Days 2 and 3 of our “Paul and Beyond” trip found our travelers enjoying the wealth of Roman ruins, incredible artisan work, and observing modern excavations that are daily uncovering and changing understandings of the world in which Paul preached and then the early church led.
Thursday they visited Laodicea, Aphrodisias, and Hierapolis. Laodicea was one of the 7. Churches of Asia who received messages from John in Revelation (John wished they were hot or cold but they were lukewarm). This site has grown tenfold in the 6 years since Dr. Mohn last visited there. Aphrodisias is an incredible site with very important carved friezes depicting Roman imperial theology that marked the world Paul entered to preach about Jesus. And Hierapolis is the ancient city near the Pamukkale cliffs. It has a very large necropolis, an ancient cemetery, that reveals much about the ancient funerary practices. Including a fascinating tomb of a gladiator whose tomb included frieze of his favorite weapons and triumphs and would have been gifted to him by fans.
Friday they visited Ephesus and the amazing terraced villas that continue to be excavated. There again we learn of the power of Roman Imperial religion and the devotion of the people to it as a preserver of culture and status. Paul and the early church did not find a vacuum of religion but in fact a well established and proven religious cult that united the empire.
I will be leaving Saturday to join the group in Istanbul. The kids are healthy and our village is ready to care for them. Looking forward to being connected with them as we continue our time learning and growing. #NTNL #BWTX #InMissionTogether