March 25, 2009

Farewell Israel! We're coming home!

Greetings from Tel Aviv airport! We've just checked our bags and we're only an hour or so from being ready to board our plane to come home! Only one pic today and a short update just to let you know that we're ready to go! We get in to Newark at 5am EST, and I'll update then for those of you who might actually be awake then. :) Meanwhile enjoy our last group picture!

See you soon!!!

March 24, 2009

Chilly Day in Jerusalem!

Good Evening Everyone!
We had quite the day today! We made our way into Bethlehem to see the Herodian (one of Herod the Great's 6 palaces) and the Church of the Nativity (where we got the amazing opportunity to see an Armenean church service held on the location where Jesus was born). After that, we headed to the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Pool of Bethesda, Via Dolorosa, and the Church of the Holy Seplchure (where Jesus was crucified and buried). It was a BIG day!

What made our day even bigger was the weather. Israel is in the middle of a 3 year drought, so they will take any rain they can get. So, we praise God for the LARGE amount of rain He brought upon the Land today. Unfortunately, we were out in it all day - along with the 40 degree temperature and ~30mph wind. Needless to say, it was a little uncomfortable at points, but, believe it or not, we actually learned a ton! We're much warmer now and all dry - so not to worry. :)

Tomorrow will take us around the Old City of Jerusalem - hopefully to the Western Wall, the Temple Mount - just to name a few. We'll finish up our day early, pack our bags and then begin our 2nd day without going to sleep as our flight leaves Tel Aviv around 10:50pm. I hope to be able to share one more post with you before we leave, but in case we don't, we're excited to see you all and share all the Lord has done!

More pictures for you to enjoy!

March 23, 2009

Slight interruption for a special news bulletin...

No, these are not pictures of Israel but I had to post a few so Heidi's daddy could see what we've been doing while he's gone. So, for those of you following the Israel travelers - enjoy some pics of us back home and we'll return to the regularly scheduled broadcast in just a bit. :-)

We love you and we miss you daddy! Can't wait to see you on Thursday. We had a great time playing at DeeDee and Grandpa's house. We planted a vegetable garden with Grandpa and painted the dining room with DeeDee (see photo 2 in the background - textured!)

Photo 1: Heidi is learning to wave "bye-bye", which looks a little more like she's waving to herself.

Photo 2: Heidi and Izzy with the grandparents - who just can't get enough of them!

Photo 3: We tried a photo opp with the two girls. Neither one of them were very interested in having their photo made, except that Izzy kept saying, "Apple cheese, apple cheese," which is what she says now when you tell her to smile and say "cheese."

The Costal Plains

Good evening all!
Hope this finds you all well! We just arrived in Jerusalem after another BIG day in Israel! Today we started out by going to Tel Meggido - the second oldest city in the world (and, of course, the site for some future activities....). After that, we up to Mount Carmel where we studied the story of Elijah while sitting on the side of Mount Carmel. Our very own Danny Loeffelholz even got to teach about his favorite Bible character, Elijah. After that, we headed to the coast to tour around Caesarea - the famous port city of Herod. We finished up our day by heading up to "The House" as Marty likes to call it. Tomorrow and Wednesday we will be touring Jerusalem before we head home on Wednesday night!

The Lord was gracious to us yet again today as we had no injuries, no one sick and beautiful weather. The Lord is also working on our hearts in a big way - no doubt an answer to prayer as well. Tomorrow, we hear, is supposed to be rainy, so any extra prayers for good weather are appreciated!

Enjoy some shots from our day and I'll post an update tomorrow!


March 22, 2009

Last Day in Galilee

Hey everyone!
Sorry for the late update tonight - we had some time to play tonight after another big day, so that means a later blog entry. :)

Today, of course, was another full day with so much to learn and lots to take in. The weather was, again, amazing and the Lord was gracious in giving us more strength to our achy legs and bodies. This morning began with a bus ride just south to Gamla (the place where Gideon's men drank from the spring), then we headed back north to the Decapolis where we visited Bet Shean (where Saul's body was hung) and Susita (a pagan city on the east bank of Galilee). The day came to an amazing end as we went to the Jordan River where a few people of our group had the chance to be baptized for the very first time!

Tomorrow we head to the Big House (Jerusalem), but on our way we will stop at Meggido, Mount Carmel and Caesarea. We continue to be blessed by your prayers and all still remain in good health and without injury! Baruch Hashem!

Hopefully I'll be able to find internet at our next hotel! Until then, please continue to pray for good weather and soft hearts as we continue to learn!


March 21, 2009

What a Day in Galilee!!

Hello friends and family!
Today we had the opportunity to walk where Jesus walked as we spent our first full day in the Galilee. This morning we started by hiking our 3rd mountain - Mount Arbel, where we enjoyed an amazing view of the sea and the surrounding countryside. We then got a chance to go to Tabgha, the Mount of Beatitudes, Chorazin, Capernaum and Bethsaida. Like I said, it was a great day! I've heard so many of the students talking to each other saying, "The Scriptures feel like they are coming alive as if for the first time." There is something magical about being in Galilee for me, as well. It's amazing to walk the ancient paths here and learn how to look more like our Rabbi.

We're definitely feeling more sore and achy these days, but we are all still feeling well and are injury free! Keep those prayers coming for safety as well as the weather - it was a beautiful day here today. Just perfect!

Tomorrow we make our way to some other portions of Galilee - finishing our day at the Jordan river! :)

More to come tomorrow!

P.S. To my sweet Darcie and Heidi...I think about you guys all the time and miss you terribly! I love being here, but I'm counting the days until I get to see you again! Love you tons!

March 20, 2009

a BIG day!!

Shalom from Galilee! We just finished up our last day in the desert and, wow.....we're pooped! Marty worked us hard today as we hiked up and down 2 different mountains and walked a total of 11.5 miles! It was all worth it, though as we got to go to Ein Ghedi (where David hid from Saul), Masada (one of the most sacred sites in Israel for Jewish people), and Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found).

Your prayers have been very effective for us as we continue to experience God's blessing each day. After a rough day of strenuous hiking, we had no injuries!! God also gave us strength as we made it through the toughest of hikes. Biggest prayer needs for us tonight is that we get our batteries re-charged and our muscles a rest. Hopefully we won't be too sore tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow...we're in Galilee tonight and we will spend the next 3 nights here as we spend time walking where Jesus walked! Big day tomorrow, too, as we will get to experience the Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Bethsaida - just to name a few!

Lord willing I'll get you guys another update tomorrow night! Enjoy some pics from today!

March 19, 2009

Hiking in the Negev

Hello friends and family! We just got done eating dinner at our hotel here at the Salt Sea! We had a BIG day today as we wandered all over the Negev desert. We got to stop at Tel Arad, experience some Bedouin hospitality, hike through Ein Avdat and finish the day by floating in the Salt Sea. Not bad for our first full day in Israel! We’re pretty pooped, as you might assume, as we are still adjusting to the time and the 8 or so miles we hiked today!

The Lord has been gracious to us – the weather was beautiful today and we continue to have good health, great attitudes, and no injuries! Keep those prayers comin – they are a blessing to us!

Tomorrow we journey up the coast of the Salt Sea to visit Masada, Ein Ghedi, and Qumran. Looking forward to bringing you an update tomorrow night!

Enjoy the pictures from our day today…..


March 18, 2009

Shalom from Israel!

At long last we've made it to Israel safe and sound! Thanks so much for your prayers!! We arrived on time here at about 3:15pm local time (much earlier than we anticipated) - which provided us with an unexpected opportunity to go on our first hike right after we got out of the airport! We made our way into the Shephelah to the Valley of Elah and the Tell of Azekah which is the location of the story of David and Goliath. After a great hike, we made a two hour treck down into the desert to the city of Arad where we are staying the night. Tomorrow will be our day in the southern/desert region of Israel and we'll end up staying at the Dead Sea tomorrow night. Not sure about internet access there, so forgive me if there's not an update tomorrow.

We are all doing really well! Everyone is feeling just fine and we are all in good spirits. Pray that we get a good night's sleep tonight and are ready to go tomorrow!

More updates as we have opportunity!

March 17, 2009

Chillin in Jersey

We made it to Newark! We've got a few hours of layover here before we
head across the pond. This will be our last post for a while until we
get to our hotel in Arad some 14 (ish) hours from now. We're all
doing great and really excited! Shalom!

At DFW airport!

We made it from Tyler and are awaiting our flight to Newark in a few
minutes! Pray for us!!

March 15, 2009

Israel Here We Come!

Welcome to everyone who will be following our Israel trip this year! It is my hope that I will be able to mooch enough wifi each day to be able to post a few pictures and a recap of what our days are like in the Best of the Lands. As you keep up with our travels, please remember that we will be in need of your prayers each day. We are asking God for safe travel, good weather (it's hard to learn in the rain), eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that understand.
We look forward to sharing all our stories and pictures with you all upon our return. Until then, though, tune in to this blog for updates! I will typically update in the evening which is around lunch-time in the States. Feel free to leave comments as well - I will pass them along to the group!

March 14, 2009


This is a test

March 7, 2009


Just a quick update to post this adorable picture that Darcie took of Heidi and I just the other day.  I took her outside to watch Cinco play in the yard and about every 10 seconds Heidi would put her arm out and reach for me and then look up and smile - just to make sure I was still there.  Awww.  She's officially started teething as well - she's got one little pokey guy sticking out on the bottom side and she's been a little more fussy than usual - but not too bad.  As soon as it's in, we'll put some pictures up.  Hope all is well with our friends!