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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

For some reason this will not embed!! I guess it may be the size of the file.  So please excuse all of the ugly coding, but if you click on it you should be able to see the pics.  I can’t wait for all of the “lovely” comments I am going to get on this post!  Sorry!

 

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/Militaryxusaf/ariels-graduation-day-2013-20863925” title=”Ariel’s graduation day 2013″ target=”_blank”>Ariel’s graduation day 2013</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/Militaryxusaf” target=”_blank”>Militaryxusaf</a></strong> </div>

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Ariel graduated on May 3rd from Bob Jones University with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Counseling. She leaves the end of next week for a summer internship in Israel working at a center for Autistic children. When she returns in August, she will be attending the University of South Carolina working on her masters program in Speech Pathology. Wendy and I do not even attempt to keep up with her!

I hope you enjoy the slide show of her special day with many family and friends.

 

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379272_336372316469200_713330326_nI just attended the funeral of a friend this past week. We lived about five hours apart so we did not see each other very often. But we did email, an occasional phone call and he even traveled to Israel with us in 2010. He was very young, 35, and in a wheelchair like me. His paralysis was different than mine and was the result of being hit by a car which resulted in traumatic brain injury and paralysis. Cognitively he was fine but was left with debilitating motor functions.

 
Marcus was an amazing man. His injury occurred when he was five years old, so being in a wheelchair was about the only way of life he remembered. Yet Marcus shined. He was a quiet sincere person that people enjoyed being around. I remember a couple different times when we were in Israel together, our group would be running around taking pictures and buying out gift shops, but he and I would choose to find a cafe for a coffee and a chance to talk. His mother would join us and we would have a wonderful time doing nothing.

 
Marcus was a poet, a singer and had so much to share for anyone who would stop and listen. He had devoted his entire life to serving his savior Jesus Christ and serving others around him. The physical limitations that he had in life he considered to be very minor. Others would look at falling, stroke like paralysis and lack of independence as major obstacles in life. But not Marcus. He lived each day with a smile, a dry sense of humor and the desire to live life. He had gone to college and had an undergrad, but was continuing his education. He wrote. He sang. He was an inspirational speaker and never missed an opportunity to talk with people about his personal testimony and relationship with God. Marcus was a hero.

 
He will be missed by everyone that knew him. So I dedicate this posting to Marcus Twisdale and share his testimony with you. Hopefully by reading it you will get to know just a little bit about a great man.

 

God’s Grace
Potter Crafting Pot on Potter's WheelI’d like to express once again how grateful I am that the Lord has chosen to use me. I’m a frail vessel just like anyone else whose feet trod the ground of this planet. I have nothing to offer the Father that He doesn’t already have and more of. He’s righteous, I’m filthy; He’s infinite, I’m finite; He’s incorruptible, I’m corruptible; He’s omnipotent, I’m weak. He has used me as He did Job to show His glory as the God of faithfulness. When all was done and the tests were over God was still there.

I can’t say I’ve suffered as much as Job but I do believe God is a Just and Righteous God. He has loved me enough to save my soul from an eternity without Him and loves me still to use this vessel.

God has taken me from birth to where I am now with a few road blocks along this thirty year trek but continues, as He said He would, to provide for my needs “according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” The One Who “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,” has provided for me time and time again. When times ran rough all I needed to do was go to His throne of grace “to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

At five years of age, Aug. 17, 1982, the Lord displayed his strength in my life. I was hit by a car in my neighborhood. Given a 50/50 chance of coming out of surgery, no one knew what to expect. But God had a plan as He always does. He prevented total paralysis of which the doctors thought would be the case. He provided strength to move and much more that was highly unexpected. God prevented the development of a speech impediment and gave a good strong voice. He prevented the inadequacy of limited movement, if any, and allowed me to stand and walk for as long as I did.

I’ve had four surgeries on my legs and one on my good arm back on Aug. 8, 2006 and God’s grace has provided after every operation to carry on for Him. Things have had to be adjusted but, again, God provided what I needed.

I’d like, for the next few lines, to talk about an instance involving God’s providence. Back on April 2, 2002, four months after starting and continuing to take muscle relaxers for leg tremors, not knowing I had “Walking pneumonia” also, a friend of mine found me in my dorm room @ Liberty Univ. passed out on my floor. I was the only one using the room, the door was shut and locked and I wasn’t scheduled to meet anyone anytime soon. God provided a friend to think about me. It was because of God’s grace to provide and my friend’s inquiring mind that I am here for further service.
I wrote this short testimony for two reasons; one is that I wanted this to be an encouragement to someone. Seeing what God has done through people of faith in Him always brings a smile to my face. Second, today is the 25th anniversary of the day my life shifted gears for the glory of God and I wanted to tell of what He had done for me one more time.

Ps. 9:11, Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people His doings.

Lord bless you all,
George (Marcus) Marks Twisdale, Jr.

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In the immortal words of Willie Nelson…”On the road again.”

There are many things in life that give the appearance of hindering anything a person attempts to do. This is not a new concept, but for people with disabilities, it does seem like the “curve balls” come faster and harder. Giving in, or quitting, to the trial often seems like the only course of action to be taken. And then we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel (praying it is not an oncoming train) and press forward. So that being said, let the journey continue.

IMG_0408Leaving the port of Ashdod behind us, we sailed our way northward to the port of Haifa. The city of Haifa slopes upIMG_0411 steeply from the coastline to the top of a small mountain. The view from the ship was beautiful as we were docking at 7:00 AM. Haifa is located in northern Israel and from here we would be touring many sites in the Galilee region: Mt. of Beatitudes, Tabgha, Church of the Primacy, Church of Loaves and Fishes, Capernaum, and a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

I had visited all of these places on my last trip to Israel, and despite my memory of some IMG_0412IMG_0417accessible challenges ahead, I was eager to see them again. Of all the places to visit in Israel, the beautiful region around the Sea of Galilee is probably my favorite. From the sloping hills of the Mt. of Beatitudes, to the steep Arbel Cliffs, the area isIMG_0423 filled with biblical history. The churches have a peaceful simplicity to them that welcomes a person to slow down and reflect. Our guide was wonderful, and made sure that each place we visited we saw and heard about it in great detail. She was completely at ease with me being in a wheelchair and anything that I wanted to attempt she was eager to make it happen for me.

The two sites here that I am going to focus on are Capernaum and our boat ride. The ancient city of Capernaum is amazing to say the least. Excavations here are remarkable including the remains of a synagogue dating back to the Byzantine period. Because IMG_1227IMG_1239Jewish culture demanded that the ground where a synagogue would be built had to be sanctified, it would be marked as holy ground. Rather than going through this process again, any new synagogues would be built on top of the older ones. So the remains of the fourth century white synagogue that we were able to be in is built on top of the first century IMG_0434synagogue that Jesus would have taught in. Just outside the steps of the synagogue there is an excavated site of the first century village. The homes were communal in fashion with larger central rooms for cooking and family gatherings in open courtyards. As the family grew, rooms were added to the central home for expansion. We also saw the site of what is believed to be St. Peter’s home. There is much biblical evidence, and physical inscriptions that have been excavated, for proof of its location. This park area is owned and maintained by Franciscan Monks, and once again, offers the tourist a place of peace and quiet to walk (or roll) around the grounds soaking up the serenity.

IMG_0448When we left Capernaum we headed to Nof Ginnosaur where we would get on a fishing boat for our ride on the Sea of IMG_0452Galilee. The last time I was here, getting from land to the boat proved to be a very accessible challenge. I was absolutely amazed this time! The dock area had been completely reconstructed with a smooth ramped surface taking me right to the boat. Last time I had to have men lifting me up and down stairs and slippery ramps to get me to the boat. This time I had complete independence and rolled my way along with no problems at all. When I got to the boat, three men lifted me and my wheelchair from the dock and set me in the boat. The entire transition was seamless and without fault. Once on the boat we headed out onto the waters as the crew played the US National Anthem and then the Jewish IMG_0794National Anthem. Once we were out quite a ways, the motors were cut off and silence and calm surrounded us. Our guide pointed out all of the many locations around the sea and then the party started!  Lol They played traditional Jewish folk music for us and taught anyone willing how to dance. The boat rang with music, dance, laughter and many good friends. Needless to say it was a wonderful time and I hated to have it end. But like all good things, end it must.

Once back on shore, our bus driver was waiting for us. He drove us back to the port of Haifa where we boarded our ship at a rather late hour. But there is 24 hour food available and wow, were we hungry! The smells coming from the buffet tempted our senses and we ended our day with a tremendous meal and many great memories.

As Wendy and I went to bed that night we felt the movement of the ship as we left Haifa and headed for the port of Kusadasi, Turkey.

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As we left Egypt and headed for Israel, all of us were eager to arrive, even though the news of Hamas militants firing rockets into southern Israel was being watched on the news. Our port of call, Ashdod, is just north of Gaza, so the cruise line and our tour group were paying close attention to everything concerning safety. Everyone was assured we would be secure, and having been to Israel before, I was eager to return to see our friends, beauty and history once again. The purpose of my blog posts is to discuss disability issues and to encourage disabled people to get out and live life. However, because of what is happening in Israel right now as I am typing this (Hamas militant terrorists set off a bus explosion in Tel Aviv) I am going on a brief rabbit trail to express my personal opinion against terrorism and support for Israel. For those of you who know me, I am a Christian, and I firmly believe that Israel as a nation has the right to exist and protect itself.

And now on to Ashdod. When we docked in port, we were met by our guide and driver like always. We drove to Old Joppa, toured the city for a bit, and then met the rest of our group for a wonderful outdoor lunch. The many and varied foods were delicious, but I think one of my favorites is always the warm pita bread and hummus. One thing to mention about rolling around in a wheelchair at the ancients sites – go slow. Most places are ramped or level but are not what I would call smooth. Cobble stones that are 2000 years old tend to be a little on the bumpy side. But taking things slow and easy make it very doable. And let me add here that other people in our group were eager to assist me wherever they could. So anytime something looked like it might prove difficult to maneuver, I had a friend helping me before I could even ask. If I worried about always being on flat smooth surfaces, I would never leave home! And who wants to live a life like that?

After lunch we drove to Caesarea. We visited the ancient portion of the city that has been excavated and is filled with many artifacts. Caesarea was built by Herod the Great as a port city about 22 – 10 BC. Herod the Great built this man-made harbor out of jealousy over the natural harbors in Egypt. He wanted something to rival other sea ports and give him excellent connections to all parts of the Mediterranean world. We saw ancient ruins of the port, public buildings, a theater, an amphitheater, hippodrome, two aqueducts, a colonnaded street and a temple dedicated to Caesar. The theater here seats about 4,000 people and is the first thing you see when entering the archaeological park. Looking out to sea, the hippodrome is on the right. It was fun to look at it and imagine chariot races like most of us are familiar with in Ben Hur.  The disciple Peter preached here and this is where the apostle Paul was in prison for two years.

When we left Caesarea we drove to the Moshav (village) Yad Hashmona. It is located in the Judean Hills just a few miles west of Jerusalem. The scenery here is beautiful and even has a view of the Mediterranean coastline. Here we were taken on a tour through the Biblical Gardens. This was like stepping back into biblical times and seeing many aspects of that life including an open air synagogue, watch tower, olive press, grape press, threshing floor, burial cave, a Mikveh (ritual bath) and many varieties of fruit trees and beautiful flowers. Here Wendy and I also got to reunite with some very dear friends from our last visit to Israel.

When we left here we drove back to the docks for a late dinner aboard our ship. After a long day of touring we were eager to get to bed. Jerusalem was our destination in the morning.

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I am quite certain that all of you have been invited over to a friend’s home for a “fun-filled” evening of listening to endless stories about their family vacation. Garnished with numerous pictures of places that you care very little about, and stories that make you wish your hearing was anything but perfect, you stifle your yawns and pretend to be interested. I must admit that I am feeling like that boring host. Being somewhere in person, seeing the sites, smelling the new smells and tasting the new foods is a wonderful thing – relaying those feelings of awe to others is a totally different thing.

But…a friend of mine, a very famous author in her own right, wrote something once to all aspiring authors: Be prepared to be lonely…the world is not waiting with baited breath to read anything that you have written.

For me, writing is a release. I way of expressing myself in a world that often times I am the only inhabitant. So as I continue telling you about my journey, I hope that you see and feel a touch of the wonder and fascination that I saw and experienced. So continue to join me on my journey as we visit Alexandria, Egypt.

Wendy and I started our morning early on deck five with a steaming hot cup of coffee and a wonderful blueberry muffin. When the gangway was let down, we were eager to get started on our last day in Egypt. Today’s itinerary included Egypt’s Ancient Lighthouse, Library, and King Farouk’s palace. We met our guide and bus driver at 7:00 AM and started off for our tour around Alexandria.

Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC and is the second largest city in Egypt. After the death of Alexander the Great, his general, Ptolemy I, became the ruler of Egypt and continued Alexander the Greats’ dream by creating two significant harbors. This is the location of one of the great wonders of the ancient world, the Egyptian Lighthouse, unfortunately destroyed by an earthquake. Stone blocks from the lighthouse have been used over the years in construction of other buildings, very similar to what we saw of ancient sites in Italy.

We also saw the area where the ancient city of Herakleion (named for Hercules) is located. Also destroyed by an earthquake and sunk into the sea. If I understand correctly, there are some tentative plans to turn the ancient harbor into a museum of sorts which would be fascinating to see. We enjoyed the sea here watching fishermen fish in the ancient harbor, as some very content cats patiently waited nearby for their share of the daily catch.

Another place we visited was the old palace of King Farouk, whose reign was ended with the revolution of 1952. The buildings and grounds were magnificent as we drove slowly through the winding roads. Controlled now by the Egyptian army, permission is granted for visits and the palace is sometimes used as a hotel for foreign dignitaries.

Our guide got me out of the van and pushed me around the grounds so that Wendy and I could get a better feel of the beauty. It certainly was a place of beauty but also filled with many interesting stories. We learned there was a nearby palace for King Farouk’s wife. The purpose for this was so the king could entertain “ladies” as he chose. Times and seasons may change, but man’s heart certainly does not.

The Egyptian Library was incredible. Completely designed to capture natural light and have perfect acoustics, the building is an architectural design of beauty. The university is across the street and the students have access to millions of pieces of literature and artifacts that are now digitally available. The Library is constantly adding more to its database and is available for the world to use at no cost. Their web site is www.bibalex.org I hope that you take advantage of this and do some exploring of the ancient world via the web. It will be almost like you are there.

After leaving the library we headed back to the ship for a late lunch. We pulled away from the docks at 7:00 PM. Wendy and I were on our balcony as we saw Egypt disappear into the distance. We sailed back out into the Mediterranean for our next port of call at Ashdod, Israel.

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We are in the last minute frenzy of packing (well Wendy is) and the clock is ticking rapidly to our day of departure. I thought I would share our itinerary with you and a few pictures as well. I am so excited about this entire trip! And to put the icing on the cake, I have been asked to read a portion of Scripture and briefly speak when we are at Corinth.

Traveling around the Mediterranean and visiting cities and cultures that are thousands of years old is such an amazing thought. I will keep journal entries at each place and take plenty of pictures to share. I am hoping to be able to post from the ship when I am over there. But if for some reason that should not work, I will make sure and catch everyone up when we return.

Just a couple of last minute details before the itinerary. For people in wheelchairs, you may want to make room in your packing for a few wheelchair parts. I always bring an extra seat cushion with me (in case mine should pop) and an extra set of tubes for my tires. This is much easier than trying to find the necessary parts in an emergency. Also you should make copies of your passport and credit cards. Keep one copy with you and leave one copy at home. We have never lost our passports or credit cards, but once again, plan for the possibility.

Here are the details of our room which is accessible with an ocean view balcony. Two twin beds (can convert into queen-size) with open bed frames, wider entry door, turning spaces, private balcony, sitting area with lowered vanity, closet rods, and safe, and a private bathroom with a wider door, roll-in shower, grab bars, fold-down shower bench, hand-held shower head, raised toilet, and a lowered sink. (275 sq. ft., balcony 42 sq. ft.)

Brochure details provided by Educational Opportunities.

October 18 Depart USA Our pilgrimage begins as we depart the USA.

October 19 Rome Arrive in Rome, and time permitting, take a panoramic tour of this beautiful city.

October 20 Ancient Rome History is woven through the streets and neighborhoods of Rome as in no other city. Today we’ll explore the many wonders of ancient Rome when we visit the magnificent Colosseum. From the most sacred hill of ancient Rome, Campidoglio, we’ll view the Forum. You’ll also view the Circus Maximus, Mamertine Prison, the Arch of Titus, the famous Baths of Caracalla and the Arch of Constantine. We’ll see the Victor Emanuel Monument and the Monti Region, Rome’s most ancient neighborhood, which spreads over three of her seven hills. Board the beautiful Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas.

October 21 & 22 At Sea

October 23 & 24 Alexandria & Cairo, Egypt Dock in Alexandria, founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great. See the site of the ancient library, lighthouse, and Pompey’s Pillar during your tour of Alexandria. Visit the catacombs and enjoy time to explore the old city. Travel to Cairo, the capital city of Egypt which means “The Vanquisher” or “The Triumphant.” Cairo is the most populated metropolitan area in Africa. See the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Egypt Museum, and the King Tut Treasures.

October 25 & 26 Joppa, Caesarea, & Jerusalem, Israel Drive through Biblical Joppa, now the port city of Jaffa. Jonah sailed from here, and Peter raised Dorcas from the dead while staying with Simon the Tanner. Visit Caesarea and see the impressive theater and aqueduct. Here Cornelius became the first gentile convert and Paul was later imprisoned before being sent to Rome. Travel to Jerusalem and visit the Upper Room, the traditional site of the Last Supper. Visit the House of the High Priest Caiaphas, where Jesus was tried before the Sanhedrin. Stand upon the Mount of Olives and view the city as Jesus did. Wander among the olive trees of the Garden of Gethsemane. Enter the Old City and visit the Pool of Bethesda. We’ll walk along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

October 27 The Galilee, Israel Travel inland to the Sea of Galilee. We’ll stand on the Mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus gave his most well known sermon (Luke 6:12‐49). At Tabgha, the traditional location for the calling of the disciples and the feeding of the 5000, you’ll visit the Church of the Fish and the Loaves (Luke 9:10‐17). Visit the Chapel of the Primacy where three times Peter professed his devotion to the risen Christ (John 21). Travel to the shore town of Capernaum where Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, John (Matt 4:13) and later Matthew.

October 28 At Sea

October 29 Ephesus, Turkey Journey to Ephesus, the marble city where Paul spent three years of his ministry. The ruins of Ephesus have been restored much like the city was in Paul’s time. You will visit the ancient Agora and view the Great Theater

October 30 Athens & Corinth, Greece Travel to Corinth, a city that inspired St. Paul’s most familiar letters. You will visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, and Temples. Walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood. The architectural splendors of the ancient city of Athens are as magnificent as ever. Visit the world renowned Acropolis, the Propylaea, and the Parthenon. View Mars Hill where Paul debated with the intellectual community of his day. Time permitting, walk among the ruins of the Agora, the ancient market place and center of Athenian public life. You will view the Olympic Stadium, birthplace of the modern Olympics.

October 31 Chania, Crete Dock in Crete, Paul set sail from Crete on his voyage which ended in shipwreck. Chania is known for the Venetian Harbour, the old port, the narrow shopping streets and waterfront restaurants. Much of the Chania you will want to see is clustered close to the harbor ‐ see the Byzantine Museum, Naval Museum, or perhaps take a trip ouside of Chania to one of the several surrounding monasteries such as Samaria Gorge.

November 1 At Sea

November 2 Return to the USA Dock in Civitavecchia, Italy. Transfer to the Rome airport. Return to the U.S. with memories to share.

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