Friday, October 17, 2008


We made it. Just deplaned. Lots to tell - I will try to tie up loose ends in the next day or so.

Goodbye, Turkey

After a 2 hour delay, we scrambled and got to the plane. Boarding now. A few pix from yesterday - no time for comment.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Last day - cappadokia

Ok, this is from the bb - last night is always a late night, and we have 3:00 am wakeup tomorrow. An amazing day of community. Will update in airport tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 13 - Paul and a Turkish School

Late night = quick posts. Lots of pix from a special day.
Last night's rain leads to today's slop. Following in the mud of the rabbbi.

A lesson about the explosiveness of the kingdom in this sheep pen.

Another bubble burst - no winter birth, no quaint barn for Jesus. We knelt in the filth of what he was born into.

We then traveled to the town of Kayali. Years ago RVL stumbled across this town, and they took him and his group in. He has been returning for years since. The mayor, the superintendent, and the teacher all showed up. The kids came out and played in their finest. And we were regaled with lunch in the only schoolroom:

Finally, a moving lesson on Timothy and the outcasts in our society on this tell.

Grace and Peace.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 12 - Antioch of Pisidia - God's Curriculum

A long, early morning drive through the Turkish Lake Region to Antioch, the Fort Hood of Pisidia and the Roman Legions. Founded in the third century BC by the Seleucids (successors to Alexander the Great, this area became a huge military complex, retirement center, and ceremonial location.

There were many carvings of logos and images of the Roman Legion.

The Augustinian Gate. At this complex, RVL gave a stirring lesson that transformed Jesus' trial and execution into a triumphal entry.

RVL likes to say that interruption is God's curriculum. A short time after this piture it began raining hard. Combined with the cold wind, it was more than we thought prudent, and we headed back to the hotel for a lecture on Mithraism and the greatness of our God.

Sorry for the lack of pix - I don't have a waterproof camera!

Grace and Peace


Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 11 - Hierapolis, Collossae, Laodecia

An interesting day looking at three cities, and their futures after a devastating earthquake. Hierapolis was rebuilt, but lost its culture to the Romans. Collossae was not offered anything, died, and is largely forgotten. Laodecia was so proud of its riches that refused Roman money, kept its culture, but kept its pride as well.
RVL gave a stirring lecture on how the ancients dealt with bones. No wonder the dog was interested. There were tons of sarcophagi laying around.

A somber lecture on crucifixion. Another set of mis-teachings set right - a t not a cross, done at eye-level, hundreds at a time.

An interesting discussion on modesty in an ancient Roman toilet.

Who is this guy and why is he trying to horn in on my picture of a giant incense bowl?

Actually, I did get a request for a picture of the haircut. And, by the way, that's the spa - an amazing mountain of white minerals.

An indelible impression was left in our minds as RVL further revealed the cruelty of the Romans in this place that commemorates the martyrdom of Philip. Sadly, no plaque nor visitors. We wondered if the edginess of the Revelation was informed by John's grief at the death of his friend.

This one is for my Paul - a Turkish Dune.

Learning in Laodecia about how the early church thought of itself growing from the root of Jesse.

Moonlight over Laodecia. Goodbye, Asia.
Grace and Peace

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Haircut

OK, so I rushed around before I left the U.S. and the one thing I didn't get done was get a haircut. I figured I would find a barber at a hotel, I just didn't think it would be this close to the end of the trip.

We are staying in the very nice Richmond Pamukkale Thermal Spa. The rooms aren't as nice as the Annemon in Manisa (goodness, it had leather and panel and very modern), but the buffet is good and the pool looks great (like I will have a chance for a dip - hah!).

So I wasn't surprised, but was delighted, to see a barber. Five Euros for a haircut, and an extra Euro for washing my hair. A very modest and very pretty young Turkish woman was minding the store, and through signs and babel I discovered that I had about a half hour to eat and return.

When I did (with my dirt-caked hair and sweat-streaked clothes), I was graciously seated with my head in the wash basin. That girl's kind ministrations to my baked noggin were delightful, bringing a huge smile to my face. I think they call it grinning like a loon.

The barber (who may have been her older brother or uncle) came in, and through more signs and less babel (he knew some English), let me know that although he needed cash, he would take US dollars and could wait until after the haircut.

I started to make more signs about how I wanted it cut (I am, after all, an American), but he waved me off, with a bemused look that seemed to convey "Sir, I think I know what I am doing."

Meanwhile, his assitant was now playing solitaire on a laptop. I said "Internet?" and she nodded affirmatively. I showed them both my lanyard with my "In the Footsteps of the Disciples" identity card, and pointed to the computer, and said "Internet." She pushed the laptop over.

Let me tell you - it is quite an experience to be in a foreign country and show what you have been doing to the local population. I pulled up this blog and although they couldn't read much of the words, the pictures showed them our interest, respect, and appreciation for their country. He asked "Archeology" and I nodded. A far sight better reaction than the schoolteacher in Philadelphia, who when he heard we were from Texas, made signs and sounds imitating a rifle being fired.

Anyway, the haircut is perfect. Randy and Brian came by, laughing at my indulgence, and to my exclamation "I feel like royalty," they replied, "You look like royalty!" I still have a smile as I write this.

So after all was done and I approved the work, I sprinted back to my room. Now 6 Euros is right at 8 bucks, and I would have paid ten times that for how good I felt. I handed him a twenty. He asked "Change?" and when I shook my head, he grabbed my hand, kind of around the thumb, like what we called in my youth a soul handshake.

Then he pulled me closer to him, and pressed his right temple to my right temple, pulled back, and pressed his left temple to my left temple, all the while grasping my hand. He smiled broadly and said, "This is Turkish Hello!"

We are safe and happy.

Grace and Peace


Day 10 – Thyatira, Philadelphia, Aprhrodisias

Alright, here is the only picture you need about today's archeology lesson – RVL having his mind blown by the two-story sculpture panels lining the street in Aphrodisias. All he could say was, “Wow!” :
A brisk morning in Thyatira, learning about Son of God, the bronze feet, the color purple, and iron scepter, dashed pottery, the morning star and Jezebel:

Close quarters on the streets of Turkey – the bus driver is amazing, and everyone is so gracious to one another – a completely different concept of personal space. Personally, (no pun intended), I think we need to work on this if we are going to usher in the Kingdom:

Grapes are everywhere. Here they use the concrete slabs in the middle of the fields to dry raisins:

OK, I resolved to put up more people pix, so God sent more people. We were met by a schoolteacher and village children at the top of the highest point of Philadelphia. Hope you’ve got plenty of bandwidth:

Closed out the day with an amazing lesson on running the race in a Greco-Roman arena. A cloud of witnesses, indeed:

Grace and Peace.