We stayed in Tiberias for 6 glorious days, driving around the countryside, exploring the area, going out on a Christian cruise on an old style vessel. We were to be part of a large group that had reserved this boat, but as it turned out, the group cancelled at the last minute, so the five of us had a special, personal tour of the Sea on this large boat as seen in the pictures below. It was awesome; we worshiped the Lord on the ship all by ourselves. We drove to Mount Carmel where Elijah called down fire from heaven, but were unable to find the shrine that supposedly marked the spot where it happened. Thank God we did not visit any of the typical shrines in the land. Every time we looked for one, it seemed that we were unable to find it! I am grateful for that! We got off the beaten track every time we went out, but God led us from day to day.
We toured the areas around the Sea of Galilee area, and explored wherever the Lord led us. We were so excited by this flowing with the wind, as most times, we had no idea where we were actually going, but at the end of every day, we were so grateful to the Lord for where we had been, and what we had seen. He never disappointed us! We put our finger to the wind in the morning, and went in the direction that the wind was blowing. It seemed to always be perfectly aligned with God’s heart!
After the 6 days in Tiberias had come to a close, we headed out for the next leg of our journey. We drove to Ben Gurion airport to pick up 4 more warriors from Pennsylvania who had arrived to join the group. There were now 10 of us all together, 5 from Canada, and 5 from the U.S. We picked them up from the airport, and headed to a Kibbutz on the outskirts of Jerusalem. By the time we arrived from the airport, it was time to eat and go to sleep. The next day, we planned to head out to the old city for a tour. All was well the next day as we jumped into our two vans and followed the GPS directions into the old city. Driving among the Israelis is death defying, clearing other cars and stationary obstacles by mere inches. WOW, what a challenge!! These streets were made for horses and small carts, not modern cars and trucks. One lane is not enough room for two cars, and yet, somehow we were able to do it, unscathed!
We visited the Western Wall, walked on the Via Dolorosa, and bought a couple of shofars, bargaining for the prices, in the markets for the best price. We looked for the area called the city of David, only to be frustrated by the extremely small streets and the constant twisting and turning of the hilly roads. As darkness approached, we decided to go to Mount of Olives, which proved to be the most challenging drive up to that point. We drove straight up, on gnarly one-lane roads, twisting and with lots of traffic hurrying up and down the roads, horns honking, and impatient people not willing to wait for tourists. The Mount of Olives is full of graves, but off to the side is this little garden area that we found while walking. We had shorts on, and we were not supposed to be able to get in, but somehow they allowed us entrance. As we sat on the wall overlooking Jerusalem, something started to brew in my belly. I told everyone that this strange feeling was brewing in my belly, and another warrior said that he felt the same thing. This led us to pray while kneeling on the wall, and the sorrow of the Master started to bubble up inside of us. We felt so lovingly grateful for everything that He had done for all of us. We seemed to sense His sorrow, as we were overlooking the city of Jerusalem, as He had done so many, many times. It was very intense here in the garden, which they say is very close to Gethsemane
The next day on the way to the Dead Sea, we dropped off at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and then we visited the site of Masada where the Jews defied the Roman Legions on the fortress on top of the plateau. We met up with Scott Holtz for the next stage of the mission here which turned out to be a most, incredibly intense tour of the holy land without reservation. We were in for a whirlwind tour of this ancient land from a warrior who was able to explain the significance of every square inch of the land with illustrations and scripture references to back it up. We travelled from the very south end of Israel at Elat to the very northernmost tip of Israel at Metula, and from the Jordan river to Haifa, from the Egyptian border to the border of Lebanon, and to the border of Jordan. We saw so much beauty, heard so many accounts from the Bible of our faithful friends who went before us forging the way to salvation for all. We went to the valley of dry bones, the grave of Aaron, while passing through the wilderness, on the way to the luscious farms in the north. We heard about the war of 1967 along with the 1973 Yom Kippur war and how Israel won these battles, against all odds! God performed miracles with only a few, against the millions of enemies they faced.
We met the young soldiers who are legally bound to join the army at 18, both men and women. The men join for 3 years and the women for 2 years, compulsory service for the country. They were grateful for the opportunity to train and sacrifice, in order to be ready for any offensive attack that may erupt against the holy land. The training of the Israeli military is second to none. I would not want to be on the opposing side against these very well-prepared, equipped, and determined people. What makes them an menacing foe is that the commander of the armies of heaven is on their side! He has got their backs! The Bible says, “Those who bless you will be blessed, and those who curse you, will be cursed!” I want to be on the side of the blessing, how about you? These folks are ready to respond with sharp-shooter accuracy! Warning: Do not tangle with the forces of Israel, as God fights for them with His dunamis power!
We are very excited to see ahead to our next trip to Israel in the future! I hope that you have enjoyed this short narrative describing our voyage to the holy land. I hope you were blessed by the pictures that we included with these letters. Be encouraged! Plan to go to Israel! It will change your life and your outlook! The “Church” is not called to replace Israel, but to be arm in arm with them, as God is about to save the nation of Israel and remove the blinders from their eyes!
Hallelujah!!! We have been transformed in ways we never expected but God is always so very faithful and perfect! Shalom!!