November 2017
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
George VanderKooi, a Blossoming Rose USA trustee for over two decades, passed away earlier this month. He and his wife, Kay, toured Israel with our groups, took one of their sons to Israel, and volunteered at Tamar in multiple work roles. Kay, who has been especially interested in archaeology, worked on early digs.

George and Kay’s service as trustees and support for Israel, have been greatly appreciated. George and Kay attended our board meeting last April where we had good fellowship. They intended to go to Israel with us earlier this month to join the other trustees who were planning a reunion in Israel, but his health became an issue. We will miss him.
We try not to write about the financial needs too often, but GIVING TUESDAY is coming up and our annual letter, requesting your financial support, has been mailed. The mission of Blossoming Rose is truly being fulfilled and much progress is being made. We hope you will consider a substantial gift to Blossoming Rose. You can respond to the letter by mail, or you can donate on line at Pictured are the Site Sponsors and Trustees who were at Tamar this month.

There is a need for one more co-sponsor for one of the historical sites. Your name would be placed at the site on a large sign. There is an annual fee for the maintenance of the site and the upkeep of the Park. If you are interested, please email Lexie Coxon at and she will send you the details of the program. You can also sponsor a room or plant and adopt a tree.

The annual letter contains the testimony of a Jewish Rabbi who visited the Park recently and who believes that the mission of Blossoming Rose, to uncover the biblical history at the Park, is very significant for the Jewish people and for visitors from around the world. We do need your help and support. The expenses are substantial.
Hello DeWayne, Jodi, and Team:

Here are some postcards of one of the pieces of art that I recently painted.

I have also painted the gates, one of the seven species of trees, and also Scorpion’s Ascent.

I would love to connect with the other artists visiting Tamar. Please feel free to share my contact information with whomever might want it.


Joanne M
Hot Springs, AK
Hello DeWayne,

I hope this email finds you well. I’m sorry to have been out of touch. There are a lot of recent changes in my career and life. I started a new job, 60 miles away from where we lived, and so we recently moved closer to my new work place and close to the campus where both the girls attend college.

Needless to say, I have been very busy with the work which is very demanding with high expectations and more responsibility.
I dream of going back to Israel next year to celebrate my new age milestone. This time I would like to also go to Petra to participate in a marathon. 

Please send me room sponsorship information so we can make it official. Thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

Monica H.
West Covina, CA
A typical room to sponsor
Note: We are writing brief descriptions of our projects and work at Biblical Tamar Park during the last four weeks. Next month, we will elaborate on the people who worked, the financial contributions being made, and we’ll provide additional details regarding the projects.
The November volunteers started arriving at Tamar in late October. We were all thankful to drive under the Biblical Tamar arch, the entrance to the Park, so that we could rest after a long journey. Volunteers flew in from several US states, Poland, and South Africa. Many had known each other for several years and “catching up on the news” was a first priority.

Soon it was time to let volunteers know their work roles and so assignments were given. In addition to the three major work projects, attention was given to food services and housekeeping. Harmony was evident as volunteers prepared for the work ahead.
A year ago, there was a decision made to fund a week-long dig inside the entrance gates to the Tamar fortress. Volunteers who had worked on the earliest digs at Tamar, from the late 1980s, joined in the effort. About four feet of dirt was removed between the gates where a wall was found. Archaeologists will determine the period in which it would have been built. Negbite pottery was also found, possibly dating to the 11 th century BCE.
The dig was sponsored by Blossoming Rose under the direction of IAA Archaeologist, Dr. Tali Erickson-Gini (picutred above in the middle). Our lead volunteers were Kathy Bekes and Pam Jaso (pictured right) who have worked on the restoration of the archaeology site for many years. Besides Kathy, there were four other US board members getting dirty every day as they sifted sand and looked for artifacts. Several volunteers from United Israel World Union, led by Dr. James Tabor, also provided assistance throughout the days of digging.
A decision was made last February, while we were at Tamar, to begin planting trees on the borders of the Park to protect the buildings and ancient structures from sand storms and high winds. Measurements were taken of the western boundary and some trees were planted and water lines laid in February in advance of a major tree planting project for this month.

Pictured left: Dan Clark preparing irrigation
Picture below: Clayton/Young group planting trees
Several volunteers, led by Dan Clark, with interest in “greening the desert,” began to mark the area for new trees and they were later joined by Dr. Elaine Solowey and Sylvia Apter. Dr. Solowey is a specialist in desert trees and Sylvia designs gardens and tree areas. A double row of trees was planted on the western border along with some trees on the southern border. More trees will be planted next year. “The desert shall rejoice and blossom….”
The first project was building a pavilion over the Bedouin tent on the Abrahamic site. The framework for the tent had been built in February but the tent, hand woven by Bedouin women 50 years ago, could not be stretched until a durable roof was built over it. The ultraviolet in the sun would destroy the goat’s hair within a few years, according to local authorities.
The second construction project was building a garage for our new tractor. It was decided that the garage needed to be attached to the workshop which is near the Supervisor’s caravan. The days were hot and the work strenuous, but Ty Henderson's crew finished the wood framing just as the metal arrived (lots of prayer) in time to finish the building and lock up our new tractor.

Pictured right: Ty Henderson
We heard someone shout, “The tractor is being delivered,” and we all ran out of the dining room, where we were eating breakfast, to see the truck, with the tractor on board, arrive at the Park. We who have driven our old faithful Massey-Ferguson were especially happy to see the bright, orange four-wheel-drive tractor backed slowly off the truck and on to our Park property. It was ours, fully paid by generous gifts, and capable of doing the work needed at Tamar. The old Massey will now be used in a “back-up” role and not pushed beyond its limits on big jobs!
Since the Blossoming Rose website was redesigned last year, our Education Committee encouraged us to begin making plans to do some filming of the historic sites at the Park that could then be seen by visitors to our website. Several of the historic site sponsors were at the Park this month so it was the perfect time to interview them on location. Three volunteers, Don Smith, Paul Lagno, and Bud Elve, spent weeks planning for this major project and it took parts
of every day to do the filming and interviewing. We hope to complete this project by next February.
Bougainvillea in full blossom in November.
Hard work creates hungry and tired people and were it not for a dedicated and talented crew of cooks and housekeepers, some of us might have gone to grumbling. As it were, most of us left Tamar in as good shape as we came or better. New mattresses and pillows had been purchased for some of the beds and other upgrades had been made to some rooms. Next month we will write about all the indispensable cooks and housekeepers who took care of so many people for an extended period of time.
The dining room was beautiful! We who have walked on the cracked floor for many years could not believe what we saw! First, the floor was level, polished, and clean. The tables and chairs enhanced the room and Paul Scholtus and Branden Bearinger built a beautiful new coffee bar. It is now a pleasant room in which to dine and visit.
It has been the desire of Blossoming Rose leadership to provide private bathrooms for each of the twenty-five bedrooms at Tamar. Many of the rooms have been improved, but there is still a need to place private baths in many of them. Larry Borntrager built new private baths to several rooms years ago and this year he continued the arduous task of building a full bath in caravan number eight.

Throughout this year, Jim Crumley and Ty Henderson have been in charge of building new floors in several of the caravans, replacing windows and doors, and upgrading the electricity. We expect to complete most of this work in 2018 and a special emphasis on financial contributions for this work will be included in the December newsletter.

Pictured above is Larry Borntrager.
After the development of the Seven Historical Sites at Biblical Tamar Park, several artists have used their artistic skills to capture the history of the sites in beautiful paintings. While there are paintings being hung on the walls of caravans and other buildings, the four   we are featuring in this Newsletter are the Abrahamic Site, the Moses Site, the Israelite Site, and the Roman/Christian Site.. Danielle Moes painted the first two and Trish Enderton painted the second two.

The first two paintings were donated several years ago, at my request, because I optimistically thought we would have a Welcome Center/Museum by now. That has not happened yet, but it will. In the meantime, we decided that we need to display these beautiful paintings.
We will be building protective wooden cases/units for these paintings with acrylic in the front, lockable doors. They will be detachable wall units so that they can be moved as needed.

There have been two problems in the past. One has been the concern for theft in buildings that are not as secure as a new Welcome Center/Museum would be, and second, we need climate-controlled rooms. We will solve that problem by moving the paintings from the dining room, when it gets shut down in the summer, to another room – perhaps the study room – and keep that room climate controlled year around.

These paintings are of the Abrahamic Period, the Moses Period, and the picture above is of the Roman/Christian period.
Upcoming 2018 Tours
February 14 - 28 Volunteer Work Experience
February 20 - March 3 ~ Stewart
February 20 - March 3 ~ Grace Bible Church/Nichols
March 2 - 13 ~ Tabor/Nichols
March 8 - 17 ~ St. Norbet Abbey/Pichler
March 14 - 25 ~ Brethren/Lagno
March 25 - April 5 ~ Alewine/Pennington  
October 7 - 19 ~ Young/Clayton
October 21 - November 2 ~ Young/Clayton

(One hundred percent of the gross proceeds will be used to bless Israel)
This attractive 54 page coloring book is on-sale for three for $5 plus $2 shipping.

For 4 - 10 copies, $1.50 each with total shipping at $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