December 2014
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.


Jack and Louise Scholtus

(Board members, sponsors, & volunteers)
Jack and Louise Scholtus

Louise Scholtus went to Israel for the first time in 1993 on a Blossoming Rose tour. Her parents, residents of Cedar Springs, were on that trip too.  Louise's mother, Gretchen Weeks, was a teacher here in Cedar Springs and we met her when she became our son, Rob's, teacher.


Over the past twenty-two years, Louise has traveled with us twenty-five times.  Early on, she assumed the role of "lead chef," a role that accumulated into nearly a year of preparing meals at Biblical Tamar Park.  She not only prepared the meals, she bought the groceries.  That is what you call, "having your cake and eating it too."


Several years ago, Louise married Jack Scholtus, and Jack has joined Louise on the trips to Israel a dozen or so times.  Jack and Louise serve as Blossoming Rose board members as well as being on the Executive Committee. When the Historical Sites at the Park were identified and sponsors were sought, Jack and Louise stepped forward to offer to be sponsors of the Roman-Christian Period Site.


So, while the Scholtuses set policy on one level as Board members, they volunteer their services and work hard along with all of the other volunteers when they are at the Park.  When a need arises, they often help meet that need.


After twenty-two years of service, Jack and Louise have been a great gift from God to Israel, Biblical Tamar Park, and Blossoming Rose.  They are loved and appreciated by many. 



Good Morning DeWayne,



I was blessed to see Tel Tamar last year, especially the view from Prayer Mountain that Jim was nice enough to help me climb.  We also had the guard dog, Nahmer, accompany us.  I gave him water from my canteen four or five times in my cupped hand, so he was OK to continue the climb and comfortable to stay with us.


The British barbed wire metal screw posts we saw stacked on top of the mountain would be a wonderful addition to the British period emplacements.


I was blessed to see a desert fox one night and the landscape up close.  Thanks again for graciously allowing me to visit and stay at Tamar.


I miss your dry wit and humor, DeWayne.  Just like the Taoist literature I have read.


Shalom Peace and Good health to all,

Steve B, Wichita, KS 

Dear DeWayne, Rob, and Jodi,


Enclosed is a check for Blossoming Rose. The wonderful experience we had in the Arava as part of your volunteer work force will never be forgotten.  We realized while there HOW MUCH we missed Tamar, the surrounding farming area, friends, scenery, and the Land. The extra $15 is for a hat that we bought for our daughter, Tamar.  It says "tel Tamar" on it and she loves it!



Dan and Donna, Cedar Springs, MI



A long term volunteer is described in our Volunteer Manual as a person who works at least 30 consecutive days.  Since the Park can never be left unattended, it is critical that we have people there every day of the year.  A Park Supervisor must be identified in order for the local officials and the Israel Antiquities Authority to know who is in charge. 


Bill and Laura
December-February Supervisors

The Park Supervisors in 2014 were:  Laura Boyke and Bill Hawes, Patricia DeGroot, Viktoria Huwyler, Ken Osterman, Kay Rose, and, Alan Vanderkolk.


Our long term volunteers during 2014 were, Sarah Allemand, Candy Boden, Sylvie Brocqueville, Jim Crumley, Cynthia Hillson, Curtis Routley, and Mary Ver Haag.


The Park could not be sustained without long-term volunteers.  Leadership is needed every day and the Park must be maintained every day also.  There are rooms to paint, floors to sweep, 55 beds to make and change for visitors and groups, meals to prepare, caravans and facilities to watch over.  There are 22 restrooms, inside and out, to clean and maintain, and 36 air conditioning units to clean and keep in good repair.


Irrigation - greening the desert

There is an irrigation system that waters one thousand trees, that has to be monitored every few days.  As curator of a five-acre archaeology site, there is much work to do to restore the ancient city.


In addition to this work load, there is office work to do, manuals to read and follow, and a weekly committee meeting held on the Internet between the Park staff and a six-member team here in the US.


There were many short term volunteers who went to Tamar in February, October, and November. They accomplished an enormous amount of work that included the construction of a playground and two outside bathrooms, finishing the Israeli Period Site, working on the British Period Site, electrical, plumbing, tree trimming, painting, cooking, housekeeping, and many other jobs.


Now you can see why they all deserve a huge THANK-YOU!!


(It's December Again)

It has been our practice to focus on "news" in our monthly newsletters.  While funds are needed year-around, we don't want to have you all get tired of "the request for contributions."


At this time of year, however, it is important to not only balance this year's budget but to do realistic planning for next year's budget.  The eighteen members of the Board of Trustees need to be assured that Blossoming Rose lives within its budget.


As we have stated before, Blossoming Rose does not borrow for operations or to purchase assets, but there are payables that exist and they remain fairly substantial.  Every single contribution made to Blossoming Rose is known by Rob, Jodi, and me, and each one is very much appreciated.  We all know how to use those funds.


The mission of Blossoming Rose is written in many of our documents, from the Operations Manual for Biblical Tamar Park, to the Volunteer's Manual and the Personnel Guide.  The mission is clearly stated in our 990 tax forms to the Government to insure the 501 (c) 3 status for tax deductibility for donations and for trips to Israel that are specifically to work at the Park. 


The mission of Blossoming Rose is to support Israel and the Jewish people by sponsoring humanitarian and educational activities in Israel and the United States that serve to give people an opportunity to learn about Israel's history.


The purpose of Blossoming Rose, in summary, is to bless Israel (a scriptural admonition) by restoring and maintaining a 55 acre national, educational, and historic site - Biblical Tamar Park.  While there are many projects, including the restoration and development of the seven historical sites representing time periods in the Park's history - all within the boundaries of the Park, the Park itself is our main focus.


Landing at Ben Gurion Airport

The Park is Blossoming Rose's Project.  The expenses to simply operate the Park, exclusive of the development of the seven sites inside the Park, are taxing on the Blossoming Rose budget.  Many sacrifices are being made by many people.  There have been dozens of volunteers this year who have paid their own plane tickets and have paid a daily fee for room and board in order to maintain the Park.  There are a thousand trees to water, facilities to maintain, fifty-five beds to make, and meals to be prepared.  The five-acre archaeology site needs constant attention.  There are many busy people who make this possible, including our own staff, who have Blossoming Rose and the Park on their minds many hours every day.  You all know what it costs to maintain a home and/or a business.  This is 55 acres.  The expenses include water for trees, electricity, vehicles, insurances, taxes, food, and expensive gasoline.  As the Israel Antiquities Authority's appointed curator, we have a five-acre archaeology site that needs much care and attention. It all demands good stewardship and careful planning.


There are also many contributors who make this possible.  There are those who make monthly pledges to help us plan our budget and there are those who respond to the year-end letter that was sent earlier this month.  (If you didn't get a letter, please let us know.  We would be more than happy to send you one. J )  There are five sponsors who have made significant long-term commitments to help us maintain five of the seven historical sites.  Two more sponsors are needed.  The sponsorship agreement is a good-faith commitment. Commitments are not binding if a need arises that creates a change in a sponsor's financial ability to keep the agreement.  Because of signage and other costs, we do hope that it works out for a few years. We can email the paperwork to anyone interested.  Just send us an email at [email protected].


We would like to make more progress financially this year than in years past.  Could you help us meet that goal?  We express our gratefulness daily to God and to all who become friends and partners. 





The first obligation that Blossoming Rose has is to fulfill its commitment to the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Sapir Council in Israel.  Keeping that commitment is what makes it possible to do all of the things that we think will have an educational and spiritual influence on the Jewish people and on all who visit the Park.


Greening the desert was one of those commitments and we have accomplished a lot of "greening," but there is much more to do.  That is a more distant goal.  Finishing the Seven Historic Period Sites is a current objective along with a couple other upgrades very much needed.


Our purpose in sharing the following list is simply to let our readers know what is on the agenda, in order of priorities, for the next couple years. It is sometimes hard not to get ahead of ourselves because we love to see the improvements all around, including the ancient walls of the archaeology site being rebuilt. But we will move ahead together as the doors are opened and the funding is provided.


(Nearly completed bomb shelter)


a.       Smooth and finish cement on steps and floor

b.      Finish educational displays with quotations and writings


The funds have already been donated to complete this site. 


a.       Build protective frames for valued paintings

b.      Install baseboard

c.       Install flagpole for British flag

d.      Change front entrance

e.    Install educational displays
3.   DINING HALL FLOOR -- $8,000
 This floor is an important priority for several reasons including safety.

a.       Clean and restore Roman treasury area

b.    Install educational displays

a.       Level 4-Room house floor

b.      Install educational displays

c.   Build a pavilion for shade

       a.       Remove two trees where the miniature tabernacle will be placed

b.      Place tabernacle on cement floor on table

c.       Build wood frame around table with Plexiglas top

d.      Install educational displays

e.       Build a pavilion over tabernacle

The Abrahamic and Islamic Period Sites will be added when the above list is complete or until sponsors are involved.

  Educational displays are made out of 3/8 inch aluminum sheets with enameled printing in Hebrew and English describing each historic site. The displays are framed with treated lumber and mounted on 4X4 inch wooden posts.



by Cynthia Hillson, Volunteer

Adjacent to Biblical Tamar Park there is a vineyard and a mango orchard. Rachael and Dari Pearlmutter maintain the farming rights to the land, part of the former Kibbutz Ir Ovot.  Two local farmers have a partnership with them and together they have planted an excellent vineyard and a mango grove.


Cynthia and Sylvie with grapes

A few of us went to the vineyard to "glean" grapes for our breakfast table, and to share with others. The rows that still had plenty of grapes were "marked" just as the Scripture teaches. Dr. Coxon had spoken to the farmers who invited Blossoming Rose people to follow the gleaners into their mango and grape fields after the harvest was completed.


"And when ye reap the harvest of our land, thou shall not wholly reap the corners of thy field; neither shall thou gather the gleanings of the harvest.  And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shall thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God." (Lev. 19:9-10)


We were the strangers and many of us enjoyed the seedless juicy grapes.  Pictured with me for our second gleaning harvest is Sylvie from France.  She is the Head Housekeeper while I was Head Cook at Biblical Tamar Park this fall.


Dan and Donna

Dan and I were very blessed to be asked by Dr. DeWayne Coxon, Director of Blossoming Rose, to go to Israel to help with some major projects at the 55 acre archeology site, now known as Biblical Tamar Park. We remembered back to the day DeWayne first asked us to go to Israel in October of 1987.


By March of 1988 we were living in Israel - yes, at the very same place we just visited again.  Little did we know when we first traveled to Israel that we would live, for almost 13 years, in the desert (Arava). We left our Israeli friends to come back to the US in November of 2000.  One thing was very clear when we arrived back at Tamar on October 20 - we were home.


The Park itself has been greatly improved since we were there.  We have been reading the email newsletters, so we were prepared for the huge change.


It's amazing how many people from around the world come and go constantly.  When we arrived, there was a group of seven women from South Africa who had come there to pray, and a group of seven men from Kansas, who were also there to pray.  The week before, there was a group of 50 from Europe who came for a few days.  People come for all kinds of reasons - but usually because of their interest in Israel.


Dan working on the restrooms

Dan was able to work with a couple of other volunteers to finish a two-stall bathroom facility in the area of the archaeology site and the new playground. Dan helped two other men from Michigan fashion a massive swing set in the same area.  I think it held five swings. The whole playground project was to be completed after we left.


There were other projects underway where we both spent some time helping out.  We enjoyed working together with so many volunteers.


Here is my personal story - the things I enjoyed most - wearing sandals, feeling the warm desert sun on my skin, brilliant sunrises and sunsets, eating freshly harvested red and yellow peppers and Majool dates from local farms, attending Yonatan's 11th birthday party, teaching a class in my old school, taking photos of favorite places and videoing a camel who snorted at me.  I loved riding the new train from Tel Aviv to Beersheva, climbing up Horseshoe Hill, riding in an old rattletrap car in the desert where there were no roads, walking to the graves of four close friends we lost years ago, picking olives, visiting my 78 year old friend, Avigail, in Afula, hugging our 2,000 year old tree, eating Israeli chocolate, having a meal with Jimmy and Rina, Rachel, Dari, Einat and their boys, checking in on Rikki from Iddan and on the Golans at Hatzevah.  Having an exercise class with Leaora and Rachel and two other old friends at Tzofar.


Thank you to those who helped to sponsor us financially - you know who you are.  We are blessed from this experience and we pray that we represented Blossoming Rose and Cedar Springs well.  Thanks to Dr. DeWayne Coxon, who has stayed involved in Israel through some very tough times, and for his son, Rob, wife, Jodi and daughter, Chaya, who are carrying this work forward. 


If you think you would be interested in volunteering in Israel or would like to join a tour of Israel with a few days of hands-on work in the desert, you can contact Blossoming Rose at 616-696-3435.  Visit their website at  You can see first-hand the place we call 'home.'


(Some personal highlights and reflections)
by Ken Osterman
Orit and the baby crocodile 

During my last few days at Biblical Tamar Park, after the many volunteers have departed, I had some time for a few pleasant, personal experiences. What remains, is a small physical presence here, but the thoughts and prayers of many supporters uplift us. We also have friends nearby. One day, Ofer the crocodile farmer, stopped by as I was working, because he wanted some park brochures. He invited me to his home and the next day (Shabbat) I took brochures to him. He graciously gave me fruit and vegetables and showed me how to eat the palmetto. Orit also showed me her Nile friend.


Since Shabbat is a day of rest, earlier in the morning I had taken a leisurely trek up Scorpion's Ascent and viewed the raw nature of God's land. Later, when I told Ofer about this, he said it was not wise to have left the car unguarded. Later in the day, I took a drive and another leisurely walk along the Peace Route between Hatzeva and Iddan overlooking the marls and viewing the mountains of Jordan.  I did not wander far from the car, but the scenic view of raw nature was astounding, especially when one then sees the farms embedded in the deep rift of desolation.


Earlier in my stay, several of us went to the Arava Research Center and there learned a lot about Arava farming and were pleasantly surprised at the 3D movie and the narration of the story that had been produced by the great tree in the midst of Biblical Tamar Park. But it is not this great tree that is the focus of the Park. Our focus is the history of the people of God and how the present Nation of Israel is not an accident but a budding fulfillment of God's prophesies.



Prior to my planned departure, the next group of long term volunteers arrived.  Bill and Laura returned along with Candy Boden.  They have all served here in the past and were returning, to my relief, so that I could return home to the States.  On my final day at the Park, Bill, Laura, Candy and I were privileged to present a short description of the Park and our scriptural purpose to a group of 43 appreciative Israelis. A couple people talked to me afterwards.  They said, "We know this, but you need to share this with others." And certainly we do share this with those who are interested. Our message will not change the world, BUT our message is one of timely comfort to the people of God as prophesied by Isaiah, chapters 35 & 40.



Deuteronomy 11:12

יב  אֶרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ דֹּרֵשׁ אֹתָהּ:  תָּמִיד, עֵינֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּהּ--מֵרֵשִׁית הַשָּׁנָה, וְעַד אַחֲרִית שָׁנָה. 

12 a land which the LORD thy God careth for; the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.


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

This attractive, 54-page, coloring book can be ordered on-line at the website below.  It is $9 for each book, plus $1 shipping for each book up to five copies.


Olivia Rostic and Christian Trewhella
Our great grandchildren
If you wish to place an order for six copies or more, please email us directly at [email protected].  For an order of six to ten copies, the price is $7 each and $4 for shipping within the USA.  For more than ten copies, the price is also $7 each but we will provide shipping costs at the time of your order.


Order now for Christmas! 

2015 TOURS
February 15-27            Clayton/Young Connect to Israel Tour

November 1-13           Clayton/Young Connect to Israel Tour



February 15-27  2015   Volunteer Experience at Tamar with Dr. DeWayne Coxon.

Editor's Corner


The author of the newsletter is DeWayne A. Coxon.  Articles were written by him unless noted otherwise.  Chaya Coxon is the publisher.


NOTE:  If you are reading this email newsletter on Facebook you can email me at [email protected] and you will receive it at your own email address.


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NOTE:  We have, for 27 years, encouraged people to support our Israel work through prayer, gifts, volunteering, and touring.  We offer you three ways to contribute.  You can contribute online by visiting our website at and choosing the "Contribute" link on the top banner, call Jodi at 1-800-317-7673 to use your credit card, or send your gift to our address:  P.O. Box X, Cedar Springs, MI  49319.  My cell phone number is 616-901-4153 if you have any questions. 

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