Today was an early morning. We caught our ferry at 8:30 for Turkey. That's right! Today we not only changed cities, but we changed countries and continents. We were met by our magnificent tour guide Nam. He first took us to the ruins of the Basilica of St. John. This is the site of a massive Byzantine era basilica built on the site where legend says the apostle died and whose body was never to be seen again. This was the second largest basilica built in that era in that region - second only to Hagia Sophia.
Following our visit to the basilica we went to Isabey Mosque (the Mosque of Jesus). Nam gave us a brief history lesson on the mosque and Islam in the area. We then had the distinct privilege of entering the mosque together. So amazing.
The we went to a local restaurant where we ate home cooked cuisine made from locally grown vegetables by an amazing woman and her family. It was quite the surprise and quite delicious.
Our final stop before returning to Samos was the ancient city of Ephesus. We walked along the marble streets, visited temples dedicated to pagan deities and political leaders, saw the ancient public bath, were awed by the terrace houses of the wealthy, stood in the shadow of the beautiful library, and visited the largest theater of the ancient world (25,000 seats). This is an experience that none will forget. All were moved by the sites and the stories of this amazing region.
We boarded our ferry for our journey home and were led in devotions by Karl. Then it was back into town for another tasty dinner in our small groups.
And tomorrow, we get to sleep in! Thank you for your prayers. Check back again tomorrow.