Happy New Year!

12487208_553529244814280_4244600302103988083_oDearest Family and Friends, Happy 2016! Our prayer for you this year is that our loving LORD will make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: and lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. That the road will rise to meet you and your shoes will be iron.

Yours in Him,
Michael and Tanya Kekel

Ephesus ROCKS! (lit.)

I’m sure you’ve read about the Temple of Diana of the Ephesians in the bible; but the only remains of her temple is a lone column left standing on the temple site, in a valley near the city center.

What you’re seeing in today’s post, are pictures of the Theatre where Paul was in Acts 19.  Look carefully at the photos with the trees, and you can see the Theatre in the distance; it is massive, and very high. Supposedly, it would seat 30,000. The people ascending along the wall are going up to the Theatre entrance, which is likely where the events of Acts 19 took place.

The Theatre
2302 θέατρον [theatron /theh·at·ron/]; a spectacle;  theatre, a place in which games and dramatic spectacles are exhibited, and public assemblies held (the Greeks used the theatre also as a forum). A place where a man is exhibited,  gazed at, or made sport of. To the Greeks, a ‘Theatre’ had a 180 degree shape, but later, when the Coliseum in Rome was built, it was originally called an ‘Amphitheater’, because it was a ‘double theater’ being 360 degrees.

The main floor level is where speakers stood, such as Philosophers, Poets, etc., and all could hear them. What an amazing PA system! In addition, there were some Gladiator type activities there.

Acts 19:  28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. 30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. 31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.



A Refuge for Mary

We went by bus from the port city of Kusadasi (KOOSH-ah-dahss) to Ephesus, through the mountains of Turkey, and briefly visited the place where they say the Apostle John took Mary to abide after the death of her Son; evidently to protect her from the Romans. This little stone house, they say, is where she lived out her days. Also notice the stone wall heavily salted with many prayers inserted between the stones; very similar to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Afterward, we continued our bus trip toward Ephesus, about which I have much more to share.


On the road again

On the road again, to Fayetteville, North Carolina to check the progress of the Servicemen’s Home remodel, (more on that later) and while we’re there we want to have some church! We’ll be there Wednesday through Friday night, and then having a Fellowship Meeting Saturday, in Jacksonville, NC at Rev. Gandy’s; we would greatly appreciate all prayers. We return to Washington next Tuesday. God bless you everyone!


Ephesus the City – 2015

IMG_2115Here’s a few photos from our recent trip to Greece, Turkey and Italy, and there’s much more to follow. Thank you everyone for your prayers that brought us home safely!

Ephesus, Turkey is on the western coast of Asia Minor. The area has a rich history going back to even the Hittite civilization. We first flew to Athens, and the next night went by ship across the Aegean Sea to Turkey. We sailed by night, and spent a day in each of numerous destinations including some Grecian islands; then a whole day cruising to Italy; first to Pompeii, and the next day to Rome for two and a half days; of the three countries, Turkey was the cleanest and friendliest. The best parts of the trip were Ephesus and the Colosseum. The pics you’ll see in the gallery are from our day in Ephesus (Ephesos). The port city is Kusadasi (pron. koosh-ah-dass) where we saw how Turkish rugs are made and sampled Turkish food; is it ‘yumm’ or ‘hmmm’?

At one time flooding twice filled with silt the distant, dry harbors you see in the photos of Ephesos, and each time it forced the Ephesians to move to higher ground. The ‘third Ephesus’ is partially exposed in the archaeological dig hidden beneath the metal roofing all over the hillside.  Here, I’ve given you a peek, where you can see inside the homes in this residential area of Ephesus; note the many frescoed rooms and intricate mosaics on the floors.

The Ephesians that lived in these houses were obviously well off, as frescoes were not for the poor; frescoes are paintings on walls, created by applying watercolor to wet plaster. This embedded the colors so, that they have lasted all these years. The Italian word BTW, is alfresco, or ‘al fresco’ meaning ‘on the fresh’! (fresh plaster or food, you choose).


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