Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chance of a Lifetime!

In July, Chris and I signed up for the chance to tour the Holy Lands. A two week expedition going through the places where God Himself walked? I was on the edge of my seat to sign up! I have friends who have went to the Holy Land Experience in Orlando and loved it. I am doing that on our Disney trip in a couple of weeks but this at my church was the real deal.

The night we returned from Dallas I was checking my email and there it was; Chris and I are invited to go! I was so excited and I couldn't wait to tell everyone! I will be going to the Holylands! Places that most people only read about in the Bible! I will get to see them with my own eyes! Places like Bethlehem, Caesarea, Capernaum, Galilee and the Dead Sea are only some of what I'll get to experience.

It's a lot of money to go. My dad is paying half because being a preacher he has never gotten to see the Holy Lands either and was extremely fascinated and excited like I was that I get to go. However, he is weary of pickpockets so he is going to go over a few things with me.

The following is our sample itinerary from the website which our church is going through to send us to the Holy Lands!

DAY ONE: Saturday
  • Depart the U.S.A.
Overnight: Flight

DAY TWO: Sunday
  • Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport.
  • Welcome by our representative and assistance with arrival formalities.
  • Transfer to the hotel in Tel Aviv.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Tel Aviv

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel and depart north along the coast plain.
  • Guided visit to the ancient city of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus Caeasar and considered the traditional site of Paul's imprisonment before his trial in Rome and the home of the first gentile believer, Cornelius and of Philip the evangelist; the theatre, aqueducts and Hippodrome serve as a backdrop for the events chronicled in the Book of Acts.
  • Visit Megiddo, one of Israel's most famous biblical sites and the traditional site of Armageddon, and walk through the archaeological park and biblical period waterways.
  • Lunch on your own, en route
  • Continue north to Haifa.
  • View the Ba'hai Gardens, one of the holiest sites of the Ba'hai religion, located on Mount Carmel in Haifa while standing atop Mount Carmel.
  • Visit Acre (Akko), a UNESCO Heritage Site, for a multi-layered experience from the days of the Crusades through contemporary Israel, including guided visits to:
    • The newly renovated Crusaders' City.
    • The Jezzar Pasha Mosque, one of the most important mosques to Israel's Muslim citizens.
    • The Ottoman Fortifications around the city.
  • Check into the kibbutz hotel.
  • Dinner at the kibbutz hotel.
Overnight: Kibbutz Hotel, Lower Galilee

DAY FOUR: Tuesday
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Drive through Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
  • Enjoy a Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee.
  • Guided visit to some Christian Holy Sites around the Sea of Galilee, including:
    • A visit to Capernaum, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the site of Jesus' teachings and the remains of a 2nd century synagogue.
    • A visit to Tabgha, traditional site of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, and the site of a modern church built on the remains of a Fourth Century church.
    • A visit to the Mount of Beatitudes, traditional site of Jesus' ‘Sermon on the Mount', overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
  • Lunch on own, en route.
  • Short hike along the Banias River at the base of the Golan Heights, also known as Caesarea Philipi, the site where Jesus revealed Peter's leadership role among the disciples.
Overnight: Kibbutz Hotel, Lower Galilee

DAY FIVE: Wednesday
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • Visit the Church of the Annunciation of Christ and Mary's Well in Nazareth.
  • Drive to Yardenit, the baptismal site on the Jordan River.
  • Visit the Beit Shean National Park, one of Israel's largest archaeological sites with its biblical period archaeological mound and on-going excavations exposing the vast Roman-Byzantine City.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Continue south along the Jordan Rift Valley.
  • Ascend to Jerusalem through the Judean Desert.
  • Welcome to Jerusalem: Enter the vibrant and colourful 3,000 year old city of Jerusalem and experience the convergence of the old and the new.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Jerusalem

DAY SIX: Thursday
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Start the day with a drive to the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breath-taking panorama of the Holy City.
  • Descend to Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove, where tradition holds that Jesus prayed prior to his arrest and crucifixion.
  • Visit the Upper Room on Mt. Zion where Jesus spent his last hours with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion; it was also here that the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 on the Day of Pentecost. Directly under the Upper Room, is the traditional site of the Tomb of King David.
  • Lunch on own, en route.
  • Guided visit through the Old City of Jerusalem, including sites holy to Jews, Moslems and Christians: the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
  • Visit the Garden Tomb, traditional Protestant site of Calvary.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Jerusalem

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Walk through the picturesque neighbourhood of Ein Karem, site of the Churches of the Visitation and John the Baptist and art galleries.
  • Guided visit through the Yad Vashem complex, the Jewish National Memorial to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, including: 
    • The Avenue of the Righteous
    • The new Historical Museum
    • A concluding Memorial Service
  • Visit the Israel Museum, one of the most creative and innovative museums in the world to visit the Second Temple Model of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • Lunch on own, en route.
  • Visit the city of Bethlehem, site of the birth of Jesus and the Church of the Nativity.
  • Return to Jerusalem.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Jerusalem

DAY EIGHT: Saturday
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Descend towards the Dead Sea Basin.
  • Visit Qumran and explore the area where the Dead Sea Sect established a community, see the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
  • Arrive at Masada and ascend this wilderness mountain fortress in a cable car; walk through the remains of the palace, water cisterns and fortifications built by King Herod, and hear about the Zealots who lived here until the bitter end.
  • Lunch on own, en route.
  • Experience the weightlessness of the Dead Sea as you float in its waters.
  • Return to Jerusalem and to the hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Jerusalem

DAY NINE: Sunday
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • Travel south through the Negev and Arava.
  • Visit the impressive Timna Park with its ancient copper mines, modern man-made pool and many unique geological formations.
  • Lunch on own, en route.
  • Continue to Eilat.
  • Visit the Eilat Underwater Observatory and experience the wonders and mysteries of the world beneath the Red Sea.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Eilat

DAY TEN: Monday

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Day at leisure in Eilat.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Option 2 - PETRA (for a supplement charge)
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Early departure for the Arava Border Crossing.
  • Upon completion of passport procedures, cross into Jordan.
  • Travel through the Araba to the ancient Nabatean City of Petra, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea which was an important crossroad between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia.
  • Lunch at a local hotel/restaurant.
  • Late afternoon return to the Arava Border Crossing and transfer back to the hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Eilat

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel and depart Eilat.
  • View the geological wonders of the Ramon Crater.
  • Visit the home and gravesite of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, located on Kibbutz Sde Boker overlooking the Wilderness of Zinn in the Negev Desert.
  • Visit an encampment in the Negev Desert for Bedouin-style hospitality, Camel Ride and a ‘Hafla' Lunch.
  • Visit the Israel Air Force Museum exhibiting every type of plane ever used in the Israeli Air Force, at the Hatzerim Air Force Base.
  • Continue to Tel Aviv and check into the hotel.
  • Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Tel Aviv

DAY TWELVE: Wednesday
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport.
  • Departure flight to the U.S.A., arriving the same day.

Like I keep saying this is a once in a lifetime chance! I feel amazingly blessed to get the opportunity to do explore the places where the Lord walked among us! Be able to be baptized where Jesus himself did! My heart feels like it will explode thinking about that. 

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