Hello, friends! I have Israel trip stuff to share with you. Not sure how many parts this will take, but I’m thinking at least two.
In case you missed it in a previous post, my husband had to take a mission trip this year to complete a graduation requirement for Highlands College. When he told me he chose Israel, I knew I wanted to go with him. The trip wasn’t cheap, but we had to find a way. Thankfully we had enough people contribute to cover half of the total cost, which was a blessing.
Israel isn’t a typical mission trip because it’s very taboo to go into the country on missions, obviously. In order to keep everything “legal” we had to tour half of the trip so that we would have proof to show customs when leaving the country. We couldn’t advertise that we were there for missions or to work, without a work visa. The last half of our trip we volunteered at King of Kings Community in Jerusalem. They have space in an old 14 story building in the heart of the ultra Orthodox area of Jerusalem. The building is called the Clal Building and once served as a mall. There are several shops still open for business there, but KoK is slowly acquiring space as it comes available. When they do, there are lots of renovations that need to be made. That’s where our team comes in. I’ll talk more about that later.
The first half of our trip we toured with Dan Altaras of Sar El Tours (highly recommended!!!). Dan was the best tour guide we could have ever asked for. He’s a Messianic Jew who came to faith 8 years ago. At only 26 years of age, we were all blown away and inspired by how much knowledge, wisdom, and insight he had regarding the Bible and Israel’s history. I mean, yes it’s to be expected considering he is a Jew who grew up in Israel, but it still amazed us. If more American Christians took the time to really study the Bible (myself included) like the Jews do from a very young age, I think we as Christians would have a better reputation.
Here of some of my favorite pictures from our first half of the trip.
Travel day, our group (minus the kids)
We made it!! We arrive around 3 pm Israeli time, which is 8 hours ahead of Alabama time.
Also, don’t mind me, I’m pointing to the people coming up the stairs that can’t get by because we’re taking up all the space. I’m such a goober.
Day 1: Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea before sunset.
Day 1: Natanya, Israel
Day 2: Tour of Caesarea, restored ruins of an ancient theater built by Herod
Day 2: Having the best ice cream on Earth at Caesarea. Mine was date, banana and pecan. Dates (one of my favorite fruits!) are very popular here.
Day 2: On top of Mt Carmel. Dan tells us of Elijah calling down fire in 1 Kings 18
Day 2: Lunch, typical Israeli food. Falafel in pita, salad, hummus
Day 2: Afternoon treat, kanafeh from a bakery in Nazareth. So so good. I’m still dreaming about it.
End of Day 2: At our hotel by the Sea of Galilee. It’s so gloriously peaceful here. I tell myself want to live near Galilee.
Some of the girls.
View from our hotel at the Sea of Galilee
Day 3: We start the day with an early boat ride on the only Messianic Worship Boat on the Sea of Galilee!
Day 3: View from the boat. Jesus taught on these hillsides and walked on these waters!
Day 3: On the bus to Caesarea Philippi
Day 3: Caesarea Philippi. Herod’s son named Phillip ruled this city. This is the remnants of the temple of Pan, an idol that many worshiped.
Day 3: A quick visit to the beautiful city of Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee. At night, Tiberas’ lights are reminiscent of a beautiful necklace around a woman’s neck.
Day 3: Dan teaching us amid the ruins of a synagogue in Capernaum. Jesus lived here with Peter for 3 years.
Reading from the scriptures. (Us women had to cover our knees while in Capernaum, hence the scarf I’m wearing around my waist. This was one of the many times we would have to cover up in certain parts of Israel.)
City walls around Capernaum
Several columns on display in Capernaum
Day 3: On top of the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
Our group on Mount of Beatitudes. I love these people!
Day 4: Enjoying our last sunrise on the Sea of Galilee
Day 4: Visit to the Dead Sea. Despite its name it’s quite beautiful! It’s also the lowest point on Earth at 1,388 feet below sea level.
We all struggle to gain our footing in the slippery mud covered bottom of the Dead Sea. Some places were so soft you would sink knee deep. You can see me clinging to my husband (red shirt) in the middle of the photograph.
We all hold hands and float in a circle. You don’t even have to try to float, your body is naturally buoyant in the extreme denseness of the mineral filled water. It’s so salty it turns your mouth if you dare taste it.
There are many caves on the hillside. Once of which was where the first scrolls were found.
Looking from Qumran across the Dead Sea to Jordan.
Day 4: We finally make it to Jerusalem!
Looking to the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives. In the lower part of the picture, you can see thousands of Jewish tombs. They are buried here as they believe that when Jesus returns, he will touch down on the Mount of Olives and they will be the first to rise.
Hunter Mae riding Kojak the camel.
We visit an olive grove near the Garden of Gethsemane to have a time of teaching.
I have a tearful moment here with my group. I love Pastor Keith’s hugs.
Our group coming down the Mount of Olives.
End of Day 4: One gets sweaty while walking all over Jerusalem, so after showers and dinner, we visit the Old City at night, entering through Jaffa Gate, one of eight gates of the Old City of Jerusalem.
We spend a good hour and a half at one particular shop, buying all sort of treasures. Janette and I with David the shop owner, showing off our Roman glass jewelry purchases. Ring for me, necklace for her.
Late night shopping group.
I’ll end Part 1 here. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed seeing just a small part of my trip. I still have Days 5-11 to share. Stay tuned.
One of our talented team members made a video of some of best pics, click here to watch.