From March 8 – March 17, I was in Israel. I joined 30plus others, (ages 13-90) from around Ohio on a spiritual pilgrimage. Our trip was organized by my colleague, Todd Anderson and a company called Educational Opportunities. Dr. Peter Hahn was one of our hosts. A research scholar, Professor Hahn specializes in U.S. foreign relations in the Middle East since 1940. One of his areas of expertise is human conflict, peace and diplomacy.
The purpose of our trip was two-fold. First, we were there to walk where Jesus walked. We were there to experience the Scripture in a new way, being physically present in the setting where many stories were told. We were also there to learn about the current realities of the nation and how those realities developed.
While in the country, we stayed in three different hotels, one in Bethlehem, one in Tiberias, and one in Jerusalem. The hotels were 4 and 5 star establishments with varying amenities. In Tiberias, for example, I took a dip in a hot springs pool after a long day of traveling. It was luscious. Every day there were excursions to historic sites. We travelled by bus and our tour guide, Rula, a Palestinian Christian, gave us information about what we would be seeing. Rula studied Tour guiding at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Fluent in 4 languages, and a lifelong practicing Christian, her guidance was priceless.
I made it home around 12:30am Saturday and will spend the weekend reflecting on my experience. In the next several blogs, I will share some more insights about the trip and its impact on my faith. To keep things interesting, I will also divulge what I learned about overseas packing. Who knew that my roommate would pack throwaway underwear? Frankly, I never thought about that. I will also share my pledge not to get robbed on such a trip again. That’s another story.
A little bit jet-lagged, my goal this weekend is to set up this blog, take a nap, catch up on March madness and tease you with blogs to come. Have I done that? If so, let me know.