Day 3 - Jerash and Amman, Jordan

I think Day 1 & 2 was the easiest post. I took about 100 pictures a day, so it is difficult to know how many to share as well as know what to tell. I will do my best to walk you through the sites without photo overkill.

Our third day of travel began at 5:00 am with a beautiful call to prayer. I thought it was beautiful then (although it was 5:00 am) and now, after having heard many other prayer calls on the trip, know it was one of the more talented singers.  After about 10 minutes, we heard the second prayer call, a reminder to anyone to hurry up, get out of bed, and get ready. It was much nicer than an alarm clock, and led me to begin my day with prayer.

Each of our hotels provided a buffet breakfast and dinner. These were usually a mix of Mediterranean and Arab foods, as is common in the area. The food in Jordan was a bit different than in Israel, but not significantly. Bree is in this picture, with Jared on the right.

This was our hotel in Amman, the Larsa Hotel. It seemed to be in a more affluent area.

All of our travel within the countries was by bus. In Jordan were required to hire a Jordanian tour guide. Ours was Smir:

Our first stop for the day was Jerash. Along the way, Smir told us a bit about his country. Jordan, in particular Amman, was the land of the Ammonites. It was all Christian until Islam came to the region in 636. The majority of the Muslims in Jordan are Sunni. Only 5-10% of the population are Christian. The Muslims there do seem to be a bit more relaxed there, or less fundamentalist, than you might find in other countries. Smir also said that Jordan is the only Arab country allowing Palestinians to become citizens when the relocate or are removed from Israel.

Jerash is a well-preserved ancient Roman city. Although it was not specifically mentioned in the Bible, seeing it does provide some perspective on the setting of stories of Paul and Peter as they extended their ministry into the Roman world.

This is our whole group, except for our Society of Biblical Studies leader Forest Wells, who took the picture.

A couple of pictures of the Jordanian countryside, as we traveled back to Amman:

Down below was the area where Jacob camped and then crossed the river to go meet Esau.

Next we drove through downtown Amman and visited the Amman Citadel, the ancient ruins of the city.

For several of us, the day ended with a church service in a nearby house church. The leaders of the church were former students of our professor, and he made arrangements for us to meet with them. The wife translated for us. The most amazing part of the service for me was the small group prayer time at the end, where we divided into groups of about 6 to pray. In our group we all prayed aloud at the same time. I had never done that and it seemed like God opened up the doors of heaven just to listen to us. I don't know how else to describe it. I couldn't even speak most of the time. We also had time to pray blessings over a couple of the teen aged girls there, and they for us. After refreshments, we headed back to the hotel. Some of the group went back out to explore the local bakery, but I stayed home to reflect on the day and prepare for the next one.

To those of you back home who were praying for us, thank you. Each day we could see evidence of it, through many blessings, both big and small.