On the road again...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Note: The date for this post is January 29th, but this specific post was actually written January 27th, while riding in a bus - therefore the lack of an internet connection.

On the road again...
It’s been a while since my last update, so let’s take a moment to recap the past week - which included finishing our time at the Turkish language school, packing up and moving out of the Manzara apartments, and finally, flying to Izmir and embarking on our two week tour to the early churches in the former Asia minor. I’m currently writing this blog post as we bus down to Laodecia for our fourth day of travel. 

Last weekend we spent our final couple days in Istanbul till March, (see “Turkish Baths and Baklava post for more) and packed up our stuff in preparation for the early departure to Izmir. We caught a packed 8am flight out of Istanbul and arrived in Izmir where we took off to our first site for the trip - Pergamum! It was a beautiful, sunny day (which we would come to appreciate as the trip went on) and it was a clearly eye-opening experience to what we would continue to see as the trip went on. We have visited the following cities so far:

Pergamum

Smyrna

Sardis

Ephesus

Miletus

Didyma

Each of these cities have been absolutely amazing. I’m walking down streets that people walked down thousands of years ago, seeing buildings made out of marble that were fashioned by human hands, and standing in awe of the most spectacular theaters I have ever seen. I am gaining so much appreciation for these people, and the foundation that those who were believers have laid for Christians today. 

I have especially loved visiting Ephesus - it has been my favorite site so far. The city is in remarkably really good condition, and there is still so much to uncover. We walked around a terrace house which is in the process of being fully excavated. So much was in remarkable condition, mosaics with no missing pieces, fully intact archways and pottery, it was incredible! Not to mention the actual city was absolutely stunning. The theatre was the best part, it houses over 25,000 people (and is not even the largest!) and has been renovated and stabilized, so even though it is not in the original condition, it is in good enough condition for Elton John and Diana Ross to perform concerts there. 

This tour has been a bit draining so far, with seeing 2-3 sites a day and coming back to a hotel or home stay with a load of homework/reading, and a tired body to top it off as well. However, I have been finding strength in the Lord as I explore where some of the early Christians found strength in Him as well. I feel very connected to the early churches now that I have seen where they lived and where they worshiped. Reading the letter to the church in Sardis, in the ruins of the actual church in Sardis took my breath away. I now no longer see the names of cities in Acts or Revelations as stumbling blocks in my pronunciation, but rather an actual place where people lived and walked. Seeing their significance in the New Testament and their significance today.

On a more logistical side, our team is doing great besides the few who have caught a cold or flu, but seems to be recovering well. Soon we will be moving in the dorms at our university stay in Istanbul, our home for two months were we will take the core of our classes. 

I’m excited, but also reminding myself to live in the moment each and every day. I’m constantly reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness, and am ever thankful that He is walking with me through this trip. I am seeing more and more of him everyday, and it brings me to my knees in thankfulness for all that he has done in my life, and the lives of others - on our team, in Istanbul, Christian believers and Muslim brothers and sisters alike. He is doing a work here, and I am starting to see it more and more clearly everyday. 

Respectfully submitted,
Leah

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