I have just returned from a trip to Shanghai and a short blog Hiatus, and would logically be bloging about my trip. However, my thoughts have been wandering elsewhere since I left my hotel in Shanghai.
Just as I was leaving the hotel I received an e-mail that my friend Oliver had passed away in his sleep. He had battled cancer for many years. While flying home I had a lot of time to reflect on our friendship over the years.
Oliver and his wife Terri have been friends of mine for more than 15 years. I have always enjoyed the times that they have visited California.
A few years ago they made a suggestion that started a chain of events that have enriched my life. They suggested that I go on a trip to Israel with them in 2012.
The picture above is one that I took of Oliver when we were in Joppa during the trip. I used it in my post Signs in Joppa.
Here are Terri and Oliver at Caesarea Maritima on the first day of our trip.
The trip to Israel with Terri and Oliver also led to me starting this blog. I started the blog several months before the trip so that I could get some practice in before going to Israel.
In the picture above you see our group leader Ferrell Jenkins. I had visited his blog many times, so it was nice to meet him in person. He also inspired me to start my blog.
Also in the picture behind Oliver was our guide Elie Ben-Meir.
Meeting Ferrell also led to my trip to Turkey last year.
I still keep in contact with some of the members of the tour, especially my friends Barry, Trent, Rebekah and Wayne.
The trip to Israel further spurred my interest in History and Archaeology.
My friend Wayne went on an archaeological dig at Lachish last year. This is part of the reason why I am going this year.
I think of the many things that I would have missed if Terri and Oliver had not invited me to go on the trip to Israel, and realize that I have had a fuller life because of our friendship.
While going through several thousand pictures this evening, this one caught my eye. I took this picture at Samaria. Here Oliver is petting a little kitty. It reminds me of Oliver’s friendliness, compassion and gentleness.
Keep Oliver’s family and friends in your prayers as we remember his life.