Posts tagged Israel

Today is everyone’s holiday, yesterday was our holiday too

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary, we met in Almaty, Kazakhstan on May 2, 1993 and were married the following year Dec. 24, 1994.  Seems like a LONG time ago but we made the 20 year mark after having lived in Kazakhstan, then Washington D.C. area, then Kyiv, Ukraine for about seven years.  Then in 2007 I started this “Kazakhnomad” blog in Almaty, Kazakhstan when we returned to live and teach in Kazakhstan again.  If you have never been to Kazakhstan, there are photos taken of this amazing country by a very professional photographer.  Check this URL out:  http://www.davidkoester.de/destination-bilder/kasachstan/

Today is everyone’s holiday for those who believe that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Israel. My husband and I went there 20 years ago on our honeymoon along with many other historic sites throughout Israel.  Yes, besides those who are Christian, many others celebrate this holy day of Christmas but they take the Christ out of OUR holiday by putting in Santa Claus and reindeer and jingle bells, etc.  It is as ludicrous as having chocolate bunnies and eggs for Easter but that is what people who are nonbelievers do.  They want to have a celebration about something so they chime right in with banal extras. They don’t REALLY believe they exist but they make up this fiction to feel good about something.

The sad part about what Christmas has become is that people give each other gifts and some of them are way too expensive and probably not even wanted by the receiver of the gift.  I suppose they are trying to replicate what God did in giving us His Son to die on the cross for our sins.  Jesus was born to die on the cross as a punishment.  We deserved what happened to Jesus because of our sin. Yes, I guess that is difficult for some people to absorb, they think the kids won’t understand it either or that it is too gory.  The truth of the matter is that many people throughout the world live in poverty and can fully relate to the story of Jesus’ parents being too poor to have a proper place to have a delivery of a child. Indeed, Jesus was born in a barn with animals in it.

The nonbelievers also think that the crucifying of Jesus is too horrible to tell young children so they bring in fluffy, white bunnies and color eggs instead.  When kids who are living in abject poverty learn about an innocent person being punished, they can probably relate…many kids are sold into slavery or treated terribly because of their living conditions and lack of education.  Therefore, it is deemed good news for these children to know about a Savior who loves them…loves them enough to die on the cross for them.

Well, I am about ready to wrap up another year regarding what I see, observe, know about Kazakhstan.  It isn’t so much these days after living away from this great country.  However, I have many people who still hit on this blog so I will keep it up.  You never know, I may be writing my book about Kazakhstan soon.  I may have some free time in the future that I will use to reveal in English about a little known country.  Almost as little known or maligned as the true Christmas story of Jesus birth which we celebrate today.

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A Real Book, a Real Conference and Heaven

This morning I enjoyed the supreme luxury of sitting in a hotel room after attending a conference yesterday. I presented on a topic that is very close to my heart, interviewing grandparents in order to capture the history before it is gone for good. Those who are older are perhaps closer to heaven than us middle aged, baby-boomer types. Though we never know when our assigned time to join God will be. I talked a bit about Writing Teacher’s Privilege, kind of like “White Man’s Privilege” where we can see into the hearts of our writing students through their compositions.

The privilege that I supremely enjoyed was to sit down with a book I have wanted to read for some time, “Heaven is for Real.” By some strange series of events, my husband borrowed the book from someone else and hadn’t gotten to it yet. I popped it into my suitcase knowing it would be a very quick read. I am glad I did since I also knew I would have some down time. I was expecting a good cry, that didn’t happen. But I did feel my faith in God confirmed.

Now, I am very interested in going to Ulysses, KS this summer for my husband’s class reunion. Those who have read the book already, will know why I have this sudden interest. With fair certainty, I am convinced that a photo in the book, that was taken in 1943, was probably done by my husband’s dad, a professional photographer. Strange that a book from a 4 year old’s perspective can have such an impact with TRUTH but that is what I had as a “take-away.”

Heaven is a real place and not everyone will be going there. I went to my sister’s Bible study the other night and we talked about that as a prevailing philosophy that everyone has this erroneous notion that ALL people, whether they believe in God or not, will end up in heaven. In the U.S. we already are enjoying so many of the privileges and luxury of heaven, we live in a Disneyland. Therefore, I’m not sure why people can assume that they will get more of the same, only better, once they die. For many people in the world who struggle in poverty or in modern day slavery, heaven is a hope for them to get away from the sadness and sheer misery they live in, day in and day out. Who will tell those who have NOT heard the Word, the good news, the gospel?

My husband and I do not know if we are going to Ukraine or not, things are on hold because of what the guy in Russia does. God knows the outcome there. The little boy in the book says there will be a final battle “Armageddon.” My husband and I have been there in Israel, it is called Megiddo, in the northwestern part of the country. It is amazing what we have seen with our own eyes, the physical location of this last great battle. I do believe it is around the corner. I believe Jesus is coming back soon and very soon.

Funny what a book, a conference that forced me away from my day to day activities will do to make me think of heaven. Indeed, a better place for those of us who believe in what Jesus did for us. According to Coulton Burpo, He has “markers” on His hands and His feet. God bless him and his family for bringing these truths out in a story that is sweet and sincere and TRUE!

“Here I am Lord, send me.”

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Hungry Buddy Bears Visualize “Whirled Peas”

Fun to show off what Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, has for its tourists this summer until the end of July.  At least 125 Buddy Bears are standing with arms up in the air close to the Baiterek tower, from as many different nations painted brightly with motifs or themes that typify that country.  I can’t understand the cubism of blue and beige squares for Canada’s bear I blogged about yesterday.  The U.S. bear shows the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty, which I featured several days ago on this blog.  Japan has the one red dot against a pure white bear and some other Japanese calligraphy.  China has a bear wearing a silk jacket with dragons on it.  I don’t understand why the Kazakh artist chose the blue colors to represent Kazakhstan but to each artist, his own. I was wrong about the one I have today that looks Uzbek, it is really from Tajikistan.

I am showing off more of these bears today, see if you can guess what country they represent.  Our bumper sticker of “Visualize Whirled Peas” got a lot of mileage where we used to live in Washington D.C. area when Ken and I were first married.  I could see people in my rearview mirror pointing their finger up and whirling it around and smiling as they imagined whirled peas or “world peace.”  Let’s visualize along with the Buddy Bears world peace with all nations.

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