June and I had the privilege of going to the Holy Land during the holidays of 1989-90. The church gave the trip to us as a gift for our 10th year anniversary which was a big deal in those days since no pastor had served the church for more than seven years and only a couple exceeded five. June wanted to go to Disney World and take the kids but it was a conditional gift-Holy Land or nothing. She told me that she was not going and so I relayed the message to Joe Eaton and he was very disappointed. Later, Bro. Alvin Tucker talked to me. He said, “Bro. Jack, this is a golden opportunity and you need to go by yourself if June does not want to go.” Bro. Alvin and Joe were neighbors and they had been discussing the subject. I gave it some thought and changed my mind. As soon as June realized that I was going with or without her, she changed her mind and so long story short, we both went.
We narrowed it down to two tours: one with Adrian Rogers [whom Ramona Eaton idolized] and one with Dick T. out of Whitesburg. We choose the Whitesburg group because Junior and Carol Hill were going and so was Bro. Jack Freeman. We didn’t know a soul at Bellview. Our brochure said that Junior would be the bible teacher and Dick would be the guide. If you’ve ever been any where with Dickie T. you know how this turned out. Junior did good to get to return thanks. Dick was director, bible teacher, praise and worship leader, MC, and everything else. You cannot spell dictator without spelling dick, close anyway. Never go anywhere with this man. He hates rest and relaxation. He will ruin your trip.
Long story short, we spend about 7 days in Jerusalem doing what Dick wants to do of course. Who in thunder wants to go to a Mosque and take off your shoes and pretend that alla is somebody. Anyway, we did visit a model of old Jerusalem in the times of Solomon. Some Jewish Rabbi had done a scale of the entire city, walls, Temple and all. Our guide was an Arab, supposedly Christian but if you buy that I have some ocean front property in Morgan County that I will gladly part with. This Arab and Dick are talking 90 to nothing but they fail to mention something that I think is important. The model had the Temple in line with the Eastern Gate. When the sun rose in the morning and the gate was opened, the sunlight would flood the Holy Place in the Temple. The Arabs claim that the Dome of the Rock which is a quarter of mile out of line is where the Temple use to be. In other words, they think they control the area where the Temple would be built. They are wrong of course. This guy doesn’t even mention this so I call his attention to it….”Hey Buddy, did you notice that the Temple is in perfect alignment with the Eastern Gate.” That is all I said. I might as well gone ahead and cursed all the descendants of Ismael. This guy goes ballistic. He runs around the group to get to me and gets in my face. Meanwhile, Dick, the nobleman that he is, leads the groups on through the tour, leaving me behind with this mad Arab, Muhammad Inyourfacah [pronounced In-your-face-ah]. Arabs cannot carry on dialogue like normal humans, they are more like drill instructors, in your face and screaming. I should have cold cocked this idiot. I still don’t understand why I didn’t hit him in the face. It might have been that I was totally humiliated and that I HAD NO FRIENDS.
Oh yeah, that is capital N with the O, NO friends. Junior and Carol just kept walking. It’s like who is the guy back there stirring up a stink. I guess poor old Bro. Jack would have stood up for me but I don’t think he knew what was going on. Where is my sweet wife. She took refuge among my other none-friends. That’s right, she, Doug, Junior, Carol, Bro. Jack, the whole kit and kaboodle have distanced themselves from me and the mad Arab. But Junior did listen. I did not think anyone was listening but Junior listened.
No one mentioned it to me the entire day. I figured I would have to eat by myself when it came lunch time but June, Junior and Carol did sit with me at lunch. No one said a word about me being persecuted for righteousness sake by the infidels. Nothing was said from that point on. I think I questioned June’s loyalty that night and she came up with some lame excuse but the subject never came back up. We get home and a few weeks later I get a letter [old days before email] for Dr. Hill. He has conferred upon me the honorary degree of Doctor of Biblical Antiquities. So I get this letter addressed to. Dr. Super Jack, President of Eastern Gate Ministries. Hey Junior, where were you when I needed you? The same goes for Sir Douglas and Bigmama.
Hey, I can laugh about it now but it was not funny on the day that it happened. The sad thing is that I am right and no one will give me credit. What is it with people? Why don’t they recognize my gifts and expertise. I went to Iraq in 2008 and the IMB missionary told me to come back to the states and raise money for Lottie Moon. He same as told me, “You are the last person on earth that we need here…you have the wrong mindset…we need someone who has the Eastern mindset.” Yeah, someone who has no logic, no sense of reason and a fuse that is about 1/8 of an inch long. I told him to his face: “You have not hurt my feeling, I will be glad to go back to the West where I belong”. I think I would be safe in saying that there are some groups that I’ll never be able to minister to: you think? I want name them because you already know who they are. If you want more info on the Eastern Gate, I’ve got it!