Israel News Updates
March 22-23, 2009
The phone rang at 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning at our Jerusalem hotel with the wake up call alerting us that it was time to arise and head for the airport.
Shimon, our tour guide, accompanied us as far as he could to assure our successful processing. It was a tearful parting for him and our group. Once we were
safely through immigration, customs, and check-in we awaited our boarding time for departure from Israel.
...20,21,22,23,24,25-The familiar routine of counting passengers as we entered the immigration complex in Miami marked our successful return to the
United States. Our departure had been delayed from Rome but we had a safe flight across Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. The view of the mountains, valleys,
farmlands, villages, cities, and the ocean was fascinating, but it was time for me to sleep, because I had a long drive ahead of me when we landed in Miami.
We were warmly greeted by a staff member of Westwood Baptist Church who drove David Eddy and me to their campus where our bus was parked. With no problems
the bus started and we made the trip to the airport to get our passengers and their luggage before starting the long trek across the state. God graciously
brought us safely back to our starting point at Clearwater Christian College at 1:00 a.m.
Slowly our bodies are readjusting to the local time zone, but there is a distinct awareness in all of us that we will never be able to be just as we were
before embarking on this journey. Our eyes have seen, our ears have heard, our hands have touched things of Scripture, things of eternity! May the impact
never end in our hearts, our thinking and our actions.
Thank you one and all for your prayers. Continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and serve while we await the return of the Prince of Peace, Jesus the Messiah.
March 21, 2009
Greetings again from the lovely city of Jerusalem. The sabbath has ended and life is resuming for the residents here. Our morning began in Amman Jordan
where we were able to meet up with our alumnus, Joel Swearingen who is teaching English at a school in Amman and learning Arabic. We departed from there
to Mt. Nebo where we observed astounding sights of the land that Moses surveyed prior to his death. On our way to the border crossing, we passed a spring
out of rock where the guide said many believe Moses brought forth water.
Following a successful crossing back into Israel, we rejoined our tour guide and journeyed to Qumran, the place of the ancient Dead Sea Scroll discoveries. The
community that lived there was deeply committed to purity of life and devotion. Some of the students managed to get to one of the more than 800 caves where
scrolls have been discovered. Sorry, they did not find any scrolls today.
We next went for a swim in the Dead Sea. Yes, we all floated and managed to come back safely. Legend says that it makes one younger, so we will see what the
long term effects are. Lots of photos were taken to validate our time there.
As we returned to Jerusalem the driver and guide accommodated me by turning off the main road so I could show the students the landscape of the Valley
of the Shadow of Death. From an overlook point, we were able to see the setting as I read the 23rd Psalm. That was a cherished time for us all.
This has been a great concluding day here. Of course there are many things we were not able to see, so there are invitations for us to return for more visits.
Yet we are indeed grateful for the opportunity that has been ours to be here. Thank you one and all for prayers. We are eager to have a safe and on time return
to Clearwater in our Lord's providence.
March 20, 2009
Greetings from Amman, Jordan!
We are in a lovely hotel to prepare for a much needed night of rest. We left our hotel early this morning for an exciting day of discovery in the ancient
ruins of Petra. It was more than Mr. Carver had described. The 4:00 a.m. call to prayer was one of our first discoveries that we are in a very different
part of the world. We walked for miles and climbed hundreds of steps. (I do not think anyone will need to be rocked to sleep tonight.)
From there we traveled to Madaba where they make mosaics. We were too late to see the original in the St. George's Church but did see a replica outside a
mosaic factory which was very interesting indeed.
The Lord has graciously proved faithful again through another day.
Tomorrow we climb Mt. Nebo to see the point where Moses had his glimpse of the Promised Land. No I do not believe we will have time to search for the
grave of Moses while there. :-) We are to head back into Israel before noon when the border closes because of Shabat in Israel. That would not make for
a good situation with our need to be back at college on time.
Again, thank you for your faithful prayers and continued intercession in our behalf.
March 19, 2009
Greetings from Petra!
Yesterday we put in a very full day walking through Jerusalem. We began early by climbing up to the temple mount, then went to the Pool of Bethesda
before making our way to the Mount of Olives. From there we went to the Garden of Gethsemane before crossing the Kidron Valley. We climbed the steps
to the Jewish quarter of the city then stopped at the wailing wall. From there we went to see the wall constructed by Hezekiah before going to the
traditional site of the crucifixion of our Lord. We then walked to the Garden Tomb and observed the shape of the skull in the mountain before
visiting the empty tomb. Our day concluded with a communion service there in the garden.
This morning we visited Caiphus' House before leaving Jerusalem. We then descended down to the Dead Sea Valley in preparation for crossing in
to Jordan. After successfully crossing the border into Jordan from Israel we learned that our schedule had been switched and we were to spend
tonight here rather than in Amman. We went to the ancient ruins of Jeruash and were rightly impressed with the construction that had taken place
and has been preserved there.
Tomorrow, God willing, we will spend the day in Petra before driving north to Amman for our final night in Jordan.
Thankfully all have remained well and have been able to continue with the very rigorous schedule. Thank you for your continued prayers for us.
March 17, 2009
Greetings from Jerusalem,
After a baptismal service in the cold waters of the Jordan River this morning, we made our way to Nazareth to visit the home area of our Lord Jesus.
There we were able to visit a replication of the ancient village where they were carrying out practices as they would have been done in the first
century AD. We observed the place where the visitation came to Mary telling her that the Lord had chosen her to give birth to the Christ and
read from the Scripture account there.
Our pilgrimage then took us to Jerusalem as we observed details of the boundary between Israel and the West Bank. After a break for shopping in
Jerusalem we journeyed on to Bethlehem where our Lord was born. Though there have been many things built around the site of His birth, it was still
meaningful to visit the place where heaven touched earth. We then visited the cave where Jerome worked for years as he translated the Bible into the
Latin Vulgate. After another stop for shopping (in Bethlehem) we returned across the border to Jerusalem and arrived at our hotel.
Following our dinner, we had a time of devotions and sharing before concluding another day having walked in the footsteps of Jesus in the Holy Land.
All agreed that we are uniquely privileged to be here in this place at this time. Tomorrow we will encounter the path of His suffering in Jerusalem
so a very full day awaits us.
Thank you one and all for your prayers. We have been kept safe in our gracious Lord's hands. Please continue to pray for us and we are praying for you.
March 16, 2009
Greetings from Galilee,
Devotions by the Seaside began the day for many of us at Daybreak. We walked today where Jesus walked and sailed across the Sea of Galilee. We also
visited the ancient site of Dan in the northern part of the country. These have continued to be amazing opportunities. As we have driven along our
tour guide has opened fresh insights into the political, geographical, and historical connections. We have had opportunities to read the Scriptures on
site and have taken opportunities to teach on the passages from the Old and New Testaments.
Thank you for your continued prayers. We continue to be well, but there is considerable weariness after a long day today. Tomorrow we move from here to
Nazareth, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem.
March 15, 2009
The group arrived in Tel Aviv at 2:45 a.m. Sunday morning, 8:45 p.m. Saturday evening (our time).
March 14, 2009
Carl Martin called about 8:00 p.m. Friday evening. They were just getting on the plane from Miami to Rome. This causes about a 12 hour layover in
Rome which will change their initial plans.