The Old City
Today was again an eventful day starting in a little Christmas town called Bethlehem. While we were there, we visited King Herod personal palace named Herodion. We ventured around the palace and through its underground tunnel system. After visiting Herods tomb, we had lunch and then visited a friend of Bens who helps run a school to teach kids general education as well as the bible. Most of the kids that attend the school come from a Muslim family so the outreach this school has is incredible. This school has also decided to start facilitating Young Life at the school and we were able to help them in their first club (event) and communicate with the Palestinian kids. After the kids went home we helped the school out with a little gardening and rock removal for the most part. The faculty was very impressed at how hard our women work ☺ Before going back to our hotel, we took another adventure into Old Jerusalem and my friend Ryan is going to tell you about that experience.
This afternoon we adventured in the old city by breaking into our family groups with the goal of conversing with the native people in their city shops. (A quick note, a family group is basically a group of 4-5 of us who watch out for each other when we travel from place to place) My family group contains Erin, Jesse, Noah, and myself.
One particular memory is of note, because we invite you to pray with us for something very specific. Here is the story of one small adventure!
We were invited into a small shop by a Muslim man with an interest in selling us goods and trinkets. His shop contained jewelry items made by his son, and other imported items. He may have been surprised by our dialogue with him, because we bombarded him with questions about his family, his shop, and his story. We told him that we would like to hear about his life. He explained that he was Muslim and that he was very devout in his study of the Quran. He became more passionate as he spoke about his beloved teachings that his life was based on, and especially quickened his speech and increased his volume when he began to mount a personal attack on the validity of the Bible. He passionately argued that the bible could not be true due to many different translations and supposed errors, while his book (the Quran) was unaltered due to the original language and content in each Quran being identical, and passed on to Muhhamed by Allah (God himself).
In response to this, I was able to respond with what we learned from the Dead Sea Scroll site that we had visited, and wanted to respond with much more that I have learned and studied in the past few years that have strengthened my faith. One particular book to note is: Seeking Allah – Finding Jesus, where I was able to learn a lot about the Muslim faith. During this dialogue the Muslim man became angrier and frustrated at a response from someone so young. He noted that he had 40 plus years of study and wisdom and that I needed to respect that.
Due to time restraints our group needed to leave, but one last thing happened. I felt the presence of Jesus enter me as I said, “Sir, I understand that you are passionate about truth, so I promise that I will read the Quran; however, if you have a vision or dream tonight know that it is because Christians are praying for you”.
We left his shop with smiles on our faces and were able to pray as a group tonight. Please join us, as we may have an opportunity to see him again at some point tomorrow. Thanks for praying for us back home. All of us love you mom and dads, and grandparents and friends! Adios : )
- Ryan Carlson
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