After going from Monaco, to Nice, to Paris and a five hour flight to Amman, we landed in Jordon last night at about 7 o’clock. Dad could only get one seat in an exit row on the plane and then it turned out to have less room than a normal seat. We were packed in there like sardines! However, serendipitously I sat by a guy that gave me so many insights and answers about the Muslim world that i could hardly believe my good fortune! A long letter coming soon on that. What he told me was absolutely fascinating!
This is the view from our room at the Grand Hyatt, Amman:
The same driver who brought us to the hotel last night took us for a ride to some “holy” sights. Even on this arid land, people seem to survive and even thrive:
We were also excited to see the Dead Sea…from the Arab shore!
When we arrived at the site of Jesus’ baptism, we jumped on this government issued truck
and first stopped to see the place where Elijah was thought to have been ascended into heaven:
The scaffolding and stairs leads to a look-out point where the flat-topped mountain (actually small hill) can be easily viewed. The pope recently gave a sermon from there. You can barely see Jericho in the background. A storm is coming in tonight. Considering our special appreciation for Elijah, that was pretty exciting!
Next we moved on to the place where they believe that Jesus was baptized.
The Jordon has run dry at this site, due to a long-ago earthquake and several floods, but this is what it looks like. Three churches have been built here over the ages and all have been destroyed. However, several others are now cropping up everywhere:
At another site nearby, people come from far and wide to actually be baptized in the Jordon, near to where Jesus was baptized. Dad snagged a rock for a Lighthouse knob while he was down there in the place provided to actually touch the water!
Also serendipitously, just as we got on the “bus” to go back to our car, a mom, dad and three children scrambled off the bus who recognized us from Education Week. They had been living in Dubai for three years. Darling family! Small world!
Next was a stop at the Dead Sea, which was fun and full of little boys anxious to sell us a ride on their donkey, horse or camel!
Next was a really exciting site, since I just taught the lesson about Moses seeing God, Satan and Heavenly Father again at Mount Nebo. Suddenly…here we are!
The staff marks the spot where Noah was supposed to have had his vision:
And this is similar to what Moses must have seen, crowded with the children of Israel as he came down from the mountain except without a titch of green. The green comes from a huge tree that grew in the spot where Moses was thought to have struck his cane into the ground and a spring popped up which still flows to this day!
St. George’s church had an amazing mosaic complete with almost a million tiles and shows the history of the Holy Land. It is still pretty much intact after after more than 400 years!
Our wonderful driver here with dad is the father of 6 children from 18-4. He filled us in on Muslim traditions in his family and is obviously a very fine person!
FUN DAY. Actually a Sunday we’ll never forget. There is a branch here but unfortunately they meet on Fridays since 80% of Jordon is Muslim. Pretty good substitute though, don’t you think?