A Change in Family

Our family has undergone a major change.  Our foster child has moved out of our home.  We, simply, were not able to provide the level of care which she needed.  It has been heartbreaking to watch a child struggle so much and endure such pain.  We will take a break from foster care for the next few months as we set some more careful parameters with the agency, in which we have a great deal of disappointment right now.  We believe we have much to share and we believe there are children who need our home.  Please be in prayer for us as we process this change.

Although we have experienced a traumatic few months we are still very committed to foster care and pray that others will remain hopeful, with us.  If you would like to learn more about foster care and the successes that can and do come or to learn about other ways to help children in Central Illinois, click here!

A New Little Girl

After paper work, classes, and paper work, lots of waiting, and…more paperwork, we became licensed to provide foster care last November. We’re excited to share that we got the phone call we’ve been waiting for! It seems as though we will be welcoming a 10 year old girl to our home tomorrow! Her room is ready and waiting!!!

This has been a long process and a long-term dream.  This is how we want family to look, for us.  We believe that every child deserves to have a safe, caring place to call home and people to call a family.  Providing this, for Carrie and I, is part of our Christian calling as a family and we hope others will join us in this work.  You can learn more about foster care here.

Also a quick note:  Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to post details about foster children or their photos on-line and it is important that others in our life will honor that legal requirement as well.

Holy Land Tour: Jerusalem

Over the past three days we have toured Jerusalem.  We toured the old city. We went on the Via Dolorosa (The way of the cross), the traditional path taken by Jesus to his death.  The path winds through the city ending at the Church of The Holy Sepulcher the traditional place of Jesus’ death and burial.  I’m including some photos (below) of sites throughout the Church:

We also went to the Western Wall to share prayers.  Katie, Carrie and I spent one day on our own at the  Mahane Yehudi Market where we shopped and enjoyed lunch.

On the last full day in Jerusalem we visited the Dome of the Rock (a shared holy site by Islam, Christianity, and Judaism), Ruins and the Teaching Steps, the Church of St. John the Baptist, the Holocaust Museum and the Garden Tomb.  It was really full but wonderful day.

Hope this post finds you well.  Now, we’re off to Jordan!

Holy Land Tour: Day Four

 

Jewish Cemetery

After breakfast at the Olive Tree Hotel we traveled beyond the Kidron Valley and we were able to look back over the valley and see this view of the Old City.  It was breathtaking.  We first visited the Jewish cemetery overlooking the Kidron Valley.

We walked down to the Dominus Flevit Church which marks Jesus’ weeping over the city where we had a brief time of reflection.  We went to the Garden of Gethsemane where there were Olive Trees that stood there long before even the time of Christ.

Church of All Nations

Next to the existing garden was the Church of All Nations which was built in 1924 around the rock over which Jesus agonized.

We left Jerusalem and went to Bethlehem.  Where we went to the Church of the Nativity and St. Catharine’s.  The church is administered jointly by Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Apostolic and the Syriac orthodox churches and there are often fights over its use and maintenance.

Church of the Nativity

Sadly, for those of us visiting, much of the church is under renovation which changed the experience.

Visitors to this church are not the only people who seek Jesus.  Two thousand years go there were Shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem that hear the news of a child born in a manger.  The visitation of these shepherd is remembered with a chapel and preservation of the fields around it.

 

We also visited the Herodium which is a remarkable archaeological site and then we went to a shop that makes a sells olive wood carvings.

 

 

 

Holy Land Tour: Day Three

Today the landscape looked much more like what I imagined when I envisioned the middle east.  All of our stops were taking us toward Jerusalem.  We stopped in Jericho which was underwhelming.  It was mostly a shopping / souvenir trap.  We saw a tree that is celebrated as the tree that Zacheaus climbed.

Then we spent quite a while at Qumran which was fascinating.  They think they have found evidence in the past year that John the Baptist might have spent time here.  Could it be that the Essene ritual baths would make way for John the Baptist’s famous baptism of Jesus?

Ending our day at our destination: Jerusalem.  We stopped at an overlook and got some photos.

I really didn’t have another stop in me and just wanted to come to the hotel, but we had one more place: Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. It is built upon the site which is celebrated as the home of Caiaphas the high priest and the dungeon found below it may just be the place where Jesus spent the night before he was put to death!

I know I haven’t written much on these blog posts, especially today, but by the time I get to the room each night, I am completely exhausted. This is all I have in me!  Check out my Facebook timeline for a more interesting tour.  On Facebook I upload throughout the day!

www.facebook.com/scotteugene79

Holy Land Tour: Day Two

This is the scene that greeted us early on day two.  We left our hotel and drove to where a boat met us to take us across the sea of Galilee.  It was beautiful and, surprisingly, moving.  The stories began to come to live in my mind and my eyes were transfixed upon the water.

I am also lucky enough to be experiencing this with my best friend and the love of my life, which makes the scenery all-the-better 🙂

We got off the boat and went to a site that was my favorite church, so far: the Church of the Beatitudes.  This is thought to be the site of the sermon on the mount where Jesus proclaimed the beatitudes.  It is celebrated that, on this hill, Jesus fed the multitudes.

Not too far away was a beautiful greek orthodox church: The church of the Seven Apostles.  Though I don’t have great photos, we also stopped at Tabgha and the Chapel of the Primacy.

The highlight of the day, though was Capernaum.  Something happened to me as a stood over this ancient town.  I think I felt closer to God in that moment as I considered a God that would choose a home and live among his friends.

“When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them”. -Mark 2:1-2 (nrsv)

Jesus was born in Bethlehem & his family was from Nazareth but capernaum was the place he chose as home…the place at the center of his ministry.

After Capernaum, we went to the River Jordan and had a renewal of our baptismal vows where we could touch the water.

And our day ended with trip up to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights where one can see minefields.

blessings,

 

Holy Land Tour:  Day One
The view from our hotel room as we woke up!

Yesterday we arrived in Tel Aviv and traveled to Tiberius a city along the Sea of Galilee/ Lake Galilee / Sea of Tiberius.  It was startling to think that we are in Galilee where Jesus lived and did most of his ministry!

We loaded up on the bus and headed out.  Our first stop was Caesarea.  It was fascinating to see the ruins, especially of Herod’s palace, but I’ll be honest I’m really excited about some other stops and this just didn’t hold much appeal to me.

This aqueduct, though, was impressive.  They built this city, here, to be a port on the Mediterranean Sea.  It connected Judah with the rest of the Roman Empire, but there was no water source, so water was brought to the city with massive aqueducts.  This one survives, in part.

After the ruins at Caesarea we headed for Armageddon.  Yup, that’s right.  I stood on armageddon: the ancient site of Megiddo.  It was interesting to see the ruins and learn about the history.  It is the prophetic end of the world according to Revelations, but something else which our guide pointed out caught my attention:

Judges 7 says, “Then Jerubbaal, that is, Gideon, and all of the people with him rose early and set up camp beside the Harod spring; Midian’s camp was north of theirs, in the valley by the Moreh hill.”

In this photo the site of  Judges 7 can be seen:

We went to Nazareth and toured the Basilica of the Annunciation.  The site celebrated as the site of Joseph’s home.

The last stop on the tour was Cana.

The church which sits on the supposed site of the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee where Jesus turned water into wine.