Over the years, when I leave to come and dig in the Middle East, people often say to me that they will be looking for me on CNN. I always say that the only reason that they will see me on television is if I have caused some kind of international incident. Well, it has finally happened…sort of. No, not the international incident part, but the television part.

I wrote about the Russian expedition to find Sodom under the Dead Sea that created quite a stir here. Dr. Ziad, the Director General of the Jordanian Department of Antiquities (DoA) got on national television that night and spoke about the department’s views on the location of ancient Sodom. He referred to our Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP), a joint project between Trinity Southwest University (TSU) and the DoA, going on in the field right now. We got a call the next day saying that the national television station of Jordan was coming out to visit our excavation on Sunday. They came and videoed a bunch of stuff, and last night it appeared in their 6 and 8 PM national news broadcast, which our Jordanian dig staff said everyone, including the King of Jordan watches every night. 

The video aired in the evening with Dr. Steven Collins (of TSU) and Hussein al-Jarra (of the DoA) speaking on site and at the Dead Sea about our project. Then Dr. Ziad spoke about the story of Sodom as being in the holy books of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. He also referenced TeHEP as an official research project of the department in search of ancient Sodom. After 5 years of struggling to get some support here in this country, this was just awesome.

But the best part was that the video guy got a shot of both my bald head and my back side – in 2 separate shots! – while I was digging. Never mind that they shots of Gayle, my wife, and others in our group, I think I might be famous now in Jordan, or something. The fact that members of our team pointed out that I only got down in the square to do some work after the cameras arrived is purely coincidental. They are just haters!

Anyway, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We did and the day after Christmas was pretty special, too. Seriously, thanks for your prayers and support of what we are doing here. Also, pray for those less fortunate than we are. I suppose you heard of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day bombing of Christian churches and communities in 3 different countries. In Jos, Nigeria, where Gayle was born and grew up (she is an MK – missionaries, kid) there were 5 separate bombings and 32 people died. While Christmas is a meaningful and joyous time for most of us, it isn’t for everyone. Pray for those who are hurting this holiday season and even reach out and help those you can.

Blessings from the Holy Land,

Pastor Gary Byers