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Tags - sea of galilee
Sea of Galilee. I ended my last post with our group touring the "Jesus Boat" museum at Nof Ginnosaur. Because the rain had turned into a light mist at this point, we decided to walk/roll a short distance to our next stop for a Sea of Galilee boat ride. From the museum we crossed over to a downhill paved sidewalk that brought us to the boat launch. All of us were very eager to get out onto the Sea of Galilee...until we saw how it had to be done. YIKES! At this point, going up and down two flights of stairs at Mt. Carmel looked very easy compared to what I was now looking at. Once again, this would not have been remotely possible if not for Dr. Hartman planning everything many months in advance. The boat he arranged for us was large with the boat deck itself free of any structures or obstacles. The challenge would be getting five wheelchairs onto the boat. But Dr. Hartman had that all arranged as well. Our group was expected and four men ran from the boat to our group all ready to push, pull, lift, and do whatever it would take to make it happen. The rainy weather also created another challenge for us, making our way to the boat very slippery.
Now let me attempt to explain how this was done. Some of the obstacles here will make sense to others in wheelchairs, but may not seem very difficult to able-bodied individuals. So I will try to explain in detail so that everyone can understand the challenge. The first part of the very long dock passage to the boat was a ramp made from corrugated steel. To get onto this first ramp there was about an eight inch curb pop to be dealt with. I pulled up to the ramp and popped a wheelie to get my front wheels onto the ramp. One of the four men helping stood behind me holding the handles on my wheelchair, and one of them was in front of me holding the front of my wheelchair. Also the ramp was not level but more like an inverted V. While all of this was going on, I was explaining to our helpers the best way to do different things. They were not use to dealing with people in wheelchairs, but their willingness to serve and help more than made up for that. So with my front wheels on the ramp, I told the guy behind me to just lift my handles and push me onto the ramp. Neither the incline or decline of the ramp was extreme, but the rain had made the steal very slippery. So the guy pulling in front could get no traction, I could get no traction, and the guy behind me could get no traction. I grabbed the railings on the ramp to pull myself along while the two helpers pushed and pulled. Then we hit the decline side of the ramp and things became very interesting. The weight of me and my wheelchair, added to little or no traction, started the three of us sliding down the other side. We stopped and we turned my wheelchair around backwards to go down the ramp. Less chance of me taking a nose dive and I could hold onto the railings better to help. Then the other two helpers jumped in to assist and we slowly moved down the ramp. They then lifted me down three steps on the other side onto a flat dock section. I rolled as far as I could and then stopped and waited for the others to follow. After all of us passed the first point of our obstacle course, we were lifted onto a second ramp with a slight decline to the next dock section. Once we were all on that dock section we were lifted a third time onto a downhill ramp and then lifted to the final dock section where the boat was moored. Because of the weather, the water was very choppy and the boat was rocking at a pretty decent pitch. I instantly thought of Peter walking on the water which was great since I was going to be giving a devotional once we were out on the water. Now, if all of the ramps sounded interesting to you to get to the boat, the next challenge was getting the five of us in wheelchairs lifted about three feet off the dock, up and over the side of a rocking boat, and down three steps onto the deck of the boat. The four men helping never even gave it a thought. They put in place two very large Styrofoam squares that made a makeshift stairway to get us up to the side of the boat. So the four men lifted each of us to the first one, then the second one, then over the side of the boat, down the three steps and onto the deck. SAFE! If you watch the video I posted you can actually see one of us being lifted up and onto the boat.
Once everyone was safely aboard, they launched the boat, and just being on the Sea of Galilee made the very small trial of getting to the boat worth it all. I must admit this was my favorite part of our entire trip. To look around me and realize that so much of Christ's ministry happened right here, so many miracles, so much teaching; I was in complete awe of the beauty and biblical history that I was looking at. I also had the double blessing of being able to share a devotional with our group while out on the water. The owners of our boat were also extremely talented musically, and we found out they even have their own band. They blessed all of us with some wonderful Israeli Folk music as well as some English hymns.
The memories that I have of doing this are still so strong in my mind. For anyone with a disability, let this be an encouragement for you to never give up and to never say it cannot be done. We no sooner got out onto the sea when the rain stopped, the wind stopped, and calmness came onto the water. The Lord performed another miracle that day, and I was so blessed to be a part of it.
Being disabled does not mean that life is over. As a t-8 complete paraplegic I want to encourage all people with a disability to get out and live life!