Category Archives: Travel

#highlightsof2015

What a year 2015 had been! I’m thankful that by the grace of God I’m still alive (something we take for granted), for the experiences I’ve gained this year and here are some of the best things that happened this year:

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I took a bite of the Big Apple. We were greeted by buildings blanketed with snow upon our arrival despite it being spring and I didn’t take as much pictures as I wanted as my fingers were freezing (hello, -2 degrees). Nevertheless, I had a good time with Kevin, who acted as my compass/GPS in the city. 🙂 We visited museums, Hell’s Kitchen flea market,stood in Times Square, got a bird’s eye view from the top of Empire State Building and Top of The Rock, cycled in Central Park, experienced falling snow (!!!) and even visited the flower market!

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Daddy God has been so good to me this year, I was blessed with a pair of tickets to catch Hillsong’s No Other Name concert by a friend.

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I’m so happy that this year I got to show Kevin around the place where I called home and studied for 1.5 years as he’s never been to Brisbane/Gold Coast/Queensland before! This is the first trip that Kev didn’t need to plan. =P We even made time to meet up with Adila for dinner! Btw, it was the coldest winter I’ve ever felt while we were there. We went to the regular haunts that I used to visit and places that I bring friends to when they come to Brisbane. Oh yes, I saw so many rainbows while we were there, Daddy God knows what really makes me happy! On this trip, we made an impromptu decision to rent a car and drive up to Springbrook National Park to hike.

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One of the major highlights of the year would be attending Hillsong Conference 2015! It was awesome, with many qarah moments that only Daddy God can orchestrate 🙂 We learnt from our first Hillsong Conference experience and we packed our own meals for the Conference. It was really nice going with friends too!

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This year also marks another milestone in my Rock Kidz journey, where I’ve also taken up the role of a pulpit teacher. I feel thankful that Daddy God entrusts me with His little sheep to take care of and to preach the gospel to, it really is a privilege. Nothing gets me quite as excited as seeing little hands raised wanting to invite Jesus into their hearts 🙂

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Honeymoon – London leg

This entry is waaaay overdue. We went on our honeymoon to London and Paris right after our wedding (last October) and finally I’ve the time to write about it. I can’t believe how impossibly blessed I am, to be able to go to my two dream destinations – Paris and Maldives in the same year, with the person I love. 🙂 Anyhows, here’s my travelogue!


We travelled on Lufthansa and transited via Frankfurt before reaching London. Upon touching down, we left our luggages at our accommodation which we booked via WaytoStay.com and left to explore the city. First stop – Harrods!


We decided to have lunch at Bentley’s Sea Grill at Harrod’s Food Hall.


Here’s my sea bass with some really interestingly yummy seaweed!


The Food Hall is decked with scrumptious bakes and savoury items. We grabbed a couple of cupcakes and pastries and made our way over to Hyde Park! The weather was quite gloomy, and it drizzled slightly while we were there. Nevertheless, we ate our cupcakes there and fed the swans and ducks. 🙂 I must say, the swans are a lot slower than the ducks in getting to the food.


We also checked out M&M’s World, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. Because we are in London, we must catch a musical and we bought tickets to watch Les Miserables the following night. 🙂


Excuse me while I have a drink!

Oh yes, we checked into our apartment and we were in for a rude shock late at night because the hot water for the place was faulty. 😦 It was really cold at night and it was impossible to shower with cold water. Multiple calls to the concierge didn’t help with the situation and they said they will solve the issue so I waited. I waited for several hours and nothing was rectified. In fact, it was only solved on our last night in London. 😡 I know I can’t fault them (and I don’t know how the rest of the occupants in the building handle that, maybe they don’t shower) because the whole building was undergoing renovation and they had made plans to allow us to shower at a gym nearby but I thought they should let us know beforehand. Anyways, to deal with this situation, we went to Waitrose nearby and bought a pail to prepare our water for our shower. This method is so backward but we just gotta suck it up… ARGH. The only good thing is that we have a kitchen and we can cook! So sometimes we buy items from Waitrose and whip out meals. 🙂


The next morning, we had breakfast at a cafe nearby before we started our plan for the day.


Flowers at the train station! I absolutely adore flowers and they just really perk one’s spirits up 🙂


On our way to Bicester Village to do some major retail therapy to take our minds off the traumatic shower times at night and in the morning (haha)!


Of course, I have to take a picture in the city’s iconic telephone booth.

This place is amazing! Every shop’s minimum amount for VAT refund is different (and can be quite low too!) so we (or rather I) shopped up a storm. 😀


We refueled at Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts. I can see why people like to dine alfresco here. Chilly weather paired with adequate amount sunshine, who wouldn’t like that?


We decided to call it a day and headed back to the city. It was 3ish, almost 4pm then.


Happy with our loot for the day!

We headed to Waitrose to get some items to whip out a simple meal before heading out for Les Miserables in the evening 🙂


We were seated quite far up and it was quite steep, so the view was still pretty okay. I was quite pysched, but I guess we’ve been too ambitious because we were feeling quite sleepy and were struggling to stay awake.


The next day we continued exploring London.


The Tower Bridge and I!


These kids on a field trip look so cute!

We headed back to our apartment and had lunch. I had Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks and some scones. Pumpkin Spice Latte is really yummy, please bring this into Singapore, Starbucks!

While Kevin decided to take a nap, I continued my exploring of the city… so I went to V&A Museum!


Love how the city looks after a bout of rain.


Pretty dangling lights greets you at the entrance when you look up. 🙂


An exhibition on the fashion through the ages, I also checked out another fashion-related exhibition but photography was prohibited in that one.


If you know me, I love museums and getting lost in the labyrinth of artifacts, sculptures and paintings. Exploring the place on my own allowed me to meander into different areas at my own pace, and allow me to be absorbed in my own observations. Conversations were also struck with strangers who thought I was an art student, hahaha.


I find it pretty cool that people here actually bring their sketchbooks and materials out to sketch, I have never seen this happen before!


It was kinda cool to see Kylie’s room backstage….


Close up of her dressing table.


Costumes of the Lion King musical can also be seen at the museum, how cool is that?!

I met Kevin later on, and we went to Hamleys – which is an amazing emporium of toys and games!


Passing by Oxford Street…

I didn’t take much pictures in Hamleys because I was too busy checking out toys and the staff over there are really enthusiastic about the toys they were promoting. It’s such a fun environment! 🙂


There are even Lego statues of the royal family!

I walked away with some toys for my little cousins and sister 😉


It was night time by the time we left the place, and so we had dinner.

The next day, was our last day in London, before we head over to Paris. We took a stroll through Hyde Park (I think? haha) to get to Buckingham Palace.


Passing by the Wellington Arch…


We also came across wreaths of red poppies hung on the railings.


Early morning in London, look at that beautiful sky


No changing of guard while we’re here I guess…

It feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface of London, it’s an eye-opener but I know we have to be back again for sure.

Next stop, Paris!

 

Israel Trip: Day 8

I can’t believe it’s the last of my travelogue in the Holy Land and day 8 is our last day in Israel. Today we are headed to the Garden Tomb. We did not to go to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is the traditional spot on the pilgrimage route because our pastor believe it is not the site of the crucifixion. As we walked away, a man bellowed that she didn’t know what she’s talking about and went on about how the Garden Tomb is so new… so you can tell there’s much disagreement about the spot.

So back to the Garden Tomb. We believe that this is the correct spot because:

1) The crucifixion occurred outside the city wall.

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. ~ Hebrews 13:12

2) Jesus bore the cross with the inscription near the city, and people can read the inscription.

Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. ~ John 19:20

3) He was crucified on the road, with many people passing by and it can be seen from a distance.

And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, ~Mark 15:29

4) It is near a garden with a new tomb of Joseph Amaritia.

Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. ~John 19:41

5) Jesus was brought to a place called the Skull.

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, ~John 19:17

6) Mount Calvary should be in northern Jerusalem, and Jesus is our perfect offering.

He shall kill it on the north side of the altar before the Lord; and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar. ~ Leviticus 1:11


Okay, side tracked a little, but check out the sign! =P


Can you see the eyes of the skull?


This is how the spot look like previously when it was discovered before it became a tourist spot.

Not only that, a large cistern located underneath the garden indicates that this is the garden of Joseph of Arimathea.

We then visited the tomb whose interior matches the description for the seating of the two angels and how the disciples looked into the tomb.


Looking for Jesus? He’s not here, He’s risen! 😀


We then took some time to have a short sharing session and then a praise and worship session.

It so happened that the Pastor Prince devo for the day (March 18) is about how we are blessed regardless of your location because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross and it made mention of Calvary’s hill. Everytime when there’s such ‘coincidences’, I just feel so loved by Daddy God.

From my notebook:
Jesus has come to give us a brand new beginning. Sin separated us from God and Daddy God wants to be with us all the time. That’s why He sent Jesus to reconcile us to Him.

He was raised from the dead so that we can be made right with God. We need to be restored the sense  that God is no longer angry with us.

Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. ~Romans 4:25

He has decided we will be saved.

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, ~Ephesians 1:4

When you love someone, you give. I know Daddy God loves me, because He gave me Jesus.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:8

Then we had a Passover meal experience for lunch at Yad HaShmonah Biblical Garden! It’s located in the Judean hills and ran by messianic Israeli Jews and Finnish Christians. There’s also a garden that displays plants and agricultural tools from biblical times. 🙂


Taking an exciting trip back to the times of Jesus!

Our host explained to us that this is how people ate in Jesus’ time, reclining on one arm. She also shared with us that John sat at the right hand of Jesus while Judas sat at His left hand. She also walked us through various foods and its symbolism.

It’s pretty interesting how before we ate or drank each item, we had to recite a Hebrew blessing first. For example before breaking bread, we were to say a blessing that went something like Bless the Lord, our God, the King of the universe who brought forth bread from the earth in Hebrew. 😀

And there were so many cats at this place too! They were all quite affectionate. The white one repeatedly came up to me, jumped onto my lap and rubbed against me. I guess it’s really cold out there for them. It also kept wanting to take pictures so I had to oblige 😉

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One of the last few places we visited was the Valley of Elah, where the well-known battle of David against Goliath took place. We also went down to the Brook of Elah, which is famous for the five stones David picked to take down Goliath. Avi said that David chose 5 stones just in case he needed to face Goliath’s other brothers too, haha!

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Walking to the dried up riverbed of the Brook of Elah. The whole place is covered with mustard flowers and it’s so pretty 🙂


Avi gave us some guidelines on the kind of rocks to pick that were similar to David’s. They needed to be smooth and palm-sized, and many of us took our stones to Avi to get his stamp of approval hahaha!


In the end, I picked up 5 (not all for myself!) and they were heavy despite their small size!


I was back on the bus when I looked out and saw Avi plucking stuff from the tree and began eating it. He then took some and passed it to some of the tour members with him.


Intrigued, I asked Sarah what they were and she said they were almond fruits and I’ve never seen an almond fruit! She passed me one to try and you have to eat it whole like that. It’s a little sour and tasted like green apples, interesting!


Cute inflatable on the construction crane, hahaha! we should have these things in Singapore too.

The last place we went was Joppa, now known as Jaffa and it is where Peter raised Tabitha from the dead. This is also the place where Peter received the vision of a large sheet filled with animals (some non-kosher) being lowered from heaven and it was the pivotal moment for the gospel to reach the Gentiles.

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Guess what? We saw a wedding car and a wedding couple too in this place!

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We then had dinner at one of the restaurants and made our way to the airport.

This trip has been amazing on so many levels. After a terribly dry season, it felt like rain had finally come. I hear Daddy God’s little whispers at every corner I turn and I felt reassured that He has good things lined up ahead for me.

In this place, He showed me that He listens to prayers. When I had prayed for rain to come in Singapore and it happened the next day, I was overjoyed when my fellow P&W leaders verified that it did rain and I was like, wow Daddy God, You answer prayers really fast in Israel! Then He corrected me, it’s not where you pray that matters, it is Who who answers the prayer. 🙂

In this place, He showed me that He takes care of me. Through the tour agency, we were given the chance to rent a local Israel phone or a nano/microsim card for usage in Israel because it will be hard to get a prepaid card since we wouldn’t have time to stop and buy one locally. Kevin and I missed the deadline for the order so I was left thinking, fine, I’ll just be MIA for the 8-10 days then. Little did I know, that our bus was Wifi-enabled! *gasp* That means if I want be connected, I could be. We didn’t need to fork out any additional money to enjoy the connectivity! 🙂 I used it whenever I had pictures I wanted to share on Instagram or text on Whatsapp or check out something on the Internet, but other than that I’m happily looking out of the windows, drinking in the scenery set before my eyes.

In this place, He showed me that He loves me and hears my heart’s desires. I asked to see a rainbow in this beautiful land during the trip and He answered not just once, not just twice but thrice! At the Garden Tomb, when Pastor Pauline asked for suggestions on songs to sing during a time of praise and worship in this place, I wanted us to sing Just let me say, but I guess my voice wasn’t loud enough to communicate my song of choice so we didn’t sing it then and I let it go. But Daddy God didn’t and He saved the best for last because He wanted to make it a memorable trip for me. On route to the airport, Sarah suddenly called out from the back and made a request to sing one last Praise and Worship song to end the trip and it was that song. :’)

So let me say
How much I love You
With all my heart I long for You
For I am caught
In the passion of knowing
This endless love
I’ve found in You
And the depth of grace, the forgiveness found
To be called a child of God
Just makes me say
How much I love You
O my Savior, my Lord and friend


So long Israel, I know it wouldn’t be too long before I’m back 🙂

Israel Trip: Day 7

We woke up bright and early to make our pilgrimage to the Temple Mount in anticipation of the long queue of visitors like us (there was a long queue when we arrived). We were informed the day before to avoid carrying backpacks as security is extremely tight in this place and bringing one would cause delays at the security check. And when I say security is tight, it really is (just imagine passing by law enforcement officers with guns strapped on less than a metre of space between us and they were all sitting in a single file on the bridge that would take us into the place).

The Temple Mount is a site which holds special significance to the Jews and Muslims. It is also the place where Jesus was presented in the Temple by His earthly parents Joseph and Mary and later stayed behind to debate with the teachers. It’s now a mosque and as you can see there are Arabic writings on the tiles. Fun fact: See the dome at the top of the mosque? Its measurements and dimensions were modelled from a similar dome of a church nearby.


You wouldn’t believe how many visitors come by the Temple Mount each day but I managed to get a clear shot void of any tourist!


This is the Dome of the Tablets/Spirits and there’s a theory that this dome marks the site of the Holy of Holies in the Second Temple, as the east-west line aligning the Mount of Olives with the Eastern Gate and the Temple cuts through this very location.

You wouldn’t believe that there’s a mini protest happening while we were there. I couldn’t hear what they say but it seems that the people were against tourists visiting the place. =S

Sometimes the access to the Temple Mount is restricted due to protests happening (and apparently one took place a day or so before), so it seems like Daddy God aligned everything so that we can visit this holy place. 🙂


There are several cats within the premises, I can’t help but snap many pictures of them!


Remember the pool of Bethesda in the Bible? Bethesda means House of Mercy, and this is where people would wait to be the first one into the waters after it was stirred by an angel. This is the same spot where Jesus healed a paralytic of 38 years 🙂


I really like this particular kitty!


Yet another kitty!

We then had lunch before we went to check out the Via Dolorosa, which means the Way of Suffering in Latin. We went underground first, to see the markings which by now had become faint. Avi was trying to show us that there are inscriptions of the battalion’s symbol and a crown of thorns on the flagstone.


The circular discs seen on the buildings mark the various spots on the path.


As we walked the path, I could imagine that it was a very busy street that Jesus walked through then.


Another picture of a kitty.


It seriously is a very busy place and it’s of utmost importance to stick close to your group/guide as there are many tour groups around.


Too many cats around in this place!


Oh yes, we spotted little children and adults alike dressed up like it’s Halloween, but it’s not – it’s Purim (Festival of Lots)! I can’t believe our trip coincided with one of their Jewish holidays and we get to see them celebrate it. 😀

Purim is a celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from Haman (you can read it in the Book of Esther). The tradition of dressing up is based upon the way Esther concealed her Jewish identity at the beginning. Some of their costumes really deserve awards! I saw this particular guy’s costume that was of someone who’s in the portaloo and it’s really darn good!


Bob the Tomato from VeggieTales!


This is a replica of a temple menorah and it’s been fashion from one piece of solid metal – gold.  If my memory didn’t fail me, the original one had been taken away to Rome but its whereabouts to this date still remain unknown.


I spy with my little eye, I see a dog in there!


This is the road that Jesus walked on 2000 years ago. WOW.


A mosaic map of Jerusalem back in the days. It’s pretty cool how they actually managed to match the location of places of the past to the current day Jerusalem.

We then had some time to spend at the Jewish Quarters. It’s filled with many stores and art galleries.


Look the star of the framed picture sitting in front! After I snapped this picture, many others followed suit hahaha


I wasn’t joking about the level of security in this place. Here we have some Israeli soldiers near the Western Wall.

Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:15

So, we were at the Western Wall (also known as Wailing Wall) which is part of the remaining wall from the time of the Second Temple surrounding the Temple’s courtyard. This is the most sacred and the holiest spot in Jerusalem after the Holy of Holies. Men and women are segregated to pray at different portions of the wall, with the men wearing a kippah before doing so. As I struggled to make my way to the wall. I see ladies rocking themselves standing with their faces in their copies of Torah, wailing. Some of them were reading the Torah with their hand on the wall. As I got closer, the ladies exiting walked backwards from the wall (it’s their custom). When I finally reached the wall, I placed my finger on the wall (with the help of my tourmates because it’s just too crowded!!), said my silent prayers and left. I also observed many notes containing written prayers were left in the crevices of the wall.

Interesting note: There’s a live cam streaming the happenings at the wall and you can check it out here!


Southern Wall – built during King Herod’s time. It’s made of limestone and it can be easily identified that the style was Herodian by the margins of the block with a slightly raised centre.


At the Southern Steps, and we had a short sharing over here. Jesus climbed these very steps when He visited the Temple and this is the place where 3,000 were saved and baptised in the Holy Spirit!

With that, we ended our day of sightseeing 🙂

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?!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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 😀 Oh, glorious glorious fries…

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People buying party accessories in celebration of Purim.

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Flowers!! Look how pretty they are 😀

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

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! 😀 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. 😛

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.