The Holy Land 2017 Trip
We visited Bethlehem, a territory controlled by the Palestinians. After stopping at a restaurant and shop owned by people of the Christian religion, we toured the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherds Field. Inside the church, we saw remnants of the ancient building constructed more than a thousand years ago. Below left is the original floor of the church. In the center, team members and our Bethlehem tour guide (standing next to the mural) listened as another group sings a Christmas carol in a chapel located in the Field of the Shepherds.
Below right, Linelle Thompson, a team member from the Bahamas takes a ride on a camel when we made a bus stop.
Moving on, we boarded a bus (above) reserved just for our group. Below: Sixteen members of the group decided to be baptized in the body of water that Jesus was baptized in - the River Jordan. Pastor Henry Givens of Word of God Christian Center of South Carolina in Hardeeville, SC ministered the sacrament for them. He was blessed to be able to do this for his two daughters who joined us for the trip of a lifetime. Edna is the one in the glow of the sunshine which made her look like she was in the "glory." :-)
A set of bells were hanging from the ceiling in the outdoor room, making it the nice setting for the ceremony. After the bride and groom embraced and sealed their vows with a kiss, everyone offered up a prayer and praise to God. We sang "Amen" before we dismissed. It was sweet.
We departed JFK airport November 6, 2017 for the Israel 2017 Trip of a Lifetime. We returned November 13, 2017. We checked in a resort in Kinneret. The following day we headed for one of the most popular things to do in Israel - sailing on the Sea of Galilee. The photo below are shots from our boat ride. Below left and center are shots of members of the group taking pictures of the great scenic views on every side of the sea that Jesus walked on and calmed a storm. On the right is a scene taken as we were singing and praising along with another group that joined us on this ride.
Below left and center, the team is learning about the old city of Jerusalem from a high point. Right, the table reserved for us was supposed to have my name. As, you can see, I got a new name while in Israel in 2017 - "Cool Mary." lol Well, my name, Marilyn comes from "Mary" and maybe I'm kinda cool. (smile)
Above: My husband and me at Mt. Carmel with a statue of Elijah is in the background
Below left, see a gentleman illustrating how nets were cast. On the right, one of the men who went with us holds an artificial fish that was caught when the net was pulled in. It was really a joke played on us by the worker who cast the net.
On the left, a few ladies are fellowshipping after we visited the Mount of Beatitudes where we read from Matthew 5 and reminded ourselves of a portion of the sermon on the mount. We used our imagination to visualize the meeting Jesus had as crowds came to hear Him speak. On the right, we are in Capernaum where Jesus lived after he began His earthly ministry. We visited what is believed by some to be remains of Peter's house.
Above: Manger from Solomon's Chariot City
We visited a fairly new church in Magdala. It was dedicated to various women in the Bible, including Mary Magdalene. Inside was a now famous painting of the woman with the issue of blood touching the hem of Jesus' garment (above left). Above right is a picture of part of the floor of a synagogue discovered on the grounds. Remains of the ancient mosaic on the floor can still be seen.
One couple, Duane and Tanya Cook, renewed their vows in Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding feast. Pastor Gool officiated the ceremony while the group watched and supported them. Pastor Henry Givens and Linda Broome served as the witnesses.
We visited an ancient aqueduct that brought water into Tiberias. It is near the Mediterranean Sea. Below, team members enjoyed walking in the sand and getting close to the Mediterranean Sea after taking photos of the aqueduct seen in the background.
Above, the High Travels group gathered at the site believed by some to be the house of Peter, above which a Catholic church was constructed. On the right, our tour guide explains the archaeological discovery while one of our men captures a photo of the ruins.
We went by rail car up the mountain to see Masada. It was a vacation home for King Herod and later the fortress where a band of Jews lived and held out against the Romans who eventually conquered the fort only to meet dead bodies when they arrived. According to the story the Jews committed suicide rather than be captured and enslaved by the Romans. Below left, our guide shares information before we take off to see the sights. In the center, we encounter a wild animal in its natural habitat on the mountain. Below right is inside Herod's steam room in his spa.
We visited an area that used to be King Solomon's Chariot Cities. Below is what a real manger looked like. It's quite different from the wooden box with crossed legs like we see on Christmas cards. It's always good to visit Mount Carmel where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. From this site, we could view the Valley of Armageddon where the final battle will be fought.
High Travels has taken groups on educational tours to Israel, Greece, Turkey, Rome, Montenegro and Croatia. We have hosted fun cruises to the Bahamas and Alaska, as well as assisted others with individual and group cruises. A report about our 2017 Israel adventure is below.
Our team visited the garden tomb, believed to be the place where Jesus' body was buried. It is empty. If He was buried there, apparently the tomb was never used again. There is another location designated by the Roman Catholic Church as the tomb of Jesus, but this one fits the description found in the scriptures much better. We celebrate communion while there.