Greeks learn in order to comprehend.
Hebrews learn in order to revere.

~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Visit from the Gray's

Last week we had the privilege of spending the week with Brad’s family. Brad’s parents, Gary and Cindi, along with Brad’s brother Doug and his girlfriend, Valerie, came to visit us for the week in Israel. We had a wonderful time and built many memories while they were here. Although they claimed they were equally excited to see us all, it’s just not true! They were most thrilled to visit their one and only grandson/nephew—Denyon! He was continually the life of the party and wowed them with his many new sounds, words, and abilities. Denyon loved every minute of the attention too. Cindi couldn’t say her famous phrase, “It’s me Nana!” enough and Denyon didn’t seem to mind. Denyon enjoyed riding in the backpack carrier on GPa’s back (instead of just his daddy’s). He loved playing with his uncle Dougie (and also looked great sporting the coat Doug got him last Christmas for this year). And to my surprise, Denyon enjoyed cuddling more with Valerie than he did me! Needless to say, he loved having his family come to see him and they loved him too! Even if we would’ve just stayed at our apartment in Jerusalem, I think they would have been very happy. However, we did enjoy some sightseeing as well.

We spent about a day and a half touring around Jerusalem. Among the sites we visited were the Western Wall and the Western Wall tunnels, the Temple Mount, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher (remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus), The Pools of Bethesda (John 5), and St. Anne’s Church. We also did some shopping through the Old City and the family found many treasures for our friends and family back home.

We also spent about three days touring through the region of Galilee. We visited the triangle cities where Jesus did the majority of his ministry in Chorazin, Capernaum, and Bethsaida. In addition we summated Mt. Arbel (which was a little bit of a challenge but we knew they could do it). We saw the Ancient Galilee boat at the museum at our hotel (as well as did a little shopping there). We were able to experience the beautiful Jordan River and among our family’s favorite experiences was listening to Brad recite the entire Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) on top of what could have been the location for this event. It was very powerful! Upon leaving the Galilee region, we visited the large Decapolis city of Bet Shan—one of the largest excavations in Israel.

We also spent a day visiting the site of Masada—the remains of Herod’s palace in the middle of the Judean desert. Everyone was particularly happy to experience the 70 degree weather since coming from the well-below freezing temperatures in Michigan! We then headed to the beautiful oasis of Ein Gedi where we hiked to numerous waterfalls. GPa and Denyon had a great time splashing in the pools of spring water as well. We ended that day with a quick “float” in the Dead Sea—something that just has to be experienced firsthand.

In addition to the above, we enjoyed lots of delicious meals, great conversations, tired feet and minds, playtime with Denyon, and more. It was a great visit and we are so grateful they were all able to come. It definitely was extremely special for us and we are pretty certain they felt the same (although they didn’t realize how hilly the terrain would be---something their feet weren’t expecting)! We are so blessed to have family like them and bless God for such an amazing visit. Thanks for coming Mom and Dad, Doug and Valerie! We miss you already!

Brad, Shallon, and Denyon

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