Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Day 1 - Arrival in Tel Aviv, Israel
I am going to try and blog our trip to Israel, along with photos of the various sites we visit. It may prove to be an exercise in futility for two reasons. Number one, it is the first time I have tried blogging with photos, and number two there is no guarantee that we will have internet access at all of the hotels we will be staying at. So, here we go!
We left Seattle at around 12:30 PM on our way to Atlanta, GA where we would catch a 10:45 PM flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. There is a total of 39 of us traveling together, fourteen from South Hill Calvary Chapel and another 25 from Calvary Chapel Marysville. Everyone is pretty excited about the trip. Several of the people have been to Israel before including the Calvary Chapel Marysville pastor, Dave Woodward and his wife Shannon, along with several others from their church.
As for us, this will be my third tour of the Holy Land. The first was when my wife Jenny and I came with a group of other pastors to familiarize ourselves with what a tour looks like and how to host your own tour. I didn’t want to bring a group of people from the church without understanding what I was seeing.
In the Spring of 2007, we brought our first group from the church. I must say that the second trip was even better than the first. There is so much to see here that you come away the first time with a bit of an overload of all that there is to see. My second trip here was definitely more meaningful as even more of the glorious history of this amazing land began to fall into place. Things just start making more sense. The opportunity to teach short bible studies at the various sites we visit is an amazing privilege.
As for this year’s trip, I am looking forward to it even more so. We have one person from the church returning on this trip. All the rest of the people are experiencing the trip to Israel for the first time. One thing that is a real bummer for me is that Jenny isn’t with me. She was with me the first two trips and I already miss her. My oldest son Jason, who is also one of my assistant pastors at the church is with me, so that is certainly making this trip all the more special.
We are spending the night in Tel Aviv, at the Dan Panorama hotel. The hotels we stay in are very nice hotels, three and four star hotels, and this particular one is my favorite in Tel Aviv. It sits within walking distance of the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and within eyesight of the ancient city of Joppa.
Joppa was the home of Simon the Tanner, whose house is by the sea (the Mediterranean Sea) Acts 10:6. I love walking along the shore at night, listening to the waves crash against the rocks, imagining how many times the apostles Paul and Peter sailed from the port of Joppa. Joppa was also the city that Jonah went to, to catch a boat to Tarshish, in disobedience to the Lord’s command for Jonah to go to Nineveh.
Tomorrow, we have a wake-up call at 6:30, breakfast at 7:00 and on the bus for a full day of touring by 8:00 AM. We will drive through Joppa on our way to Caesarea, then on to Mt. Carmel and Megiddo. We will conclude our day of touring by driving through Nazareth and Cana on our way to a kibbutz we will stay in, right on the shores of Galilee.
So until then...Lord willing, I will fill you in on the happenings of the day tomorrow!