This year we had a group of 49 made up of people from all parts of the UK, plus some from Canada and the USA. The weather was glorious throughout, non-stop sunshine, and temperatures ranging from a low of 85F in Jerusalem to over 100F at Masada. The arrangements were made between Precious Seed International, Thompson Travel International in Northern Ireland, and Travex in Jerusalem. We stayed in five-star hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and a four-star in Tiberias. We were in Israel for a total of 11 days, from 21-31 May.
We had a one-night stay in Tel Aviv and visited Joppa before heading north to Caesarea, and then on to Tiberias. We visited all the usual sites in the Galilee area, and some unusual ones, like the Peace Vista (the best, if not only, place for a view of the whole of the lake), and Wadi Hamam, part of the Jesus Trail. We also arranged a rendezvous with soldiers of the Israel Defence Force, who man the borders with Lebanon and Syria in the Golan Heights, and had an interesting and happy time with them. We sailed across the lake, and really enjoyed that experience, stopping for a reading half-way across.
On the evenings in Tiberias after dinner we had a visit from George Khalil from the Nazareth Assembly reporting on the work there, ministry from Roy Hill, a film on the story of Zvi as he fled Poland as a young boy during World War II, and a PowerPoint presentation by Andy Street on the history and development of the work of Echoes of Service.
On the Lord’s Day we had fellowship with the Nazareth Assembly and were encouraged to meet local believers, and other visitors from Germany and Holland. The saints there have a very nice hall, and provided an excellent lunch for the group and the other visitors. We then went to the Mount of Precipice with its amazing views and ‘entered and passed through Jericho’, with a stop there to purchase the local delicious dates.
Our days in Jerusalem were pretty full, though there was one free day when people did their own thing. During the day we visited many sites, including Gethsemane, the Garden Tomb, the Temple Institute, the Wailing Wall, and the Western Wall Tunnel.
We stayed in the Inbal Hotel and, in the evenings, we had a number of local speakers, including Meno Kalisher of the Jerusalem Assembly (a large and growing group of Messianic believers), Aviel Schneider, editor of a magazine called Israel Today, Dr. Gabriel Barkay, a world-renowned archaeologist associated with the Bar Ilan university in Tel Aviv, and finally Joel McIlreach of The Bible Society in Israel who gave a wonderfully encouraging report of his work in distributing scriptures to Jews in the land of Israel.
Throughout, we had the services of a truly amazing guide called Tito Anidjar, whose knowledge of the land is outstanding and his humour kept our attention throughout.
All in all it was a wonderful occasion and many new friendships were made. We hope to arrange a trip in October 2014, DV. That is about 15 months away so why not plan now to come with us then?