It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…. and it could have been much worse!!
Our day started with a deluxe breakfast buffet complete with Eggs Benedict!!
We needed to do some travel plans on the computer. The keyboards are challenging since the keys don’t match up to our keyboard at home. You have to remember your US keyboard if you specify English on the computer. I often just find the punctuation mark and copy and paste. My daughter, Amy, is so proud of my increased computer knowledge that she has given me the title of Tech II.
In the afternoon, we went to Panorama 1453 that depicted the Fall of Constantinople. We learned a lot about the fall of the Byzantine reign of 1,100 years collapsing. The Koran fortells of a great Conqueror taking the city of Constantinopole. Mehmet II became Emperor at 19. He knew at a young age that his life goal was to conquer Constantinopole. He built warships, a massive cannon, raised an army and planned his attack. He stated that he would have the city or the city would have him.
There is a National Geographic Documentary called Fall of Constantinople. This event marked the end of the Dark Ages.
Here is an excellent youtube video that explains the details:
After his victory, Mehmet II who wore a shield sewn into his clothing rode straight to the Hagia Sophia on horseback and declared it a mosque.
His reconstruction process was admirable. He allowed people to worship freely. No one was made to convert or die.
I was amused by the words – Turkify and Islamicise.
Best of Times: I get to talk about Jesus.
Outside of the exhibit were remnants of the wall from 1453. Rob’s eyes light up like a little boy as we head over to climb them.
The wall looked a little rough and there was a young man coming down where we were going up. I wanted to understand the risks.
“Do you speak English?” I asked.
“Yes. In fact, I am happy to practice.”
Kenan is an eighteen year old Muslim from Bosnia. We spent nearly an hour discussing our mutual faiths.
Similar to my experience, when Kenan became an adult, he wondered if he was a Muslim because he was born into his Islamic family.
When I was his age, I wondered if I owned my Christian faith. I didn’t feel the need to learn about other religions but I wanted to know if my professed faith in Jesus Christ was authentic.
My search lead me to read the book, More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell. The main premise is the person of Jesus Christ. He can only be one of the following: Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. I determined that there was overwhelming evidence that Jesus Christ is Lord and I will serve only Him.
Kenan questioned Bible translations. This must be very confusing to Muslims as the Koran is only written officially in Arabic. We have many translations to increase our understanding. Fortunately, we don’t have to read in Hebrew and Greek!!!
Anyone can delve deeper into original languages especially if questions arise.
The best Bible translation is the one that you read! I use the NASB 1977 since it is a word by word literal translation from original texts with footnotes for clarification.
Jesus is a Prophet
Yes, but he is much more a spokesman for God. Kenan said that they believe that he is a Prophet not God himself.
Jesus as God
Kenan remarked that in John 14:28 Jesus says that God is greater than Him. This refers to the fact that he lowered himself from heaven. Jesus was 100% man and 100% God.
I AM is God’s name. He told it to Moses. Jesus referred to himself as I AM and it was blasphemous and they prepared to stone Him.
Religions of the World
All religions focus on merit and good deeds. Christianity is not a religion it is a relationship. Religions are man trying to reach God. Christianity is God reaching out to man. It is a gift. Belief is all that is required. And we serve Him as our King out of thankfulness.
Kenan asked Why do the gospels say different things? It looks like they don’t agree.
There is only one gospel of Jesus Christ but it is observed and written by four different people.
Matthew’s audience is the Jews who were waiting for their Messiah.
Mark’s audience is the Romans. Just give me the facts.
Luke’s audience is the Gentiles. He was a physician and focused on the man and his miracles.
John’s audience needs to hear about the great unexplainable love of God sending Jesus to save us.
Kenan told us that Isis and Al-Qaida are terrorists not Muslims. He is studying languages and religions and is interested in military campaigns. He wants to learn about our Civil War.
We said goodbye to our new friend and started to “walk the wall”.
Worst of Times
We had been walking for a while and would often pass other travelers. There were three men from Iraq each with cell phones who would stop Rob and me to take selfies with them. One was even so bold as to ask me to kiss him. “No. My husband would not like that,” I laughed.
We kept going and passed other wall trekkers. The way was gnarly, overgrown, and there was a lot of trash strewn about as if homeless people might take shelter here.
I noted that there was a tall barbed wire fence encircling the wall so you can’t just leave.
Rob came to the end. There was a 12 foot drop off. There was no way to get down…and even if we did, there was that barb wire fence. We were discussing our options and decided to retrace our steps.
One of the wall trekkers motioned for us to go this way. It was a cave.
He motioned that this was the way out. We climbed up to investigate. There was a tunnel but at least I could see daylight on the other side.
I stooped down and started through. Rob squeezed my butt and I playfully said stop. I was horrified when I turned around and saw that it was our “helpful” stranger helping himself. He walked past me and I waited for Rob who went past me. I tried to indicate that we were in trouble…caged, but Rob did was not pick up on it. Rob followed him into an archway. I stayed by the fence. Rob turned around and announced it was a dead end and said for us to go along the fence. I looked back at the man in the archway. He was not coming after us but was waving to me…and not with his hand.
I passed Rob who had located the hole in the fence and I marched out of there as fast as I could. Rob caught up with me and I relayed my story to him. Rob told me that the man had jumped in quickly behind me.”
Fortunately, the man was not following us and we were right by a police station. I wanted to get out of there so I didn’t stop. I was scared AND mad.
Could Have Been Worse
Even though I felt violated, it could have been MUCH worse… and Rob could have been robbed! What if he’d had a knife?
We thank all of our family and friends who continue to pray for our safety. We felt those prayers.
WARNING: To Fellow Travellers
Ask about safety. Have tourism officials show you high crime areas and stay away. I relayed my story to the hotel concierge and she told me that we were in a very bad part of town. There is a lot of crime there.
Don’t go anywhere unless there are multiple quick exits.
Be wary of helpful strangers. Keep your distance.