How was your trip? That is the number one question people ask me. I still do not have an answer that makes sense.
For those who don’t know, Janet and I went to Israel from Oct. 17-26. We had wanted to go all of our lives so we had looked forward to this for a good while. We went with Jack and Marilyn Austin. Jack’s wife, Bonnie, used to work here and passed away 3 years ago.
A summary would be easy. How was your trip? Well, one place we went, Casearea Philiippi received a rocket attack after we left. On Sunday morning, we stood by the Western Wall (Wailing Wall), waiting to enter the Temple Mount. They would not let us enter because, above us, a riot was taking place with Moslems throwing rocks at Israeli Policeman. A “disturbance” was what they called it. For the rest of the day we stayed at the hotel rather than find ourselves in a situation we could not feel safe in.
Also, while we were in Bethlehem, we were assigned a Palestinian guide since people from Israel are not allowed to cross the border. Unfortunately, as we waited in line for 2 plus hours to see where the baby Jesus was born our guide got arrested by the police and carried off. It was uncomfortable being in a foreign country, guideless, and wondering, “what will be do next?” Finally the guide was allowed to return and get us safely back to Jerusalem. Also Military Jets flying over us was a little unnerving at times. You are about to go to sleep and here comes another one.
So, how was your trip? We learned a lot. We went swimming in the dead sea, walked all over Qumran and Masada. Had a special communion service at the tomb of Jesus.
The topography of the country was the biggest surprise. In areas so many hills. Or lengthy stretches of desert. Our feet were worn out. Our legs ached. The amount of animosity between Jews, Moslems, and Christians, was evident as the history of the nation was explained to us.
We had a delightful group to travel with. An archeologist led us and one of the couples we were with got engaged the last night we were there. That was exciting.
So how was your trip? Enlightening, at times frightening, tiring, a new understanding of this middle eastern area, a new appreciation of the Bible, and yes, the priest got mad at me and pulled me out of the shrine to the Baby Jesus, but that is another story.