Marilyn Gool, Owner/Manager
Member of CLIA
704-363-6593 9am to 5pm EST
Mailing Address: 601 Cedar Rose Ln., Charlotte, NC 28217
The 2014 Trip of a Lifetime to the Holy Land was a tremendous success. Below are photos and a report.
We were welcomed with a banner in front of the hotel in Jerusalem. Below is a picture of our group in front of a statue of Elijah on Mt. Carmel.
Above left, we celebrated Pastor Anderson's birthday the first night with a delicious chocolate cake. In the center, a few of the ladies on the trip examine a model of the old city of Jerusalem which included the temple built by King Herod. On the right a member of the team examines and photographs a preserved ancient fishing boat dating back to the time of Christ. The boat was a 20th century find.
On the left and center, the men donned beanies to be allowed to go to the Wailing Wall and observe the Jewish men doing their rituals on the Sabbath.On the right, 6 members of the group are baptized in the Jordan River. Pastor Robyn Gool is assisted by Pastor Frederick Anderson Sr.
What a time we had on the Sea of Galilee (above left and center) where Jesus walked on the water and calmed the raging storm! A mountain goat seems to pose for a photo at En Gedi where David hid from Saul.
Several times we were able to stop at a fresh pomegranate juice stand. On the left you can see a gentleman making the juice and on the right Robyn samples it. Hmm! Delicious!
Pastor Gool officiated as two couples refreshed their marriage vows at a chapel in Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding feast.
Above left are Pride and Zebria Coffey who have been married for 16 years. On the right are Henry and Patricia Givens who have been married for 32 years. The couples and witnesses were excited and happy to participate in the ceremony.
This is how grown ups play in the mud! On the left, a few of our ladies cover their skin with mud from the dead Sea. On the right, 2 of the team members rinse off in the Dead Sea but leave on the face mud mask until time to shower. (The Dead Sea water is very irritating to the eyes so we were careful not to put the water on our faces.)
The Dead Sea has a high mineral content which gives it a lot of health benefits. If there are areas of skin that need healing, you can feel it burn in the water as the healing process begins. The high salt content also prohibits you from going under. You cannot drown there because you cannot sink. Above you can see me floating, partially sitting up in the water. Our skin was so soft and smooth after we finished. It felt like we had a mask and exfoliation treatment.
It was a beautiful view (left) from atop Mt. Carmel as we looked down on the Valley of Armageddon where the final battle on earth will take place. We stood in the past, present and future. It was where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal in the past. We were there in the present and we looked over at the place where our dispensation will come to a close in the future. Speaking of views, the center photo is a gorgeous view from Masada of the Dead Sea. On the right is part of an ancient piping system used to conduct water to where it was needed.
Above are photos of inside of a spa of a summer home built by King Herod who reigned during the time of Christ. There are still remnants of the original tile floor. There is enough left of the painting on the walls to be able to determine the original design. This spa included a steam room. It was amazing to see how talented and creative Herod was.
The whole group with our guide on the far left in front of the Western (Wailing) Wall
Come go with me to Israel in 2015 or 2016. Email me for information - firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Steps of Paul
Twelve of us went to Greece for "The Steps of Paul" tour. Below is a group photo with our tour guide who did an excellent job. We were in Athens visiting the Acropolis and Mar's Hill where Paul encountered Greek philosophers and the altar to the "unknown god."
We stopped in Munich, Germany on the way to Greece visited the town square, had lunch and looked around a bit. Mr. Givens posed for a picture with a human statue. We went back to the airport and everyone took advantage of the facilities to charge up their devices and check email was even able to contact my husband and engage in a little face time.
Then we flew to Thessaloniki, Greece and began our journey to follow the Steps of Paul. Our bus was comfortable and there was a lot to learn on the way, looking out the windows as we traveled from one site to another. An example was a wall that was thousands of years old. When the Greeks restore a wall or building, they make it clear which pieces are original and what is filled in to help you see what the original looked like. We went to Philippi and down by the riverside where Paul may have found Lydia and baptized her after her conversion. One of the team members is seen taking pictures of the stream that is part of that river. There is a baptismal hall constructed in memory of Paul and Lydia there. Orthodox children are baptized inside. The building is decorated and a big reception follows with refreshments and party favors. When we were there a little girl had just been baptized so the decorations and favors were in pink.
It was exciting to walk on a road that Paul more than likely walked on during his missionary journey. We learned about how history was uncovered through archaeological digs as the guide pointed out how records were etched in stone. Our group did a lot of climbing and it was fun taking pictures from places like the Acropolis that was so far up that you could almost see the whole city below. (Story continued below)
One of the fun things about traveling is discovering unique things like the bridge in the photo below (second from the right). Unlike other water bridges that lift up to allow ships to pass, this one sinks into the water and comes back up after the boats have gone by. We were able to see it in action twice while visiting a waterfront restaurant for lunch. While visiting an Orthodox convent high in the hills, we had to borrow wrap around skirts before going inside to learn from the paintings in the chapel. (See photo below on the left.) The paintings told the story of how Christians were persecuted in the early stages of the church. It also revealed some beliefs of the Orthodox Church.
I saw a female human statue for the first time in Greece. Three of the ladies posed with the golden girl. (See photo on right.)
We went to a pottery store (above 2nd left) and learned how pottery was made thousands of years ago. We watched a demonstration of how pottery decorated and had an opportunity to purchase samples. There are certified copies of pottery that has been excavated and there are less expensive pieces that are free designed, like the old ones but using the current artist's imagination. Certified copies take more time to create as they must follow the exact pattern and color scheme of the original.
Come explore the world with us in 2015. Email me and request information about upcoming trips, help us choose the next trip or monitor our schedule at the bottom of this page.