It has been 3 years since the terrorist attack in San Bernardino that left 14 dead, shot many times by their own coworker and his Islamist extremist immigrant wife at their company Christmas party. The main target was my friend Nick, a Messianic Jew like me. We attended Shiloh Messianic Congregation together, in the San Bernardino mountains. I was just down the street from the scene of this attack when it happened, watching it unfold on the TV news in a restaurant. I had just returned from teaching English for 5 years in Turkey, Russia, and China.
Oddly, I have stood in the exact spot of terrorist attacks in all 3 of those countries. Two were in airports in Russia and Turkey, and one was in Tiananmin Square in Beijing. My timing was good–before the attacks occurred–but I could have been a victim like Nick. Any of us could be victims–as could any of our children.
May we, in the new year of 2019, stand against anti-Semitism and terrorism. May we truly promote the peace that Yeshua–Messiah–came to give. Shabbat Shalom.
Jennifer Thalasinos with our Pastor’s wife Kathleen
Jennifer Thalasinos is comforted by her pastor, Kathleen Dowell of Shiloh Messianic Congregation
Today the world’s news focused on new U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions concerning 7 highly volatile, Islamist countries. Money poured in from liberal sources like George Soros and CAIR (Committee for American-Islamic Relations, a group with ties to terrorist organizations like Hamas) to fund many of the people who protested at airports and government offices across America and across the world.
The “Los Angeles Times” covered anti-Trump protests at LAX airport in a completely biased manner and even asked readers to submit their “Immigrant Story.”
Well, here is my Minority Report immigration story. Let me clarify that not all Muslims are Islamists, a term that indicates an embracement of the extreme, violent, jihadist beliefs of Islam and Sharia Law. My Muslim Turkish mother-in-law, for example, would sooner give a stranger tea and homemade soup than assemble bomb parts, and she longs for world peace.
All of us face challenges. In America, our challenges are usually not as difficult as people who face civil war in South Sudan, where children walk miles each day just to find a safe place to sleep. Yet many people think life is easy for Americans. I say, not true. Which do you think was more difficult for this American (Lonna Lisa Williams) to do:
1. Leave my California home in October, 2010 for Russia to teach English because I could not find a job in my own country even though my grandfather graduated from Yale University, was a professor at UNC, and handed the torch of education to my teacher mother and to me. Endure a long winter where I wore chains on my boots to run across the ice that coated every surface. Teach English to 13-year-olds only to end up speaking and reading in Russian because no one really wanted to speak English and hated America. Even though my grandmother was Russian, I learned their alphabet and simple words as a child, and I look Russia, most people avoided me because I was the “Amerikanka.” Discover that Vodka is easier to get than good tea, Russian food is bland and full of potatoes, and everyone shares alcohol and violence in the 3rd-class wagons of the Russian train from Samara to Moscow. Endure the 17-hour journey with 50 bunks to a wagon, accidentally stepping on a sleeping Russian woman who screamed when I descended from my top bunk. Cry on the trash bin in the back of the wagon. Kiss a Russian stranger between the wagons, in that blessed cold, dark connector, as snow fields slipped past and a full moon shone on frozen rivers. We, Russian and American, kissed without words, like lovers from a war movie who will never meet again, showing how tragedy is really, really Russian and American.
I went to Duden Waterfall near Antalya, Turkey and took photos from all angles, even from the cave behind the cascading water. I think I captured the anatomy of a waterfall, and I am amazed at such a sight. What do you think?
For those of you who liked my story about visiting Anitkabir, Ataturk’s Tomb in Ankara, Turkey, here is a video with more photos. I spent all afternoon walking around the amazing complex (in the snow) and was amazed at views of Ataturk’s life: his clothes, books, cars, boat, swords, pens, and historic photos of Turkey.
For those of you who liked my Chanakkale, Turkey post, here is the video that goes with it. Enjoy photos of the castle by the sea, the museum, and the memorial. I teach English in Turkey and discovered Chanakkale with one of my students. You can read more about my travel adventures in my new book, “Fire and Ice.”
I took the photos and narrated this video in my own voice, reading my true story of how I lost everything in California and then went to Russia. Fire can destroy everything, but ice can quench the hottest flame. I hope you enjoy this true story of death and resurrection.
Explore the lovely seaside town of Antalya, on the south coast of Turkey, at the Mediterranean Sea. See marinas below castle walls, restaurants atop cliffs, seaside coves for swimming, and yachts for cruising below the mountains above the sea.