Monday, June 29, 2009

Birthday Fun!

For my birthday this year Scott and the kids surprised me with a trip to Montevideo to have lunch wherever I wanted...we had Chinese...and to play a couple games of bowling. Though none of us are very good, bowling is one of our favorite things to do as a family. Everyone can participate and we always have a lot of fun with each other.
Me and Silas! Nehemiah hoping to get a ride in the car.
Kaitlin helping Simeon.
Scott helping Silas. Looks like they're playing imaginary games.
Enjoying one of my Dr. Peppers that Scott had the Comforts bring for me to Israel from the States. They are just as tasty as I remember!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Care packages

As missionaries, far away from things like Pop Tarts, Butterfingers, Reeses, Hanes, Christian novels in English, and Plastic sippy cup inserts, having boxes of such items arrive at our home makes for A LOT of excitement! Lately, we have received a few care packages and we wanted to show you all how blessed we are to have individuals and supporting churches who take such wonderful care of us! Now each of us have our Ziploc baggies filled with our personal share of the loot to consume (and thrill their tastebuds) at will. A package from an Indiana supporting church youth group! A package from New York friends. We can get Oreos and Ziplocs here but the former Adeline can't eat and the latter are too expensive here.This is a package from individuals in a Michigan supporting church that were supposed to come to Montevideo. Their travel plans changed at the last minute but they still sent this to us.

All of these packages represent a sacrifice - of time and money (especially) - and we want all those who have been so generous with us to know that we are thankful!!! Isn't it a testimony for the Lord that inspite of an economic crisis they are still looking to be a blessing to us?!?! We think so!!!

Praise and Prayer

The weddings, both civil and church, were wonderful! Pastor Andres and Maria Eugenia planned a lovely, Lord honoring wedding and reception. Scott was able to preach the gospel to over 25 first time visitors there for the wedding. Maria Eugenia's grandmother and mom told me that the message was very understandable and they enjoyed it. Without doubt the newly married couple would appreciate your prayers for the salvation of those present at the wedding, including Maria Eugenia's parents and sister, who do not yet know the Lord. Once the couple is back from their honeymoon and I have their permission I will post some pictures I took.

Earlier, on Friday, Scott received a text from Sabina saying that she was home. She still has some recovery time ahead of her and we know you all will continue to pray for her. We are trusting that she is looking to the Lord for the strength she needs. We were able to give her a Bible study on Holiness and a missionary biography to read.

It has been since last November that we experienced any problems with asthma, praise the Lord. Then in one fell swoop we have had too of our little people in the ER with asthma crisis'. Friday right before the wedding I was there with Silas. And Scott just returned from ER with Adeline. Evidently this cold we all have (except for Brandon and Scott) hits the asthmatic lungs pretty hard. All of us, that are sick, have bad headaches, runny noses and coughs. Thankfully though we have no fever (and we aren't oinking).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Felicitaciones Maria Eugenia y Pastor Andres

Pastor Andres is a missionary from Mexico. He has been doing an internship, of sorts, in the ministry here while he learns the culture of Uruguay. Before he came he sent a letter stating that he believed God had a wife for him here in Uruguay. His faith was not misplaced! Shortly after his arrival he already had his eyes set on a particular young woman, Maria Eugenia, who also seemed to have her eyes set on him. God was clearly at work and in February while we were busy with the wedding of Dante and Rebeca they were busy beginning the plans of their own wedding.
This picture is from a game during youth meeting.

Scott has spent the last few Saturdays, and some before we left for Israel, counseling them and discussing their desires for their wedding day. It has been very fun to see both of them these last few days as their excitement for their weddings builds. I, in particular, loved watching Maria Eugenia in church a couple weeks ago while she handed out her wedding invitations. She was like a kid in a candy store, her face said it all!

At four o'clock this afternoon (3pm EST), or soon thereafter, the civil wedding ceremony for Maria Eugenia and Pastor Andres will begin and they will become husband and wife. Tomorrow afternoon, at the same time, their church wedding ceremony will begin. Scott will be marrying them in the church and I'm sure he would appreciate your prayers. Their ceremony is different from the one of Dante and Rebeca, in some ways simpler and others more involved.

Kaitlin is the pianist for the specials, Nehemiah is the Bible bearer and I will be one of the photographers. It definitely is exciting that we have been asked to take part and we too would appreciate your prayers.

Finally, yet most importantly, we would all, especially Maria Eugenia, appreciate your prayers for the salvation of her Father, Mother and sister! Scott was able to meet her dad the other day and found him to be very welcoming and kind. I met her mother and sister during her bridal shower and they both are very sweet! Scott will be preaching an evangelistic message during the ceremony and we trust, and pray, the Lord will be at work in hearts and minds and those who do not yet know Christ as their Savior will come to see their need for Him.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tick Tock

Wow, I really falling back on the Israel blogs. I'll get back to them next week.

Before I tell you about my test results I want to thank you for praying for Sabina. You will remember me mentioning her in a post recently. Scott and I were able to stop in a visit with her for awhile today. She is recovering well from the Gullien Barre syndrome which caused her paralysis. We are very thnakful that she has regained feeling and movement in her feet, legs and hands. She may be released tomorrow from the hospital. We were able to give her a couple of books to read, a coke and cookies to enjoy while she finishes out her stay and continues in her recovery at home.


After a freezing, literally, it was only 5° C in our van, ride to Montevideo I arrived at the British Hospital to have 6 more vials of blood drawn for some tests our doctor in the States ordered. He tends to be an excellent diagnostician and so we are hoping these tests will be the last and we will finally have an diagnosis for what is causing me the chest pain.

After the lab visit we headed to have my color doppler heart scan done which showed a larger than normal mitral valve coupled with a smaller than normal mitral valve. The sound the doctor heard was from the force of the larger valve closing. The cardiologist said that it is a birth defect and isn't the cause of the chest pain. Otherwise my heart is fine and looks great and is functioning well.

Back to the Hospital Britanico we went to have a recheck appointment to discuss my CAT scan and the labs the Gastroenteroligist had run. All of those were good as well. So the next step is to wait for the labs drawn this morning. Send them, via email, to our doctor in the States and wait for his opinion. That won't be until at least the 14th of July.

I continue to have the pain, though less frequent, as in not every day, all day long. I have a few pain free days followed by several days of pain. I continue to look for a pattern and I'm not seeing anything. I'm going to start keeping a diary of what I do, eat, how stressful the day was, how I slept, etc. to see if a pattern emerges. At this point it's the only thing I know to do.

Without question this mystery has been frustrating. But I'm challenged, and encouraged, by the thought that this is no mystery to the Great Physician. God knows exactly what is happening and why. He is allowing this in my life for reasons not yet known and reasons very clear to us. I'm very thankful to have the Lord helping me through this trial and teaching me to trust in Him more day by day!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Israel Day 8

Valley day! Today we started off from Yad Hasmona to a high point called Radar Mountain. The hill, originally in Palenstinian hands, was conquered in 1967 and has been in Israel hands since then. From a watch tower we were able to look down at a check point for Palestinians who come into Jerusalem for work. The check point is to enter through "the wall" that snakes all around Palestinian territory to surround Jerusalem. The wall, which at points is more of a fence than a wall, was built a few years ago to protect Israelites from the frequent Arab bombings. Ariay, our guide, and other civillians, patrol along the wall to help eliminate the need for more military.

After Radar Mountain we headed to the Emmaus Road. (Luke 24:13-53) Starting at a Byzantine church we walked around the ruins and sang Footsteps of Jesus. After visiting the church ruins we headed up to the top of the hill where a Roman outpost, on the road to Emmaus would have been. The group was able to walk down the actual road to Emmaus. Since the road was rough, Scott and I, opted out of this because his knee :-) was bothering him and I didn't really want to fall again.

While we were at the top of the hill we were able to look down at the Ayalon valley and see where God made the sun and moon to stand still for Joshua. (Joshua 10:12). It is also where Israel under King Saul won a victory over the Philistines. (1 Samuel 14:31).

Tel Beit Shemesh (1 Samuel 6) was the city where 50,070 men were smote by the Lord because they looked into the Ark of the Covenant after it was returned to Israel by the Philistines. It is supposed that so many looked into the Ark because it was the first time it was out in the open and curiousity, basically, got the best of them.
While discussing the Ark of the Covenant we were taught about Matthew 11:28-30. The priests always carried the Ark upon their shoulders. Inside the Ark was the 10 commandaments, our schoolmaster, the burden of our sin. Jesus was reminding them of the burden and weight of their sins and that they needed to put upon them His yoke; for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Farm Field in Gath and tel Gath.

A tel is all that exists of Gath, Goliath's home town. Some chuckles escaped our mouths as we heard about Goliath as he readied for battle with the Israelites over in the Elah valley. A crazy farmer driving his tractor about 40 miles an hour also added to the effect.

Mrs. Rosenau (center) is 82 and she was an example to us all. Don't quit!!! Climbing up the tel of Elah.

With Goliath on our minds our bus took us up the tel of the Elah valley. After a strenuous hike up to the top of the tel we were able to look down upon the field where Goliath mocked the army of Israel, gaining a new perspective of this portion of Scripture. The story nearly played before our eyes as Ariay went through a play by play. We could see where the Philistine army divided into two parts - one sitting up on the tel where we were, the other across the valley awaiting a brave Israelite to come forth and challenge their giant.
The Israelites were watching from this hill.

The brook from which David took his 5 smooth stones.

David, with only a shepherds staff and sling, was convinced there was a cause. And so having great faith that God would deliver Goliath into his hand, he went down into the brook chose out 5 smooth stones (because that's all that would fit into his pouch) and came up the other bank ready to defeat Goliath. Goliath obviously thought David's challenge was laughable as he began to relentlessly mock David and curse him by his (Goliath's) gods. David's response ought to give each of us a reminder of Who gives the ability to defeat the enemy, and that the name of the Lord is powerful above all other names!
"Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands."

Personally, I think it's interesting that David said "he will give you into our hands." Here David was the only one brave enough to face the giant, but he was not so proud as to take the credit for it, nor was he afraid to acknowledge that the deliverance was for all Israel, not just him.
From the tel looking down upon the valley of Elah. The Philistines were at the far edge of this field, and up on the tel. David came from the hill at left, into the brook and then into the field to meet Goliath.

Well, I think we all know how the story ends. David put one stone into his sling, winds it up and shortly after leaving the sling the stone meets the forehead of one very boastful, and imposing giant. There are a couple things though that I've missed before when reading this story.

First, the entire time that the Goliath flung his insults at David he was seated, kneeling, or somehow on the ground. Verse 48 of 1 Samuel 17 says, "And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine." (emphasis mine) In my mind, that says a lot about how seriously he took David. I can even imagine Goliath casually stretched out on the ground while David proclaimed God's power to deliver.

Secondly, not only did David run towards Goliath, he ran towards the entire army. This makes me think of the civil war movies where the army's run towards eachother bayonets at ready. But this wasn't the case. David ran on his own, with only the Lord there to defend and protect him and to give him the victory.

David did what was right, though no one else did. He didn't stand around pointing the finger at the fearful, and the faithless. He exercised his faith and did what he knew he must.

He didn't speculate. He did.

He didn't walk. He ran.

He didn't think through the what ifs. He made haste.

Certainly there's a lot for all of us to learn from David...and from Goliath!

Following a course in Slingshot 101, everyone, that was so inclined, was able to try their hand at slinging their stones at trees, fields or their companions on the hill. Believe me the latter target was not the intended one but those rocks sure had a mind of their own. And, no, I was not one of the slingers. After someone's rock whizzed close by where I was taking pictures I decided to hide under the protection of a tree. To tell our children about their Daddy slinging stones close to where David defeated Goliath is a highlight of our trip!Ariay giving us a lesson on slinging stones.Scott and Pastor Camp try their hand at stone slinging.

All the big boys playing. At the far end is Mrs. Comfort trying out her sling.

Alton Beal, the new President of Ambassador Baptist College.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tallares Sobre Musica Cristiana

Taking another break from uploading Israel pics (ok, so now I might be avoiding it) to make another public service announcement about the Music Conference (Talleres Sobre Musica Cristiana) in August. We are excited about the opportunity to host a group from Maranatha Baptist Bible College as they offer workshops on the Philosophy of Sacred Christian Music, Voice, Choir, Instrumental, and Directing Music.

Bucear en las Escrituras

I'm taking a break from all the Israel uploads, to let you know about the upcoming youth retreat in July. The Bucear en las Escrituras (Dive into Scripture) retreat will be a time of concentrated study of the Bible, preaching, games and food.

I can't yet reveal the topic the youth will be studying because we don't want anyone to have an advantage but I can say that it will require working together as a team to construct something...Biblical. How's that for mystery?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Israel Day 7 Pictures

Leaving David's Falls looking towards the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab (Transjordan)
Alton Beal preaching at the David's Falls.
Me soaking in the beauty at the David's Falls. Our tour leader, Craig Hartman, is to my right.
Falls in Ein Gedi.
Sheepfold caves in the Wadi Qelt.
Me and Scott on a camel at Genesis Land/Abraham's Tent...not comfy, at all. :-) That's the Judean desert behind us, beyond that the Dead Sea and the Transjordan Mountains (Moab).
Judean desert beginning to get into an area with some brush.
Bedouin Camp in the Judean Desert on the way into Jerusalem from Jericho.
An ant nest in a tree in the Ein Fashkha reserve by the Dead Sea. These ants take all the salt crystals off the trees each morning.
The reeds at the Ein Fashkha reserve by the Dead Sea.
Fresh water pond, which used to be IN the Dead Sea when the water level was higher.
Judean Desert at the Wadi Qelt.
First glimpses of Jerusalem.

Israel Day 7

Sorry to have dropped off on the trip blogs. Now that some more pressing matters have been cared for I can continue with this.

Before I begin please be in prayer for Sabina, one of the young ladies here.  Suddenly she had some finger numbness which has progressed.  She is unable to walk.  The last I heard, today, was that they are trying to discover the problem but Multiple Sclerosis is a possibility.  She had to have a spinal tap yesterday which was extremely painful for her.  Pray that she would have the peace that passes understanding and God will give the doctors wisdom.  Pray also for her family. 

I also want to note that I had some x-rays of my leg and knee yesterday. I small healing fracture was discovered in the fibula of my leg. About mid-way it was not at all where I expected anything to be. I did have a lot of pain in the back of my leg and with my knee while walking the first few days in Israel, but I was not about to miss out on anything. Thankfully I didn't make it any worse. I do not have a cast as I was told the only treatment is to take anti-inflammatories.

Now back to Israel....

Today is Sunday and what a day we had! At 8 am, like everyday, we headed out to Ein Gedi. Ariay wanted for us to be able to see the animals drinking at the stream. We missed it. But not the animals. I have several pictures of Conies or Hryex several of them seemed to be playing possom as we walked by while others called out warnings to their families. Also, up in the hills, we saw several Ibex. I kept thinking of Isabel "Ibex reads I, I, I...I reads I, I, I." Won't they be excited when they get their eyes on a real Ibex?! OK, maybe not.

After hiking up a well cleared trail for about 20 minutes we finally arrived at the David's Falls. Gorgeous! As an area believed to be where David wrote some of his Psalms it was easy to see where his inspiration came from. A further hike up the trail leads one to the cave where David hid from Saul and cut off the portion of his coat.  Later David's heart smote him because he had not treated the man whom God had made king with respect.  (1 Samual 24:4).  

Most certainly the Psalms come crowding into one's mind while in the desert.  One can literally see what David wrote about.  The trees by the rivers of water, the need for shade, etc.  After worshipping the Lord in song, Alton Beal, the new president of Ambassador Baptist College, preached Psalm 121.  

What Do You See? 
The greatest decisions we make are based on what we see; whether through the eyes of faith or the physical eye.  A man's eyes will determine his direction.  
I.  David saw a place. v. 1
A. He said I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.
1.  Every time I lift up my eyes it ought to encourage me.
2.  The help we need is only afforded by God.
II.  David saw a person.
A. God is identified specifically.
B. We see His credentials v. 2
1. He made heaven and earth.
` 2. He gives stability.
3.  He does not sleep nor slumber.  He does not get drowsy or nod off.  
4. He protects and keeps us.
III.  David saw His promise. v 7
A. If God can preserve a synagogue, the Dead Sea Scrolls, He can preserve me!
B.  To keep us forever.
Conclusion:  What am I looking at?  The person?  The problem?  Or God?!

From Ein Gedi we headed to Ein Faskha nature reserve.  Walking along the creeks and streams while literally right next to the Dead Sea seemed almost unreal.  There is even a large freshwater pond, if I recall correctly it is spring fed, that at one time was in the Dead Sea.  I could only think about how it paralleled the Christian life.  God taking us, while we were dead in our sins, and giving us life through His Son Jesus Christ and the Living water He offers us.  On the way to the reserve we were able to see where the water level of the Dead Sea, as marked by the PEF in 1913.  A vast difference from where it is today.  

Gensis Land near the Wadi Qelt, and where the good Samaritan helped the injured man, was an adventure and a half.  The wadi, and all others like it, is what David wrote of in Psalm 23 when he spoke of the "valley of the sahdow of death."  In those times the valleys always held a measure of danger but especially so at night.  Yet another passage of Scripture as seen through a new perspective has taken on more light.  

After Abraham's servant, Elishu, introduced us to his master he gave us tuncis to wear and instructed us on how to ride a camel.  Scott and I both rode a camel for the first time.  Personally I was not too thrilled with it.  The comfort level was very lacking.  I definitely think they need a lot more padding on those saddles :-)!!!  The lunch we had was different and full of new tastes but it was also very good.  I loved the Date Honey BBQ chicken!  Delicious!!!  We also had kababs (skewered meat balls), rice, pita, and a variety of salads.  I have not tasted one thing here that has been bland.  It is remarkable to me at how well all the many flavors come together.  

Something else that struck me was the wrong perception the media has given on the Israeli settlements.  These are not squatters camps.  They are not pieces of land unlawfully taken or built upon.  The homes in these protected neighborhoods are beautiful and well cared for.  Not only did they win this land back in the 1967 war, Israel has graciously allowed the Palestinians to stay in Israel even when they find themselves at the receiving end of bombs and other forms of "holy war".  The media (and the UN for that matter) forget this is land given to Israel by God!  Yes, they were removed from the land several times as a result of their sin.  More than once they were taken into bondage, but that does not change the promise of God.  The land is theirs.  It belongs to Israel.   The Palestinians would like for the world to believe that the land belongs to them.  That Israelites are colonists.  One need only to read the Bible to know the truth.  

The scenery completely changed while driving through the beautiful rolling hills of the Judean desert and seeing the sheep lines where the shepherds lead their sheep, slowly, slowly, up the hills while they graze.  Several beduin tents, and camps, were scattered along the hills and close by are the caves, or sheepfolds, where the shepherds put their sheep at night for protection.  The closer we got to Jerusalem we began to see more green.  Surprisingly it belonged to pines and cedars.  Finally the anticipation began to build as we entered into a tunnel and the song, The Holy City, began to play over the tour bus' stereo.  And just as it got to the refrain, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, lift up your voice and sing, Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna to the King!", we exited the tunel to see, to our left, the Temple Mount of Jerusalem.  I don't believe there was one dry eye in the bus.  The only thing that would be better would be to see a Temple resting upon the temple mount.       



Sunday, June 07, 2009

Israel Day 6

I was so glad that all we had this day was the trip up to Masada. Being up on the mountain for over 2 hours was a lot in the heat and sun. We were told it was over 40° C (104° F)...all dry heat, thank God. I could not imagine how miserable we would be if it was humid. At 9 PM when we headed down to float in the Dead Sea it was still 35°C (95° F). Maybe that's why our hotel room didn't ever really cool down.
Masada is huge! Much bigger than I expected it to be. One thing I have found is that though I have seen pictures of many of the places/sites we have visited, nothing compares to seeing all of this in real life. Having that 4D mental picture just can't be topped. The size of the city, 18 acres, is comparable to the Old city of Colonia, on top of a mountain. (I know that may not mean much to many of you but it's the only good comparison I could find.) All of Herod's palaces contained everything that would be needed for all of his wives, and servants.

The picture above shows pigeon holes used to house carrier pigeons for Herod to keep on top of the happenings throughout his kingdom. Below is the synagogue ruins.

Originally one of Herod the Great's cities, Masada, is completely self supporting. There would have been gardens, grass and flowers up here. A water system brought rain water down from the mountains behind Masada into an aqueduct leading into water cisterns holding almost 200 gallons. The water, to be used for pools, ritual baths, and drinking among other things, was then brought up to the top by donkey on a very narrow trail.
Masada was unique in that it had 4 palaces. The picture above is from the main palace on the mountain. While the one below is where the 3 lower palaces sat, along the cliff face. No thank you!
There are two way to arrive at the top of Masada. The easiest, and preferable, in my opinion, is the tram cars. And the other, more exhausting, way is the snake trail. OK, I'll grant that arriving through the latter would give a closer to genuine experience, but who wants to hike up the side of a desert mountain, or down for that matter, in 104° heat. Though there were a handful of our group who took the trail back down, I was content to take the tram and snap pictures from above of the adventurers on the trail. Plus we had more time to shop in the air-conditioned stores before lunch.
Herod was not the only one who found value in this mountain top citadel. In 66 AD, the Zealots, a group of Jewish rebels conquered Masada from the Romans. In 70 AD the Romans began a siege on the city only to find the Zealots refusing to surrender. It took two years for them to build up a ramp along the back side of the mountain in order to move a battering ram to the walls. Though the Romans breached the wall they did not enter the city that night. That was enough time for the Zealots, not desiring to become slaves or worse to Rome, to commit suicide. Only 2 women and a handful of children survived after hiding.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Israel Day 5

The area believed to be where the herd of swine ran over into the water after Jesus freed the maniac of Gadara from the Legion that possessed him.

We saw these signs all over the place. Our guide informed us that after the 6 day war the people put cattle into the fields to detonate the mines. But there are still areas that have mines. Ariay asked us to take the signs much for throwing a rock over there to see for sure. Just kidding. Below is a picture of the Gadarian springs and alligator farm. Beyond this is Jordan. The city of Gadara, one of Herod's Decapolis, is now in Jordan.

King Ahab went a walking in royal garments grand he saw a lovely vinyard while gazing o'er the land. He said, "I've got to have it! I always get my way!" But when he could not have it he pouted all the day...theeeee puchy lip will get you if you don't watch out... Can you tell I have children and/or work in children's ministries? I have to admit that this song came into my mind as soon as I looked down at this grove of trees which is in the place that Naboth's Vineyard would have been. The famed vineyard that King Ahab so lusted in 1 Kings 21.

Beit She'an Roman Ruins. This was one of my favorite places to visit in the Galilee region of Israel. The city was another on the crossroads and would have housed thousands of Roman soldiers as they passed through the area. The theater had amazing acoustics as proven by Alton Beal, below, singing Down From His Glory.

The latrine...the little channel at the front would have had loofah's that were used to clean with and then rinsed off in the flowing water and left for the next person. Any wonder why they had the plagues and dysentery?

Harod's Well. This is where the Lord told Gideon that, "The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink." Judges 7:2-5

Our guide asked us why God made the distinction between those who would lap up the water and those who would bow down. I didn't expect the answer he gave. Ariay believes that God was weeding out those who were idol worshippers, those who would boweth down when drinking water from the well spring would do so because they had bowed down to an idol. God wanted the pure in heart to fight for Him.

A channel taking water from the Dead Sea into the evaporation pools, which used to be a part of the Dead Sea before the water level dropped so much.
The Qumran caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. The story behind the discovery of the scrolls is quite remarkable. That winter was one of the wettest on record. Because of all the rain the desert was full of grass, yes, even what you see here. Truly a miracle. A shepherd had taken his sheep grazing all they way to Qumran and while here he found some leather. Taking the leather home to have made into shoes it was discovered that it was parchments.

Qumran ruins.

This road goes to Jordan. Below is a Date grove. They use donkeys to clean up the ground so that there is no fire hazard.