Jaffa

Zondag in Jaffa

Ds. Goldby van de Schotse Free Presbyterian Church woont op dit moment in Jaffa, voorheen is hij 4 jaar in Jeruzalem geweest. Hij werkt aan de vertaling van de Hebreeuwse Bijbel en is bezig met de Westminster Confessie. Het is verschrikkelijk moeilijk om hier zondagse kerkdiensten te beginnen. Zondag is een normale werkdag in Israel, de mensen hebben vrijdag en zaterdag vrij. Er zijn verschillende Messiasbelijdende gemeenten, maar zover ik weet hebben de allemaal kerkdiensten op zaterdag en op  zondagavond. Mr. Goldby hield 2 diensten op zondag toen hij in Jeruzalem was, maar daar had hij vaak toeristen. Hier in Jaffa komt er niemand sochtends, dus heeft hij 1 dienst op zondagavond. Hij kwam ons zaterdag aan het eind van de middag ophalen. Zijn vrouw en dochter waren helaas in Schotland. Maar we werden hartelijk onthaald. Kregen lekker wat te eten en te drinken.

Zondag, begin van de middag kwam hij ons weer ophalen. We hebben de zondagmiddag in zijn flat doorgebracht, samen met een vriend van hem: Tom. Tom is ds. in de Reformed Baptist Church en ze werken veel samen in verschillende projecten. Ds. Goldby heeft zelfs nog een hele maaltijd gekookt: Casserole met aardappelpuree, worteltjes en erwtjes. Met ijs na!

Savonds naar de kerk geweest, waar Tom was en nog 2 Russische Joden: Yuri en Sasha. De dienst werd vertaald in het russisch. Het is verschrikkelijk moeilijk om het Evangelie hier in Israel te brengen. Vooral de orthodoxe Joden zijn zeer vijandig. Pakketjes worden bezorgd met een bom erin of als je ondernemer bent nemen ze je vergunning af. Toch heeft ds. Goldby vrienden onder hen. Hij ging regelmatig naar de synagoge en is in gesprek met Joodse Rabbies. Sommige van deze mensen zijn in het geheim Christenen. Maar ze zijn erg bang. Maar de ds. vermoedt dat er veel meer zijn dan wij denken. 

Jaffa (Joppa)

Jaffa itself is very small, and not very interesting. In the KJV it is known as Joppa. The haven Jonah went to flee as far as possible from Nineveh.

In the New Testament we read about it as the location of the house of Simon, a tanner, where the servants of Cornelius found Peter.

And this is the roof of the house. We couldn't get any closer, as it appears to be a private home.

The modern harbour of Jaffa.

And then something that's not in the book, the school where Rev. Golby's daughter went. For those reading this who do not know Mr. Golby, he is a minister from the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, ministering in Israel. I will do a separate post on his work here in Israel.

Old Jaffa Hostel

Our hostel in Jaffa, the Old Jaffa Hostel. The worst place we've been so far, very noisy, too hot for me at night, and no airconditioning. On the other hand, staff was very friendly, and it was very clean. Toilet facilities were ok. Showers were split in male/female, but had no privacy. In the men's one it was basically army style.

Here the building from the side. We were sleeping in the top room:

Or sleep: sometimes. As you can see it's surrounded by three streets, not very busy, but you have those kids with enormously loud speakers who tend to come down at 3am or so, and just shake you awake. Just a lot of noise. And it's hot, no airconditioning.

Auke and Dieuwe slept even more interesting: on the roof.

There were no more rooms, and for the noise it didn't matter. Perhaps even cooler outside. The only problem was that at 7pm the rain started to poor, so they had to run inside. So they didn't get a lot of sleep either.

So we didn't do a lot in Jaffa. It's basically a suburb of Tel Aviv, a modern city, and Jaffa itself is very small. Dinner on Saturday night was very simple as well: a hot dog. But a big one :-) Here Auke and Dieuwe eating one while looking over the beaches and the Mediterranean.

The $2700 mistake

On Saturday we left our B&B in Haifa very early, at 8:10am. The goal was to get to the Egyptian consulate in Tel Aviv to get a visa to pass the Taba border. It seems you can't get it at the border itself. We had called the consulate before, but they don't speak English, just kept saying Visa 9am to 11am. We first understood this meant to call between that times, but when calling between 9am and 11am a second time we understood we had to be there in person. We asked about opening times, they were closed on Fridays they said, but open in Saturday.

When we were that at about 9.30am, the consulate was closed. There was an intercom outside, which answered. But the person told it they were closed! And wouldn't reopen till Wednesday!! And we needed to have a visa before Tuesday.

So after some research we were left with no other option than to buy tickets to fly from Tel Aviv to Cairo at 241 EUR a person as we have to be in Cairo on Wednesday for our flight to Singapore. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Not a good start of a sweet year.

So instead of taking the bus back through the Sinai desert, we'll be flying to Jordan, and them from Jordan to Cairo. A 7 hour trip as well.

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