Israel Trip 1

Lissa Wray Beal and her husband Steve, Betty Currie, and Maureen Tate have just returned from their much-anticipated trip to Israel. While there, they kept us in the loop by sending pictures and reports of their experiences there. Their reports and pictures are collected here. We hope you enjoy them.

February 27, 2019

Hi all here are some pics:

The crew getting ready for Sea of Galilee trip, pic of the shoreline and pannius the place of St. Peter’s confession.
All great reminders of Christ’s real humanity.

Today we had rain off and on but good time at Tel Dan, and church of multiplication. After arrival back at hotel we watched as a sudden squall hit the lake outside our window. Pretty drastic and I understand the disciples consternation at Christ sleeping through it all.

Heading up to Jerusalem tomorrow and to Bethlehem. Busy days but enjoyable. Great group of people. Betty and Maureen are already favourites!

I did a devotional on mount Carmel and today at Dan.


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the place of St. Peter's confession


March 1, 2019

Yesterday we braved torrential downpour and winds to visit the Church of the Nativity. It was moving to stand at the spot (well attested) of Jesus’s birth. The 14 points on the star in the picture stand for the 14 generations from David to Christ. Here, heaven and earth met in the helpless child born of a brave and faithful young woman younger than some of the students with us. The church is a place of veneration for all parts of the church.


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Today is clear, and we waded through the 1/8 mile Hezekiahs tunnel built by the 8th century BC king to bring water supply into the city so as to withstand siege. Pitch black and narrow so thanks for flashlights!
Blessings to all from the holy city!



 March 2

Good afternoon from Jerusalem! We’ve had a good and full two days. Yesterday was a day for learning and contemplating the complexity of the land and it’s people. We first visited a synagogue at Efrat where an orthodox Jewish man shared a Jewish perspective on the land and to whom it belongs.

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Then lunch at Bethlehem Bible College and a Christian Palestinian perspective and insight into the good ministry they have amongst Palestinians in their neighbour and beyond. Finally, a visit to Deheisheh refugee camp (an area in the city of Bethlehem) to hear from a Palestinian Muslim social worker while visiting around the neighbourhood. Our evening debriefing showed our awareness of the problems, and the various truths of different groups. We are still talking and reflecting on the challenging things we saw and heard.

Today we started in the Garden of Gethsemane and read the gospel of Jesus’s agony in the garden. The setting made it easy to imagine ourselves into the story. As we entered the church, a mass was taking place, reminding us that Jesus’s agony in the garden and his commitment to fulfill God’s will made our redemption possible.

Then off to the Judean wilderness where we visited the oasis of En Geri where David hid from Saul. Lissa shared a devotional and Betty read Psalm 57, associated with David’s time there. Then on to Herod’s mountain top fortress of Masada, the location of a “last stand” of Jewish zealots against Rome.

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We rounded the day off with a float in the Dead Sea and are returning now through The Judean wilderness, through Jericho, and back “up to Jerusalem!”

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Shalom to our St Peter’s family, from the land where Jesus walked!


March 3

Friends, our thoughts were with you today as we worshipped in the holy city of Jerusalem. An early morning walk of the Via Dolorosa brought us to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where we anticipated a long lineup. But as we listened to our guide giving an explanation outside the church, another guide came out of the church with the message, “the tomb is empty!!” We all laughed but then our guide explained he meant the tomb was empty of visitors! So in we went, with no wait at all!

Whether or not this was the actual location, there was a sense of holy awe as we climbed the stairs to Golgotha and felt the rock into which the cross was inserted. Overhead, angels painted on the ceiling spoke of the heavenly choir bowing their heads in sadness and wonder at God’s self sacrifice for his beloved humanity.

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We worshipped with the Evangelical Lutherans who were obviously used to different denominations joining them as they had various options: a common cup for sipping, a common cup for dipping, and individual little cups with juice. All felt welcomed. And we noted their pita bread was delicious!

Time at the Western Wall and time in the market with Lissa, Steve, Betty, Maureen, and Kathy and Mike (Lissa’s sister and brother in law) ended on a sunny patio with delicious falafels (a common quick, easy, cheap, and delicious lunch!). After some cold days the sun was very welcome (we did remind ourselves that our 14 degrees was still better than yours).

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In the afternoon we spent time at Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial. It was not an easy visit. Tears were a common sight, and the bus was unusually quiet enroute home to our hotel. Was the holocaust demonic evil? Or the banality of evil? Could it happen again? How can we stand with the targeted and oppressed in our own time? We will hold this difficult visit in our hearts.

Tomorrow Lissa will lead the the Eucharist with the whole group before we cross the border to Jordan for a full day Tuesday at the ancient Nabatean city of Petra (watch Indiana Jones and the Search for the Holy Grail where it is prominently featured).


March 5, 2019 Final Post 

Today we visited the ancient Nabatean city of Petra. The forecast was for 70% rain but someone must have effective prayers: not a drop fell and we even had sun!! We spent 8 hours in this wonder and imagined the ingenuity of the people who carved their city out of the beautiful native sandstone.



And for fun, we used some genuine middle eastern transport.

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Back on our modern bus, we are returning for our final night in Petra before heading to Mount Nebo tomorrow then back to Jericho for our final night in the Holy Land. We are tired but blessed travellers!



Our Team In Israel