April 2017
NOTE:  We have recently been asked if we have an official Blossoming Rose Facebook Page that we moderate.  The answer is “Yes.”  Our official Blossoming Rose Facebook Page is https://www.facebook.com/BlossomingR/, and we will be posting to that page only.  It is accessible to everyone without being a member.  While there are other Facebook Groups named Blossoming Rose, we do not post to or moderate any other Facebook Pages or Groups at this time. Thank you.
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
Thirteen members of the fifteen-member Blossoming Rose Board of Trustees met in Cedar Springs on April 8 for their annual board meeting along with one ex officio member and one guest.  This meeting not only provides an official time to do business, but it’s a time for fellowship.  Most of the members have served on the Board for over twenty years and most have been to Biblical Tamar Park many times, serving as chief chef, certified archaeology staff, carpenters, and grounds keepers.  
One of the discussion items on our agenda this month was about another dig we are having this fall, Nov. 5-10, (perhaps longer) at the Park under the direction of Dr. Tali Erickson, archaeologist, from the IAA.  Since several of the Board members have been involved with excavations in the past, some of them are considering going back for a thirty-year reunion to dig together once again. It will be a very special time.
For more information, please feel free to contact us at dcoxon@blossomingrose.org.
Standing left to right are:  Rev. John Moore, Chris Kritcher, Greg Bekes, Jack Scholtus, Michael Robinaugh, DeWayne Coxon, George VanderKooi, John Pletcher, and Rob Coxon.  Sitting left to right are Pam Kritcher, Kathy Bekes, Louise Scholtus, Lexie Coxon and Kay VanderKooi. 

From the Archives:   This letter was written by Pastor James Bugg on March 27, 2008, while he and Marilyn were planting trees at Biblical Tamar Park.

Dear DeWayne,

As you requested, we are digging holes on the west side of the Park near the cemetery. It has been tough digging, but we are making progress.  I took water to put in the holes and that helps.  It is not so much sand, but rocks and gravel.

We couldn’t do better than these kids who are here. They work hard. The Park is beautiful.  All the flowers and trees are in bloom.  Marilyn is taking some pictures to show you.  We have never seen it look so nice.

While I was digging holes today the Lord gave me a scripture (well maybe) ! “Why did I let the Chief Elder (DeWayne) lead me out here in this wilderness to die in the sand and the extreme heat?  Would that I could have frozen to death in Michigan under the piles of ice and snow and bitter winds blowing across the land.  Oh, how my heart yearns for the cold, dark, long days of winter, shut up in the house for fear of falling on the ice.”

I doubt if this “scripture” is from God.  I do love this sun, heat, and sand here at Tamar.

Love to you all,
Jim and Marilyn Bugg
Grand Rapids, MI

Editor’s Note:  Pastor James Bugg will be hosting his last tour to Israel February 12-23, 2018. He plans to remain at Biblical Tamar Park for several more days during which he will plant a few of his beloved trees. He will be co-hosting this tour with Rev. James Willett. Reserve your place today.

Greetings DeWayne,

Best wishes and I am hoping you are well.  I want to plant a tree in memory of my husband, Dr. Pat Flaherty. A check for $100 is enclosed.  As you will remember, Pat and I were at Tamar with shovels and wheel barrows in the 1980s when you started the first excavation.  We were on four digs.  Thanks also for the newsletter that tells of the great progress you are all making at Tamar.

Marta F.
Peoria, IL.
Hi DeWayne,

I so appreciate your notes and they always give me hope!  Thank you for your prayers for Dennis.  We are all still trusting God to heal him completely of the cancer.

I pray that you and your family are well. You also know that I continue to pray for our beloved Jerusalem and all of Israel. I was sorry that I could not meet with you when you were in Wisconsin last month because Dennis was beginning his first chemo treatments.

With Love and God’s blessings,
Sylvia and Dennis B.
Oshkosh WI
Dear Dr. Coxon,

I made some little girl’s dresses and sold them. Please put this money where you need it.  I also have made about 15 kitchen towels and some hot pads for Shelly and Karen to take with them to Israel in November.  They are for Blossoming rose to sell at the Tamar gift table and all the money goes to help the Park.  Without having a job, this is the best I can do.  My heart is in Israel with all of you.

Love and Prayers,
Maxine P.
Belding, MI
Fall 2017

1.   BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:  Archaeology Dig beginning November 5, 2017.  The major part of the excavation will take place for five days, Sunday – Thursday, but digging may continue on for a few more days.

2.   Planting Trees.  Around 200 trees have been purchased in Israel for Blossoming Rose by an organization called The Good Land, which need to be planted this fall.  Blossoming Rose has engaged a professional in Israel to develop a design for this particular phase of greening the desert. Various species have been chosen for a certain section of the Park as part of our responsibility to plant the Gardens of the Ages.

3.   Historical Sites Improvements.  One of our major projects for this fall is the construction of a Pavilion to cover the Bedouin tent that was purchased this year for the Abrahamic Site.  This very old goats-hair tent was repaired by Bedouin women as pictured.  The pavilion is needed to protect this old tent from the direct sunlight. 

In addition to these three major projects, there are other building and maintenance upgrades needed, as well as the usual housekeeping and cooking duties.  If you would like to volunteer between November 2 and November 12 (or longer) please contact us at dcoxon@blossomingrose.org

How many years have we waited for a new floor in the dining hall?  As much as we wanted it to be a priority, we just couldn’t quite get there.  But thanks to two donors, the floor is going to be replaced yet this spring.  One of the tour participants on the Tabor/Nichols tour, Laura Baxter, saw a sign on the wall about the need for a new floor and she wrote a check for $5,000.  Thank you, Laura.  What a special gift.

When the bids came in for the floor, the one that was chosen, was $8,000, so when we shared that with the Board of Trustees at their annual meeting on April 8, Jack and Louise Scholtus, namesakes of the dining room building, volunteered to pay the additional $3,000.
So, for all of you who have waited patiently for a new floor, you can return this fall with us to volunteer in all the projects we have named above.
We have one more important need that we have identified in a GoFundMe page. In order to plant hundreds of additional trees and to have the proper equipment for the archaeology dig this coming November, we need a good used tractor to replace Old Betsy, that is on its last legs. At first, we thought we should try to purchase a good used backhoe, but upon careful consideration, we need a tractor with a bucket, forks, an attachable backhoe, and an auger for digging holes in which to plant trees. We need $40,000 and we have raised $15,130. If you like the “greening the desert” project, would you help with this need? Thank you so much. The link to GoFundMe is: https://www.gofundme.com/blossomingrose?u=13715070

For $100 you can “Plant A Tree.”  
Donations of $100 per tree will pay for the tree and the preparation and planting fees. It will also pay for the cost of the water and fertilizer for one year. Plaques for tree donors will be placed in the dining commons along with past donors.
Biblical Tamar Park has boundaries totaling over one mile. Spacing the trees thirty foot apart would require approximately 200 trees to complete this project. The trees would only be planted as the funds are raised in keeping with the Park policy of “no debt.”

For $25 you can “Adopt Two Trees.”
  Donations of $25 for two trees will cover the cost of watering and trimming two of the one thousand plus trees for one year.  A framed certificate will be placed in the dining commons with a list of names of the people who donate for the annual care of the trees for 2017 and for each subsequent year that donations are made.

Note:  Currently there are brass plaques in the dining hall for everyone, who in past years, donated money for a tree to be planted at the Park. See picture.

Last October we announced our Sponsor-a-Room program and we are excited to announce that five rooms have been sponsored.  The first room, even before we published the program, was sponsored by United Israel World Union.  Dr. James Tabor and his wife, Lori Woodall, decorated the room with an Israeli theme. 
Since then, Don and Maxine Smith, site sponsors and board members of BR Israel, sponsored two rooms 13 A & B, Cynthia Hillson, president of Precious Oils and long term volunteer at Tamar, sponsored Room 8, and Jeanne Housler, sponsored room 11C.

The annual fee is $1,500 and comes with special benefits and privileges.
If you are interested in having a copy of the Business Plan and Agreement, please email  lcoxon@blossomingrose.org .

For the first time, all seven sites have sponsors, but there is a need for a co-sponsor on one of the sites.

  1. Abrahamic Site:  Sponsors – Chris and Anne Barnes 
  2. Moses Site:  Sponsors – LeRoy and Leona Benson
  3. Israelite Site:  Sponsors – Greg and Kathleen Bekes
  4. Roman/Christian Site:  Sponsors – Jack and Louise Scholtus
  5. Islamic Site:  Sponsors – Dr. Catherine Bieri Ryan and Dr. DeWayne and Lexie Coxon
  6. British Site:  Sponsors – Jack and Kathryn Crusan
  7. Israeli Site:  Sponsors – Donald and Maxine Smith

If you would be interested in being a co-sponsor for one of the sites, please email lcoxon@blossomingrose.org and we will send you the Program, Business Plan and Agreement.  The fee to be a co-sponsor is $5,000 annually.  There are benefits and privileges that go with the sponsorship as well as signage.

Pictured are DeWayne and Lexie Coxon by Islamic sign, Don and Maxine Smith by the Israeli sign, and the inside of the British building.

Experiencing the Holy Land
Hosted by Gary Madsen and Diane Ernst
It has been the privilege of Blossoming Rose to coordinate Catholic tour groups from Wisconsin since 2005. These excursions began under the direction of Dr. Tom Wiltzius and continued through the years under several excellent hosts.  This year Gary Madsen and Diane Ernst hosted a sold out tour. When they visited Tamar, they held their Mass in the Sukkah and it was a sweet and blessed worship time with Communion served by Father David Funk. 

Gary and Diane wrote this when they returned, “The group enjoyed the Holy Land immensely and each one of them said that their faith grew.  I’m sure their Lenten season and Holy Week will be very special this year.  

Diane and I enjoyed being the leaders of the group. Raed, our guide, once again did an outstanding job. Everyone commented how beautiful and relaxing the evening at En Gedi was before flying out. We would recommend contacting Blossoming Rose for the next future Holy Land tour from Wisconsin.  And….Jodi…thank you for all the help behind the scenes with the many details of the trip.” 

An Israel Tour Like No Other
Hosted by Dr. James Tabor and Ross Nichols
Those who have travelled with Dr James Tabor and Ross Nichols know that there will never be another tour exactly like the one they experienced this year. Dr. Tabor, an international author, archaeologist, professor at the University of North Carolina, and president of the United Israel World Union co-hosted this annual tour to Israel with his UIWU Vice-President, Ross Nichols. I have been privileged to coordinate their tours for years and it is very enjoyable to travel with them.  I have taken the testimonial of one of their UIWU members, Peggy Sanders, who also stayed after the tour and volunteered at Tamar. I think you will enjoy this experience through the eyes of one who was on their tour and also survived twenty one days at Biblical Tamar Park as a volunteer. ( Think about doing this on your next trip to Israel.)  

Testimonial by Peggy Sanders:
Biblical Tamar is a place of visitors and hospitality.  Buses full of day tourists, IDF soldiers, bikers, individual cars or whole caravans of sight-seers visit the site daily.  They see the dig area and read about Tamar’s history, visit the ancient thorn tree where water once bubbled forth, eat lunch in the shady rest spaces scattered around the place, and enjoy this oasis, its beauty and stillness.
Tamar also hosts groups for several days, providing rooms and wonderful meals, as well as the dig site, a Sukkah in which to gather, Prayer Mountain to climb, and a history-filled Park to experience.  Being both a guest and a host gave me the chance to see it from both angles.  Either way, Tamar finds its way into the heart of each person who stays, often drawing forth promises to return.  Many who pass through also vow to stay longer and experience this very special place.  Tamar becomes a part of you and is never completely left behind.
Standing with Israel: The Revelation
Hosted by Joan Pennington and Dr. Holissa Alewine
If you have never travelled with Joan Pennington, you have missed something special. When Joan first contacted me, she told me about a friend and scholar, Dr. Holissa Alewine, who would like to co-host a trip to Israel.  She said that she believed they could recruit the number needed to take a tour.  I was skeptical because of the lead time needed to attract that number of people. Not only did they meet their enrollment goals, but they exceeded them. One of my friends, Micki Reese from Vincennes, Indiana, said the teaching was superb and that it was a wonderful tour. There were pastors and other authors with them on this tour who said that the spiritual and academic level encouraged them to ask Dr. Alewine to c0-sponsor another tour in 2018, and it appears that the date will be March 20-April 4, 2018. It will be a Passover tour and you will need to sign on soon to reserve a place if you wish to accompany them on a very special tour.
by Alan VanderKolk
Greetings from the Holy Land.  There has been a whirlwind of activity here at Biblical Tamar Park the last few weeks.  Our last big tour group was earlier this month. There were around forty people in this group who were studying their Hebrew roots described in the Bible.  One night, in our outdoor seating area, the members of the group shared how circumstances came together for them to make this trip to Israel and what it has meant for them to be in Israel.  It is always encouraging to hear how God is working in people’s lives and what they are learning from Him.
In a few weeks, another big group arrives. This group will be students from a Christian college in Michigan.  Getting ready for and cleaning up after big groups is quite a task.  I am thankful for each member of our volunteer staff.  I enjoy meeting and working with new volunteers and reconnecting with those who I have gotten to know over the years.
I have previously shared about some of the archeologists I have worked with.  A few of them have stopped by or contacted me recently with plans to visit the Park. One of them called and asked if he, his wife, his children, and his brother’s family could spend a day or two here for Passover.  Another told me he plans to come by with a group of young people and he asked if I would be around to give them a brief talk about what we are doing here.  He intends to give them the history of this site first, then while the group has some refreshments, I’ll talk about the Park.  Another stopped by recently and I helped her with a project and we talked about some plans for future involvement here. These archeologists have mentioned that they appreciate the relationships they have built at Biblical Tamar Park over the years.
The Passover season is here.  The stores are full of cleaning supplies and the nation is full of tourists.  A lot of people visit the Park during Passover, both Israelis that are on vacation and tourists from around the world.  Almost every day people stop by to view this ancient archeological site.  Today I could hear the sounds of little children running, laughing, and playing around the Park.  Recently visitors asked me a question in Hebrew and even though I did not understand every word. I could understand enough to direct them where they wanted to go.  It is nice when I can do that.  Often, I need to tell people in Hebrew that I don’t understand them and inquire if they speak English.  Most do. I enjoy speaking a bit of Hebrew when I can. 
The desert is really coming to life now.  The trees and desert plants are in bloom.  The bougainvillea plants are very full and colorful this year.  A volunteer and I trained some of them up and fertilized many of them last year and the results are on full display.  Also, the fig tree and grape vine I planted last year are leafing out nicely.  It is enjoyable to help the desert blossom like the roses we read about in Isaiah 35:1.
I have been here one month already and have two more months left to go.  The time seems to move fast while I am here in Israel.
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 dcoxon@blossomingrose.org.

We thank Paul Lagno for some of the pictures in this issue.
Upcoming  2017 Tours

May 1 – 14 ~ Long/GBC

October 22 - November 3 ~ Young/Clayton

October 25 - November 3 ~ Fr. Paul Stewart

November 8 - 18 ~ Father Dan Viertel/DeGroot

November 8-18 ~ Pennington

November 12 - 21 ~ Torluemke/Shahan/Johnson

2018 Tours

March 8 - 17 ~ St. Norbet Abbey/Pichler             


(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 dcoxon@blossomingrose.org. 

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