Historical Greece

On Wednesday night this weary pilgrim set foot on American soil once again. Our last two days in Greece were taking in the Acropolis, Areopagus and the Parthenon. Through our amazing bible teachers and the Spirit teaching, the Word comes alive in Acts 17. Probably the most emotional moment for me of the trip was standing on Mars Hill where Paul gave his talk to the Council of Philosophers in v 19-31. Read the text on your own, then look at the pictures below. Two minutes of his talk are in Greek on the side of the hill, but tradition shows that no public speaking person could speak more than six minutes or they were called a babbler. We often think he went on and on and on, but we know he was respectful as a missionary. However, he also spoke truth with boldness.

Verse 24 he talks about man-made temples, with the Parthenon standing tall and majestic on the hill to his side – Very emotional moment.

Always good to be home, now for the processing and resting!!

two minutes of Paul’s teaching in Acts 17
The Parthenon – which would become a Christian Church 500 years after Paul was here
Mars Hill (Greek word is Areopagus)
Our Ridge team along with Pastor Tom from Altoona and our Greek Pilgrim Tour guide.

Storms in the Sea

I guess if you’re going to spend 10 days studying John and Paul you just as well have some experiences that help you relate closely to them. We spent two days on the Aegean Sea aboard a small cruise ship with raging storms that kept us from going to Patmos. Many people aboard were sick, fortunately, only one of our Pilgrim Tours guests got sick. I thought about Paul as he was shipwrecked to Malta, except he was on a much tinier boat than what we were! It was not a fun day, however we did take a side excursion before landing in Athens when storms settled for a few hours on Santorini and the weather there was beautiful so that was a treat.

We landed in Greece Athens, and there’s much to write about with that! A city that is now 99% Christian where Record numbers of Muslims are converting to Christianity. I will write more about that soon.

Farewell Turkey

Today we leave the city of Kuşadası where the ancient city of Ephesus lies, and head via cruise ship to Patmos and Crete. Sadly the weather is predicted to be rainy for the next several days so there won’t be much sitting in the ship deck enjoying sunny weather! Our sight seeing will be done under an umbrella.

A few details about Turkey as we leave this country. Average yearly income is $10,000 US. Their political leader is a prime minister and they have 7 political parties with AK as the primary political party; and CHP the primary oppositional party. Interestingly the day we arrived (Sunday) was their Election Day.

Unemployment is around 18%. Tourism is their primary industry. Eastern Turkey grows grain and fruit. Lots of apricots and pistachios grown. Also saw lots of strawberry fields, olives and oranges.

Most of the tension occurs in SE Turkey near Iran. It’s very rugged there so it’s easy for terrorists to hide and there’s no visible border apparent. However, as a whole this country is very peaceful. Crime rate is low, people consume very little alcohol (although they smoke like crazy)! I felt totally safe walking outside by myself last night.  

Notice the color coordinated hilltop
Turkish tea – always in a tulip glass
Turkish rug weaver

Our Roots

The last few days have been a flurry of activity. My focus today is on the amazing city of Ephesus-one of my favorite books of the Bible. To see the massive city ruins from the street houses to the Roman bath houses, to the huge Library, and the theater, you’re mind can almost see the people from the city as Paul spread the gospel in the early church. Ephesus, you might remember, is where the riot broke out because the silversmith Demetrius was upset that the people were going to quit buying idols of Artemis and start worshiping God and ruin his business. Our devotions near the library were such a highlight. PT (Pastor Tom from Adventurelife) has such a way of bringing the stories to life with his passion and Spirit led teaching). Oh that I can remember just some of this rich history that takes us back to our roots of Christianity and the early church in the New Testament.

The library in Ephesus – third largest library of antiquity

The streets of the town with their homes
Baptistry in St. John’s Basilica, where John is buried
The day ended stopping by a Turkish rug shop where craftswomen spend months making just one rug. The silk and wool is all hand died, sometimes over 1200 knots per square inch in a rug. They are beautiful – and a dying art.

Turkish Tales

Catch up time! Alot of driving the last three days and poor internet. How in the world did the disciples and Jesus travel by foot or by mule or horse from place to place over this rugged terrain?

Our only stop Monday was the ruins of the ancient city of Troy. A little Greek mythology: people still question whether this is true or not. The Trojans inside the wall of Troy allowed a huge Trojan horse to be taken inside the wall of Troy by the Greeks. The people of Troy thought the horse was a peace offering but quite the opposite. Soldiers inside the Trojan horse climbed out of the horse once inside the walls to victory.

It was fascinating to see these ruins from a city whose earliest remnants are from 2500 bc. Yes bc. In one area there are remains of sacrificial wells where bodies were sacrificed. It was a solumn moment to envision the sights, sounds, and smells of what happened in this place all those years ago and I found myself grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus to end sacrificial offerings.

Tuesday we journeyed to Pergamum and then to Thyatira. as we listened to the teachings in both of these places my prayer was simple. God, may I not settle and look to others to satisfy me. I worship You and You alone.

Today we started the morning at Smyrna. Unbelievable ruins here with the huge basilica, then on to Sardis where we reflected on how easy it is to compromise and justify and let worldly things take over. We also went to Philadelphia and finally settled into a cool Turkish thermal spa. Pictures aren’t uploading yet due to poor WiFi everywhere. And my brain is full! Hopefully photos soon. Praising God for no sickness and good sleep. The Turkish people remind me of the Greeks. So friendly. Very impoverished. Average household income is only $10,000 US yearly. My massage – only $38 US.