Monday, June 30, 2014


Once a month blogging isn't really what I had in mind but it seems to be whats happening.
Hopefully here's to better blogging days!!
Since I have been so neglectful about blogging our "Trip of a Lifetime"  and life seems to have run away from me since then I think this will mostly be a picture post.

We left SLC and flew to Houston, Texas and then on to Istanbul, Turkey and finally landed in Tel Aviv.  Needless to say the flight there was exhausting.  The travel agency had messed up some details so it was miracle we actually made it on schedule.  Thankfully we have traveled enough to know how it works so we led the way as we ran through airports and securities.
 This is at our hotel in Tel Aviv overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  It was by far the nicest place we stayed.  Its too bad we were only there a few hours.
 Caeserea.  During the time of Christ this was a fishing village.  Its location was such that Herod had a dream to build a palace and harbor over the sea.
It was accomplished and many of the ruins are still there.
 Jezreel Valley.  They claim this valley to be an area that can grow anything almost year round.  
It is incredibly fertile and beautiful
 View of the valley from Mt. Carmel
Probably one of our favorite places of all was the Sea of Galilee.  
It is beautiful and we know for certain that Jesus spent much time on and around this sea.
We actually went out on one of these boats.  They call them "Jesus Boats".
They are supposedly fashioned after the boats used during that time period.
We spent several nights in Tiberias which is located right on the Sea.  
This was taken at sunrise directly across the street from our hotel.
 You can't visit the Sea of Galilee without getting in it.
 Caperneum (as we spell it) is where Jesus spent most of his ministry.  He was run out of his hometown of Nazareth and moved to Caperneum where there were many believers.
 Jackie Poulsen, our tour guide teaching us from the scriptures.  
She is a dear friend and an incredible scholar.  Her love of Israel is contagious.  
The Jordan River.  At this location on the river many people perform baptisms so they can be baptized in the same place as the Savior was.  It is an incredible peaceful place.
The place that is probably more likely to be the area of the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized is actually located in Jordan on the West Bank.  Jackie has been to Israel five times and has never been able to see the sight before.  This time our Jewish guide felt that things were quite peaceful and it should be safe to visit the site.  Obviously the water is not as clear and pretty but scripturally based this is close to where the baptism happened.
 These signs were quite frequent as we walked down to the River.  
It was a little disconcerting but all went well. 
A chapel commemorating the Birth of Jesus in Bethleham.
Our Jewish guide can't take us into Bethleham because it is in Palestine. 
So a Palestinian guide got on our bus and took us there.
Our first glimpse of Jerusalem.  Jeff getting his bearings from Jackie on where everything is located.  
 Old Jerusalem.  The Gold Dome is the infamous "Dome of the Rock".  
It is a Muslim Mosque placed over the place that is believed to be where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac.  Tourists are not allowed to enter.
 Outside the walls of Old Jerusalem.
An ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane.  
Maybe it was there when Christ suffered there so long ago.
The Western Wall or more commonly referred to as the Wailing Wall.  
Men go to one side of the partition and women on the other.
The Jews meet here regularly to pray.  
On Friday nights when they welcome in the Shabbat or the Sabbath, they congregate here by the thousands to pray and celebrate together.  
We were fortunate enough to attend
 but our Jewish guide asked us to be respectful that night and not photograph it.  
What an amazing experience it was.  It will always be photographed in my memory.
The greatest shopping of Olive Wood carvings and anything else you would need to enhance your visit to Israel can be found at Jimmys.  
 I did a fair share of damage to our pocketbook in that store, 
but I did bring home some remarkable items.  
Jimmy has actually called me since I've been home
That is bad when you are on a first name basis with the store owner.
 The Temple Mount has been controlled by the Muslims since 600 AD.
They are serious about their modesty and rules.  These ladies from our tour were deemed to be dressed inappropriately and they were required to wear the shawls to cover themselves.
The Dome.  I can't believe we were allowed to take this picture because usually you are forbidden from touching one another on the Temple Mount even if you are married. 
 Some of the gates still standing on the Temple Mount.
 The remnants of the Pools of Bethesda where one of Jesus's miracles were performed.
 Another view of Old Jerusalem

Our two guides----David, our Jewish Guide and Jackie 
 We hiked into a spring, En Gedi, found in the middle of the most desolate, hottest land ever.  
There were beautiful water falls and ponds hidden in the rocks.
It is believed that in Old Testament times this is where David hid from Saul.

One of the funnest things we did was to float in the Dead Sea.
It was remarkable.  Putting your feet down after you had been floating was extremely difficult.
Unlike the Great Salt Lake, the salt content is so high that absolutely nothing can grow there so it is incredibly clean and beautiful.  There is no horrid smell as there is at our Great Salt Lake.
 The Garden Tomb was the most sacred place we visited. 
It was unadorned, peaceful and probably the most  accurate place we visited.  
Years ago when they discovered the tomb they also found a wine press 
which is incredibly symbolic for it to be located so close to the tomb.
The tomb is Empty.  He is not there.  HE IS RISEN!!