Archive for June, 2018

Learning Many Things in Bethlehem
June 28, 2018

From May 26 to June 5, 2018, my friend Elias and I went to Israel and Palestine (West Bank).

Church of the Nativity in the center of Bethlehem in Palestine.

Nave of the Church of the Nativity.

We stayed at a hotel in Beit Sahour, a town adjoining Bethlehem to attend a 5-day conference called Christ at the Checkpoint, sponsored by Bethlehem Bible College.

One of the buildings of Bethlehem Bible College.

Mural in the College building.

The theme of the conference was “Jesus Christ at the Center,” which is a marvelous theme, not just for a Christian conference, but for the whole church, and for any person’s life, for that matter.

Through various speakers and personal stories we learned about the current situation in Israel/Palestine; issues of the land, identity, justice and eschatology; the separation barrier (wall) erected by Israel on the border with Palestine; the realities of living in Palestine under military occupation by Israel; the complexity of the situation; the fact that some Israelis wish all the Palestinians would go away and leave the land to Israel only, and that other Israelis sympathize with the Palestinians and are working for a just peace; and the response of Palestinian evangelicals, which is always nonviolent because they take Jesus’ words about loving and blessing our enemies.

Separation barrier viewed from Bethlehem in Palestine.

There are 37 evangelical churches in Israel, 33 of them being in Nazareth and the north.

There are 43,000 Christians in Palestine, belonging to a number of different denominations. They comprise 1 percent of the population. There are 13 evangelical churches in Palestine, most of them in the Bethlehem area. Bethlehem is the only city in Palestine with a Christian mayor.

My burden for the evangelical church in America is that we will remember our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine, and not support the State of Israel to the neglect of the Palestinian church. For many of these believers, their families have been in Palestine since the Day of Pentecost.

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Around Niagara Falls
June 19, 2018

In early June 2018, we and our children and five of our grandchildren – eleven of us in all – spent a week of vacation in Ontario, Canada.

Here is the rental house where we stayed, six bedrooms and five bathrooms, a short walk through two back yards to a sandy beach on Lake Erie.

Going up the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Canada, is quite an experience. This is an observation tower 520 feet tall, with two restaurants at the top, one of them revolving. We rode the glass-walled bubble elevator to the observation deck but chose not to eat at the restaurants, which we thought were expensive.

The Skylon was built in the slip form method, in which the concrete is continually poured, day and night, into a form moving slowly up the tower. The process took 38 days as the slip form was raised at the rate of 1 inch every 10 minutes and gradually reduced in size as it move upwards.

From the Skylon, a view of the Horseshoe Falls, in Canada.

And a view of the American Falls. The larger main part is on the left; on the right is Bridal Falls.

On the American side, we went on the boardwalk that goes right next to Bridal Veil Falls. The ponchos provided to us protected us from being completely drenched. The wind was like a hurricane.

Several kilometers downriver, the Niagara Gorge has a White Water Walk along the turbulent rapids. From the upper-level bank we went down 230 feet via an elevator, then walked through a tunnel to a boardwalk along the rapids.

This is a class 6 rapids, the highest rating. It is considered unrunnable.

Geologists say that the rock layers are 410 million years old, which is way beyond my comprehension.