Stopping at Warsaw airport for changing to Israel El Al flight to Jerusalem
we were interrogated by El Al security personal, for about 1 hour.
They asked just everything. Who invited us... who sponsored the trip.
How did we know each other...why we joined this movement ... who is
the founder...if we knew anyone in Israel, and so on.
Arriving in BenGurion airport around 5pm in misty air at a nice temp. around +21 degree. centigrade.
We stayed 2 first nights at nice and cheaper Finnish Evangelical hostel,
and after that with all the others at Novotel hotel in Jerusalem.
Cold and rainy morning. The day was planned for a guided tour in Jerusalem.
I did not bring my umbrella and cote from our hostel to Novotel,
since the rain was not so bad in the beginning.
But now I rushed back to our hostel to pick it up.
After returning to agreed meeting point at the Damascus gate...
no one of the others where in sight...they probably gave up waiting eager to see the center of Jerusalem. :-)
Two choices: Either returning alone to our hostel ... or walking into central Jerusalem alone.
Inside the Damascus gate waited the Muslim area. No westerners in site.
A little reluctant at first but I proceeded inside to try my luck.
Had it been late evening or nighttime I promised I would not have entered alone. :-)
We were acually warned by our english brother, leading the morning meeting, that there had been pickpockers in Jerusalem.
The Muslims of course immediately tried to sell things to me.
What a tourist "victim" I must have been, was for the professional salesmen. :-)
The shops were side by side and small like one small room.
Inside lots of souvenirs on sale. From small plastic things to expensive carpets.
Almost all shop owners inviting me for a cup of the.
I tried to walk on and find the church where Jesus tomb was, as I had read in my guidebook.
Hoping also to bump into the others from my group. :-)
I had to buy a map from a shop, to find my way around the narrow streets.
The young palestine owner(?) explained how difficult it had been during the past 3 years of almost no tourists in Jerusalem.
Struggling just to barely survive. He told me his wifes full time job made their family survive. I believed him.
I believe you can see from a persons eyes how true he is talking.
This man was honest. I am sure.
I finally found the church and also some from my
One of my absolute greatest experiences was to pray,
Jesus prayer... our Father in Heaven be thy will ... almost alone in the tomb,
with my hands in prayer, on the very stone, where Jesus holy body was laid
after his death on the cross. Incredible feeling of holiness
and the long long time span of 2000 years, and millions of Christian pilgrimages
coming from afar to this very stone.
I proceeded alone to the Jewish quarters and the wailing wall.
I touched the stonewall, made a note on a paper for Muslims, Jews and Christians
to accept TP as the Coming of Mahdi, Messiah and Second Coming of Christ,
and for final true lasting peace in the Holy Land.
Put the rolled paper in between the stones and made a prayer about the content.
After that it started to rain heavily...thunder broke out.
I don't know if it was my prayer or the which on the paper that made the thunder :-)
Anyway I took shelter on the slopes of the nearby Kidron valley.
Where I after the worst rain stopped, went down to the grave of the biblical old test. Sakarja.
On the way down I saw 2 wild dogs.
I was a little scared but persistent to head on to the huge monument.
The monument over the grave was about 5 meters high and 5 meters wide as a square cube.
I walked around it. Made a prayer with my head on the stone,
and proceeded to Gethsemane some 200 meters up the hill on the other side.
Church of seven nations was built by seven nations together.
A beautiful catholic church with high roof of many cupules.
Inside some rock and also outside on one side a rock...where Jesus prayed his famous
Very old (1000years ?) olive trees in the garden.
After praying there myself I walked back towards the hill leading up to
the Lions gate in Jerusalem. On the way I passed the orthodox church
where Mary is said to be buried.
A long long stair leading maybe some 50 meter down underground to a crypt.
After seeing the crypt I went up the hill and entered Lions gate,
in the wall surrounding Jerusalem.
Again coming into the Muslim area I was invited by a salesman to have a cup of tea,
and looking at his beautiful carets on sale.
There was one incredibly beautiful one, where the color gradually changed as
you walked around it.
Of course I could not afford the 600dollar :-)
But it was truly a most beautiful carpet.
Something to make future Sunday prayer pledges on. :-)
Tired and back at the hostel I fell into a deep refreshing sleep. :-)
After HDH at 05 and breakfast we started our bus journey to Bethlehem.
A Jewish bus and guide took us to the border of Palestine area,
since Bethlehem is in Palestine controlled area.
But what a miserable border.
Some storehouses in bad shape and barbed wire as a sign of the border.
Its truly a second class citizenship for the Palestinians.
Since 80% of people in Bethlehem lives from tourism, and tourism has been
almost nonexistent for the past 3 years, they are in a very difficult situation,
together with the jewish salesmen as well, off course.
After the border another Palestine bus and local guide took us to the birthplace of Jesus.
The stable and birthplace of Jesus was in a cave where they now build an altar
and a church on top of it.
We entered the cave. At the very birthplace there is a big silver star in the floor.
We kneeled one by one, in front of it,
touching with the hand in the middle of the star, where there was a hole.
And at the same time had our photos taken by someone standing nearby.
After that we sang Holy night...in front of the stable...beautiful solemn feeling.
Coming up in the church again, we could see buckets on the floor catching the rain,
from the leaking roof high above.
This is the real grim situation of the local church.
Tourism down since 3 years have left them with not enough money for proper care.
And this is the very most holy churches of all Christianity!
Wonder what pope Paul and the catholic church would think if they knew about this...
After this we went into the newly built catholic church as an annex to the old church.
This is the church where they transmit worldwide on TV, the mass every Christmas.
Stairs leading down to a nearby crypt, they had recently in the 80's found the graves
of the children slaughtered by king Herods soldiers,
in an attempt to kill the promized Messiah, Jesus.
This was also the place were the angel told Josef to bring his family to Egypt
as protection from king Herods soldiers.
Nearby this crypt was the crypt and grave of St Gerome.
He came from Yugoslavia and was the first one to translate the whole Bible into Latin.
That first Bible was called Vulgate.
He spent 10 years learning Hebrew, Greek and Armenian and 20 years translating the texts.
Einari (finnish brother), took some pictures after most of us had left
the room where there was a small altar with St.Geromes picture in mosaic.
One Italian sister Rita, later told us she clearly heard an inner voice
telling her to go back into the room (she was on her way leaving the room
before Einari took the 3 pictures).
She returned and on the picture Einari took, we could see a picture of the room and
the two present sisters...and two clear white balls of light.
The 3rd picture is full of white snowballs of different sizes. Like a heavy snowfall.
Similar to the pictures of the angels from ChungPyung Korea.
Later Einari together with the 2 sisters, testified and showed the picture
for the 200 participants in next mornings HDH.
Related similar pictures from other net-sources: www.highspiritstours.com
Now we had moved to our rooms in the Novotel Hotel, where the others were.
I asked for a room together with Fred Persson from Sweden.
We had a very nice sharing together of old memories from Sweden.
This day was dedicated to service projects for us.
Each day there was some service projects going on.
So we switched between sightseeing and doing service projects.
One 2nd gen. sister responsible for the projects gave a very inspiring speech
about the projects this morning.
Our project this day was to help cleaning up an old Lutheran graveyard in Bethlehem,
that had been neglected for years.
After coming to Bethlehem with the buses, we first walked through some Palestinian refugee camp
from the war 1948,in order to understand their situation.
Most of the refuges came from TelAviv after the 1948 war.
They first lived in tents but later built up simple stone houses.
All without any planning or order of streets or water supply .
Several Palestinians from the area followed us.
Trying to sell their goods of necklaces, photos of Bethlehem, hats and other items.
And off course some of us bought. :-)
At the end of the tour the Palestinian police confiscated all the items
from one of the sellers. Sad to see their misery.
He was soon seen again selling as nothing had happened.
So the police confiscating seam to be daily routine and part of the business losses ;-)
Cleaning the cemetery took about half a day.
We were served coffee by the local tenant. A big fire of the cleaned rubbish ended the work.
Singing Song of Tongil holding hands in a circle around the fire
ended the day of a very good sharing experience.
This day was dedicated to sightseeing around Sea of Galilee.
First our guide learned us some songs in Hebrew and Arab,
while the bus was going east towards the Dead Sea.
The landscape was rocky desert with Bedouins living in camps.
After passing a sign saying 0 sea level, we descended down some -600m under sea level.
There at the bottom of the mounting was the biblical town of Jericho
and the north of the Dead Sea. We turned north towards the Sea of Galilee.
Soon the desert changed to grassy green as we proceeded north closer to the Sea of Galilee.
It obviously rains more here. Plastic tents for flowers, vegetable...palms..banana trees...
The bananas were covered with plastic bags to protect from insects.
We came to the old roman town of Tiberias.
Then continued north to Capernaum on the shore of Galilee,
the place where Jesus multiplied the bread and fishes.
Further up the slopes there was a beautiful church at the place
where Jesus gave the sermon of the mount.
After this we drove back to Tiberias for lunch. Sea of Galilee is a lake rich of fishes.
One fish is called St Peters fish. That's the one we were served at the restaurant.
Fresh dadles for desert.
Then going up the hills westward towards Nazareth.
Nazareth is a beautiful village on top of one of many small hills.
Jesus must have loved living in this beautiful nature environment near the sea of Galilee.
First we went in to a church built on top of the home of Jesus mother Mary.
There was a Palestinian catholic mass going on, in front of the cave.
Then we went to the home of Jesus, which was just about some 100 meters to the north.
All that remains is the underground basement of the house.
Where people used to sleep above the stables to keep warm from the animals.
Old times central heating system :-)
Holy feeling to look down at the very stairs Jesus had walked as a young boy some 2000 years ago.
After this returning home with the bus to the hotel in Jerusalem.
The darkness comes much quicker here close
to equator, then in Finland. Some 10 minutes and it is pitch dark.
On the way south we passed the biblical valley of Armageddon.
Someone in the bus mentioned "not so good to build a house there in the last days"...;-)
This was the big day of the rally.
Long briefing in the morning by brother Ron from England and Mr. Kim, our coordinator.
Interestingly the spiritual world manifested itself through one oriental sister,
who could not resist standing up and talking for about 15 minutes,
the same time our coordinator mr. Kim tried to give us the last information for the day.
He smilingly called it "stereo distraction" for us...
no one could stop the sister who were clearly talking in "tongues" about the importance of what we were doing!
All was laughing and in a good mood :-)
After breakfast entering the buses, and off for a march in Jerusalem.
White nice signs to wear over our bodies, was handed out,
saying PEACE in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
First we went to the temple place, where we had a special permission
to enter the Muslim areas on top of the temple ruins.
Dome of Rocks and El Aqsa mosque are 2 of the most holiest places for Muslims, after Mecca.
We were told that for 3 years since the year 2000 no Jews, Christians or tourists
are allowed into the place on top of the temple ruins. Special feeling...
Picture taking of our group and some 15 minutes where we could freely walk around the area.
M Jenkins arrives with his Muslim Jewish and Christian friends/guests.
They hold a speech surrounded by all brothers/sisters.
Hand clapping, cheering and a general feeling of unity among us all.
During the time before MJenkins arrived, I went alone to the eastern gate,
called the Golden Gate.
This is the very gate, where according to Jewish faith, the Messiah will enter.
How sad that they still did not realize that this important prophecy
was already fulfilled 2000 years ago, by Jesus of Nazareth, entering Jerusalem
through that very gate.
Today the gate is closed. The Muslim rulers, some 1000 years ago,
completely closed it with bricks and made a Muslim cemetery here.
Since cemetery's are unclean places according to Jewish faith.
It is now virtually impossible for any Jewish Messiah to ever come
and fulfill the old messianic prophecy of coming through the "Eastern Gate".
How sad...a long lost providence!
After visiting the most holy Jewish place the veiling wall,
we entered our busses to go for lunch.
We had our lunch on the south part of the Mount of Olives.
Beautiful view over all Jerusalem. The guide pointed out historical houses
like the high priest Kaiphas, who condemned Jesus as heretic 2000 years ago,
and the place were Judas killed himself.
Also some places where St Paul had stayed.
It was like the whole Biblical Old and New Test. lieing open in front of our eyes and feet.
After lunch off to Independence park where the rally was going to start at 1400.
There was already a band playing on stage...many people...there.
We entered through security checking and then gathered bus by bus on the field.
Since I felt the music was too loud for me. (I have an old hearing defect)
I went to the back outside the fence. Where the music volume was more tolerable :-)
After some beautiful gospel singing, the main speakers M Jenkins
and other Muslim Jewish and Christian leaders spoke.
People had come from all over Israel to this peace rally.
There was clear proclamation of "father and mother Moon" as the Second Coming of Christ,
and also the Crowning of Jesus as King over Israel was impressive,
to the tunes of Sibelius music.
A proud moment for fins :-) No protesters... no buuhs from the hecklers...
like it used to be in the past.
Where I was standing there was a small group about 5-10, of young ultra-orthodox Jews,
maybe 17-20 years of age. They were handing out negative leaflets about our movement.
But they were so small group, compared to the 20-30000 inside the park,
that their effect was marginal.
They looked more bewildered then confident about what they were doing.
It felt like an echo of the jewish rejection of Jesus 2000 years ago.
But at that time it was a strong dangerous lifethrettning Crusify Him Crusify Him...
This time a very very small rejection...of the Second Coming of Christ.
I got back and collected some 50 of our rally leaflets and handed them out,
where I was standing in the back, to those who got some neg. leaflets
from the young Jews. This way hopefully neutralizing their impact.
A good meaningful place and mission for me during the rally. :-)
After returning from a successful rally, and having a nice evening meal
we were told that rev. Kwak would hold a meeting for all of us Europeans at 10 o clock.
There was also the alternative of joining a candle light march.
We left with the buses to Sheraton Hotel were we all gathered in the basement meeting hall.
Rev Kwak was holding his meeting with the Japanese members in some other location,
so we had to wait. During waiting we sang holy songs...Gospels...
and one Danish brother chared a testimony about this peace rally in Jerusalem received spiritually,
through a Danish pastor many years ago.
And a quire from second generation task force sang beautifully.
The delay got longer and longer ...after 1 hour we< were told that rev. Kwak
had arrived in time but was delayed by an ongoing phone call directly from TF.
After talking with TF in Korea for more then 1 1/2 hour, rev. Kwak finally arrived.
The main thing I remembered him saying was that TF wants to make us all into NEW PEOPLE!.
Whatever that means :-) I am sure all of rev. Kwaks speech is on internet by now.
We had to leave early to have time for the long long security checkup before flying home. A rainbow finally greated us farewell as we entered the plane in TelAviv.
On the way home we, (Mary irish living in Estonia, Einari finnish and I swedish)
met a nice Finnish girl living in TelAviv now on her way to Finland for christmas celebration.
We were able to discuss about living in Israel, and witness to her about our experiences and DP,
for a couple of hours at the Vienna airport, and also exchange emailadresses.
She recommended a book about Israelites.
I think I remember her saying the title "The Israelites".
But the only closest I found on amazon.com was this:
"Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?"
Reviewer: L C Sheppard (see more about me) from Atlanta, Gerorgia If one must rely on a single source relating to the historicity of the Old Testament Professor William Dever's latest book is the one. "Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?" effectively makes use of his concept of "convergences between artifacts and texts." He brings to bear archaeology, history, mythology, scripture and tradition on the people he calls the proto-Israelites, the forebears of the nation in ancient Canaan we have come to know as Israel of the Iron Age through Roman times.
Another great book about modern 20:th century Israel I am presently reading (spring 2004) is
"A Death in Jerusalem" by Kati Marton"
A good book about a tragic place, March 2, 2001
Reviewer: douglashwylie from Boston, MA
A lot of interesting and tragic history is presented in this book, including an excerpt from the now-infamous 1940 letter in which Lehi (the Stern Gang) sought help from Nazi Germany to fight their common enemy, the British.
Marton's book shows plenty of violence on both sides. For example, we are told of the destruction of the Arab village of Deir Yassim, where, Lehi commando Baruch Nadel recalled, "There were people killed in the most brutal way." And we get the violent Arab response, an attack on a convoy of cars carrying Jewish civilians: "Suddenly, brandishing rifles and hurling blazing gasoline-soaked rags, hundreds of Arab guerrillas swooped down on the convoy, turning its armor-plated cars into blazing steel-trap prisons."
The book's subject is Lehi's assassination of the first UN peace mediator to the Middle East, so of course the book focuses on the violent activities of Lehi and, to a lesser extent, the Irgun. That said, Marton makes clear that what motivated these people was not a love for violence, but a love for the state of Israel.
Marton's writing is sometimes a little awkward, sometimes a little breathless. And Count Folke Bernadotte is a far less interesting subject than Yitzhak Shamir. But the book does a good job of documenting an event that, as Arthur Schesinger wrote, "...has stained the politics of Israel ever since."
Depressingly, the obstacles to peace in 1948, such as the question of the right-of-return for Palestinian refugees, are still with us today.
Also recommended, Avi Shlaim's THE IRON WALL.
Conclusions of the trip to Israel: A great experience and a successful rally.
No ned to worry about any danger being there as tourist...as far as I could understand.
Next time I will bring my mobile phone
(that was left in Finland on suggestion), in my hand luggage.
Hope to be back soon in a great warm country among very friendly jewish and palestinian people. :-)
/Bengt, swede living with my family (3 daughters & finnish wife) Maarit in Finland.
On the 25th of January 2004 I received an email from Austrian brother
with more private photos of "spiritual light balls"