Welcome Home

Welcome Home

Several people at church came and said, “Welcome home.”  It’s not like I was gone that long, but it is nice to feel missed and appreciated.  And, it is a big deal going to Israel for 10 days.  Some of these people will never visit.  I hope I can be their eyes (through my camera).

Right after Sacrament Meeting I was nabbed to play piano in Primary.  It was fun.  The kids were sure wound up, however.

Weather

It is cold today.  It’s in the low teens.  As a result, I came home from church and sought warmth.

My fingers, knees and toes are all cold.  I don’t remember my knees getting cold like this before.  It must have something to do with my baker’s cysts.

Dinner

At dinner I gave the sisters a 10 Argot coin from Israel.  I picked up several while I was there.  Most of them are going to grandchildren.

100 Argots make 1 shekel.  They don’t make 1 Argot coins.  The smallest denomination is 10.  They were worth about 3 cents at today’s exchange rate.

They are also about the same size as a 10 Shekel coin.  However, a 10 Shekel coin is worth about $3.  Unscrupulous shop owners may try to pass a 10 Argot off as a 10 Shekel coin.

Karei Deshe

Karei Deshe

We’re off to Karei Deshe today.  It is on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.  The nearest city is Tiberias.

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Bye Jerusalem Traffic

In doing my studies on this area, Tiberias was a city Caesar Augustus (his step-father) named after him.  There is no indications that Jesus spent any time in Tiberias.  (I surmise this is because he was sent unto the Jews, and not the Romans.)

Not far the other direction is where Jesus fed the multitude, taught the beatitudes, and called his apostles.  The city of Capernaum is close by.  It is also where Peter lived.

Caesarea

On our way to our hostel, we stopped at Caesarea.  This mediterranean city was founded by Herod about 30 B.C.  and is named after Caesar Augustus.  This seaport city (its ruins) are spectacular.

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Becca and John by What is Left of an Ancient Statue
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The Amphitheater at Caesarea

We gathered at the bottom of the amphitheater for a group picture.  I got a kick out of the lady I asked to take the picture.  She complained that we were facing in to the sun.  I assured her I knew what I was doing, and so did my fellow travelers.

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Me, John, Linda, Becca and Matt – Caesarea

(By the way, you always want the sun to your subject’s back so they aren’t squinting and so you don’t have ugly shadows on their faces.)\

Inscription

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Inscription at Caesarea

I found this inscription intriguing:

“Pontius Pilatus, the prefect of Judea, erected a building dedicated to the Emperor Tiberius.”

is what they believe it to have said in whole.

The Port

The ancient port was an engineering marvel for its time.  Concrete that cured underwater was one of the marvels.

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The Ancient Port Area
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The Beach
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Aqueduct and the Five of Us Posing
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Aqueduct

And, check out these Segway tours!  That looks fun.

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Segway Tours

On to Armageddon

On our way to Her Megido (aka Armegeddon), we passed this sign…

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Route 66 in Israel

Who knew there was a Route 66 in Israel.  I can say I’ve driven BOTH.

Her Megido is an impressive site (and sight).  This mountain top city has been fought over many times and it is prophesied that the last battle will take place here.

From the Old Testament Student’s Manual I’ve copied the following.  My comments are in italics:

According to the prophets, some important events must take place before the battle actually begins:

  1. The house of Israel will be gathered from among the heathen (the Gentiles) and returned to their own land (see Ezekiel 36:2437:21).  in progress

  2. The land of Israel will be rebuilt and reinhabited by the covenant people (see Ezekiel 36:10–12, 33–36).  done

  3. The land will become highly productive and fruitful, even like the Garden of Eden (see Ezekiel 36:8, 29–30, 34–35).  done

  4. There will be one nation in the land of Israel again (see Ezekiel 37:22). in progress

  5. Jerusalem will be reestablished as the capital city of the Israelites (see Zechariah 1:16–172:1212:63 Nephi 20:46).  done

  6. Judah will become powerful in politics and warfare (see Isaiah 19:16–17Zechariah 10:3, 5–6). in progress

It is amazing to lookout from atop Megido.  The view is spectacular, thus, you can see why it is a military advantage point.

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Looking North from Megido

Mount Carmel

Our next stop is a new one for me.  Mt. Carmel is where Elijah and the Priest of Baal had their standoff.  Elijah challenged them to call fire from heaven. When they failed, he had them douse the alter with water before he called fire down.  The fire consumed the wood as well as the altar itself.

To my dismay we didn’t find much to see up there except for a nice view of the sunset.

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Sunset on Mount Carmel
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John and Linda at Sunset
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Me On Mount Carmel
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Matt Shooting the Sunset

Dinner and Our Hostel

We stopped for dinner on our way to Karei Deshe.  It is a little steakhouse just west of Karei Deshe and the English translation of its name is Angus.

I ordered lamb chops.  It is the first time I’ve had lamb (that wasn’t ground) in Israel.  I know that seems strange, but it is expensive here.

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Lamb Chops

We checked in to our rooms at the Hi Kerei Deshe Hostel.  It’s a nice place.  Furthermore, my room can sleep four!  That’s a bit of an overkill, of course.

Jerusalem Post Office

Jerusalem Post Office

There’s a lot of good in Jerusalem, but the Jerusalem post office isn’t one of them.  Think of going to the D.M.V. in California just to get a stamp to mail a postcard.  Yes, it is that bad.  And knowing this, I opted to wait outside and take some pictures on the street while others went to buy some stamps.

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Modesty in Dress is Expected in Israel
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A Typical Street Scene

Linda and John finally emerged from the post office.  Linda showed me her Israel stamps featuring the Statue of Liberty.

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Stamps
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Public Transportation

Front Desk

Backing up to earlier in the day, here’s a picture of John at the front desk of our hostel.  I love the sign on the wall, “Come on, get a room.”

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John at the Front Desk

The guy behind John was one of my roommates – Andrew.  Andrew is from the U.K. but currently living in Germany.  He was one of 3 of my roommates last night.

Garden Tomb

We boarded the train and road three stops – Jaffa Center, Jaffa Gate and Central Bus Station.  The bus station and Garden Tomb are back to back as you will see from my pictures.

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Matt and Becca on the Train
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Entrance to the Street Where the Garden Tomb Is
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Linda and Becca Outside the Garden Tomb
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John Near the Bus Station Taking a Picture

This is an old section of town just outside the Damascus Gate.  It is largely an Arab population in this part of town.

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Skull Hill – aka Golgotha
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Our Guide with Golgotha in the Background
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An Old Photograph of Golgotha
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Golgotha as it is Today

On to the Tomb

The Garden Tomb is one of two sites believed to be where Jesus was resurrected.  Several Latter-day prophets have commented this is the place.  Before getting to the tomb, our guide stopped and showed a winepress and explained this was a garden at Christ’s time.

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Panoramic of the Garden Tomb Area
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The Garden Tomb
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In the Garden Area

On our tour I saw this girl wearing a Sac State shirt.  I walked up and said, “Sac State!  My alma mater.”  She looked at me like, “REALLY!”

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A Girl From Folsom Wearing a CSUS Shirt

All Nations

All Nations

The scriptures talk about all nations rising up against Israel.  (Zechariah 12:3)  Like many of the prophecies for the last days, I’ve often wondered how that would play out.  This last week I’ve watched as many nations voted against Israel.

I did a search and it returned a full page of results reading, “PROPHECY ALERT: “70 Nations Rise Against Israel””, “All NATIONS ARE NOW AGAINST ISRAEL ITS TIME TO WAKE UP”, “Nations Gathered Against JERUSALEM: Anti-Israel Vote At UN Fulfills Biblical Prophecy”.  These are just a few of the headlines from this last week.

Israel is also representative of the church.  We see that happening too as those who seek to do right are persecuted for righteousness sake.  Both of these things are happening simultaneously.

Elizabethe and I were watching a movie where a couple meet and within minutes after meeting, they are having sex.  I commented, “Will things get so bad that the entertainment world has someone walk up to another and just start having sex without even saying, ‘Hi’?”

Yet, things are so bad if you publically decry such behaviour you are labeled as a “hater”, “bigot” and so forth.

Watching It Unfold

We are watching it unfold right before our eyes.  I cringe when I hear people say the Second Coming is still a ways off.  They say there is too much prophecy to be fulfilled.  But, as this last week has pointed out… as the last 50 years have pointed out, things turn on a dime.

I have read many speculations about what has to happen before the Second Coming.  I say speculation because they are personal interpretations by well meaning members of the church.  For example, one member wrote that the Savior must come quickly to his temple, and perports this needs to take place in his temple in Jerusalem.  While others believe this happened in the Kirtland Temple in 1836 (of which I subscribe to the belief this fulfilled that scripture Malachi 3:1).  Regardless of which it is, if it hasn’t happened, it can happen quickly.

Mostly, I like what one of the people I used to home teach once said, “The second coming might be different for each of us.  You can die tomorrow and that will be your second coming.”

So, the best we can do is be prepared.

Christmas Eve 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

It’s Christmas Eve 2017.  We did not get more snow overnight, but we did get a little during the day.

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Palmyra Temple on Christmas Eve

Church today was full of music, and the bishopric gave talks.  We have talented people in this ward.  A young girl played a beautiful cello solo, several sang songs, and it was a Christ-centered meeting.

I noticed we have three adult Aaronic Priesthood holders passing the sacrament.  That’s cool!

Missionary Dinner

I made clam chowder for our dinner with the missionaries.  It turned out great.  It was hearty, creamy and tasty.

Sisters Abreu and Murdock are the sisters serving now.  This is Sister Abreu first time at our house.  They will be back tomorrow morning for breakfast (and opening their stockings).

After the sisters left Elizabethe and I talked about when we will open our gifts.  As a kid, I would have said, “NOW!”.    Decades later I’m like, “Let’s see when we have time in the morning.”

Israel

I have been thinking about what to pack for my trip to Israel.  Thinking about past trips, and other long trips, I need to remember what I never used.  When it comes to camera stuff, if I didn’t use it before, I probably won’t use it this time.

Improving but Sore

Improving but Sore

Elizabethe is improving but sore.  She is resting most of the day.  I have errands to run, but she’s chosen to stay put in bed.

I’m absolutely shocked at the negative press regarding President Trump’s announcement to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  I like what their prime minister said, “It’s been Israel’s capital for over 3,000 years.”

People can be so stupid.  Yes, I said it.  They can be stupid.

One woman in an asian country was on the news yelling, “This is wrong.  Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”   Has someone told her that Palestine doesn’t exist as a country?

People need to understand.  The people who call themselves Palestinian will not be happy as long as Israel exists.  It’s been an all-or-nothing for them ever since I can remember.  I thought it would all die when Yasser Arafat died, but I was wrong about that.

I find it very ironic they are only pressuring Israel, and not Jordan, Syria, or other Arab nations from which they are from to form a geographic Palestinian state.  But, it’s all about Israel and the Jews.

They are a feuding people.  My entire life I’ve read about wars and contentions in the middle east.  They are mostly religious in nature, and it’s not worth getting in to which religion(s), because in many cases, they are feuds between different factions of one of those religions.

We know from prophecies in the Bible the middle east will be the background for a big war before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Part of me wants to cheer, “Bring it on,” in hopes it means the Second Coming is sooner that we think.  Yet, the other part of me says nobody likes people dying because of war.

Smallville

Elizabethe and I have been watching Smallville for entertainment.  There sure are a lot of references comparing Clark Kent to Jesus Christ.  At first I thought it was just me.  Then, they became so blatant I realize it’s been done on purpose.

I’m not sure what I think about that.

 

2017 Chamber Board

2017 Chamber Board

Tonight the 2017 Chamber Board for the Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce has been elected.  I was re-elected as 1st VP.

Our local chamber of commerce is working hard.  It amazes me how hard it is to get local businesses on board with the chamber.  Our charter is to fight for them, and  I have yet to come across a business that doesn’t want growth.

Israel Presentation

Prior to the chamber meeting I spent the entire day working on a new presentation about Israel.  This new presentation focus on symbolism in Israel, and how it relates to things we find in the scriptures.

I added a new part to my presentation.  This new section talks about travel in Israel – the food, meals, costs, transportation, and more. By doing this I hope to dispel some of the misconceptions about traveling to Israel and subsequently get more interest in going.

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My First Trip to Israel

Self-Denial

They say denying ones self of something causes your brain chemistry to change, thus making it easier in the future to deny yourself something you want.  So it was with a milkshake tonight.  I really wanted a milkshake, but I turned it around and convinced myself to skip it… and have oatmeal cookies instead.

2016 Missionary Party

2016 Missionary Party

There are about 60,000 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving throughout the world.  These young men and women leave their homes for 18 or 24 months.  They serve at their own expense, and volunteer their time and talents.  At the 2016 Missionary Party today I had the privilege of photographing the group serving in the New York Rochester Mission.

Being away from home for Christmas, many for their first time, is a hard thing.  This little Christmas Party eases the pain of being away from friends and family.  I’m glad they do this each year, and I’m happy they ask me to come photograph them.

 

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Christmas Party Mission Picture

Elizabethe and I stuck around so I could grab a few candid photos.  Their gift exchange is always funny.  My favorite was a Barry Manilow album.   (It’s funny to me because I think he’s a cheesy performer.  I used to joke I suffer from Manilowphobia.)

Getting Ready

Getting ready for Christmas morning was the next task on the list.  One of our roomers wanted to fix Christmas Eve dinner, and asked if I’d make a dessert.  I made a chocolate mousse.

After dinner the topic of Israel came up, so they asked if I’d show them a slide show.  We spent the next 90 minutes looking at photos of Israel.

 

Figuring Out

Figuring Out

We are figuring out how Jennifer is going to get home.  Spencer arrived this morning and he is going to sit with Jennifer while we go to church.

Today was ward conference.  We heard from our new stake president and received instructions in Sunday School and Priesthood in combined meetings.

After church we were still figuring out what to do about Jennifer and family.  We ate lunch and then I took a short nap.

Israel Dinner

I made an Israel Dinner for the family and the sister missionaries.  We invited our house guest, Maureen, to join us too.

After dinner I showed a slideshow of Israel to the family.  It would sure be wonderful to be able to take the entire family to Israel.  While the tiny grandchildren are too young, the older children would enjoy the culture and learning.

Ice Cream

I meant to make ice cream last night, but the time got away from me.  We ate store bought ice cream for dessert.  I’ll make it for tomorrow.

Figured it Out

It sounds like they figured it out.  Spencer has to work this week, but Amber will drive their truck home on Saturday and Spencer will take Amber to the airport Sunday morning.

I like it when a plan comes together.

Jennifer is going to see Dr. Alexander in the morning.  They will be able to tell her how long she should keep her leg elevated and how to care for her ankle while it heals.


 

 

 

Good Comments

Good Comments

I received a lot of good comments about my presentation last night.  Several people came up to me at the temple tonight and mentioned how they appreciated my presentation and they learned a lot about Israel.

Oh, how I long to go back to Israel.  It’s a wonderful place to visit and learn.

I’ve also received some good comments on the re-work of the Chamber of Commerce website.  You can also visit our listing there (click here).


Earlier in the day I had my mission meeting.  The church is coming out with new guidelines for photos and they were presented.  It represents a raising of the bar, and a philosophical change to the types of photos we have been asked to submit in the past.  It also means it will be more difficult to find people to photograph and a bigger technical challenge.


Tomorrow’s a busy day with FLPP (Finger Lakes Professional Photographers) meeting.  I’m hosting the meeting here because I’m going to teach them about our website and give them some WordPress instruction.  This means I have to clean the tavern room as it is in disarray right now.  (Translation:  It’s a mess.)