In a beautiful coincidence, Gene , Tom, and Sharon all traveled to Israel and some of the surrounding areas in the first quarter of 2023. In fact, Tom was in Jordan while Gene was in Israel for a few days. Gene suggested a meeting but Tom was detained by a camel in Jordan.
All of our trips were uncoordinated but fell within two months of each other. Coincidence? We think not.
Gene and his wife Ann Marie travelled to the area around the Sea of Galilee for four days, then Bethlehem for three days followed by Jerusalem for four days. Gene and Ann Marie described the trip as “transformative” and possibly “life changing” depending on what they did upon returning. Spiritually – the Bible came alive for them. Politically – they learned much more about coexistence of the Israelis and Palestinians.
Tom and Thalia spent several days in Jordan, traveling south from the Dead Sea, through Petra and down to the Red Sea before crossing over into Israel. A camel ride to an oasis café in the Wadi Rum dessert was a wonderful experience. The trip culminated with several days in Jerusalem, highlighted by a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb. Both Tom and Thalia consider this a “trip of a lifetime”.
Sharon and her husband Blake began their ten day pilgrimage in The Galilee. Blake, who is a pastor, led the tour and Jim and Paige Rice, Sharon’s brother and sister in law also joined them. In The Galilee they spent time at the Church of the Beatitudes in proximity to where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, Capernaum Jesus’ hometown and Magdala before moving south to Qumran where the dead sea scrolls were discovered.
Other highlights of the trip were spending time at the Church of All Nations at the Garden of Gethsemane and in an underground Synagogue near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The ancient words of Scripture become more alive and meaningful when visiting the actual places where the world was redeemed!