Israel Trip: Day 6

On day 6, we are going on the Palm Sunday road that Jesus took to get to Jerusalem and explore Jerusalem, starting from the top. It was on this road that Jesus rode a donkey to the Temple Mount and received much fanfare, and then was later crucified days after. A fellow P&W leader shared at another time that donkeys can be quite hard to ride and for Jesus to sit on one (comfortably!) down this path to the Eastern Gate, the donkey must really acknowledge that Jesus is the Creator!


Temple Mount in the background.


The Palm Sunday road is an extremely steep route, they had even installed railings for people to hold on to while descending. Make sure you wear good walking shoes with grip!


Always make time for selfies! As you can see, there’s even a donkey and a man in the background. Taking pictures of the donkey will cost you…. just so you know.


At the Tomb of the Prophets
Jewish tombs/graves – These are examples of Jewish tombs. The rocks on top of the tombs signify to mark a person’s visit and the square holes at the bottom are for people to light candles in it for memorial purposes.

As you can see, there are many graves, leading up to the walls of Jerusalem, Jewish, Christian and Muslim.


Can you see how steep it is?!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We checked out Dominus Flevit , a small church that is believed to be where Jesus wept when He arrived in Jerusalem as He foresaw the tragic events that would happen after His death. The church is built in the shape of a teardrop, symbolising Jesus’ tears. We also saw the burial cave where a number of small coffins (bone boxes) were housed from the time of Jesus with numerous inscriptions that gave clues that they are first century Christians.

We then visited Garden of Gethsemane next. ‘Gethsemane’ means olive press, appropriating this place where Jesus was so hardpressed that he sweated drops of blood. This is also the spot where Jesus was betrayed and taken by the soldiers.


These trees are believed to be about a thousand years old at the very least, they could be around since the time of Jesus!

We also visited The Church of All Nations was located near the Garden of Gethsemane.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The huge slab of rock you see cordoned off on the floor marks the spot Jesus is said to be praying in agony on the night of his betrayal. This stone is believed to form a direct line with the Eastern Gate and the entrance of the Holy of Holies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kidron Valley…

We also visited the Tomb of King David (though we believe it’s not King David’s tomb but of a king later than him). It’s quite interesting how the ladies and men had to enter separate rooms and the men had to wear a kippah before they head in. People come in here to pray and recite psalms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


It makes me wonder…. which end is the head and vice versa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We also went upstairs to view the room where the Last Supper and the Pentecost experience took place, it was too crowded in there with people so no pictures!


Bullet shots on ancient walls, this country has been through a lot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We then paid a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and Avi shared with us that individuals who helped the Jews during the Holocaust at personal risk without any financial motives are honoured with a plaque (with their names) attached to the trees in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, no picture of the place from this point on as a sign of respect for this memorial site.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I feel that we have too short a time to spend in here. There are so many stories of survivors in there and I left feeling overwhelmed and a little heartbroken at the treatment of the Jewish people during the genocide.

We then popped over to check out the model of Holy Land (ancient Jerusalem) at Israel Museum. It’s uber massive (I had to take a panoramic shot), I can’t believe it was transported here from somewhere else in 1000 over pieces and then reassembled to this amazing masterpiece!

IMG_1083

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We ended our day with a visit to Ben Yehuda street for some shopping!  Ok, we (I) didn’t buy much.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset
After many days of kosher food/ Israeli cuisine… I really need my Maccas hit. I was overjoyed that I spotted McDonalds and we had some fries :D Oh, glorious glorious fries…

IMG_1092
People buying party accessories in celebration of Purim.

IMG_1093
Flowers!! Look how pretty they are :D

IMG_1099
So our day ends here and we’re waiting for our bus to take us back to the hotel! :)

Monday Motivation

 

 

Spots of Inspiration #1

SOI_01

When I look at pictures (especially pretty ones), something in my head goes off creating colour palettes (must be from uni days). I’m trusting more of such colour palettes will appear on this blog as  I go along so feel free to use them for as inspirations for wedding colour themes and more! :)

Image credits via Pinterest

Friday’s Fancy

I’ve been looking for floral inspirations the other day when I came across the flowering kale being used in a bouquet. It might be known better as a vegetable but I think it’s quite quirky and pretty gorgeous. I don’t see it as often  in the nursery and hopefully I would have an opportunity in the future to experiment with it.

Image credits: 1/2/3/4 via Pinterest

Memories of #JZ1512

Has it really been 7 months? Whenever I look at these pictures, it always make me feel like it just took place a  month or two ago. Anyways, in December 2013, another girlfriend in our gang (Syaza being the first and I being the second one) got hitched! :)

10390333_10152914525459488_4720514373566896706_n

We gathered in Ju Leen’s room before the sun came up to get ready all the elements of gatecrashing and boy, wasn’t it memorable. :D It was nice that we knew each other (or at least 95% of the bridesmaid entourage) and I had fun being a bridesmaid!

10288784_10152914524874488_7526147768994816005_n
Groom came bearing flowers for the bride :)

The day before, we were all at the nursery picking out the flowers for her wedding bouquet, posies and groom’s boutonniere. I can’t believe she trusted me enough to put together her wedding bouquet!! A few days prior, I was busy creating a Pinterest board full of images of the various bouquet styles that I thought she would like and I shared it with her. With each picture that she liked, I know I’m on the right track. :D When we got back to their place, we immediately started cutting and putting everything together because the busy duo had a dinner appointment with their families so we gotta work fast. I’m so glad the flowers turned out well!

10434172_10152914524994488_1266777046603746537_n
Look at that glowing bride :)

10420111_10152914525849488_6156533148731940520_n
We then made a trip to East Coast Park for some photos and shooting of footage for the wedding video, and then there was a break for us before we gathered together again to decorate her ROM and dinner venue while the wedding couple had other places to visit together with the best man and maid of honour.

10295697_10152914527259488_4644297574426997739_n
Picture of us at our table!

With that, my friend has entered a new chapter of her life (7 months ago) as a wife. You know what people say about friendships that last longer than 7 years? They say such friendships will last a lifetime and I look forward to the days ahead filled with house parties, gatherings, and other happy celebrations. :)

Israel Trip: Day 5

Today, we wake up in Jerusalem and it’s a Saturday, as you know Saturday is Shabbat or day of rest for the Jewish and they are prohibited to ‘work’. So on Saturday morning, we had food that was kept warm (actually it wasn’t that warm) through special methods that do not violate any Shabbat laws.  As we travelled to the first site for the day, I can’t help but notice that there weren’t much people on the streets and the roads were relatively clear of vehicles too. I guess they take their customs quite seriously.

Our first stop of the day is at the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu. The name Gallicantu means “cock crowing” and this is one of the traditional spots for the house of Caiphas the high priest where Jesus was put on trial illegally, and the place where Peter denied knowing Jesus thrice.


As you can see, the wind vane also has a cock on it to mark the spot, recalling Christ’s prophesy that Peter would deny him three times “before the cock crows”.


The statue of Peter amidst the people outside in the court and he denied knowing Jesus three times.


We then descended into the dungeon where Jesus spent the night (he was lowered into the place). It’s a horrid place to be in, with guards watching you from above and a lack of illumination. This is the place where there’s also an imprint of a figure (Jesus) with hands lifted in prayer/worship.


Outside the church


Kev :)

Next we went to Ein Gedi for a hike! Ein Gedi is an oasis located near the Dead Sea. It’s known for its beautiful springs, caves and abundant wildlife. This was also David’s refuge when he fled from King Saul and it was in one of the caves here where David cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Some of the psalms are believed to have been inspired in this place.  This is probably one of my favourite parts on the trip, hiking in such beautiful, cooling weather was just too awesome. It’s as if Daddy God has everything planned for us to be here on that day because if we were to come here a day earlier, we wouldn’t be able to go in as the place wouldn’t be safe due to slippery terrains. :)


We had a short sharing session here too.

From my notes:
David has so much honour and respect for King Saul because Saul is God’s anointed. It is God who gives authority and power.

David knows what to do and he does not listen to people because he listens to what God says and understands God’s heart. He can still call Saul the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 26:9) and father (1 Samuel 24:11).

When goodness was shown to Saul, his heart melted and he blessed David and made him agree not to destroy him. Saul had a change of heart when he felt the goodness of David.


We began hiking, and it’s pretty fun! :)


Look at the Dead Sea in the distance!


Look, a fan-tailed raven! We also saw a mother ibex with its newborn along the trail!


And everyone, this is David’s waterfall. According to Avi, apparently the water we are looking at now is from 20 years ago!


Of course I had to give it a try, I drank some of it and it was so clean and fresh! A lot of people did that too :)


On our way down, and look how scenic this place is! I’ve really been working my Hunter boots alot on this trip, it’s really comfortable and practical.


A picture of us together!


I was wondering why did everyone slow down and I realised that there was a hyrax sunbathing on the rocks that had gotten everyone’s attention. Sorry guys, no pictures because the zoom on my iPhone ain’t cutting it and my camera lens has gone wonky on the trip but I believe Google will be able to show you that creature.

We then went to Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in one of the caves by a Bedouin shepherd. The shepherd wanted to make sandals out of the leather and took it to the market to a cobbler who realised that it was something important and he bought it over. Thank God for that! We also checked out the place where the Sons of Light lived after leaving Jerusalem in protest of how the temple was run (they called the priests and all sons of darkness). The community was mostly males and there were little children or women. It is also believed that John the Baptist lived in this community for a period of time.


This is a ritual bath where the men would enter the water on the left side and emerged from where Avi is standing.

Then we ended the day at the Dead Sea, one of the places that I was excited to visit! I’ve always seen pictures of people floating in the sea, reading a book or so and now I get to experience this extraordinary phenomenon! Before we were there, we were informed to keep our jewellery away to prevent them from tarnishing from coming into contact with the sea water as it’s so rich in minerals, it’s really no joke. The mineral content is so high that there’s no living thing in the sea.


A view from the top of the place.

Chau Han and John - Dead Sea
The Dead Sea waters and mud is known to have health and cosmetic benefits, so we started on our ‘spa treatment’ by smearing on the mud! :D Here’s a picture of my tour mates having fun together. I didn’t take any pictures because it’s not safe to leave your belongings unattended on the lounge chairs and take a dip in the sea (and I didn’t want to spoil my camera either) but thank God a tour mate had experienced this before so he was going around snapping pictures of us having fun!

Kevin and Kelly - Dead Sea
Here’s a picture of Kevin and I floating in the Dead Sea!

A word of advice, don’t soak or let the mud remain on your skin for too long. I didn’t know if it’s too long or what, but my skin looked a little sunburnt after my time at the Dead Sea (and we were there in the late afternoon/evening kinda timing).

That’s it for Day 5!

Israel Trip: Day 4

Boker Tov (good morning in Hebrew)! On day 4, we are heading up to Jerusalem. In Israel, they seem to take great care and responsibility in getting our luggages up the bus. For example, we left our luggages outside our room and they picked it up. Then after they had collected the luggages and brought them down, we had to identify our luggages to the luggage handler and then we would have to watch them load it up. There was a couple who did that but somehow their luggages were still on the ground when we were ready to go on the bus after breakfast. They then got their luggage loaded up in the end before we left the place. I guess security is a pretty big issue over there.


View from the bus – This is the Jordan River. Can you spot the little people there lining up? They are waiting to get baptised!

Our first site of the day is Harod Spring or otherwise known as Ein Harod. This is where Gideon chose 300 warriors based on their drinking method and went on to defeat the Midianite army as seen in Judges 7:1 – 5.

Gideon’s Valiant Three Hundred

Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.

4 But the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And theLord said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.”


Gideon Cave where the spring bubbles up.


What a beautiful day!


The water looks so clean…. and beckons us to take a sip…


Over here, Pastor asked all the men in our group to demonstrate how they would drink from the spring. We had to imagine that in the past the water levels were a lot higher and the level was up to the edge of the rocks. Some squatted down and used their hands to scoop whereas where some got down and laid on their bellies. Some really drank the water too and declared it was fresh!


We also did a short sharing over here:

The Lord is the one who chose. He will be the One who will guide and direct you. What disqualifies you? For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7) God is saying, do not allow fear to rob you of what He has for you*. Do not let fear have a hold over you*. Don’t forget who they (Gideon and his valiant three hundred men) were representing, so what are you focusing on? God is the One who is protecting and providing for me*.

Back on the posture of the men. He chose those with the posture that allowed them to stand up quickly in the event of an attack. Those who laid down on their bellies will take much longer time to get up as compared to the other posture. That first posture says “I’m ready. This battle is mine.”

How the men drank also reminds us of praying in the Spirit – it’s the lapping, the moving of the tongue. Not by might, not by power, but by His Spirit. :)

Remember this: God says, “You are the vessel I chose but I’m the one fighting.” God is a great God, He is the source, deliverer, restorer and everything is of Him.


We are getting closer to Jersusalem!


Israel’s landscape is quite interesting. You can see lush green mountains… and dry desert grounds too.


I have a habit of staying awake when I’m on the bus especially when I’m travelling because I don’t wanna miss a thing. Today, we saw a bunch of migratory birds flying across the sky! Being seated behind the tour guide is awesome, he heard my exclamation and he went on to inform the group to look out of their windows. Seldom in Singapore we witness such sights. He begun sharing on the birds, how they would have to fly in circles till they reach a certain height to start gliding and he whipped out his Bible to share with us this verse: “Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)

Jesus is so relatable, He draws examples from the surroundings to make the people see…

We are on our way to the Jordan River, to this place called Beit Abara where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist. This place is highly guarded as it is Jordan on the other side of the river.


It is common to see such fences with signages to inform people/ potential trespassers in various languages that there are mines before the fences. Our guide was beginning to warm up to us and he joked “It says danger, mines in Hebrew and English, and picnic area in Arabic.” He’s such a funny person!


Here am I, by the Jordan River! The place is a little flooded due to the rain yesterday. Remember we passed by the river earlier in the morning? This portion of the river is so…. murky. They do baptisms here too!


Tourists and soldiers on this side and tourists on the other side.


Cross the river, and you’ll reach Jordan! Note: DON’T try that, you may get shot (worse case scenario) or arrested by the soldiers on duty.


A picture with one of the soldiers on duty. He looks good eh? Hahaha!

Next site, Wadi Qelt! This is the Judean wilderness close to Jericho and runs through a steep canyon surrounded by limestone and chalk cliffs. Some biblical events which is likely to have occurred here would be the story of the Good Samaritan, David’s flight from Absalom and Jesus’ travels from Jericho to Jersusalem. I can totally imagine this being a treacherous path to walk on back in those days.


Here we see St George’s Monastery, ran by Greek Orthodox monks. St. George’s Monastery started in the fourth century with a few monks who sought the desert experiences of the prophets, and settled around a cave where they believed Elijah was fed by ravens (1 Kings 17:5-6). I wonder how did they carve/build the place, it’s an amazing feat!


Modes of transport – past and present. :P

So yes, after that, we headed up to Jersusalem! We stopped at Haas Promenade to get a panoramic view of Jerusalem city. Avi and our Pastor wanted to do a bit of sharing but it was really cold so we did that on the bus instead.

When we reached our hotel, we checked in at Hotel Yehuda and it’s so pretty. It’s like a boutique hotel!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We then had a minstering session and it was so good with people receiving the gift of tongues and getting healed. Our Daddy God is so amazing. :) That night, we also prayed for good weather for our days ahead (as it has been quite rainy for the past few days in Jerusalem) and I prayed that rain would fall in Singapore as we had not been experiencing rain for the longest time in history and vegetation was browning all over the island. We then broke away for dinner and this time we joined a few other couples and it was a good time of fellowship which we seldom get to do cuz we are seated in front :)

*Such a good reminder at this point in my life as I’m recounting my trip. Notes taken are to be read over and over again, to be constantly reminded of the truth, instead of being chucked in a notebook or phone.