What could possibly unite 6 women, varied in ages, experience, season of life, etc.? Oh sure- the Bible, our sisterhood in Christ, our fellowship in the Spirit… that’s all true, but those are the Sunday School answers… there’s something else that has united this team for the past few days, and that is FOOD.
So, I’ll run with that and by telling you about our food, you’ll hear about our trip so far. You already know that our travels have been super smooth and the airplane food was no exception. It was in a word, uneventful.
Moving on, our first meal here, again as you also know, was amazing. Delicious. Bountiful. Varied. Abundant. Colorful. To give you an idea of the varied part, it was bread, hummus, tabouli, another salad (fateoush- don’t know how to spell that), olives, pickles, peppers, meat, meat and more meat- Texas de Middle East (not Brazil)… bread- a flat bread, really good… very filling, and then what did we do? Nothing spiritual- went to bed… maybe you just thought a mission trip of women would fast and pray all night…
This morning, we had breakfast in the hotel- not in bed, we aren’t that lazy… the Middle Eastern culture has lived up to its reputation of fantastic hospitality- The breakfast buffet was huge and filled with authentic dishes…
We truly have been blessed and amazed by God’s total provision for us each step of the way. Not only has He filled our stomachs and cared for us physically (none of us has been the least bit sick with all of this new food), but He has revealed more of Himself than we could have ever asked or imagined. Namely, none of us thought we would experience what we did today.
Our host, Colleen, picked us up today- greeting us with Mother’s Day flowers. and asked whether we’d rather go to Downtown or go to the site of Jesus’ baptismal. Not a tough choice. We picked the baptismal site- and got the Dead Sea thrown in with it. We were stunned and elated to say the least.
So, here’s where we have to leave our food theme and just tell you about our day.
As we drove out of the city, out host commented casually that, oh, yeah, that’s Mt. Nebo. We freaked out. MT. NEBO- as in, we looked out the other side of the van and saw the view that Moses had when he came down off the mountain and saw the Promised Land. Wow. After a drive of several minutes, we took an Arabic bus to the area known as Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Whoever can say all that, let’s call it BBTJ. At BBTJ, we saw several churches built in the more recent centuries by various denominations. We walked several paths guided by an Arab (Muslim?) guide, and finally arrived at a site where Jesus was baptized. Interestingly, the Jordan River no longer flows directly through this spot because it has changed its course over the centuries. When we arrived down by the river, we were in for a real treat. Sharon told us the story of Jesus being baptized, while she stood in front of the Jordan River!!! Incredible to think of! We each took turns standing in the water of the Jordan River. Surreal. Moving. As amazing as it was, it was another word that comes to mind is- hot. So, we loaded back into the van and headed to the Dead Sea.
Now, back to the food part. Colleen took us to an Arabic Restaurant, and we ate more delicious food Bedouin style- as in on comfy couches around a small table… and, the Dead Sea in the background! As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The Dead Sea lived up to its reputation- it was very salty and not a thing living in it . except we did get in- our hands and feet were salty and the Sea was beautiful.
Our plans tonight include more food- dinner at Ruba’s house and International church (the food part is just at Ruba’s house- not church). Hope all is well with all of you- we love and miss our friends and family and pray for each of you often. We are overwhelmed to be here and are eager to share more of what God is doing.
Charlotte & Sandi
p.s. We ran out of time as we were posting this blog, so we promise to upload some pictures when we return to the hotel. Check back later today.