Hannah and Je together

Monday, 25 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fifty Fourth Day – Herodyum National Park

I was supposed to have a class Arabic class, but the teacher got another parking ticket and went to the court to get some discount, and the class was cancelled.  So I decided to go to Herodyum (or Herodion) National Park.  When I asked my host family, they told me to get a taxi, but I wanted to walk there if that is a walkable distance.

Google Maps Sucks

Google Maps Sucks

When I looked for the route on Google Maps, it showed me 6 hours and 16 minutes.  But it goes around so much, so I abandoned the Google Maps and trusted on my guts.  Actually Google Maps on Palestine is almost useless, not even giving clear satellite images and the roads are wrong many times.

Herodyum from afar

Herodyum from afar

I did not have a compass nor a map.  But I had a watch, and the sun.  I already knew that the Herodyum is almost direct south but little bit eastward.  And if I know the time, then I can tell the four directions (east, west, north, and south).  And when I walked almost half way, I began to see the Herodyum.

Sheep and Goats

Sheep and Goats

It is now pretty much normal to see the sheep and goats.  Can you tell the sheep from the goats?  It is easy to tell because they look different, but hard to explain.  One easiest thing is the tail.  Goats’ tails are lifted up while the sheep’s tails are fell down.

Olive trees are everywhere

Olive trees are everywhere

I walked totalling hour and half on one way.  And I saw so many olive trees.  I even felt like that it must be a law to plant olive trees wherever possible.  There are also many wild cats and dogs.  And on the way, a huge wild dog barked at me from afar.  Usually wild dogs here avoid people, but it barked at me, so I picked up several stones in case, and walked slowly.  Thankfully it just went its way and nothing happened.

Herodyum from closer spot than before

Herodyum from closer spot than before

And I went closer and closer to the Herodyum.  As I wrote above, it took an hour and half, not six hours and sixteen minutes.  My guts are much better than Google Maps.  Well, frankly speaking, I cannot say it is my guts because I was trained for this when I was in the army.  I can tell the direction at night as well with the moon.  It is little more complicated but not that difficult.  With the sun, you need to know the time, and the location of the sun.  With the moon, you need to know the time and the location of the sun too.  How do I know the location of the sun at night?  With the location and the phase of the moon, you can tell the location of the sun.  Actually the time is not necessary because if you know the location of the sun, you also know the time.

Top Palace Model

Top Palace Model

This the model of the top palace.  There are two palaces in Herodyum – top and lower.  But the lower palace was not ready for the visitors, so I could not enter, but I saw it from above.

Top Palace Ruin

Top Palace Ruin

This is the top palace remains.  That round ruin is original watch tower (even before Jehovah’s witness).  Herodyum was an integrated entertainment place, having almost everything here.

Herodyum Tunnel

Herodyum Tunnel

There was a tunnel and water system.  It goes down quite a lot, and has huge cistern.

Royal Theatre

Royal Theatre

The other side of the mountain, there was a royal theatre.  It was not a huge size like in Caesarea.  But it was not for the people but for Herod’s personal and private use.  So it does not have to be big in size.

Herod's Tomb Model

Herod’s Tomb Model

And there is also his tomb.  Herod was buried here, of course his tomb was already destroyed and forgotten, but it was found around 2007 (if I remember right).  This is the model of his tomb.

Israeli Army base seen from above

Israeli Army base seen from above

This is clearly Palestine territory, but the Herodyum is Israeli National Park, and Israel government manages.  There are also Israel settlements, and to protect them, they installed army base.

Herodyum Model

Herodyum Model

This is the whole model of Herodyum.  Herodyum is one of the highest point in this area, so you can see and control the whole region.

USAID

USAID

When I was walking back (I walked another hour and half), I saw a few USAID signs.  It is good to see those signs because it means America is doing some good things.

Kids on barefoot

Kids on barefoot

The Palestinians kids were playing barefoot.  I was worried if they were OK.  This is not a tourist area, and no foreigner comes here, and they looked like that they saw non-Palestinian for the first time.

Steeper than it looks

Steeper than it looks

I took this picture from on a hill to the other hill.  It may not look that steep in the picture, but it is crazy steep, and I had to walk up and down, up and down, and again for three hours today.  People always live on the mountain (hill) tops.  It is of course for the protection from the enemies (from the ancient times).  But the mountain tops are less hot than the valleys.  And there are always winds on mountain tops, so if you sweat, it cools you down quite a lot because it is dry here and the wind is constant.

When I walked almost half way, a car stopped and offered me ride.  I said no because I wanted to walk and see the village and people.  He asked me where I go, so I told him that my house is near the YMCA in Beit Sahour.  He said to me that he would give me a ride with so cheap price because he is not a taxi driver and taxis are expensive.  I did not even ask the price but just said “Thank you but I am OK to walk.”  He then told me, “Just 100 shekels.”  I know the taxi price.  From the spot I was to my home is about 15 shekels.  What the freak is he?  I am really on the Palestinians’ side on the matter of Israel-Palestine conflict and civilian victims, but honestly, Palestinians try their best to rip off the strangers.  The other day I bought a bottle of water for a shekel and half.  I spoke Arabic, but another guy speaking English bought the same for three shekels.  I can say that was cute, but trying to get 100 shekels from me with 15 shekels’ driving is not cute at all.  So I told the driver for the last time, “Shukran Ktir, bass Ana BID-DI aruf.”  This means, “Thank you very much, but I WANT TO walk.”  Then he left.

Thorns in our hearts

Thorns in our hearts

If you go to any field where no one ploughs and works on, the field is full of thorns.  And I just thought that if we do not plough their hearts with God’s teaching and love, our hearts will be full of thorns – hatred and anger towards others.  Even though this is the Holy Land, the root of three religions, the believers do not plough their hearts with God’s true teaching and their hearts are full of thorns, and that is expressed by the violent conflicts between the Jews and Muslims.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Where to go for Biometrics of Immigration – USCIS

Almost four weeks ago, I got the notice from the USCIS to come for the biometrics. It was yesterday.

Hannah told me she knows where to go and it does not even take ten minutes. So we left home 10 minutes before the appointed time. And one the way, I asked her to double check the location with her smart phone‘s GPS and navigation.

The address was 888 South Route 59, Naperville, IL 60540. And her smart phone (Google Maps) showed totally different location. The location she knew is around IL-59 and McCoy Drive, and the one smart phone showed is north of North Aurora on IL-59.

So we hurried and rushed to the other place, I was nervous and said to her “You told me you know!” She said, “It must be moved! It was there! It must be new place!”

And when we reached the location where the smart phone showed, there was nothing but a field with abandoned tall grass. So we headed back to the original place where Hannah knew. And meanwhile she phoned the USCIS to check the location, and they just asked so many questions verifying who is calling.

While she was talking on the phone, we got to the place and the building says the street number “888” with huge letter!

We were a little bit late, but processing itself was quick. I just took finger prints for all my ten fingers twice, and a photo shot. That was all. And they were very unkind. Hannah was looking at her smart phone, and one of them said with very unpleasant voice, “Ma’am, you got to turn off your cell phone!”

So, if you are looking for where to take your immigration biometrics, which is finger prints, DO NOT BELIEVE the navigator. It is in the shopping centre where the Walmart is by the IL-59 and McCoy Drive. Or you can just go this coordinates on the map – 41.755342,-88.204266. Oh, if you search that address with the zip code, the map shows correctly, but it would be better to see my coordinates on Google maps because the shopping centre is huge and you would take long time to find where. And it is “Application Support Centre.”

거의 4주 전에 미국 이민국에서 바이오메트릭스를 찍으러 오라는 통보를 받았는데, 그게 어제였다.

아내가 어디로 가는지 안다고 그리고 10분도 안 걸린다고 해서 딱 10분 전에 집을 나섰다. 가는 도중에 아내에게 확실히 하기 위해서 스마트폰으로 주소를 찾아 보라고 했다.

주소는 888 South Route 59, Naperville, IL 60540인데 스마트폰 (구글 맵)이 완전 다른 위치를 보여줬다. 아내가 알고 있던 위치는 IL-59번 도로와 맥코이 드라이브 근처인데, 스마트폰은 노스 오로라 길 북쪽의 IL-59번 을 보여주는 것이다.

그래서 바쁘게 차를 돌려서 다른 위치로 갔고, 너무 긴장되고 화가 나서 아내에게 “안다며!”라고 했다. 아내도 역시 “바뀌었나보지! 거기 있었어! 새 장손가 보지!”라고 대꾸했다.

스마트폰이 보여준 위치에 가니 풀만 길게 자라난 허허 벌판이었다. 그래서 다시 아내가 알던 원래 위치로 돌아가면서 미국 이민국에 전화를 했는데, 신원 확인을 위해서 엄청나게 많은 질문들을 해댔다.

아내가 여전히 전화에 대답을 하고 있는 도중에 도착을 했는데, 건물에 큰 글자로 주소가 “888”이라고 적혀 있었다!

조금 늦었는데 진행 자체는 빨랐다. 열 손가락 모두 지문을 두번씩 찍고, 사진을 한 번 찍었다. 그게 전부였다. 그리고 엄청 불친절했다. 아내가 스마트폰을  만지는데, 엄청 퉁명스런 목소리로 “핸드폰 꺼주세욧!”이라고 했다.

그래서, 만일 이민에 관련된 일로 지문을 찍어야 한다면 네비게이션을 믿지 말고 IL-59와 맥코이 드라이브 옆에 있는 월마트가 있는 쇼핑센터로 가길 바란다. 아니면 좌표 41.755342,-88.204266를 찾아 가면 된다. 참, 우편번호까지 넣어서 검색을 하면 제대로된 장소가 나오긴 하지만, 쇼핑센터가 커서 어디로 가야할지 한참 찾아야 할테니 어째든 구글 맵의 좌표 링크를 참조하면 도움이 될 것이다. Application Support Center 어플리케이션 서포트 센터라고 써있다.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Church Tour: Community Christian Church, Yellowbox

The second choice of our Church tour was Community Christian Church. I found it on Google Maps and chose this because it is close from home. The church is big, not as big as Calvary Church where we visited the other Sunday. I found out that it has twelve locations in Chicagoland. And this one was called Yellowbox because the building is kind of box shape and yellow painted. But I have to say this one was so disappointing from the beginning to the end.

The demographic of the Church is mostly White people. At the Calvary Church, it was so mixed race and ethnic. When Hannah and I stepped into the building, the church and the people were not welcoming. You may say this is just because the church is big. But Calvary is way bigger and still welcoming.

The sound system was good and the pre-service music was good. The form of the service is kind of liberal like Calvary (which I do not really like). But what gave me shock came later in the sermon.

Pastor and his wife stood together and they made the sermon together in the talk show style. I do not like it, but that is all right. I can bear that. The sermon is all about how to manage time well. There was NOT EVEN SINGLE MENTION of JESUS or CHRIST. If it had been a speech or seminar, it could have been so good. But I can boldly say it cannot be a sermon. And this is not a Church.

It does not matter how many good things they do to the community. If they do not preach the gospel, if they do not say about Jesus and His blood, they are not a congregation nor a Church, at least to me. Even they don’t have Cross on their church symbol or logo.

I may not go back to there. At least I do NOT want. After the Church, even Hannah told me that it was like a life seminar with occasional Bible verses.

Community Christian Church was so much disappointing Church. So I will not put any Church information here except the name.

교회 투어의 두번째 교회는 커뮤니티 크리스찬 교회로 구글 지도에서 찾았고 집과 가까워서 갔다. 지난 번에 간 갈보리교회 만큼은 아니지만 교회가 꽤 컸다. 이 교회는 노란 상자라고 불리는데, 건물이 상자 모양이고 노란 색으로 칠해져 있어서 그런 것 같다. 나중에 알았지만 시카고 지역에 12개 교회를 갖고 있다고 한다. 그런데 처음부터 끝까지 매우 실망스러운 교회였다.

교회의 인구 구성도 대부분 백인이었다. 갈보리 교회에서는 상당히 다양한 인종이 있었는데. 아내와 함께 교회에 들어가서 느낀 것은 별로 환영하는 듯하지 않았다는 것이다. 교회가 커서 그렇다고 말할 수도 있지만, 여기보다 훨씬 큰 갈보리 교회만 해도 매우 환영한다는 느낌을 받았다.

음향 시스템은 꽤 좋았고, 예배 전 음악도 매우 좋았다. 예배 형식은 갈보리 교회와 비슷하게 자유롭고 형식이 파괴된 것이었는데, 내가 그닥 좋아하지는 않는다. 하지만 진짜 충격은 설교였다.

목사님과 사모님이 같이 무대에 올라와서는 설교를 토크쇼 형식으로 같이 이끌어 나갔다. 별로 좋아 보이진 않았지만, 뭐 그정도는 괜찮다. 설교가 온통 시간 관리에 관한 것 뿐이었다. 예수님이나 그리스도에 대한 언급은 단 한 차례도 없었다. 연설이나 세미나였다면 정말 좋았겠지만, 이건 설교가 아니다! 그리고 이건 교회도 아니다!

이 사람들이 지역사회에 얼마나 좋은 일을  많이 하는지는 상관없다. 복음을 전하지 않는다면, 예수님과 보혈을 설교하지 않는다면 교회가 아니다. 적어도 나는 그렇게 생각한다. 그리고 교회 로고에도 십자가가 없다.

여긴 다시 안갈 듯 하다. 가고 싶지도 않다. 예배 후에, 아내도 생활 세미나에 온것 같다고 했다.

커뮤니티 크리스찬 교회는 정말 실망스러웠고 교회 이름을 제외한 어떤 정보도 이 블로그에 올리지 않겠다.

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