Welcome to Israel - Palestine

Here we go, I am completely at a loss for what God has in store for us on this journey.  This group is unique in its design. They have already shown some pretty good signs of commitment. Not only to this journey, but to the benefit of others. For this, I am eternally grateful and excited to be on this journey with them.

This is my 10th time to lead a group on such a journey as this. About half of our group have gone on similar journeys with me before. This time they have brought with them other family members to join us.There are some who have never been on such a journey and I trust will find it to be something that could change their lives and their Christian witness. That is my heart’s dream for all us. I pray our hearts, minds, souls and spirit are all at one with God and the infinite possibilities this trip holds for each of us.

In coming back and forth to this split country for the last 20+ years, I have come to have an appreciation for the land, the cultures, the sites and sounds, and, most importantly, the people living here, now.  I have watched and listened and learned from so many; and, from so many different perspectives.

What I think I have learned most about being on journeys like this, is this trek we are on together is not just about historical and biblical sites; it is about the living witness to our love for God and Christ as seem through the lives of those who have gone before us establishing such a cloud of witnesses; and, how are we going to share in that story.

So I have already asked our members to take a leap of faith and join me in not only seeing and learning about the biblical history of the land and those who have walked on it, but to also believe me when I tell them there are new stories being shaped even today and we can make a difference in the way it all turns out.

There are ministries and people who have become family to me. They struggle in their attempts to be the hands and feet of Christ reaching out to our younger generations with a story of grace, peace and love especially in the midst of a world around them that so often is showing them just the opposite. I have asked our group to supply these ministries with such things, as they have requested, to make doing their job a bit easier. I have asked the people and families living out these ministries to feel free to ask for some gifts they would appreciate. I have asked our group to try out best to provide at least a little of everything they have asked for.  And we did!!

So even though we are on Day 01 of this part of the journey, we have actually been at work for weeks preparing ourselves to not just observe, but to live out  a part of the ongoing story of this land and cultures; and, the many many lives that are what this place is all about.

We managed, pretty much without incident to get ourselves, our personal belongings, some financial support and over 500 lbs of supplies (in 10 suitcases, of which one is MIA) into the planes, the bus and into our first Guesthouse.

We spent a short time making a quick loop around the seashore and the major relics of Jaffa before moving on to our accommodations. We arrived later than expected and were asked to move directly to the dining hall where we were served a fantastic dinner. We met blurry eyed for a short time of devotion, reflection and housekeeping for preparing for our next day.

Thank you, God, for bringing us together, for giving us this opportunity, and covering us with your grace as we have traveled this first 36 hours safely. Open us to whatever we need to see, and hear; do and be, while we are in this journey. Amen.