Saturday, March 20, 2010

Israel----wed., thurs., fri.

Sorry we haven't gotten back, but we had a hard time getting on internet We are now in Jerusalem and have a full day tomorrow (Sunday) and after that, we will head to the airport to return to the United States.

On Thursday, we went to the Spring of Herod where Gideon chose his 300 men. 2nd, BetShe'an was an eye opener as we toured the remarkable restoration of the Roman ruins that sit in the shadow of the hill where the Philistines once displayed the bodies of King Saul and his sons.
This was a huge archaological site and is still continuing. It was awesome!

On Friday, we rode a cable car up to the ruins of Herod's lavish palace/fortress where Jewish zealots made their final stand in their revolt against Rome. We also went to Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and we toured a museum which housed some of the original scrolls. We stood on the Mount of Olives and envisioned Jesus weeping over the city. From there, we traveled down the road where Jesus walked and the triumphal entry.
One of the highlights of the day was visiting the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was betrayed.

Saturday saw us visiting the Pools of Bethesda and Antonio's Fortress where Jesus was mocked by the soldiers and a crown of thorns was placed on His head. From there, we walked the Via Dolorosa (The way of the Cross) which led us to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is one of two sites believed to be Golgotha. We concluded our day by going to the Garden Tomb and also the place of the Skull (the other potential place of the crucifixion of Christ). We walked into the ancient tomb, similar to the one in which Christ was buried, and then participated in a communion service celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


We are having a wonderful experience. We started the day by boarding an ancient-style boat for a time of worship on the Sea of Galilee. It was a very emotional and spiritual time for all of us on the trip. Then we saw an ancient Galileean boat that was found on the bottom of the Sea that was in existance at the time of Christ. They keep us hopping! We traveled in the motorcoach to the Mount of Beatitudes where Christ delivered one of His most powerful teachings; then to Chorazin to see the city ruins. Next, we went to Capernaum where many witnessed so many of Jesus' miracles. Our last trip for the day was to the Jordan River where Mark and I were both baptized along with Phillip and Debbie and others from our group. It was an equally emotional and spiritual time as was the beginning of the day.
Wednesday: Talk about new insights! We were actually sitting on the original steps in the City of Dan where King Jeroboam made sacrifices! They are continually excavating here and finding artifacts all the time. We drove by the Damascus Road where Paul was converted and on to Caesarea Philippi where Peter confessed, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
We traveled to the Golan Heights (strategically located between Israel and Syria) and from that vantage point, we were able to look over into Lebanon. We were able to go into a bunker that Israeli troops occupied in previous wars and learned a lot of history about the struggles with Syria and Lebanon.
Each day has been great, and we only hope we can "store" in our minds everything we have experienced. On Thursday we are moving to a new location and we are unsure about internet capabilities. If you don't here from us, that is why.
Love and prayers to all, Mark and Darlene

Monday, March 15, 2010

day two Israel

Today was awesome! Our schedule was very busy, but we were able to see so much! The fruit and vegetables here reminds me of the grapes Joshua and Caleb carried on their back when they returned from the the promised land. I'm not sure of everything we have eaten, but it has been very very good!
Even before breakfast, Mark was dared to take a "dip" in the Meditteranean, and, of course, he did!
Then we went to Caesarea Philippi early today and saw a Roman temple, the palace of Herod the Great, and a newly excavated hippodrome (where they had chariot races). We also went to Nazareth and to Mount Carmel where we could look over into the Jezrell Valley and see so much of the Bible come to life in a even greater way!
This is our second night here, and we are now in Tiberias near Galilee where we will go in the morning. We could tell you so much more, but it is 10:00 p.m. and we were up at 3:00 a.m. this morning (The time is 7 hours ahead of our time) Our bodies are still getting adjusted.
Thank you again for this gift of love that we will never forget. It's already been great!
We love you family, friends, church family, and 5th graders. (Be good for Mrs. Reese!)
I'll see you on the 24th.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

day one Israel

Hey everybody, we finally made it to Tel Aviv after some interesting travel arrangements. It's 10:30 here on sunday nite which is 7 hours ahead back home. After we arrived at our hotel we had supper, (not sure what all we ate) and then we had a worship service and got to meet all the folk on this trip. we then went for a walk by hte Mediterraen Sea, in about 85 degree warmth(yeh, no snow anywhere imagine that). Everyday is going to be very busy, i'm looking forward to tomorrow as i have been asked to speak on Mt. Carmel where Elijah defeated the Prophets of Baal. We will also be going to the Sea of Galilee. Pray for Darlene and me that we will be forever changed by this experience. I don't know if i will be able to report each day as we will be staying in a variety of places but we will do our best.
pastor mark and darlene