January 21, 2017
Today was our last day of our Israeli adventure, so we packed in as many sites as we could, here in Jerusalem. We started our morning at the Mount of Olives, which is one of the hills outside of the main city, so we had a gorgeous view. The first thing that caught our attention was the Dome of the Rock, the second was a camel. Here in the city, people will do anything to earn money, including 5$ camel rides on the mt. of Olives. Heaps of tour buses began to flood the area by the time we left.
January 20, 2017
Shabbat Shalom! Another great day today friends, our first day in Jerusalem! Today started earlier than the rest of our days here, with our wake up call at 6 and breakfast at 6:30 (normally it’s 6:30 wake up and 7 breakfast).
Western wall and tunnels- known as “the Wailing Wall” in pop culture, the Western Wall is the prayer for all in the Jewish faith. Where the temple of Jerusalem used to stand, there were also walls built up around the outside, almost like a retaining wall, but the temple is long since gone and the area above under Palestinian control. So where people go now to be as close as they can to where the temple was, is the Western Wall. Being there was very surreal.
January 19, 2017
This morning we bid a heavy-hearted farewell to our beloved kibbutz, and made our way back toward Jerusalem. Of course we got some insanely awesome sites along the way! Here are today’s highlights:
Beth She’an- A short walk up to Tel Beth She’an was the perfect start to another great day here in the Holy Land. The valley and spring of this region is most notably known for the story of Gideon! The site was actually quite beautiful, and below it was the ancient city Scythopolis, the capital city of the Roman cities known as the Decapolis. We were in AWE of how gorgeous the ruins were, it’s easy to see why people were drawn to it. Our favorite part: we sang Cornerstone a-cappella in the theater to our thousands of adoring fans! Ok, it was just to Ned, but it was lovely.
January 18, 2017
Today was wonderful! Wind was blowing on the Sea of Galilee, and we were ready for another great day of adventure! Today we tackled the Golan Heights. Highlights of the day:
Kursi- this is the area, according to tradition, where Jesus went out and cast the demon from the man into the pigs nearby. So, naturally, later there was a Byzantine church built on the site. The ruins are still there today, and it’s lavish mosaics and decorations still stand, as well as an arch from the front of the church, where the altar would have been. The caves are still there as well, where the man was believed to live.
January 17, 2017
The wind whipped past our little kibbutz early this morning as we woke on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in Ein Gev. To say that we were humbled is an understatement. The wind blew most of the morning at easily 5-8mph and chilled us to the bone. 7 am on the Galilee is rough, but beautiful.
So let’s go ahead and do highlights of the day again!
January 16, 2017
We woke to an incredible display of pink and blue over the Dead Sea as the sun rose on our second day here. Enjoy some highlights of what we did today!
Masada- High up in the Judah Mountains, overlooking the Dead Sea, is the strong hold Masada. Built by Herod the Great as essentially an oversized storage unit for his kingdoms goods, this sight holds a large significance to the Jewish people. Like I said, it lies on top of the mountain, so we had quite a hike ahead of us (though there was a cable car to the top, but where’s the fun in that?). After 45 minutes of climbing, we reached the stronghold! We wandered the ruins of this once great place, and discussed Herod and the significance of the places he built. We took the cable car down.
January 15, 2017
At 6am, the sharp ring of our morning wake up call jolted many of us up and out of bed, eager for our first day on this adventure. After a quick breakfast, we hit the road!
First stop: Kiariath Jiriam, a beautiful garden and historic town replica created initially as a memorial of sorts, but later found to have had biblical ties, much like everywhere in this gorgeous country.
January 13, 2017
As our little group (and by little I mean 25 people) sits here at Gate 153 in LAX, we are all anxiously charging our phones, stretching our legs, and preparing for our adventure to begin. We sit here, a puddle of green in our matching sweatshirts for easy spotting when we get inevitably separated at customs in Istanbul, looking like one of those large family groups at Disneyland all wearing a shirt that reads “Johnson Family Trip 2015.” Our first flight will be an exciting 13 hour flight to Istanbul and then a short layover until our flight to Tel Aviv, where we will stay the night. Our little family is a mix of emotions as we wait to board, ranging from excited to “not ready to be in a metal tube for that long.”
Either way, we are absolutely ecstatic to be given this incredible opportunity to not only expand our horizons but walk in a little a bit of history. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers for safe travels, and light hearts. Much love, North Coast School of Ministry!