London (for the weekend!)

I was going to do London in three blogs but decided to do it all in one….
We left Malta on Friday morning at 7:15 for London. We planned to spend the weekend and see as much as possible!! So as soon as we arrived, we took the “tube” to our hotel, dropped our bags off and hit the streets, first checking out the London Tower Bridge, which was just down the road from our hotel,

and the London Tower

catching a bus to the west end of London, we were able to see Buckingham Palace,

Westminster Abbey, where coronations have been held since 1066.

St. Margarets Church, part of Westminster Abbey, where Winston Churchill was married,

Big Ben

Parliament House, originally built in 1100!

and Household Calvary Museum, which Henry VIII used as a tournament ground. Buildings were built in 1755, and

includes the Old Treasury building

We passed Downey Street, although we were unable to enter and see #10 Downing Street,

and walked around St. James Park

We found out the Household Calvary was going to have their changing of the horse guards parade the next morning at 10, so we decided to go back on Saturday morning.

While at the museum, we found out there was going to be a Royal Salute to the Queen
(in honor of her Accension) at Hyde Park at noon. There were 41 rounds from six 13-pound cannons fired off. A calvary of 71 horses charged down the field, picking up the cannons and bringing them back up the field. A marching band then played. It was very impressive!

We also found out that the Palace changing of the guard happens every other day and would be at noon on Sunday. Since we had until noon, we decided to walk across the bridge before heading west again.

Taking pictures from the south side

Notice the “Gerkin” building(so named because it looks like a gerkin pickle!)

When we came back, we could hear bagpipes. They were playing down by the river near the London Tower at the base of the bridge.
We then returned to the Palace to view the ceremony.

Much to our surprise, the music played was a mix of Manilow and Albba hits, including
Copacabana and Dancing Queen!!

On the way back, we stopped at St. Paul’s Cathedral, rebuilt in 1675 after a fire. This was the site Charles and Diana married.

The Victoria and Albert Museum was too big for us to see all of it, but we did get to see some.

There were so many beautiful buildings and statutes!


And doors…..

Definitely a place to see!!
At least once!

Malta Trip – Day 7

Our last day in Malta, we took the bus to Mosta,where we visited the Mosta Dome. It was built in 1860 over a church that was built in 1614. The church then was taken down.
In 1942, a bomb was dropped onto the dome, falling to the floor. Fortunately, it was a dud, but the parishoners attributed it to a miracle from Mary.

This depicts Paul’s shipwreck

The marble was phenomenal on the altars and the floors!

During lunch, we had a debriefing time, and visited Centru L’Isperanza. This is a new outreach to reach communities through needs they may have.

For our “celebration dinner”, we went to a restaurant located on the Msida Marina.

Close by was this “Black Pearl”, formerly owned by Errol Flynn,had been sunk, brought up and refurbished, and used in the movie Popeye.

It was just before sunset, so we were able to get a few more pictures in. On the left is Seliema (means Peace) and the prison, on the right Valletta. The spire in Valletta is St. Paul’s Anglican Church

The clear water revealed some beautiful red corral

During our walks around the city, I was struck by the beautiful doors: Not only the door itself, but the frame around it. There is a poster of the doors of Malta,but I could not find it. So let me conclude the Malta Trip blog by showing you some of the unique doors we saw.

And finally, this bar door….loved the sign!

Malta Trip – Day 5 and Day 6

Tuesday was dedicated to stuffing envelopes with literature to distribute. Basically it was a letter written in Maltese and English encouraging the recipient to read their Bible, a copy of John’s gospel, and a tract on how to become a Christian. I had mentioned the building that was used by the Brethren, and it was there that we worked. Floriana, I am guessing, is just about a mile from our hotel, so we walked.

After finishing, we boarded the bus, taking it to Rabat and Mdina.

Everytime we took the bus it seemed, we passed the Portes de Bombes, city gates at the south entrance of Floriana…I tried several times from the bus to get a picture, before finally getting this one!

This aquaduct was built in the 1600’s to transport water from Mdina to Valletta.

At Rabat we visited St. Paul’s Cathedral,

The red drapes are installed when a festival is being celebrated.

One of the former priests was buried here in 1745.

which is built on top of a Grotto used by Paul when he stayed in Malta.

leading to catacombs

We then visited Ta Qal village, where we did some shopping,
then on to Mdina. This is Mdina from the village

One almost has to be from a long time Maltese family in order to live here as well as being very wealthy.

Cathedral of St. Paul has two clocks, different times. Legend is that one is the incorrect time to fool the devil so he doesn’t know when they meet!

It is surrounded by a very wide moat, now filled with citrus trees,

and a very thick wall.
Wednesday, day 6, we returned to Mqabba to distribute the literature. We divided into pairs again and divided the town up to cover the it. We again talked to some folks, touched base with those we had met earlier in the week and I could truly see the Lord guiding and directing us.

Malta Trip – Day 4

Monday morning we boarded the bus to go to Mqabba for our prayerwalking. After pairing up and dividing the town up, we started our praying The streets are narrow, the doors close, so it was a slow walk. Again the Lord led us to homes…we met Mary, then Joseph, a shop keeper! We joked that we needed a Paul or John to meet… but we met Luke! They were open to us praying for them.
On the way back to Valletta, we stopped to see the Blue Grotto. I have never seen such beautiful and clear water!! The color was absolutely gorgeous!! The boats were being repaired (off season) so we were not able to take the boat tour.

Then we stopped at Hagar Qim Temple is thought to date from the “Ggantija phase,” which is about 3600 to 3200 BC. Unlike most other Maltese temples, it is a single temple rather than a complex of two or three.

Next to the Qim is the Mnajdra Temple. The northern temple at Mnajdra was built c.3600-3200 BC, the middle temple was constructed 3150-2500 BC, and the southern temple dates from around 2000 BC.

Both have been covered with a white tent within the past couple of years to preserve them. It is amazing when one realizes how old these really are. Even the buildings that date to the 1500 and 1600’s seem new compared to these!!

Malta Trip – Day 3

Our third day in Malta was Sunday, so we attended the service in the morning at Knisja Evangelika Battista. The pastor was at a conference, so Bo gave the message. Since both Maltese and English are the languages of the country, the message was interpreted into Maltese. Normally the pastor, who is Maltese, gives the message in Maltese, then interprets to English. Songs were also sung that way; first in Maltese, then English. It is fun to hear music that is familiar in a different language!
In the afternoon, we were free to explore. On the bus to Mqabba on Saturday, a lady told Becky about a festival at the president’s home. The residence garden had never been open to the public before. We decided to be adventurous, and take the bus by ourselves. On arrival, we found out proceeds from the sale of citrus from the garden were to go to Haiti. The private gardens were open, and the president and his family had just gone in after greeting people when we arrived.

So, although we missed meeting the president, we enjoyed the garden, bought oranges and marmalade, and made it back in time for the women’s meeting that night!
This women’s meeting was a first for the church. Us being there was an opportunity to start the ministry. We were told that women did not get together for fellowship, and since this was the first meeting, they were planning to continue on an every other month basis. This surprised me, that the missionaries were so excited about us being there so they could start this! They told us if we had not come, they would not have been able to begin this ministry. God really used us in a different way!! It taught me that sometimes we are used in ways we do not expect.We had tea, sandwiches and cupcakes. It is the first time I have ever had a pea sandwich. It was actually pretty good. One of the English ladies at the table I was at told me this cute poem she had learned as a child:
I eat my peas with honey,
I’ve done it all my life,
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife!

Malta Trip – Day 2

We started our morning with the Malta Experience Multimedia Presentation, to get a history of the 16 by 9 mile island. (Check out the youtube presentation by clicking on above underlined) Paul was shipwrecked here on the island….Acts 28!
Maltese islands have been moulded and governed by numerous countries, including the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Normans, the Aragoniese, the Knights of St. John, the French, and finally the British, which ended in 1979. The combination has made the nation unique. During the British rule, the Governor was a Christian, attending the Brethren church that existed at the time in Floriana, the city next to Valletta. When the British left, so did those attending the Brethren church. The building had been used as a church since 1938. They passed the key to their building in Floriana on to other Christians who continue to use the building today, though it was not used for a few years in the 1980’s. During the 70’s a traveling Brethren evangelist came, preaching on the street corner and was challenged by a young man. He challenged the young man to read the Bible, and as a result the young man became a Christian, leading his then girlfriend, now wife, to the Lord. In the 1990’s the young man became the pastor of the current church, Knisja Evangelika Battista. They have moved from the original building, but the building is still being used as a prayer room. I found this information very interesting, since I was raised in a Brethren church!! The rest of the story….I found out that the evangelist, Ray Lentsch, is still alive and has written a book about his travels and experiences, titled His Last Command, My First Desire! My sister knows him, and he will hear, how 30 years later, the seeds he planted are being cultivated and reaped!

The Catholic influence is very strong here, with the church getting part of the taxes as they provide the public schools. Culture and religion are synonymous. Movies made in Malta include “Troy”, “Gladiator”, and “The Count of Monte Cristo”.

On our walk to the Malta Experience, we visited the Lower Barracca gardens
and enjoyed the views of the Grand Harbour, looking back toward the town.
During the war, Malta was under siege for 40 straight days. Whoever controlled Malta controlled the shipping lanes into Europe, so it was a key country. However, it remained independent. This commemorates the siege.

On the way back, we passed the National Library,

and the “Buckingham Palace” of Malta.

After lunch we boarded the bus and got our first glimpse of Mqabba (pronounced Em hAb Ba almost as if you are hicupping… every consonant is pronounced, but the q is like a silent h sound)
All busses leave and return to Valletta, so we would walk about 3 or 4 blocks to catch the bus, which are just outside the city gates. Look one way, it is the gate,
Turn around, it is the busses around the fountain.

On the walk to the busses, we pass the shell of the Opera House, bombed during the war.

So….on to Mqabba! Mqabba is known for it’s limestone quarries. It has more than a quarter of the nations quarries. On the western side is the coralline limestone, used in construction of fortifications, on the east side is a softer type, used in building today.
In these villages, the church is usually the center of town, which is the case in Mqabba.

The Lord led us to our first contact in the village. As we were walking around and getting acquainted with the area we would be working in, we came across a lady who was having trouble opening her door. Josephine was unable to get the outside doors open, and after trying for a few minutes, neither Jeremiah nor Bo could get it open either. We talked to her a little, and told her we would be back on Tuesday to see if she was able to get the door fixed. We found out later in the week that she was able to climb over a wall from her neighbor’s house.

When we returned to Valletta, we took a walk around the other side of the city, viewing the Marsamxett Harbour

and enjoying the sunset!!

As we walked along the street, we could look back and see St. John’s Cathedral
along with some ruins along the water,
and the city walls

We really accomplished a lot, feeling muscles we haven’t felt for a while, and look forward to serving!!

Malta Trip – Day 1

I’M BACK!! What a wonderful experience!! Gone for 10 days, it will take me a few days to get everything on the blog!
Our team consisted of five of us: Bo and Elizabeth, Becky and Jeremiah, and me.
After 12 hours in the air, and 12 hours at 3 airports, we finally arrived at our destination in Malta!
After checking into the Castille Hotel in Valletta, Malta, we had a short orientation before going out to explore the capitol city. We were very centrally located, between the Prime Minister’s office and the Stock Exchange office!! This is a wonderful old hotel, with lots of history…. click on the name above to link to their site for all of the details!! We knew we were getting a real feel for the country!! Becky and I shared a room, on the second floor, corner. (Windows with red shutters on the left …counting the ground floor as zero…in the states we would be considered the third floor.)
The Prime Minister’s office, located right next to the hotel.

Becky and I shared this room:
This was the lobby, complete with marble staircase and floors:
The desk with the beautiful arched ceiling:
When looking out our windows (we had two at the front, one on the side) this is what we enjoyed!
The side window offered a view of a window at the Prime Minister’s Office:
Straight ahead:

Right below us, in front, across the street:
To the right
To the far left was the Maltese Stock Exchange
Next to it to the right was the Grand Harbor:

Between the hotel and the Stock Exchange, was a gate to the upper Barracca Gardens. I can imagine in the spring time they must be even more beautiful!

This is part of the original wall surrounding Valletta:

Later in the week there was a cruise ship in the harbor, so Becky and I ran down to the gardens to catch a few pictures of it leaving the harbor. The cannons in the foreground were shot off at noon each day, but we were never in town at that time to watch the ceremony.
The views across the harbor of the “Three Cities” were just absolutely beautiful!

The “Three Cities” were Vittoriosa, Kalkara, and Senglea. We only viewed them across the harbor, but did not visit any of them.
We ended the day with our first meal with our hosts in Malta