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Review on The Great Passion Play – Eureka Springs, AR

Posted by Orilla on 25th June and posted in Reviews

Entrance to The Great Passion Play.

Our family was invited to spend the day at The Great Passion Play on Saturday June 15, 2013. The sun was shinning and we were very excited!! The drive from Springfield is very winding but beautiful during this time of the year. You will find the closer you get to The Great Passion Play area signs up guiding you in. Once you turn onto Passion Play Road you are almost there.

This is the entrance to the campus! The fountain is beautiful and represents the birth of Christ and His earthly ministry. The garden is beautiful and restful. Yes, our day was just beginning and we were already impressed.

Our first stop was to the Bible Museum. Wow! You walk into a great gift shop and then on into the Bible Museum. What a history our Bible has! All of the sweat, blood, tears and even some gave their own life so that we may have God’s

Bibles through history.

Word. Our host was wonderful and you could tell he enjoyed talking about how we now have THE BEST SOLD book in the world. One thing that stood out to me was that our son was able to enjoy the tour even, and that is unusual. One of the things that our son enjoyed was look at the pictures that Elder Rhee from North Korea (fled to South Korea when the communist took over) created from Bible passages from the New Testament, some are done in 1,234 different languages and dialects. They have magnifying glasses

Created by Bible scripture verses by Elder Rhee. so you can look closely at the pictures and see the words. Elder Rhee was separated from his family while trying to leave North Korea and he was the only one of his family that got out alive. He began his work on his pictures at the age of 40.

After our tour we watched a video that was taken in Europe showing the different places of highlights that had happened to make our Bible what it is today. It was very interesting and worth watching. As we were leaving our host told us if we got hot during the day, we were always welcome to come back in to the air conditioned building. All of the buildings across the campus do have air, and it was nice to be able to cool off throughout the day.

Next stop was the Sacred Arts Museum. We were welcomed in by two sweet ladies. The first room is mostly paintings down by Jack E. Dawson from DSCF2278Webb City, MO. He has been doing art for over 30 years. He is famous for the 32-foot tall sculpture “The Praying Hands Statue” on Highway 71 in Webb City, MO. Our favorite pictures were his “Seek and Find” series. His daughter looks over the pictures as he has painted them and finds the hidden pictures that he doesn’t always know he has put in the picture. When we were there one of the ladies that worked there had just found a picture that hadn’t been found by his daughter and could only be seen from a certain angle as the light hit the picture. I have never seen anything like this and both of our kids were spell bound looking for the hidden pictures and remembering the stories behind them. This is highly recommended for homeschoolers!!! One of Mr. Dawson’s favorite items in the homeschool world is his Passion Tree painting. He has made it into a 25-day Advent Calendar. Each day is about one of the balls on the Christmas Tree and what it represents. This would be a great addition to your homeschool and to your Christmas tradition.

Last Supper out of moth and butterfly wings by Mrs. Wesley Whitson in the mid 1930's.The next section of the Sacred Arts Museum was different artists take on the life of Christ. Most art museum’s discourage pictures being taken, but here they encouraged us to take ALL the pictures we wanted to. One of my favorite pictures in the gallery was the Last Supper that was done completely out of moth and butterfly wings. Each piece of art was done with love and hard work. Their was paintings, clay work and even some done out of wood carvings.

This reminds me of the song "Jesus Loves the Little Children".

Both of the museum’s are open throughout the day so you can take your time going through them. Unlike some places that we have gone they love homeschoolers. They are open to talk to you and answer any questions you might have. Such an awesome experience.

Due to a down pour as we finished with the Sacred Arts Museum, we decided to go for lunch and have some down time. By the time we ate and returned to the campus the sky was still threatening rain but we decided to continue our day.

DSCF2358Next was our trip to the Christ of the Ozarks. You can drive your vehicle to a parking lot for this area but we decided to walk it. It was a beautiful walk and an awesome site to watch the Christ come into view. Going up the walk to the Christ was a neat cross cut out in an old stump. Gerald L. K. Smith built the Christ with the foundation that he began in his wife’s honor, Elna M. Smith.

The Christ of the Ozarks was built in 1966. Every inch of the Christ was built by hand. It is 67 feet tall, the hands from wrist to fingertip is approximately 7 feet, the statue’s arm spread from fingertip to fingertip spans 65 feet. The statue weighs over two million lbs and is made of 24 layers of white mortar on a steel frame, requiring 340 tons of concrete. Pictures can’t describe the awesome of this statue that over looks the Ozarks. The first thing I thought of when I saw the statue was the saying “He spred His arms and said I love you this much and died.”

On the walk back we stopped at the Church in the Grove. There in the yard was a replica of the Liberty Bell and an actual 10×10 section of the Berlin DSCF2398Wall. This is awesome when you read the background of this part of the wall. On the wall is written “Though I walk through the dark valley, I will not fear” Psalm 23. The artist was an East Berliner and when the wall came down The Great Passion Play bought it as a tribute to the spirit of all people who risk their lives serving Christ.

David & Jimmy Ponder in concert.By the time we walked back to the campus we were hot and tired and need some time to cool down. So our next stop was at the Smith Memorial Chapel to hear The Ponders in a 45 minute concert. They did an awesome job singing some of the older songs and even sang one for the kids, “Jesus Love Me”. The chapel is a beautiful Jewish looking building and made the music sound awesome. David Ponder used to sing with Ponder, Sykes and Wright and moved to Branson 2007 and joined the Branson Brothers which his brother Jimmy was apart of.

The next part of our journey was one of the best part of the day, even though it was hot and dry. We were privileged to take the Holy Land Tour. Friends this is an awesome journey and your children will enjoy it! We were greeted at the Eastern Gate by a “Roman soldier” welcoming us to this awesome journey. The tour takes 2 1/2 hrs, be prepared to walk A LOT! The workers are dressed in costumes from the days of Jesus.At the Eastern Gate being greeted by a Roman soldier. The journey througDSCF2430h the Old Testament is all on foot and takes approximately 1 hr. We met one of the disciples that had walked on the Emmaus Road with Jesus; the woman at the well (Jacob’s Well), one of the women with the Passover House, Moses with the Ten Commandment Tablets, ending our Old Testament Journey at Moses’ Tabernacle. Due to a large group at the temple we by passed that part and continued on our journey through the New Testament and then ended it at the temple, which was an interesting effect!

The New Testament takes approximately 1 ½ hrs and this part of the journey is traveled by bus. The first stop is Bethlehem. You will visit with Ellie one DSCF2439of the women at the community well, Ellie the wife of the Inn Keeper and (the same woman played all three parts) Mary the mother of Jesus. Here you will see the well that the community would use with steps leading down into the water; a carpenter and weaver’s shop as used back in those days and probably was like Joseph taught Jesus in. Each of the homes you visit you get to go into and see how they actually looked. The inn is very interesting and something I would never have thought of. This year at Christmas the story of the Birth of Christ will be looked at a totally different way due to this visit!

DSCF2456The second stop will be at the Sea of Galilee with Peter. On the way you will pass different areas that are significant in the Holy Land. You will see the sheepfold; watch tower; vineyard; wine press; Dead Sea area; white washed tombs; rock life and the rock quarry. One fun thing we had was our driver was a Roman soldier in the Passion Play that told his guards to arrest the Lord. After Peter talked with us, he invited us to go to his home. The original Sea of Galilee was 14 miles long by 7 miles wide. Most of the time it was very peaceful. Much of Jesus ministry took place in the region of Galilee. Peter’s home was in Capernaum which was located on the shores of Galilee and became Jesus’ headquarters. As we walked about the area depicted as the Sea of Galilee we noticed that Peter’s boat was in the water showing how he was a fishermen.

On our way to our last stop we past by the Mount of Olives. Our last stop was at the Upper Room and the Garden Tomb. We met John at the Upper Room and he told us about why back then people sat on their left side and ate with their right hand, do you know why? He explained the sitting DSCF2460arrangement of the disciples and Christ that night. He did an awesome job showing us how different ones were wondering what was going to happen and how confused they all felt.

Then we went to the Garden Tomb and were met by Mary Magdalene. She told us about that terrible night, the confusion in the street, then about the cross and the terrible death. She told us about needing to wait the Sabbath out to prepare the body and how it felt to get to the tomb to find it empty and then be met by her Lord. She reminded us that as Jesus went away that we were commanded to go into the world and bring others to Him.

DSCF2469Since we had to skip the temple we back tracked to the temple at this point. Don’t miss this part it is amazing!! This is one of the only life sized replicas. At one point they used to have a fire burning under the outer alter but due to fire hazards they have quit this part of the showing. It put all of my learning of the tabernacle from my high school days in perspective. Our guide was one of the priest and he explained how each part of the temple was delicately made to perfection the way that God told Moses to do it. The dimensions of this temple was exactly as it was written in the Bible. It was interesting to see that only a certain items were allowed into each part of the temple. As we left the temple we passed by the Rock of Witness.

You say wow what a day. Yes, it was a busy day but it wasn’t over yet! We were hot, tired and exhausted from walking so we made our way back to the front. My husband and daughter went to the snack area and got supper for us. For less than a hamburger meal for each of us from McDonald’s, we had fresh made pizza (3 of us) and my husband had a barbecue roast beef sandwich (large), a bag of chips each and a drink each. It was very good!vlcsnap-2013-06-23-16h34m42s195

Next stop was David the Shepherd. This was an excellent talk and after he finished talking he took the crowd out to demonstrate the slings like what David used in the Bible. He makes the slings to sale both for rocks and for marshmallows.

DSCF2490After David was the Parables of the Potter. The Potter created a pot while he was talking about how we were the clay and Christ was the Potter. He explained that just as the pot needs to go through the fire, so we have to go through the fiery trials to make us what Christ wants of our lives. Then he made the pot have a design of its own and so does Christ make us one of our own kind to be used for Him.

Once the Potter was finished everyone headed towards the stadium for the play. A group of young people from Minnesota were visiting and performed a couple of numbers while people were settling down for the play. As the time drew near for the play to begin, the storm that had been holding off moved in. The pledges were done at 8:30 and then the drama began. At 8:30 it started raining and people started putting rain coats and umbrella’s over themselves. The drama starts off with Jesus teaching in the temple, to raising Lazarus, to Palm Sunday, to the Passover, to the trial, the crucifixion, the resurrection, then the ascension. The interesting part was it was while Jesus was ascending into Heaven that the rain completely quit.

This whole day was an awesome day and our whole family highly recommends it. Our daughter’s word for the day was “it was cool!” Highly DSCF2524recommended is to wear comfortable shoes, take bug spray to use before going on the Holy Land Tour and plenty to drink. There is water at the end of the tour but you need to take change if you plan to buy it because it is on a donation bases of a $1/bottle. Everyone was friendly and helpful. Even with Milton’s problems the crew there weren’t bothered with his talking or agitation.

Make plans to attend now. We are working with the crew there to get a special day with the homeschoolers there. This is a super place to teach history, Bible and have a great outing as a family. Go to to buy your tickets. You can get just the play tickets or add a few more dollars on and get the Total Experience Pass which in all that we did and talked about above. The only thing we did not do was the behind the scene, the Great hall Dinner and Concert and the In-Depth Tabernacle Teaching. A Family Total Experience Pass is $119.85 (this covers 2 adults and 4 kids – kids 6 and under are FREE). If you are a MATCH member make sure that we have your updated address for a special coupon to The Great Passion Play.

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