Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"The Time is Near..."

Our cruise has come to an end at the Island of Patmos.  It is fitting, for it was here that John wrote Revelation, the last book of the New Testament.  John, the "Apostle whom Jesus loved", stood at the foot of the cross, and was first of the disciples to reach the tomb.  Jesus gave his precious mother into the care of the beloved Apostle.  It is a revelation to me that he was the first to hear from his dear Savior, after He ascended to Heaven.  He was also a disciple who lived out his natural life on earth.  Why?  It was suggested to me by a brother in our group (who studies Scripture like the Bereans, along with Greek and Hebrew, alongside his wife), that he was the only Apostle who stood faithful at the cross, and did not scatter as the others.
We travelled with our 'Red Bus" of faithful Christians (mostly pastors, teachers and missionaries from around the world) to the Monestery of St. John, a fortified Medieval Monastic Comples, built in 10888 by St Christodoulos (Greek for servant of Christ), in honor of St. Paul.  It houses frescoes, art objects and manuscripts from the early centuries, including 33 pages of the Gospel of St. Mark, inscribed in the 5th century on purple vellum.
One mile away, we visited the grotto (cave) where tradition says he wrote the Revelation of Jesus Christ with the aid of a scribe (it was common to bring one along to prison if needed).  John was banished to Patmos under Roman law...looking across the rolling hills, and down to the harbour below, one could imagine John having the inspiration and "quietude" needed to write the Words of the Lord.  It brought a sense of peace to the soul.
We are busy packing, ready to head off the ship tomorrow morning in Athens.  We take a bus to another port 3 hours north, where we board an overnite ferry to Bari, Italy.  There we will be transported to Pompeii, tour the site that day, and be taken to Rome in the evening where we will lodge at the Jolly Midas.  Here we will have two intensive days touring the sites where Paul would have visited...Marmertina Prison, the catacombs, and the Coliseum.
Then on to the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and lastly, the Forum.
We will meet up with my dear friend Karen DuBert and her son and daughter, who have been touring Italy for 4 weeks now...a pilgrimage any homeschooling family would envy!  Hopefully, in between the sightseeing (they will not be with us) we will be able to spend all our meals with them, having fellowship, and catching up with with eachothers travels.  Our time will be short but sweet...then we part for another year.  The DuBerts serve the Lord in Mozambique, where they plant and grow churches.
I may not be able to blog until Saturday eve, which is the night before we return to the US.  Please continue to pray that the tracts passed out in Greece, Turkey, and soon, Italy, will bear fruit for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  Thanks for your prayers on our behalf...we have had a blessed experience, and look forward to sharing it with you, either in person, or on our blog (complete with photos).
It's not the end of the story...Read Revelation, especially the first three chapters, where John writes in chapter one verse three: " Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it, and take to heart what is written in it, because...THE TIME IS NEAR"!  "Read and heed," Paul would say, if he were here on earth...there is still time, but it is short.  Ciao!

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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel