May 2017
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
Blossoming Rose and Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have had a long pleasant relationship. It started in the 1970s when the Grace basketball team played the Jordan College basketball team. At that time, several in our family were working for Jordan College.  Many years later, our son-in-law, Gary Bailey, became the head men’s basketball coach at Grace and his son, Kirby, attended Grace and played basketball. Kirby was an All-American basketball player, and that same year, they won a national championship.  Kirby, along with another grandson a few years later, graduated from both Grace Bible College and Davenport University.

Our friendship with the President, Dr. Ken Kemper, and others at Grace deepened during this time and we were privileged to meet Dr. Phillip Long, Professor of Bible and Biblical Languages, who was interested in taking his students to Israel for an educational travel experience.  We met together to develop an itinerary and Dr. Long took his first group under our Blossoming Rose program.  Since then he has taken students to Israel bi-annually. We are honored to be a part of this great institution.

Dear Dr. Coxon,

Although I live thousands of miles away, my heart is in the Arava. “My special soldier” was always Ari Pearlmutter.  I knew him as a child, a young man, and a soldier.  I was one of two physical fitness coaches for his high school group in preparation for army service. I was so proud he chose and volunteered to serve in the unit I once served. I promised him a chance to fulfill himself and to make a difference in his community.  (He served in the prestigious unit, Goloni Brigade – similar to the USA’s Navy Seals.)

When I received the sad news of his death from a bomb blast, I wept more than for any fallen soldier of mine.  I made it to the Shloshim (the 30 day memorial) and I witnessed the love and the high appreciation and respect for Ari and his family. Their Arava neighbors and everyone who knew them were of one spirit as we sat together.

I lost contact with Dari and Rachael, his mother.  I cannot tell them, personally, that I always think of the Pearlmutter family with fondness and especially on this day.  I’ll be grateful if you have the opportunity to pass on my thoughts.  God bless you, Blossoming Rose and friends, for the wonderful deeds you all do for the glory of the State of Israel.  The world is a small place, and while I am now in Canada, I hope we will meet again.  Wendy sends her best wishes too.

Yigal and Wendy 
(formally from Moshav Id Dan)

Ari's father, Simha, is pictured.
Hi DeWayne,

During the last two years, I spent much of my time studying to be a Guide.  I was very busy and I am now a licensed Israeli Tourist Guide.  Now, after finishing the course, I have much more time to spend with my family and also to visit old friends.

As you probably know, I took my wife and children to visit Tamar this last weekend.  I want to thank Alan and you for your hospitality.  All of our family had a wonderful time at the Park.  I was amazed at the changes that have taken place in the Park in the last two years when I was reassigned to the north of Israel with the Israel Antiquities Authority. You now have a beautiful playground and I was amazed at the replica of the Tabernacle. I am hoping to see you again when you return to Israel.

All the Best,
Beersheva, Israel

Editor’s Note:  Oren worked out of the Beersheva Israel Antiquities Office for many years and we became good friends.  During those years, he worked with Drs. Yigal, Yoram, and Tali at Tamar during our digs and restoration work.

Thirty years ago, I walked into the dining room at the Park and met Simha and Rachael Pearlmutter and their two sons, Ari and Dari. The walls were painted blue and have since been repainted several times.  But the floor hasn’t changed from the original when the building was constructed by the Jewish Agency.  It has been an eyesore since we've been there.

A major change is taking place with the pouring of a new cement floor and then tile will be laid that matches the walls. This wonderful new floor was made possible by multiple donors.  We say thanks for their generosity!

The special dates of November 5-9, 2017, (Sunday-Thursday), have become important in our continual quest to uncover the 4,500-year history of Biblical Tamar. Some believe that there are foundation walls from the time of Moses yet to be uncovered. We will know by the end of the dig this year more about this mystery. Archaeology buffs are planning to arrive in Israel on Friday or Saturday, November 3 or 4, before the dig starts on Sunday at 8 am. Assisting Dr. Tali Erickson, from the IAA, will be our certified volunteers, Kathy Bekes and Pam Jaso.  Board members Chris and Pam Kritcher and George and Kay VanderKooi, as well as many others who have assisted in past digs, will also join the dig team.  The daily cost for volunteers is only $30 for board and room.  We need many more hands.
The work of planting several hundred trees will run concurrently with the archaeology project. We will no longer have to dig the holes for the trees by hand because we are hoping to have our new backhoe on site to dig holes where each tree will be planted. (The backhoe is also needed for the archaeology dig and several other projects.) We expect that Dan Clark will lead the tree-planting-crew. Several varieties of trees will be planted. 

If you want to plant a tree or adopt two trees, you can make a donation online on our website. A brass plaque will be placed with other donors on the wall of the dining room for those who plant a tree.

Blossoming Rose really needs a backhoe.  That is a “large” need both in the amount of money and in “size and weight.”  There has been a little indecision about which is needed more – a tractor or a backhoe – but it has been decided that our old tractor can hold out a little longer and a backhoe is greatly needed for many projects.  A medium sized backhoe costs about $30,000 in the US, but in Israel, it will cost more.  It is important for service and maintenance that the backhoe be purchased in Israel.  A good used one would be acceptable.  The plan, if the money is raised, is to purchase it in November in Israel, but the need to know the plan is much sooner.  There are four very experienced men, on the weekly Operations Committee, who will decide which backhoe is the best deal and most appropriate for the Park.

Close to $16,000 has been raised, but an additional $24,000 is needed.  You may go to our website at to donate, or you may send a check to Blossoming Rose, Box X, Cedar Springs, MI  49319. 

Thank you in advance for your financial assistance.

On the day that Lloyd and Gretchen Weeks signed up for a Scientific Solar Tour to Israel, sponsored by Jordan College in Michigan, in 1979, they could never have realized that their children and grandchildren would be journeying to Israel many times in the future. Lloyd was a successful farmer and Gretchen was an elementary school teacher in the Cedar Springs Public Schools.  Our son, Rob, was one of her students.  They continued to be friends of our family for many years to come until they passed into their heavenly Jerusalem.
Lloyd and Gretchen enjoyed their first tour to Israel and decided to return later with their daughter, Louise, and her two children, Hilary and Branden.  In addition to Israel, that group also travelled to the Sinai and to Egypt.  (At the plaza of the pyramids, Branden took his skateboard into the plaza where many people watched in awe as he shot around the base of the pyramids.)  As we often say, memories are created!
As the Blossoming Rose programs expanded, and more people were traveling with us, we learned about Louise’s culinary skills to the delight of the volunteers.  We knew we needed some good cooks to feed the hard-working, hungry volunteers and Louise stepped up the plate - no pun intended. Volunteers expressed their appreciation for her tasty, healthy meals.
Louise Scholtus travelled to Israel 25 more times after that first trip and she has taken all four of her children at least once. Her youngest, Maggie, was there more often than the others and she stayed for longer periods of time.  As a result, she became a special friend to many others who served at Tamar through the years. 
Louise and her husband, Jack, are Site Sponsors and they have supported many very-needed projects at Tamar.  Their generosity has been greatly appreciated.
As Lloyd and Gretchen look down from heaven, I doubt they could have ever imagined that the initial investment to go to Israel would result in many spiritual benefits for at least two more generations.  Only God could do that.  Good choices were made. 

Many of the visitors and volunteers who fill their plates with delicious food in the dining room at the Park would never guess that Cynthia Hillson is not a cook by profession.  Cynthia actually stopped at Tamar for another purpose.  She needed a place to spend the night while she attended a scientific conference at the local Hatzeva Agricultural Field School near the Park.

While at the Park, there were volunteers planting trees, repairing buildings, and working on other projects and she was deeply touched by their love for Israel and their devotion to the mission to make Tamar a great historical Park in the south of Israel.  Cynthia is the President of Precious Oils and she produces and markets rare incenses, spices, and oils internationally.  She had traveled to the Arava to meet some of the agricultural scientists and also learn more about the ancient spice routes. 

Little did she know that within a few feet of where she was walking, there were two rare bushes of balsam, a spice bush thought to be extinct after the Roman legions exterminated all the Jewish farmers in the Arava. They had grown the bush to harvest the balm for temple worship and medical purposes. When she heard that we were also going to plant frankincense and myrrh at Tamar and several other rare spices that only grow in parts of the Middle East, she wanted to return.

She told me that at home in North Carolina she also cooked for large family gatherings and reunions. It wasn’t long before she showed us her great cooking skills and now we have a specialist in rare spices as our cook! You will have to go to Tamar with us to taste some of the best prepared food in southern Israel.


Ty and Amy Henderson travelled to Israel on their honeymoon with one of our first volunteer work groups in the 1980s.  If you were ever at the Park back then, it’s difficult to imagine how anyone took a liking to it, but Ty and Amy did.  They became involved in our symposia in the USA and Amy teamed up with Louise Scholtus to cook for the people that were attracted to our seminars. Ty was there to fellowship and learn about the Hebrew Scriptures and he began to teach what he learned in his local church. After raising a family and having limited involvement with us for the past 15 years they have returned at a perfect time.

Ty is skilled in mechanics, carpentry, auto repair, and management.  Soon after returning to Tamar and realizing how much work there was to do, he agreed to serve as Project Manager and to work with Rob to supervise construction and other projects at the Park.

Having learned during the 1980s that Amy was a good cook, we were doubly blessed when Amy agreed to serve as a cook again.  Her food is delicious and nutritious and it makes eating together an even more enjoyable event.


With the number of tours increasing as well as groups who rent the Park, it is not always easy to find a cook.  This means that we need Jodi Coxon and her daughter, (our granddaughter), Chaya, to be ready at all times to hop on a plane and get over there to cook and do housekeeping chores.  Jodi has cooked for large groups for many years and she is a very good cook.  She has many friends in her hometown of Cedar Springs who depend on her whenever they get together for a meal.   Her church and her community have called on her when a big event is being planned.

Jodi likes to try new recipes to surprise her family and friends, as well as sticking with the favorites that are so often requested.  It’s nice to have a home-grown, in-office, in-family, cook to send over at appointed times and in times of emergencies.

Chaya does whatever is needed.  She assists in the kitchen, she cleans rooms, and she does whatever the need of the moment might be.  (As you may have noticed, Chaya publishes this monthly Newsletter.)

Editor’s Note:  Many volunteers have cooked meals and assisted in the kitchen.  Some for a period of days, like Joyce Lagno. We are grateful to them for this service.  Eating well has been a nice perk for all of us.
The heart of our trip to Israel was spent at Biblical Tamar Park in southern Israel. We stayed several nights at this location and had a very peaceful Sabbath in this below-sea-level wilderness. The volunteers at the Park were the most gracious hosts. They made sure our every need was met, and they fed us the most delicious meals. They truly had the hospitality of Abraham and Sarah! 

This Park is not a luxury retreat, hotel, or even a lodge. Instead, it is an archeological site, at which Blossoming Rose is curator, in the Arava in the Wilderness of Zin! We stayed in what they called “caravans,” which are old trailers that typically house volunteers and archeologists as they work the land or carefully dig through the sand. 

Outside the dining hall, there is a large permanent Sukkah structure where open desert air blows through the walls and a warm fire burns amidst the encircling Bedouin rugs and couches.  I actually felt as if I had experienced a mini Sukkot while at Tamar due to this Abrahamic dwelling and the dusty sand paths to my trailer. 

Blossoming Rose is always looking for volunteers and donations to keep the Park running. They are a non-profit organization devoted to supporting Israel and the Jewish people. They sponsor humanitarian and educational activities in Israel and the United States. You can learn more about staying with or helping Blossoming Rose at

Alan Vanderkolk, our lead supervisor at Tamar, is returning to his home in Kansas after serving for three months. Jim and Pat Crumley will take his place.  Pat will serve as Supervisor and Jim will maintain the Park in a way that few others can do.  He is a talented man.
They will be at the Park during June-July and then Kay Bunton will supervise the Park in August.  Supervisors need help and we appreciate everyone who spends time at the Park as volunteers assisting wherever their gifts and talents take them.
It would be great if there were five people at the Park year around. Could you help?  If you would like to read our Volunteer Manual, I can email it to you.  Room and Board is reasonable. Contact me at or call me at 616-901-4153.
Please join us for one more major archaeology dig November 5-10, 2017, to explore the inside of the Gates of Solomon. 
Please contact Dr. DeWayne A. Coxon by phone at 616-901-4153 or by email at
Upcoming  2017 Tours

October 22 - November 3 ~ Young/Clayton

November 8 - 18 ~ DeGroot

November 8-18 ~ Pennington

November 12 - 21 ~ Torluemke/Shahan/Johnson

2018 Tours

February 11 - 22 ~ Elijah Tour/Parks

February 20 - March 3 ~ Grace Bible Church/Nichols

February 24 - March 7 ~ Volunteers

March 8 - 17 ~ St. Norbet Abbey/Pichler

March 14 - 25 ~ Brethren/Lagno

March 25 - April 5 ~ Alewine/Pennington             


(One hundred percent of the gross proceeds will be used to bless Israel)

This attractive 54 page coloring book is on-sale for $3 each plus $2 shipping. For 4 - 10 copies, total shipping is $4.  

If you wish to place an order, please email us directly at 

Designed by Historical Site sponsor, Leona Benson.
Blossoming Rose, P.O. Box X, Cedar Springs, MI  49319
   616-696-3435 | 616-696-8280