We tried to post this yesterday, but due to technical difficulties, it is just now getting posted. Look at it like a bonus of two posts in one day. =)
We drove south for a couple of hours to an area called Petra- probably one of the most well known areas of this country. We enjoyed being out on the open highway after being in the crowded city streets for several days. Petra is an area of ancient tombs and other sites that have been excavated, and these sites date back to the turn of the century- the century when time turned from B.C. to A.D. To say that these sites are magnificent would be an understatement… We had to hike quite a ways between two steep canyon walls (picture Indiana Jones running through a canyon while a humongous stone rolls behind him… literally, this is where they filmed some Indiana Jones).
After a walk through the canyon, we arrived at a breathtaking site- an area called the Treasury- a HUGE stone building literally carved into the mountain of red rock. We stood in awe- of the Treasury and the two camels saddled in front of it- just waiting for a couple of tourists…
We decided against the camel ride since we were still walking on a downhill slope. After appropriate gawking at the Treasury, we walked further through the canyon and through more tombs lining the canyon sides. It was an incredible place to put the Bible in perspective, especially since this is the area where the Israelites wandered after crossing the Red Sea. Very mountainous and rocky. Rough. Much respect for the Israelites who wandered without their Northface hiking gear from Backwoods.
Ready to be more amazed? Many of the Bedouin tribe live within these canyon walls in tents, selling their wares of jewelry and other souvenirs. They literally live in dwellings constructed of poles and worn fabric. What broke our hearts more was the children who were living in the canyon in their tents, selling postcards, approaching tourists with the biggest smiles and giving us their best English phrases- “Here, have a look… Happy hour here… Take a break- have a KitKat.” We had to remind ourselves that for us to offer a prayer for their salvation is one of the most powerful gifts we can give- rather than a dollar for a necklace that might leave them hungry again tomorrow. Please Lord fill their hearts with You, their only hope for Bread of Life and Living Water.
OK, so on to our adventure- From where we finally took a break (without a Kit Kat), we decided for our group to split up- four of us “donkeyed up” and rode up countless flights of STONE STEPS, and the other four headed back to the Treasury on foot. The donkeys proved to be sure-footed and we made it to a gigantic excavated monastery. The donkeys took us as far as they could and then we hiked up more STEPS (this is when we KNEW Advil would be a part of the experience). We hiked, saw the view,took a photo, and returned back down the steps.
Well, of course, not wanting to leave the rest of our group waiting, we knew we must make haste- camel style! So we four (Kim, Sharon, Sherri and Charlotte) camelled up, and headed to the treasury. Pictures for that one will be better than words…
Conclusion: long day, good team day, amazed at God’s goodness, and blessed to be in His Presence in a spiritually dark place. Oh, and shoes full of sand… Blessings to all our loved ones!
Kim and Charlotte