Flight

Late Flight

We have a late flight out.  And, since we have a late flight out we plan to see a couple more sites before heading to the airport.  However, we do have to have the car back by 4:00pm local time.

My day started before the sunrise walking on the beach again.  Very therapeutic and peaceful.  It is also very spiritual.

Today I wrote in the sand, “Be Still”, for three reasons.  I love the hymn Be Still My Soul.  Also, when Christ calmed the seas he said, “Peace, be still.”  Finally, the Lord tells us to “be still and know that I am God.”

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Be Still

There are a few places where you can walk and feel the spirit like this.  I’ve listed them in order of my preferences:

  1. Gethsemane (Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens)
  2. The Sacred Grove
  3. The Priesthood Restoration Site (Harmony, Pennsylvania)
  4. The Garden Tomb
  5. Mt. Tabor
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Breakfast

After another great breakfast… we headed to Capernaum – the City of Jesus.  This is where Jesus spent much of his early ministry.  However, they would not believe his words and mighty miracles.

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Capernaum

A large statue of Peter appears here with him holding keys.  While the Christ’s announcement to Peter about the keys of the kingdom took place at Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum was Peter’s home.  Here is where Christ called his apostles and told Peter he would make him a fisher of men.

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Peter

We left Capernaum and headed across the country to Caesarea on the coast.  This is the city where Paul spent time in prison.  It is a beautiful example of Roman architecture in the 1st Century.  What is left of a large aqueduct parallels the beach of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Aqueduct

We exhausted our time at Caesarea and headed to Tel Aviv to return our car.  When we got the the airport, we followed the signs of rental returns but ended up in a parking lot.  As we exited, we pushed the “help” button and asked, “Where do we go to return our rental car.”

A loud outburst of laughter was heard across the speak.  They were probably thinking, “Dumb Americans.”

We eventually found the car return and headed into the terminal.  We were so early they wouldn’t let us check our bags and there we sat and waited for hours.  The funny thing is, it was the start of the Sabbath and most of the concession were closed.  In fact, there were four lingerie shops in a row and all four were closed for the Sabbath.  Something about that just seems comical.

 

Google THIS

Google THIS

I find Google to be a frustrating company.  I want to yell to them, “Google THIS!”

The issue is this… I go searching for something local.  Rather than return a list based on the distance from the city I’m searching in, it gives me a list based on Google rankings.

Why is this a problem?

Let’s say your traveling, and you come to Palmyra.  You search for photographer and it shows you someone who is 20 miles away.  Your initial reaction might be, “Palmyra has no photographers.”

While I struggle to keep my Google Maps listing on top for Palmyra, New York, I shouldn’t have to invest that type of time and effort for something that should be as simple as distance from the search point.

It not only affects my business, it affects my travels too.  When you roll in to town and you’re looking for a bite to eat, you don’t want to be directed 30 minutes away to a restaurant.  (That happened to us last year in Vermont.)  It turned out had it been by distance, we would have saved an hour, and ended up eating at the same place.  There was a restaurant across from our hotel that Google Maps didn’t show.  We drove 30 minutes, looked at what was available, and turned around and headed back to our hotel.  That’s when we noticed there was a restaurant across from our hotel.

Thanks Google.

Most of my searching these days is done with Bing.  Bing not only provides more relevant results these days, but it also rewards me with points.  500 points and I get a $5 certificate for Amazon.com.

—–

Even though Memorial Day weekend was technically over yesterday, we still have a lot of lingering visitors to Palmyra.  At the Beckwith Mansion we have two rooms occupied, but what really amazed me was the number of cars at the temple when we pulled in.

I met one man from Salt Lake who I saw at Church on Sunday.  As we talked, it turns out they are spending the better part of a week here.  I thanked him for taking time to do what can be done in Palmyra.  He responded with, “I know.  There’s a lot to do here.”

AMEN!

Trip Planning

When you are doing your trip planning, please, please, please, do not rush your visit to Palmyra — especially if you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Stop an think about it for a minute… you’re visiting the most sacred location next to the Garden of Gethsemane (for a great talk, click here).

If you are ONLY interested in LDS sites, allow 2 days for your visit here (3 if one of them is a Sunday).  But, if you’d like to spend a week here, I can give you recommendations to keep you quite busy and entertained.

 

Easter 2014

Easter 2014

Easter is one of the most misunderstood holidays.  First, the very name derives itself from pagan traditions, yet it is a Christian “holy day”.  Second, so many Christians in the world focus on what happened on the cross, and not what happened in Gethsemane and on the Sunday following.

What happened in Gethsemane is the single most important event in the history of the world.  It was there that Christ suffered for our sins.  Luke records, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”  It was here where he took upon him the sins of the world.

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Me at the Garden

After his crucifixion his body was laid in a sepulcher, in haste, before the start of the Sabbath (i.e. Friday evening).  There it laid through Saturday, and on Sunday, very early in the morning came the 2nd most important event in the history of this world.  Several witnesses tell the story of how they come to visit the tomb and they find it empty.

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Inside the Tomb

An angel asks, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

Asking rhetorically, he answers his own question with one of the greatest announcements every, “He is not here.  He is risen.”

That, my friends, is the glory of this day.  He is risen.

I love this video produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Please watch…

He was the first to be resurrected — brought back to life, never to die again.

Later, he resurrected others and many witnessed Jesus calling these people forth from their graves.  They were the first of many.  It is his, Jesus’, gift to all of us that we will be resurrected and live again.

Israel Day 4 – The Garden Tomb

Yesterday I forgot to mention we tried to find the Garden Tomb. Well, we found it, but we couldn’t find where to park. So, today we went back with renewed determination to find it.

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The Garden Tomb (believed to be THE tomb)

Located in a Palestinian area of town, the Garden Tomb has all the archeological signs that it was the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed when they removed it from the cross.  I won’t repeat all the information they have on their web site.  You can find it here:  http://gardentomb.com/

Our tour guide, Norm Derkson, was great.  This Canadian minister and his wife are serving at the Garden Tomb for a few months.  Norm was great because he pointed out the importance of seeking the resurrected Savior.  He repeated often, “He is not here; He is risen.”

I felt this to be a special place.  It somewhat saddened me that Golgotha is now the backdrop for an urban bus station, and topped with a wall and a tank. (if you look near the center top you can see a military tank just to the right of the obtuse corner.)

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Golgotha

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The Door They Added

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Inside the Tomb

The painted cross was added, probably by the crusaders.  Letters XC means “Christ” (short for ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ).  Alpha and Omega are also shown – a name for the Savior.  YC for Yesu Christo.  Perhaps these ancients recognized this as the tomb of Jesus Christ.  Again, we don’t know, but all of the pieces of the puzzle come together at this location:  Golgotha, outside the city wall, a tomb of a rich man, a tomb in a garden, the body’s resting place to the right as you enter the sepulcher, a sepulcher meant for permanent rest, and not one where they remove the bones and place them in a box later, a track for a very large stone to seal the door, etc.

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A Panoramic View of the Tomb Area

 

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Our Group Outside the Tomb (Thank You Norm)

After visiting the Garden Tomb, we continued on to Absalom’s, Jehosephat’s and Zacharais’ tombs.  They are at the base of the Mount of Olives along a path that leads to the City of David near the Pool of Siloam.

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Absalom’s Tomb

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Jehosephat’s Tomb

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Zacharias’ Tomb

We then crossed the street (Road to Jericho) and went to the traditional Garden of Gethsemane.  I found it interesting that I felt a stronger spirit near the entrance to the Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens.  Although beautiful and interesting, it isn’t so much important as to whether this is the actual place of the atonement, but that the atonement is real.

39 ¶And he came out, and went, as he was awont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into atemptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, aremove this cup from me: nevertheless not my bwill, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an aangel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an aagony he prayed more earnestly: band his sweat was as it were great drops of cblood falling down to the ground.

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Me at the Garden

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Outside a Garden of Well Maintained Olive Trees

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Inside the Church at the Garden of Gethsemane

We obviously didn’t travel based on the time-line of our Savior’s last week.  Although that would be a fun thing to do, we visited the sites based on convenience and location.  Our next stop would be Caiaphas’ house.

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Church Erected Over Caiaphas’ House

It is believed that it was here where Peter denied being one of Christ’s followers.

54 ¶Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the ahall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.  58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.  59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.  61 And the aLord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

 

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Peter Denies the Christ

It was hear where Jesus stood before the high priest Caiaphas and they took him to a pit under the house.

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The Pit

Our next stop was a church built where the “upper room” would have been.  No, this is not the same building.  In fact, the city of Jerusalem where Christ would have been is several feet below the modern city.  Remember, Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times.  However, it is believed it would have been in this general area.

 

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The “Upper Room”

 

 

 

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Church of the Holy Sepulcher

 

 

 

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Kosher Pizza (No Meat with Cheese!)

 

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Aladdin Shopped Here

 

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Spices