Again we had an early start. And today was our 16th anniversary! We turned the bus into the Love Bus. We played “Love Shack”, but sang lines like “I bought me a bus, its as big as a whale, and we’re about to set sail,” and sang “love bus, baby love bus!” It was fun. The whole day I had students bringing Julianne little notes I had written for her. I had purchased a necklace with her, and had gotten one she had once noted she liked but hadn’t gotten it. So I was placing these little things on her all day. Also, she didn’t know that when we had been looking for rings earlier this year and she had narrowed it down to three, I had picked up one of those three that she had not gotten as “the” ring. So, I told the students the story of how we lost her ring, and how we had saved and gotten her a new one here in Israel, and then surprised all of them and her by telling them/her how I had gotten another one of those rings for her, and gave it to her. She was pretty surprised, and I think she really liked it. It was a good anniversary in that way.
Julianne in the orange shirt she bought at Ephesus, which she then began passing around to the students, each girl gets a turn wearing it (I have one going among the men)
Wayna taking care of Jennifer, who was sick, while we learned about Ephesus
Nike at Ephesus
The first thing we did that day was go to Ephesus. This is a great site. The ruins are extensive, well preserved, and incredible. We viewed temples, libraries, houses, and a cool theater. In the theater we talked about Paul’s time in Ephesus. It was one of his most successful preaching centers. He spent between 2 and 3 years there, had many converts, and many friends. At one point, because Artemis/Diana was such a popular goddess there, and because people came from all over to worship there, and because the silversmiths who made Diana idols didn’t like losing business as folks stopped believing in Diana, there was a big riot. In the theater in which we sat they long ago hauled in two of Paul’s companions and held them there while an angry mob raged. Paul tried to get in to help them but was prevented. They shouted there “great is Diana of the Ephesians!” So we chanted that there for a while.
Theater at Ephesus behind a temple
Part of my class and our guide, Fatih, in the theater
This is the only place where Paul went and John wrote to as one of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation. So we spent a lot of time talking about Revelation, and what John wrote to them there. I tried to tie together for the students how the while vision in Revelation is a temple setting, and how the things that are given to those who overcome are set in opposition to those things the people in those churches were doing wrong, and how they are a symbol for overcoming the Fall through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the ordinances of the temple. It is good stuff, and I decided I will need to have a chapter in my temple book about it. This should be really good stuff. Anyway, I think they enjoyed it an learned a lot. We sang a song while sitting in the theater, and a little tour group in front of us clapped and said we should go down to the stage (I think they were Italians). So we gathered the other class and went to the bottom and sang, and it got a good reaction from the many tourists there. We had a nice time in Ephesus.
My class in the theater of Ephesus
We also talked about the tradition that John, after returning from his exile in Patmos and writing Revelation, came back to Ephesus and wrote the Gospel of John and the epistles of John. That makes Ephesus a pretty significant place in many ways. We opted not to go to the tomb of John. It didn’t seem applicable to us.
BJ and Andrew at the Hercules gate, looking Herculean!
Julianne and Josiah (wearing the shirt I have passing around the men) at the Hercules gateway
Students at the great library of Ephesus (which wanted to rival Alexandria, but didn't even come close)
Jul and I studying about Paul at the library of Ephesus
From Ephesus we went to Miletus. This is similar to the return of Paul on his third and last journey: 13 ¶ And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. 14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. 15 And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus. 16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. 17 ¶ And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. (Acts 20:13 - 17). So, we traced how we had been on his journey, traveling from Assos to Mitylene to Chios, to Trogyllium, to Miletus, where we then were. We hiked way out to a cool temple in the middle of a swamp (saw a few snakes on the way), and there we read Paul’s farewell address to the elders of Ephesus and others. It is a moving address, and we learned from it.
More of Miletus
temple at Miletus
Then we drove out to a hotel. On the long drive, in honor of Julianne and our anniversary, I gave about a half hour lecture on the importance of motherhood. I spent a bit of time talking about how Julianne is a great mother, and talked about the concept in general. I usually try to work this in somewhere for each semester, I feel it is so important. I hope it made some difference to them, it is such a profound topic. I was so glad to be with Julianne on our anniversary, and it was so great to spend it in these places together. I am so grateful to Jill Judd who made it possible for us to do this by watching our children and opting not to go herself. She is a queen.
I keep talking about long drives, so I thought I would include a little information about the size of Turkey (though we were probably only in a little less than a quarter of it. Turkey encompasses 302,535 square miles. The U.S. is 3,794,083 sq. miles, so more than 10 times the size, but that still makes Turkey pretty big. It is smaller than Alaska, but a bit bigger than Texas. It is over 3 times the size of Utah, more than twice the size of California, and 38 times as large as Israel. It made for a lot of driving, but through beautiful terrain.
Our journey thus far, plus from there we went inland and spent the night in Pammukale
After the long drive we were ready to settle into our rooms. It seemed like a nice enough hotel, but I was frustrated to begin with. They wouldn’t let us all go to dinner at once. They didn’t have some rooms ready. They accidentally took some luggage with some other people. They sent us to a room, which seemed quite nice, then told us to come back. A man was sent to meet us with the key, but he didn’t tell us he had the key, so I tried to go to the new room, and couldn’t find the key, and had to go find him again. I was starting to get pretty irritated, and complained. Then it turned out that they were moving us to a different room because they were moving us to a honeymoon suite for our anniversary. They gave us some complimentary snacks and a very large suite. It was very, very nice, and I felt a bit sheepish. They have natural hot springs/mineral baths there, so we had a good time going to it. It is full of mud, and became the “mud shack”. Anyway, we really had a great day and a great time swimming. It was a good anniversary.