Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is not here.......

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem

Have a blessed Easter!
Ryan, Sarah, and W

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Antioch, Part 2

Some pictures from our day:

The boys checking out the Mosaic Museum.  These tiles and other artifacts have been excavated form the ancient city and moved here for preservation.

The outside of St. Peter's Grotto.  This facade was constructed by the Crusaders between 1000-1200.

The altar inside the Grotto

I was there-even though this was the only picture I have to prove it!

The Communion elements-notice our cups made from olive wood from Israel.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Antioch Part 1

 One of the great advantages of this time at Incirlik is that we live right in the heart of Christian history.  In fact, I would venture to say that outside of Israel, Turkey would be the most significant place to visit in terms of Biblical importance.  We have seen the underground cities and cave chapels of Cappadocia.  We have seen Tarsus, Paul's birthplace.  Today, we checked another incredible place off of this list: Antioch.

Founded by Alexander the Great, Antioch was once the 3rd largest city in the Roman world-behind Rome and Alexandria, Egypt.  After the resurrection of Christ, Peter traveled here to evangelize.  He founded one of the first churches here and became it's first bishop.  It was in Antioch where followers of Jesus first became known as "Christians".  Peter soon requested that Paul and Barnabas also come to Antioch to help with the fledgling church there.  All three men spent significant time there.  Many years later, Antioch suffered a series of devastating earthquakes that it could not recover from.  Even though it's political and commercial importance waned, it's religious importance did not.  It was a destination during the Crusades and was of particular importance to Napolean Bonaparte. So it is not hard to see why we could not miss the opportunity to visit this place.

Because of it's proximity to Syria, we are not allowed to travel there alone-we must be part of a tour group.  Our chapel organized a trip to coincide with Good Friday.  It was about a 3 hour bus ride-with stops at a mosaic museum and also for lunch.  We arrived at St. Peter's Grotto around 2:00 and gathered in the small cave chapel for a Good Friday service.  We all took turns reading the story of Christ's Passion.  We sang "The Old Rugged Cross" with our friend quietly strumming the guitar.  Then, we took communion using olive wood chalices brought back for us from Israel.

As I took in the sights and sounds of this moment, I could not help but think that I was standing on holy ground.  Not just because that giants of the faith had tread where I was walking, but that this place represents the beginning of a movement that literally changed the course of human history.  The citizens of Antioch could have ignored Peter's message and gone on with their lives-but they chose Jesus.  And they chose to stick together and form a community of faith that would be an example to churches all over the world.  I wonder if they had any idea that they were doing something that significant?

I also thought about the thousands of people who had prayed and worshiped where I was now praying and worshiping.   For 2,000 years, people have been coming to this place for the same reasons we came.  I felt a connection to my family of faith that I have never felt before.  I guess you could call it a kindredness of spirit with all believers, living and dead.  Catholic and Protestant.  Baptist and Methodist and Episcopal.  We are all one.  We all share places like Antioch, and Jerusalem, and Bethlehem.  And years from now, others will still be visiting and worshiping and praying, and the Body of Christ will continue to grow and move and change the world.  I am so glad to be a small part of it-and today I was made keenly aware of it.

Pictures to follow!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


As I was flipping through old pictures today, I came across this one from our trip to Germany:

W, who was sitting in my lap, looked amazed.  "Mama" he said, "dat Jee house". (That's Jesus' house).

Bless him.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Party Foul

Today, I went to a Gourmet Group with my Turkish-American Women's Club.  Each month, we pick a different country's cuisine and each bring a dish to share.  This month's region was Germany and I was assigned a salad.  German Potato Salad immediately came to mind.  I did a quick internet search and found a Bobby Flay recipe that I liked.  I was a mad woman in the kitchen trying to finish it on time.  Poor Ryan was left with a huge mess as I jetted out the door with my crock pot just in the nick of time.  My Turkish neighbor Seyhun was driving me and when I put the dish in her car and she looked as if she would throw up.  The dish is made with bacon.  Muslims don't eat pork. I knew this, but completely forgot in my rush.  She told me very nicely the dish was offensive and that it was not a good idea to take it.

I ended up taking a couple of bottles of German wine.

Better luck next time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Just Rolling Along

I try to post on this blog at least once a week, but I don't really have anything newsworthy or interesting to say right now.  We have sort of settled into a familiar pattern and routine here and days go by before I remember I am living in the Middle East and am so far away from home.  But I want to keep recording my memories and thoughts, so here are some random factoids that don't need an entire post dedicated to them:

~There is a big time baby boom going on here.  It seems like everyone is pregnant or wants to be.  For those of you interested, I fall into a third group called "Please Lord, not in Turkey!". 

~The weather has been nuts.  I don't know if this is normal or not, given it my first year experiencing it.  It has been incredibly windy with lots of thunder and lightning, but very little rain.  The temperatures are also cooler than I expected given what the other seasons brought.

~We have several trips coming up, but I am going to wait until they are done to post about them for security reasons.  But we are excited to get out and about and enjoy springtime.

~W is talking up a storm.  He says funny things that keep his father and I in stitches daily.  Just now, I put him down for nap and as I was leaving the room, I heard a little voice say "Mama, seet deems!" (sweet dreams).  Gotta love a 2 year old's exploding vocabulary.

~My nephew is about to be one!!  I cannot believe how fast his first year has flown by.  The last time I saw him he was just a tiny infant.  The next time I see him, he will probably be running around.  I miss him and his sister a ton. 

That's all I can think of today-have a blessed week!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Who's Out There??

I am still learning about this whole blogging thing, so I am not quite sure what "following" someone's really means. I follow a couple of friend's blogs, and I thought I would get an e-mail or some kind of notice when a new post was up, but that doesn't happen.  I do know that for me as the writer, it is nice to have some idea who is out there reading my stuff.  It is still sort of weird for me to write down semi-personal details of my life, and then click "post"-sending it out to who-knows-where for random people to read.

This is where you come in.  I want to know who you are.  I have a traffic feed that gives me some info on locations where my readers are, but I want to know more.  Who are you?  How did you discover this blog?  You can comment on this post if you choose.  You don't even need a Google account-you can just click to post anonymously.

So speak up, readers!  I'm waiting to hear from you!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Speaking Turkish-Evit or Hayir? (Yes or No?)

To learn the language or not?  That is the question.

I have several friends here who have gotten quite good at speaking Turkish.  They have rented language software (Rosetta Stone and others) and have really committed to learning as much as they can.  They say they find it less intimidating to be out and about off-base when they know how to speak the language.  I also have friends who know very few words and have no intention of learning more.  Their reasons for this vary-but most say they either don't have the time, energy, or interest (or a combination of the three) to invest their time.

I think I am somewhere in the middle.  I don't know a lot of words, but I know enough to get by off-base.  My friend Wendi, who knows the language quite well, will teach me words and phrases from time to time.  I will "try them out" for awhile and when I get comfortable using them, I might ask Wendi for a couple more. 

Maybe I would be more inclined to learn the language if I thought it would be at all beneficial to me down the road.  Let's face it, Turkish is only useful to you in, well, Turkey.  It's not like Spanish or English, or even French.  It is spoken in a tiny part of the world that I probably won't be returning to.  So I will continue learning basic words and phrases, and do the best I can with that.  That being said-here's a little Incirlikin Good Turkish 101.  Consider yourself enlightened. 

All Turkish words will be spelled phonetically.

Hello: Merhaba
Goodbye: Gulay Gulay
Thank You: Tesh-a-kir Aderim
How Are You?: Nossa Sin?
Yes/No: Evit/Hire
One/Two/Three: Beer/E-key/Ooch
I don't understand Turkish: Turk-shay Bill-me-or-um
How Much?: Neck-a-dar?
Okay: Tamum