Friday, January 3, 2020

GREETINGS FROM GREECE...DAY 8

Yia sou. Kalispera! Ti kaneis?
(You'll have to guess on this one!)

Well, we knew this was coming, but it's still makes me sad, nonetheless...our family will start the long trip home tomorrow morning, bright and early. The Davis' will be staying through next Wednesday, I believe, but Landry has to get back for her next semester to start on Monday, all the Danville Carrs go back to school on Monday, Ty has to get back for basketball after already missing a week+, Bryce is leaving for Haiti next week, Zane has likely driven the Blazics full-blown crazy by this point, and the 'rents have to get back to work too! SO...other than that, not any good reason at all to be leaving this gorgeous country. Boo. I may stage a coup. 

Once again, we were on the road again...where's Mr. Lauderbaugh when you need background music?!? If you didn't go on my high school senior trip, just keep moving...nothing to see here. The rest of y'all can just take a minute and sing through it because you won't be able to NOT sing it in your head anyway.

Our first stop of the day was the Corinth Canal, which was initially construction by Jewish slaves and overseen by the Roman Emperor Nero. It was stunning to see and pretty cool to catch the history of this small portion of our trip. I also bought a legit furry poncho on the side of the road which the kids say is a cross between a Russian grandma and a mob boss...whatever man, Iowa is about to get some culture. Buh-bam. 

Maybe you're just as clueless as me...maybe not...but for sake of argument, did you know there are actually 3 different places with the same name of Corinth? AH-HA!!! I knew it!! Ok...don't tell me if you knew that already. Lame. Anyway, there is the modern city of Corinth, the old city of Corinth, and the Ancient Corinth. They've not actually excavated much of the ancient city because it's buried beneath the modern city. Super bummer. But we did get to see some pretty cool sites! The oldest columns still standing (I think that's correct, but it may have been 2nd oldest), the forum (marketplace), the Bema (where they conducted large gatherings, and where PAUL PREACHED! Guess who we made get up there for a pic?!? The person who loves getting their picture taken more than anyone, of course!), the very large fountains, the Corinth Acropolis (from afar), and the local shops selling "tourist" items (does Priscilla ring a bell?) :0 Paul lived and worked in Corinth, established a church, wrote 2 (maybe more) epistles, and as I mentioned, likely preached from the Bema Seat gathering area. I thought I'd share the excerpt from Acts 18 here so you don't have to go look it up yourselves! See it below:

After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

SO. AWESOME. From Corinth, we traveled to the Argolis region to visit one of the most significant Bronze Age archaeological sites in the Mediterranean: Ancient Mycenae. There is no Biblical significance to this incredible fortress, but the stories are many amazing, including how it was discovered in the first place! Check it out! A short distance away was another acoustic dream...a tomb called the Bee Hive. We did snag a quick second to test it out with a quick Doxology. I'm sure there are videos floating around out there between the group...I just don't have them personally. One of my favorite things to do is sing with my girls, but having the opportunity to do that in places like these is such a tremendous blessing. But for the record, nobody told mom we were doing the old "church ending" or resolving, for those that don't speak Wagenschutz...so just show grace for those 2 seconds at the end when I resolved and Landry didn't...so then I went back up...then we resolved together. Sheesh. Again, if you are totally lost, just move on...DEFINITELY nothing to see here! HAHAHA!

Lastly, we traveled again to the ancient theatre of Epidaurus which has the most amazing...no wait...let's go with...phenomenal, acoustics. We were able to try some clapping in different areas on the orchestra (stage) and test how far the sound traveled easily. However, we weren't allowed to sing here because there would be so much noise if everyone that visited were trying to perform. That was a bummer, but it definitely made sense. They still have concerts and various performances in this ancient theatre today...no mics needed, trust me. It was unbelievable!!!

We finished our day with a lovely dinner at another very yummy restaurant and even spent time affirming one another and discussing prayer for the next semester...this was an especially sweet time for both of our families, and I'm so thankful we had that time together. As we leave tomorrow to head back to normality, I know we'll take with us more life-changing moments and memories...oh, and another dumb "stuffy" for Zane. Whatcha gonna do...

ALSO, I told Renee that she was in charge of doing the blog posts for the remainder of the trip...maybe even other Davis' will take a day! You probably should comment on the FB thread of this blog post how much it would MEAN to you...how much you'd LOVE it...if they did that! :0 

Elharisto!! Adio!

Thursday, January 2, 2020

GREETING FROM GREECE...DAY 7

Yes, it's true...our time here in Greece will come to an end before we know it (just a couple more sleeps, as the littles say)...so we're trying to pack in as much as possible! And although we were so thankful for a later wakeup call, today was no exception! Of course, then I just overslept because it wasn't the crack of dawn!! Oh well...just another cog in the Eva-wheel. (sidenote: please use this phrase as much as possible around the Davis/Carr kids...just insert any appropriate name...then sit back and watch the magic) :) 

Unfortunately, it did start raining...along with a big drop in temps and an insane wind...so we adjusted the plan and started the day at the new Acropolis museum. The museum, what it contains, and what lies beneath are absolutely incredible. When the powers-that-be began digging to clear the land to build the museum, they unearthed multiple layers of the old cities below. (In case you're wondering, it seems as though this happens almost daily...ok not really, but yea basically...over here. Every time someone starts to build the new, they find the old.) In the case of the museum, for obvious reasons, they wanted to preserve the former life shown below (hello...museum...duh) so they put a glass floor down for the museum, after excavating. Now, everyone walks across the civilizations gone by. Not gonna lie...it's pretty trippy. Oh and also...apparently, Eva has some fear of height issues. You're welcome for that bit of trivia. But seriously...yikers. Moving on...because I might get queasy just remembering how queasy I felt...we spent an extensive amount of time looking at the pottery from Ancient Greece and, therefore, also what life was like for those early citizens/slaves. We looked at a ton of statues and heard a lot about Greek mythology as well. The attention to detail was literally mind-blowing. We'd all definitely recommend visiting this work-of-art and be sure to take along a good guide to explain all the important details! Oh and one more thing...England, just give them back their stuff already. Dude. I was even ready to place a few calls after hearing about good ol' Lord Elgin. You all know what an impact that Eva-call would make. The ripple effect alone would be staggering. :)

From there, we moved to Mars Hill, where Paul preached to the city leaders in Acts 17. Again, check it out for a real-life drama! Most interesting thing to note here was the difficulty in climbing the marble rock and the absence of almost any flat surface. But again, Paul was literally there, on this rock, preaching to the Gentiles about the Unknown God they reserved an altar for...he used their culture to introduce the Athenians to the one true God. LOVE that. Paul's sermon is even at the base of the hill, in Greek, for all to read. Here's a short excerpt:

Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something newSo Paulstanding in the midst of the Areopagus, (MARS HILL) said: “Men of AthensI perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worshipI found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknownthis I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in itbeing Lord of heaven and earthdoes not live in temples made by man...(YES, PAUL!!)

Next, we walked across the street to the Acropolis, which contains several important and impressive structures: the Parthenon (the most well-known and unbelievable in magnitude), the Propylaea (basically, the gate to the city), the Temple of Athena Nike (smaller structure toward the front of the Acropolis), and my personal favorite, the Erechtheion (the temple dedicated to both Poseidon and Athena). Everything is marble. Everything fits perfectly with the scope and grandeur of Greek mythology. It truly is breath-taking to see it all in person. Incidentally, if you are looking at pictures and wondering about the different colors on the pillars and such, the white is new marble used to fill in for pieces that were missing. The yellowed portions are original marble that have been exposed to the elements for thousands of years. Eventually, the white portions will do the same, but I don't think I'll be around when they do. 

Our last official item on the day's agenda was a bus tour showing the highlights of the city. We saw tons of amazing architecture as well as hot spots like the stadium built for the Olympics where the Athens Marathon finish line is located. Give you 3 guesses who's wanting to make plans to do that, and I wouldn't be in the top 10! :) So maybe we'll have a good excuse to make it back to this beautiful country again some day! We walked to grab a quick, late lunch, and also grabbed my magnet, of course!! :)

Then, after a couple hours to rest (thank goodness!), we had dinner at the highest point of Athens, Mt. Lycabettus. We actually had our driver, Frank, take us as far as possible, and then we rode the fenicular, an enclosed cable bus the rest of the way to the top. Again, give me all the carbs and views. Happy sigh. 

Get ready for tomorrow, kids. Tomorrow, we set our sights on Corinth. Holy buckets.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

GREETINGS FROM GREECE...Day 6

Contrary to the title of the post, we actually did start the day in Turkey, but as I pin this post, we have finally arrived in Greece...which is where most of you thought we were going to be the entire trip...y'all need to pay attention!!! On another note, while our entire time in Turkey has been amazing, all bets were off once we set out from our hotel this morning...because today, we found ourselves in Ephesus. I believe Yasmine (our Turkish guide) mentioned that this was the most excavated city in Anatolia...she wasn't kidding. It took very little imagination whatsoever to envision the Ephesian citizens walking down the long main streets to the harbor...or the library...or the bath houses...to the temples...local shops...or the theatre. And right there with all the common citizens of Ephesus was the apostle Paul. The streets, having been restored and repaired, were still the same streets he walked upon back in 53-55 AD. 

This is the same Ephesus where Paul faced many adversaries, yet rejoiced in the wide door for effective work that had been open to him. (1 Cor. 16) 

This is the same Ephesus where Paul boldly preached repentance to the Jews first, and then to the Gentiles, after the Jews rejected him. (Acts 19) 

This is the same Ephesus where Paul withstood a riot, started by the silversmith, Demetrius, in the expansive theatre, because the preaching of the gospel was hurting their idol worship biz. (Acts 19) 

And this is the very same theatre that the girls and I were able to sing in today...still proclaiming that salvation comes only by faith alone, in Christ alone. I don't even recall how many songs we sang, but it was at least a handful. What an incredible opportunity and privilege for all of us to be on this side of history, knowing that the Word of the Lord never goes out in vain, and we are here largely due to the fact that Paul did not waver in the mission God had called him to back in this ancient city of Ephesus. Man, oh man.

I could camp out there all day, but I'll give the remainder of the update for now. Like I said, we also saw the impressive library, fountains, even the latrine :0 was incredibly preserved. But oh the questions we have...how'd the Ephesians (or any pre-outhouse days peeps) felt about sitting "cheek-to-cheek"  with their friends and neighbors while relieving themselves. Excuse me, what? And did they actually bring their own sponge-on-a-stick to "clean up" afterwards? Like was that a specific slave's job to carry out this task? Worse yet, was there a communal piece of equipment that the evacuators just passed down the line?!? ACK!!!! So many questions...so little information!!!! It's killing me. But never fear, there was a fountain in the middle to help mask the noises that would be coming from the toilet area. Ok then, Sharon...you're right...the NOISES are the most troublesome issues at hand!!! :/ 

That's it. Eva has definitely gone off the rails. Sorry, mom.

We've also been surrounded by dogs and cats constantly...PLEASE ask some of the kids to share the cat video with you. It's an experience. But it's also all the moms can do to get TY CARR to STOP PETTING THE ANIMALS. Ya know...the ones living on the inhabited streets of an ancient city?!? I'm sure they are all caught up in their vaccines! Sheesh. 

We also drove up to the top of a nearby mountain to visit the site of the House of Virgin Mary. It was believed to be so, based on the location and the dating of the sub structure being in the 1st century. A Pope visited a while back and declared it to be so officially, and has since turned it into a place of pilgrimage for those in the Catholic faith. Sadly, we all know the location of her home, the water from her well, and any form of decoration can not get you even one stop closer to Christ, the Living God. 

Final stops before lunch were the Ephesus museum and the temple of Artemis. Lunch was another hole in the wall place serving Turkish pita-bread pizzas with all sorts of different toppings. Another slam dunk. I've legit eaten more carbs in the past week than I had in the rest of the year COMBINED! Super. 

Lastly, before moving on, I wanted to leave the Ephesus update with the letter sent to the church at Ephesus by the apostle John in Revelations. Again, pay close attention to those condemnations and commendations!! 

Revelations 2:1-7 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lamp standsI know your worksyour toil and your patient enduranceand how you cannot bear with those who are evilbut have tested those who call themselves apostles and are notand found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sakeand you have not grown weary. But I have this against youthat you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallenrepentand do the works you did at firstIf notI will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its placeunless you repent. Yet this you haveyou hate the works of the Nicolaitanswhich I also hate. He who has an earlet him hear what the Spirit says to the churchesTo the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of lifewhich is in the paradise of God.’

And so that was that and then we were back on the road! This time...airport...again. We did hit a few bumps in the road when we arrived 3 hours early for our international flight, like any good travelers would do. The security guy said there was no such airline there, the ticket counters were deserted, and we killed time by pouring money into massage chairs and playing Dutch Blitz. Oh and then...when it was finally time to rock and roll, we had to take a bus on to the tarmac where our PROP plane was waiting. Good times. BUT...here we are now...in Athens. Another incredible jewel of a restaurant, with live music, and many courses...and all the bread, cheese, and desserts...on top of Ty's 5+ pounds of meat he ordered. :0 

Tomorrow, we begin our adventures at the Acropolis. I'm enamored with this country...I always have been...if we had Zane here, we'd just miss those flights on Saturday. Sigh...

So that's it for tonight. Oh except to let you know...

Eva won Dutch Blitz. 

Ok...The End. 




Tuesday, December 31, 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND GREETINGS FROM TURKEY...DAY 5

Although this day was jam-packed, the accounting of it will be relatively brief. We've just rung in the New Year with a wonderful meal that put Chris Carr WAAAAAY past his bedtime. Some of the younger (in spirit) peeps went across the street to officially welcome in the new decade with fireworks and lots and lots of noise. Others just...well, said goodnight. I, however, wanted to relay the journey of the day before I crashed for the night. So here we are! :) We made three long trips today to get to each location and then back to the hotel. Again, exhausting, but worth the time.

Our first stop was the Acropolis of Pergamon, which was a small mountain settlement until the beginning of the 3rd century BC. We had hoped and counted on warmer weather today (no bueno), but at least we stayed dry! :/ The wind is also notable since we had to ride cable cars to the top of the mountain. Holy wind tunnel, Batman. BUT, nobody fell out so it's all good. Another incredible site, with more to see than you could imagine. Some places we saw included the library (where books and scrolls were a rare commodity so the use of parchment was begun, along with the binding of books for durability), the Temple of Trajan, and the location where the Altar of Zeus was discovered. Oh and all kinds of little nooks and crannies under the temple which were pretty spectacular! The letter written to Pergamum is below. Note that the altar of Zeus is "Satan's throne," and the Christians were commended for not giving in to the pressure of their society to also worship other gods.

Revelations 2:12-17 And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The words of him who has the sharp two-edged swordI know where you dwellwhere Satan's throne isYet you hold fast my nameand you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witnesswho was killed among youwhere Satan dwells. But I have a few things against youyou have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israelso that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repentIf notI will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an earlet him hear what the Spirit says to the churchesTo the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden mannaand I will give him a white stonewith a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

From there, we stopped at the Red Basilica, which was erected by the Romans to honor the Egyptian gods that they'd become infatuated with during their rule of their people. Huge brick structures made it easy to picture the statues that would've obviously been present at that time.

Next, we traveled the short distance to the Asclepion, or healing center/hospital...complete with sacred fountain, theatre to entertain the patients, and the opium smoke-filled tunnel that patients would walk through for treatments. (We also saw some military units training nearby, but don't expect any pics of that...we were warned. Man...you know I wanted to...UGH)

After the most amazing lunch since we arrived in Turkey...for real...local home-cooking restaurant that had us basically licking the plates...we headed on to Thyatira, another church addressed in the churches of Revelation. Read their letter below: 

Revelation 2:18-29 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronzeI know your worksyour love and faith and service and patient enduranceand that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against youthat you tolerate that woman Jezebelwho calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repentbut she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. BeholdI will throw her onto a sickbedand those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulationunless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children deadAnd all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heartand I will give to each of you according to your works. But to the rest of you in Thyatirawho do not hold this teachingwho have not learned what some call the deep things of Satanto you I sayI do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the endto him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of ironas when earthen pots are broken in pieceseven as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an earlet him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

This city was similar to Philadelphia, in that there was very little to see and so few reminders of the former occupants. For the most part, only the palace of the bishop remained. 

Last stop of the day was Smyrna, attended by Steve alone, as the rest of the crew were on their preverbal last legs. But he pushed through and captured some great pictures for us. See the Revelation letter to this church below and note the absence of condemnation here as well:

Revelations 2:8-11 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The words of the first and the lastwho died and came to lifeI know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are richand the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are notbut are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to sufferBeholdthe devil is about to throw some of you into prisonthat you may be testedand for ten days you will have tribulationBe faithful unto deathand I will give you the crown of life. He who has an earlet him hear what the Spirit says to the churchesThe one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

May we all be faithful unto death, never fearing what we are currently, or may be, about to suffer. For His Glory in 2020!