Friday, May 19, 2017

Warning & a trip to Tbilisi Georgia...Day One.

I must preface this post with this statement:  
 I write this blog so that I may recall what an absolutely fantastic, wonderful, remarkable, spiritual experience serving a mission is and that we will always keep in our remembrance what we have learned.  With that said, Read or read not. (Do I sound like Yoda?)

Tbilisi, Georgia was never on my bucket list. Who knew that this charming, ancient country could captivate my heart.  Our purpose as Church History Missionaries traveling with Matthew Heiss and James Miller was to gather the first oral histories EVER from the pioneering saints in the branch.  We were also joining a group of Europe East Area Senior Humanitarian Missionaries as they concluded their conference.  Well, that happened and much, much more.

Elder Wheeler singing....."Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through.
An' just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind." in front of a flower display of the Georgian National Flag.

Our First Day in Tbilisi was a visit to the Metekhi St. Virgin Church where Elder Jeffrey R. Holland dedicated the land of Georgia for the preaching of the gospel.  He stood at the base of the statue.  Notice the position of the arm of the man on the horse.    



Pictured here is the Metekhi river.  I call it the Beheading river.  Christianity came to Georgia in the 1st Century.  I learned this history from Bob and Barbara Jones who visited Tbilisi on their mission to Armenia.  

In 1227 an army of Turkmen attacked Georgia. After terrible atrocities were inflicted upon men, women and children, the sultan ordered that the cupola of Sioni Cathedral be taken down and replaced by his throne. And at his command the icons of the Theotokos and our Savior were carried out of the Cathedral and placed at the center of the bridge across the Mtkvari River. The invaders goaded the people to the bridge, ordering them to cross it and spit on the holy icons. Those who betrayed the Christian Faith and mocked the icons were spared their lives, while the Orthodox confessors were beheaded and thrown over the bridge.  


 A hike to the Narikala Fortress was interesting and refreshing.  This ancient fortress overlooks the Kura river and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi.  

View from our hotel room at night. 



Were we in luck...It happened to be Cultural Day in Tbilisi.  Parades, costumes, and performances of traditional dances.  






 We had a wonderful conversation with these two young men.  Both are juniors in high school.  They speak five languages.  Georgian, Russian, German, Turkish, and English.  They recited historical facts of Georgia with such pride.  Impressive.





3 comments:

  1. Wow! Wow! Wow! I'm hanging on every word and I want to go everywhere you two are going! Amazing!

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