This photo was taken just moments after Whitney and I started the first leg of our journey, 5:05 AM at SeaTac airport. As we walked into the airport, I turned to her and said, “Here we go…’Ron and Whitney’s Excellent Adventure’.” After getting checked in, we met Sue Liljenberg at the gate. Sue is the International Director of Healing Hearts Ministries (HH). HH began as a ministry to ‘post abortive’ women and over the years has evolved into a fruitful ministry which ministers the healing touch of Jesus to hurting women in general.
As Whitney and I talked with Sue at the gate, it became very clear that the Lord has some exciting things in store for this trip. I began to immediately wonder what that would look like. It will be awesome to watch it all unfold.
Our primary purpose for the this trip was sparked by Sue’s desire to see if the Lord would have a HH ministry start in Tel Aviv, Israel. Over the years, my wife Jenny has developed a relationship with Pat Apple. Pat is the wife of Pastor Steve Apple, Calvary Chapel Tel Aviv. In talking with Sue, several months ago, we tentatively planned a trip to see what the Lord would do. And so, here we are!
This will be my fourth trip to Israel, the first being a pastor familiarization trip in 2006. I knew from the completion of that trip, that, as the Lord willed, I would lead a tour to the Holy Land every other year. The trip coming in 2011 will be our third trip as a church. I am already looking forward to it!
A secondary and equally important purpose for this trip, is to scout out some additional options for our 2011 trip to Israel. There are some people, who have participated in previous tours, who would like to do some different things in addition to the regular tour (Galilee, Dead Sea and Jerusalem). Consequently, the first part of this current trip will be to tour Petra, in Jordan (it will be my first visit to Petra), the bulk of the rest of the trip will be to come along side CC Tel Aviv and be a part of their ministry (we will take a side trip to Galilee and Jerusalem).
Our goal, at the end of the journey, will be to provide a 2011 Israel tour package that will have three options. Option #1, will be to leave a few days early and do some missions work with CC Tel Aviv. Over the years we have made friends with the people in Israel, some of them being: Pastor Steve and Pat Apple, Ronnie Cohen and David Kidron (our tour guides), Avi Maletsky (our bus driver), and others. As a result, Israel has become a part of us (this past year we brought Ronnie to the church to share with the church body). I feel strongly, that if our only purpose of coming to Israel is to the see the sites (though I believe it is important) then we are missing an important part of God’s greater plan for this nation.
Option #2, will be the regular tour of Israel, where we will spend three days touring Galilee, one day at the Dead Sea and four days touring Jerusalem. We will end the tour with Option #3, two days in Eilat, Israel and a trip into Jordan to see Petra. People participating in the 2011 tour will have the choice of any combination of the various options: Option #1 & 2, Option #2 only, Options #2 & 3, or Options #1, 2 & 3. An Israel Smorgasbord if you will!
Hope I didn’t bore you with more details that you wanted. If I did…leave a comment on my blog and I will decide if I need to delete it or not (just kidding).
Until next time!