Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pictures posted

My Israel & Jordan photo album is available for viewing.  I chose about 200 photos from over 1500 shots.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday June 16th

Today is the last full day of our trip before we start our return home.  We left the hotel with bags packed because we fly out in the early AM hours of Friday morning.  But that does not mean we did not accomplish anything today.  Our guide kept us on a strict schedule and wanted to make sure we saw as much as we could with our few remaining hours.

We started by going south wall excavations.  These ruins are just adjacent to the south wall of the Old City.  From there we talked about Jesus' final week.  At the southern wall there is a sealed entrance that was the public entrance into the temple mount.

South Wall Excavations
Our guide said with more certainty than anywhere else in all of Jerusalem, Jesus must have been at this very spot.  From here we could follow his path from the upper room (the last supper), to the Mount of Olives (were Jesus was captured after he went their to pray), back up to to where he was tried and sentenced.  We really got a sense of that final week there.

From there we walked just down the hill a little bit to the ongoing excavations at the City of David.  The City of David is King David's Palace.  From here you can stand at his roof and looked down on the dwellings beneath him.  This is where he more likely than not he saw Bathsheba.

View from the roof top of David's palace
You can also see the wall reconstructed by Nehemiah.  They are making significant discoveries here on an ongoing basis.  This sight, as so many others, is currently being excavated. Within the last couple years they have found seals with the names of scribes that are recorded in the book of Jeremiah.  Our guide is absolutely convinced of the historicity of the Bible.  He was not convinced of this as recently as 10 years ago, but now he believes you can't adequately understand what you find without the Bible.  As here has stated many times the Bible is a treasure map.  This says a lot coming from a man

Jerusalem is city of layers built upon layers.  Every time something is built is it is built the ruble of whatever is beneath it.  To dig here, as with many other places throughout Israel, one must overcome political obstacles.  Many times our guide said everything in Israel is politics.  For example they have found solid evidence of Jewish tombs under land occupied by Palestinians.  Many sights are not excavated due to the implications that might result.  The Dome of the Rock is a primary example.  This is the location of the Temple Mount, but it is under the control of the Muslims (interesting side is owned by the Jordanians) and it is off limits.

We concluded our time in Jerusalem with a visit to the garden tomb.  From here you can view what is purported to be Golgotha, the location of Jesus' crucifixion.  From there it is a short walk to what is thought to be the garden tomb of Jesus.

Garden Tomb
As Christians everything we believe in revolves around the empty tomb.  That He is who He claimed to be.  He is the Christ, the Son of the living God.  We had the opportunity to reflect on our experiences the last 11 days.  We sang songs of praise and took communion there.  This was and ideal way to conclude our time there.

From there we started our drive back to Tel Aviv to catch our flight home.  Along the way we stopped at Emmaus.  On the road to Emmaus Jesus, after his resurrection, spoke with two travelers.  After some discussion with them about all that had happened in Jerusalem the prior week, Jesus revealed himself to them.  Jesus did not die, He is alive.  We continued driving through the area in the fields where David met and defeated Goliath.  Finally we were transported back to the 21st century to start our trip home.  This was a trip of a lifetime!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday June 15th

To start today I would like wish you a happy St. Vit day, and happy birthday to my dad!  Last night we finished our day by hearing from some young missionaries (oops...I can't use that word here because it is against the law to proselytize here) and today we started by going to a ministry called “Bridges for Peace”.  This organization is like a food closet but does far more.  Often among the Jews and Arabs they try to reach it is difficult if not an impossible for them to accept aid from Christians.  It is a wonderful ministry.

From there we went to the Israeli Museum.  We saw a scale model of ancient Jerusalem.  It must have been something to behold back in Jesus' time.  The temple mount would have been impressive even today.

Jerusalem model in Jesus' time
The historic relic we were able to see was some of the scroll fragments that were found at Qumran (near the dead sea...see blog post from day 6).  Portions of the Isaiah scroll was on display.  This is called the shrine of the book.

After our brief visit we continued to the holocaust museum.  We spent a short amount of time there but is was very impacting.

Hall of Remembrance at the Holocaust Museum
The whole trip our guide has been teasing us with the meaning and origin of the Star of David symbol (this is the double triangle star found on the Israeli flag).  One night when I had internet access I google'd it and it did not give a definitive answer.  Actually the symbol has no Jewish significance.  Up until the holocaust the symbol was largely unknown.  Hilter used it to identify the Jews.  So the symbol on the Jewish flag is a Nazi design borrowed from India (FYI the swastika is also a symbol taken from India).  Our guide told us most Jews don't even know this.

Then we went to Bethlehem.  Our guide left us because as a Jew he is not allowed to go there.  Bethlehem is located in the Palestinian occupied territories.

The political situation here is difficult.  There is no easy solution.  The Palestinian occupied territories are surround by a large concrete wall and there is a check point to pass through.  I've never been to Berlin but it reminded me of the Berlin wall.

In Bethlehem we went to the Church of the Nativity.  This is the “location” of Jesus' birth.

They even have memorial to the “spot” of the birth.  But the church was built some 6 centuries after Jesus' birth.  It was meaningful from the point to know that Jesus was born somewhere here.  From there we went to the Shepard's field.  This is were the Shepard left to go see the baby Jesus.

Jerusalem is a very unique city.  A lot of cultures clash here.  The city goes by over 70 different names.  Everything here, regardless of who you are (Muslim, Jewish or Christian) is so religious.  People make relics and idols out of everything.  I don't even like the term religious.  I think of religion as a man made system that is all about dos and don’ts and about man trying to please God.  I think “true religion” is God reaching down to us, to our level to save us.  That is exactly what Jesus has done.  It is up to us to either accept it or reject it.

Tuesday June 14th

Today is our first full day in Jerusalem, and it will be impossible to encapsulate it all.

I will try to cover some of the highlights.  Overall we have been extremely blessed that the crowds are very light.  We are getting everywhere so easily so our wonderful guide keeps adding more and more items to our itinerary.

First thing this morning we returned to the Wailing wall.  It is customary to write a prayer on a piece of paper an stick it into a crack in the wall.

Wailing Wall
My prayer was something that Ron shared earlier, that I have been thinking about frequently on this trip.  The prayer is the same as Peter's answer when Jesus asked who do you think I am. It is something I know I do not acknowledge as much as I should.  “You are the Christ, the son of the living God”.

From there we went to the Dome of the Rock.  Inside the structure there is a rock that is said to be the alter upon which  Abraham placed his son Isaac.  Later Solomon built the temple on this sight.  The Holy of Holies, the place of offerings, was built over this rock.

Dome of the Rock
This is the most holy sight for the Jews and now there is a mosque built upon this spot.  Up until recently this sight was inaccessible by visitors.  For the Muslims this is a very holy spot also, because they say Mohammed ascend here.  There is a lot of tension because of this.  More then ever I have realized how unimportant this physical spot is to us as Christians, because the true temple is in our hearts where the Holy Spirit resides.

In my small group we have been studying the book of John.  We are familiar with a lot of the occurrences in that book.  We went to the pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a crippled man on the sabbath.  We studied this recently and now I visited the spot.

Pool of Bethesda
Adjacent to this sight is the Church of St. Ann.  We went in and sang some hymns.  This place had the most perfect acoustics imaginable.  It made a bunch of novices, like us, sound like a heavenly choir.  I'm sure regardless of how we think we sound, this is what God hears coming from our heart.

In the evening we had the privilege to go to the tunnels under the western wall.  This allowed us to understand how the temple Solomon built originally looked.  We were able to follow the western wall, a continuation of the wailing wall, underground for practically the entire length of the temple.  We were at the very base of the wall where it blends into the bedrock of Mount Moriah.

In addition to the above we also visited: King David tomb, the upper room (sight of the last supper), the Via Delarosa, the prison of Christ, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Mount of Olives, garden of Gesthemeny, Church of Agony, several of the gates into the old city, Absalom's tomb, Zachariah's tomb, and several other items.  This day was definitely and overload on information.

We finished the evening listening to a group young people who are here in Jerusalem reaching the Jews and the Muslims with the good news of Christ.

Monday June 13th

This morning we got an early start because we had to drive north again for several hours, to return to the same border crossing to go back into Israel.  We were hoping for it to go more smoothly than when we entered Jordan.  Once again I was selected for special screening.  I'm convinced it has to do with my Egypt Visa.  Additionally my baggage was deemed suspicious because of stone tile mosaic I purchased in Jordan.  There was some waiting but it went pretty smooth and we made in through in about half the time.

From there we went to Qumran.  Our guide said this a very poor archeological sight except for the fact that it did yield one of the most significant finds ever discovered.  The Dead Sea Scrolls were found here.  We did not spend much time here because there really isn't much to see.  The scrolls are the oldest copy of the Old Testament in existence.  He said the entire Old Testament, except for the book of Ester, is found in the scrolls and it is 99.9% the same as the writings we have today.  This find just adds to the credibility and reliability of the bible.

Afterward we drove down to the southern end of the Dead Sea and went to Masada.

Masada is a fortress on the top of a plateau.  It is the last bastion of Jewish freedom fighters against the Romans.  The Romans built a giant ramp that ascended to the top of Masada and attacked the fortress from there.  The leader of the Jewish community convinced some 960 members that it would be better to take their own lives rather than to live in shame and fall into the hands of the Romans and become slaves.

Structures at Masada
That is the traditional account but there are some alternate theories to this because suicide is completely contrary to Jewish beliefs.  At the end of our stay a couple of us guys decided to hike down from the top of Masada.

From there we drove a back to the north side of the Dead Sea and took a swim.  The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth.  My GPS showed 1360 feet below sea level.  The Dead Sea is shrinking and large portions of what used to be submerged are now dry ground.  The Jordan river flows into the Dead Sea, but not at a rate that will sustain its level due to evaporation.  Israel dammed up a portion of the Jordan river.  Water is such a scarce resource that they cannot allow it to be wasted.

Covered in Black Mud from the Dead Sea
I was able to completely cover myself in the black mud of the Dead Sea.  It is supposed to be good for the skin and I can report that my skin is softer.  I think it just acted as an exfoliate.  Swimming in the Dead Sea is an experience.  The water does not feel any different but you are extremely buoyant.  The water contains one third minerals and hence it is much more dense than regular sea water.  You don't even have to make an effort and you just float.

That pretty much ended our program for the day.  We started driving west through the Judean  wilderness were Jesus was tempted for 40 days.  We went through a tunnel that goes under the Mount of Olive and than all of Jerusalem was reveal to us in a moment.  It was a breathtaking sight to see.

Once we were settled into our hotel and we finished dinner.  A couple of us decided to go for a walk.  We were pointed in a direction and just started walking.  We walked though a Muslim district and tried to soak in the entire experience.  We walked through an opening and to our surprise to the left we had stumbled into the Wailing wall.  This was something I was really looking forward to.  I was able to go up and touch the wall.  It was quite an amazing experience.  I think I'm going to walk every night just to soak in as much as I can.  We will stay in Jerusalem for the next 3 nights until our departure.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday June 12th

We spent the night in Wadi Mousa.  This name of this city translates as “Valley of Moses”.  One of the major reason I chose to go on this trip was to see Petra and it is located in Wadi Mousa.  Most of you are probably familiar with Petra, if not by name by sight.  You will recognize it because it was in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.  Toward the end of the movie Indiana Jones enters a temple carved into the side of a mountain, to look for the holy grail.  Well that is the Treasury in Petra.  This is how I first learned of Petra.

Petra treasury
Petra appears to be mentioned by name in the bible but not by its current name (2 Kings 14:7).  Also right across the street from our hotel is Moses spring.  Tradition says this is were Moses struck the rock and water flowed from it (Numbers 20:10-11).

I had high expectations for Petra and was worried that I might be disappointed.  Petra did not disappoint!  This is definitely one of the most impressive things I have ever seen.  It is absolutely amazing.  Words and pictures just cannot do it justice.  After our guide finished with his program he let us wander.  I tried to visit as many points and features in Petra as I could manage in our allotted time.

Royal tombs at Petra
I skipped lunch and I had a couple bottles water and started to hoof it.  I hiked back to the monastery and then up to the royal tombs and peaked in to as many crevices as I could find.

Monastery at Petra
The colors here are absolutely fascinating.  The ancient kingdom of Moab is just to the south of here.  After seeing the colors and the landscape I can understand how the name Moab was chosen our Moab in Utah.  I was surprised by how large Petra is.  It is a vast complex that stretches far more than I have seen.  I was also surprised by how much roman influence is present.  Petra flourished during Nabataean rule from the 3rd century BC to the early 2nd century AD, when it was occupied by the Roman Empire.  To see Petra in its heyday must have been something amazing.  To go from the barren desert to this must have been like leaving the ends of the earth arriving at it's heart.

Wisdom from an 11 year old
Today while walking through Petra I received wisdom from an 11 year old.  I started a conversation with a little girl who was selling trinkets and post cards.  A sweet little soul.  We were just chatting and she asked if I had a daughter.  I told her I have no daughter...I have no wife.  She look at me with a somber look and said, “No wife, no life”.  We all were laughing so hard at her earnest comment.

After Petra a few of us were hanging out in the pool cooling off.  I made the comment that while we were on top of Mt. Nebo looking into the promised land, it did not look so promising.  It is essentially the same desert on that side of the Jordan river as the desert on this side of the river.  I think that during that time maybe the Jordan valley was much more lush and appealing than it is now.  One of the gentlemen here said that maybe after this barren land here anything looked good.  In any case it was a very desirable plot of land.

Our lesson for tonight was to think about the promises made in this land, and tomorrow as we go over the Samaritan pass and get our first view of Jerusalem to think about God's promises to us.  We have a promise that has been given to every generation since Isaac.  It is the same promise he gave Moses:
  • Joshua 1:5 -  No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.
As we have today:
  • Matthew 28:20 - Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
We have assurance that he will always be with us.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Satuday June 11th

Today we spent several hours on the road and made a border crossing at the Allenby Bridge in to the Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan.  So we did not see as much as in previous days.  In the morning we before we left Israel we went to Bet She'an.

Bet She'an
I have only visited a few sites with Roman ruins but these were the most impressive I've seen.  After that we we drove a little further south and crossed the border in to Jordan.  We spent more time there than we anticipated.  We had some problems getting a few people in our group across the border into Jordan because they were not on the list provided to the Jordanians.  After a couple hours that was resolved and we were allowed to enter.  We ended up cutting one thing out of our Jordan schedule, but we did go to Mount Nebo.

Looking over the promised land from the top of Mt. Nebo
This is the mountain were Moses was shown the promised land before he died.

  • Deuteronomy 34:1 Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the LORD showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, 2 all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, 3 the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

This is the land the Jews wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.

Me peeking into a Bedouin tent

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday June 10th

The entire day today we spent to the north of Tiberias.  We visited a couple nature preserves.  First, in the morning went to the Tel Dan nature preserve and walked the ancient Dan trail.  It takes its name from the tribe of Dan.  The Dan springs are the major source of water for the Sea of Galilee.  The water is fed from Mount Hermon in Syria and that is a point of contention for Syria.  The spring water flows down the Dan river into the Sea of Galilee, down the Jordan river, and ultimately ends in the Dead Sea.  This is a major source of water for this dry arid environment.  Later in the day we went to the top of Mount Bental.  On mount Bental we were given a “modern history” lesson about the 6 day war that happened in 1967.  During this conflict Israel took possession of the Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza Strip.  Our history lesson dealt with the Golan Heights since that is where we were spending our day.

Damascus valley from Mt. Bental
On the top of Mount Bental we stood in former Syrian bunkers.  I got the impression that the Israelis are divided on whether they should retain control over the Golan Heights or settle on a peace for land trade.  It is obvious how important this land is to Israel and for its own security.  The whole day we skirted the borders of Lebanon and Syria and passed along side active mine fields.

In between our nature stops we stopped at Caesarea Philippi.

Caesarea Philippi
While there we stopped reflect on what significant biblical event happened there.  You can read the event in Matthew 16:13-16.  Jesus asks his disciples who do they think He is?  We focused on Peters answer.  His response was not just simple a single statement, his answer was a three phase statement.  Peter identified Jesus as the Messiah, as the Son, as coming from the living God.  We were challenged to think more intently on Peter's response and the deep meaning in his response.

Today I had my most ethnic meal yet and definitely the most enjoyable.  It was fairly simple but very tasty.  We were in a Druze village.  We had a Druze pita with lebane (sour cheese) and olive oil.  It was fantasitic!  It was a hot day (over 100°F) so I enhanced the meal with a cold Coke and Ice cream for dessert.

Using a fig leaf to cover my shame
I have to make a comment on our guide.  He is absolutely fantastic.  He has a PhD in archeology and teaches it at a university.  He leads tours as extra work.  He views archeology through the bible.  Even though he is not a Christian he is constantly reading from the bible at the sights as proof of how the Bible and archeology are so closely tied together.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday June 9th

Last night I had my first full night of sleep so I am all adjusted now.  We started the day fairly early. We went to Ginosar and boarded a boat for a ride out on the Sea of Galilee.

Sea of Galilee
We stopped the boat and cast a net.  There were no fish on either side of the boat.  We stopped for a moment to reflect about the many biblical events that happened around the Sea of Galilee, such as the feeding of the 5000 and the Sermon on the Mount.  Ron talked about the many times Jesus had crossed this lake.  That this entire area of Galilee was his platform for preaching.  We focused on the apostles and their reaction to the time when Jesus was sleeping on the boat and the apostles were fearful for their lives during a storm.  As in a previous lesson Jesus was once again reminding the Apostles not to be afraid and to have faith.  We returned to port and they had a actual 2000 year old boat that was found on the shores of Galilee.  This would have been a boat from Jesus' time

From there we went on the the Mount of Beatitudes.  We had another brief lesson on the Sermon on the Mount.  I took the time to re-read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) while sitting on the mountain from which it was originally preached.  It was quite amazing to think I was reading the same sermon that was preached by Jesus on this same hillside nearly 2000 years ago.  This was a very moving experience.

We continued to Capernaum.  This is the location of Jesus' synagogue and Peter's house.  It is the most mentioned place in the bible in reference to Jesus..  Many of the miracles Jesus preformed occurred at Capernum.  I just never stopped to think that just like I have my home church, Jesus also had his home synagogue.

Jesus' Synagogue
The synagogue that stands there now dates to the 4th century.  But it is built on top the synagogue that would have been there during Jesus' time.  Just to know I am walking the same grounds as our savior is quite an experience.  I am so thankful that I can reflect and enjoy on the historical significance of a place without worshiping the site itself.

For lunch I had St. Peters fish.  It is kind of a touristy thing to do to eat a fish from the Sea of Galilee.  It was very boney, but not bad.  The other food I've had while being here was better than the fish.

After lunch we went down to the river Jordan at the south end of the lake.  Four of the people in our group chose to be baptized in the river.  Two weeks ago I was watching an old 8mm film with my dad of him being baptized in the Jordan and now I and here in the same spot.

Our day ended with a non historical stop but a current event that is making an historical impact.  The group I am with is an organization called HCJB global.  Their ministry is spreading the gospel through media.  We visited a company, here in Tiberius, called Galtronics that has a close working relationship with HCJB.  They produce small solar powered hand held radios that are given away so that people can hear the Gospel.  It is amazing to think that through a company in the region of Galilee that the Gospel is still being heard world wide.  They are also producing a small inexpensive digital media player with the entire spoken bible, in different languages, for distribution to the third world where the majority of people can not read.  But they can still have the word of God.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday June 8th

Last night at sundown a holiday started to commemorate God giving the Torah to Moses, so today should be a relatively quite day due to the holiday.

The hotel in which we are staying has a Shabbat elevator.  My understanding is that “Shabbat” means sabbath.  I understand the concept of not working on the sabbath, but I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind the shabbat elevator.  On the Shabbat elevator you don't push any buttons and it stops on only odd floors and pauses for a minute and a half at each floor.  I would think that if walking up one flight of stairs is more work, why not stop at every floor.  Apparently the minute and a half pause on each floor has something to do with using electricity.  Maybe the effects of it have to wear off.  The explanation I was given does not make much sense to me.

We started the day by driving north through the Sharon forest to Caesarea Maritima.  Caesarea Maritima was a major deep water port during biblical times, built by King Herod.  There is an ruins have amphitheater and a hippodrome which reflect how big and important of a place it was.

Caesarea Hippodrome

This is where books of Luke and Acts were written.  This is the port from which Paul left when he was sent to Rome to face charges.  It is a beautiful example of Roman architecture.

From there we went to Mount Carmel.  This is where Isaiah challenged the prophets of Baal a showdown to demonstrate to the people who is the real God of Israel (1 Kings 18).  Isaiah prayed and God accepted his offerings and proved to all the people He is the one and only God.

After this we went to Mount Megiddo.  Megiddo is where Solomon had a great fort (1 Kings 9:15).  It is also the place in Revelation 16:14-16 that speaks of the “final battle” - Armageddon.

Then we went on to Nazareth.  Nazareth is where Jesus grew up and spent most of his life.  In the city we went to the Church of the Annunciation.  This is where tradition holds that annunciation occurred to Mary, by the Angel Gabriel, about the virgin birth of Jesus.  The Basilica is built right on top of the ruins of ancient Nazareth.  Our guide told us more than any other spot in all of Israel this location is the most definite as to where Jesus actually walked.  More likely than not, as a child he ran through these streets and played in the town square.

From there we drove through Cana (the sight of Christ's first miracle of turning water in wine (John 2) to Tiberias.  Tiberias is a city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.  We will make our home here for the next three nights.  After dinner I walk down to the Sea of Galilee just to enjoy and reflect on where I am.

Travel day

Traveling day - First off, thank you Jenny for taking me to the airport this morning.  I am currently sitting on a plane bound from Denver to New York.  I met up with a portion of our group at DIA before we boarded the plane.  It was nice to see some faces I haven't seen in over a dozen years.  I also met my roommate for the next 11 days.  At JFK airport in New York we will meet up with the remainder of our group.  We are a group of 33 people in total and for once I am not among the oldest in the group.  From here we have a 9 hour, overnight flight, directly to Tel Aviv with ELAL.  We arrive late afternoon local time on Tuesday.

Beyond the spiritual experience I am looking forward to the cultural, historical and of course the gastronomical experience.
Well now I am through security at JFK and I am sitting at the gate waiting to board the flight to Tel Aviv.  During check in with ELAL I was pulled aside for questioning.  They did not like the fact that I had a VISA from Egypt in my passport.  Then after further investigation I don't think they liked the additional stamps in my passport from Uganda, Ethiopia, and Russia.  They wanted to know if I still communicate with anyone in Egypt, where in Egypt I visited, whether I went to Muslim sights, the purpose of all my trips and my reason for going Israel.  I think they were just trying to correlate stories from different people on our trip.  Security was courteous but thorough.

I had my first minor scare.  I thought I forgot the power supply for my laptop.  Fortunately I did not, otherwise my blog updates would have ended after my this entry.  There is no free wifi at JFK.  It's kinda of funny you have to pay to access “free public wifi”.  Hmm...sound fishy to me.  Well this post will have to wait until I arrive in Israel.  Hopefully I'll get several hours of sleep on the flight.
Tuesday ended with us arriving in Tel Aviv in the late afternoon.  After dinner a couple of us walked down to the beach.  I was able to soak my feet in the Mediterranean Ocean and walk down the boardwalk.  I hope to be able to post this soon.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Israel & Jordan trip!

It has been far too long since my last post.  I got lazy over the winter months.  Since my last post I have spent time with my brothers family, skydiving in Moab, snowboarding, and volunteering with the youth at my church.

In February I received an email from HCJB Global that they will be offering a trip to Israel & Jordan.  This immediately caught my attention because I've always wanted to make a trip to Israel, but I always wished if I had the opportunity that I could also go to Jordan.  This trip was perfect, because it offered both.

The trip will be full of bible teachings at biblical sights, lead by Dr. Ron Cline.  My desire during this trip is that I gain a deeper understanding of the bible and the period it was written in.  I hope that the truth within moves from the pages and I see it in a more real manner than I have ever experienced it before.

I started packing with less than 12 hours till my departure.  Please follow along with me for the next 11 days as I journey and I hope to let you share some of my experiences.

God bless!