"I pray also that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and His incomparably great power for us who believe..." ~Ephesians 1:18-19
Considering I have been back in Romania for almost 2 weeks, I thought it was due time to write my final update on Turkey. After wrapping up our time in Ankara, Jenny and I headed to Ephesus and Izmir (Smyrna) for a few days of vacation before heading back to Istanbul.
Before I left for Turkey, I decided to read through the book of Ephesians as well as review Acts and Revelations as a way of preparing myself for seeing Ephesus. In Revelations, Ephesus is referred to as the church that lost her "first love". Jenny and I got up early Sunday morning and walked to the top gate of Ephesus. Upon entering the ruins, we were transported back in time. As we walked through the ruins, I imagined Paul there and could not help but feel a little sad, knowing that this place had once heard and received the gospel. But thankfully I know He is not done with Turkey yet. After visiting Ephesus, we also visited the ruins of the Basilica of St John where John, the beloved disciple, is said to be buried. Discovering that the Aegean Sea was just a short bus ride away, we then headed to the beach for a quick visit. I loved getting to observe families together, including many women fully covered, yet fully enjoying themselves in the water.
|Jenny and I with the Library of Celsus in the background|
|Hadrian's Temple, Ephesus|
|Theater~Ephesus (imagining Acts 19)|
|Basilica of St John|
|Baptisitry at Basilica of St John's|
|Playing in the Aegean Sea|
We took the train to Izmir (Smyrna) Monday morning and were able to explore the city for a few hours. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring the maps with us, so we ended up walking all over the city. In Revelations, Smyrna is called the "persecuted church". Jenny and I visited the ruins from the old city and then meandered through an area called Havra Sokagi, which is in the old Jewish area. Going to Izmir (and especially the Jewish area) was quite meaningful to me as my paternal great-grandmother, Molly, was born in Smyrna.
|Church in Izmir|
|Along the seaside in Izmir|
|Ruins from the ancient city of Smyrna|
|Old Jewish area of Smyrna|
We flew from Izmir to Istanbul Monday evening, landing on the Asia side and then taking an hour bus ride to the Europe side, where we had booked a hostel. Getting to our hostel was a bit of an adventure, but once we arrived we found it to be a wonderful and convenient place to stay. Jenny was a great tour guide, taking me to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia (a church that was built in the 500s), Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Chora Church etc. We also took a ferry to the Princes Islands to spend one day away from the craziness of Istanbul. Every day He gave us opportunities to speak of His love, whether it be with a roommate at the hostel, a tour guide or even a waiter at a restaurant. We may not know the outcome, but we know for sure seeds were planted.
|Posing with the Turkish flag~on the ferry to Princes Island|
|Jenny at Princes Island (Sea of Marmara)|
|Inside the Blue Mosque|
|Courtyard of the Blue Mosque|
|Marble door inside Hagia Sophia|
|Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar|
|Grand Bazaar~an overwhelming experience!|
|Mosaic of the apostle Peter in the Chora Church|
|View of Istanbul from Seven Towers|
|Jenny's church brought over suitcases of dresses from Dress A Girl Around the World|
|Posing with the Romanian flag in Turkey|
|Posing with Romanians living in Istanbul|
|Saying goodbye to Jenny~Istanbul airport|