11 August 2010

Trip to Israel - Part 2

Every single day of our 2 weeks traveling around Israel was jam packed with exhaustive adventure.  It would take me years to share about everything we did and experienced, so over the next few posts I will just share the highlights.

The first few days of our journey were spent entering into the Negev Desert.  On our way there we spent time with local Messianic youth in Ashdod and then visited Banana beach.  At this point I thought to myself, wow - "this is great". 

Banana Beach

From there we moved on to visit the famous Sderot Police Station where all of the Qassams/Kassams (rockets) that have fallen on Sderot and the areas surrounding Gaza are held.  We noticed that there were no children playing in the streets - they  were empty.  A rocket was fired into that area only days after we left.  It's hard to imagine what it must be like for the locals to live in constant fear.

Some of the rockets stored at Sderot Police Station

It was amazing to go from there and stand looking over the Gaza strip. Israel as a Nation is often in the media - but sadly the Western media usually portrays a biased viewpoint, leaning towards anti-semitic.  As a group of 150 young people from many different Nations, we stood together and prayed for peace - we prayed for both the Jewish people, and the Palestinians.  It was very moving (and rather freaky knowing that the last time rockets were fired from the Gaza were only 2 WEEKS before).

Symon overlooking the Gaza strip

Our first two nights in the Negev desert were spent at the most beautiful desert camp - think hammocks, camp fires, pots of spicy tea and Turkish coffee, singing songs under the stars, snakes and no power.  We went riding on camels, sleeping under the stars and eating delicious meals while sitting on cushions around low tables.  I loved our time in the desert, but I also found it hard.  The heat was intense (40+ deg C) - and our short trek in the dessert ended up being an hour or so longer than planned.  I got really unwell (heat stroke) and started to pine for my children, my hair-straightener and our 5 deg C winter in New Zealand at one point.  I realized that I was no different from the complaining Israelites wandering in the desert in the Bible.

Our desert camp accommodation

Camel riding

Cute baby camel

We met an amazing Jewish local (who had 8 children) and together with his wife had cared for 80 Sudanese refugees who had crossed the Egyptian boarder with no place to go.  They were an inspiring family, and are currently in the process of building an orphanage.  These are the sort of people that you never ever forget.

Overlooking the Judean Desert

Later that evening, one of the Mexican guys in our group got stung by a scorpion - it made sleeping under the stars in the desert even more exciting that night!

Canyon walk

The next day we spent time as a group doing community work in a local orchard that helps feed a local youth village nearby.  It was hard work in the heat, but it was so worth it to see what a difference our group made.



Symon loved trying to learn some Spanish so that he could communicate better with some of the Mexicans in our group.  He tried to say "good evening" to one of the Mexican guys, but accidentally said "good butt".  It's times like that when you wished you had been more attentive to "Dora the Explorer" as a parent.

We finished our desert experience in the Judean dessert, climbing Masada before sunrise.  Masada has such a sad story behind it, but was absolutely beautiful to be on as we watched the sun rise.


Our journey had only just begun, but already Israel and her people were having a major impact on my life.

To be continued...

Click here for Trip to Israel - Part 3
Click here for Trip to Israel - Part 1



13 comments:

  1. Wow, what an amazing adventure and experience. Thanks for sharing. Cx

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  2. wow, your posts are bring back some wonderful memories for me, I spent a year in Israel and travelled quite a bit during the time, including the Gaza strip and the west bank. Growing up in the UK in the 80's with the fear of the IRA was nothing compared to living in Israel, several times my regular bus, when I was on it was evacuated due to a bomb scare and the housing complex too. But that said, the land is beautiful and I met some amazing people, it was great to meet everyday folks who may have been Jewish, Christian or Islamic who got on with their neighbours and helped each other out, not like it is portrayed in the media, I don't really miss the heat and I never once missed my hair straighteners - maybe because I am too lazy to straighten my hair.

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  3. kristy!!! wow thanks for your comment on my blog I was so excited to see you there!!! I miss you too!!! I ma honestly so happy to read what you're writing, it's like a series and you can't wait to read the next part lol although i know what's gonna happen, you make it come alive once more, not like a dream!!! i have been counting the days since we left israel arggg

    i miss you too so much and i did pray i get to see you guys again!!!!
    with much love and fond memories!!!

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  4. oh wow I just realized again that this was your first trip abroad!! oh my!!! what an adventure to engage in!!!

    loved how you described the desert camp ahaha except snakes!!! c'mon!!! there was just ONE baby snake, nothing to scare a kiwi away lol

    straightener?? yes i think we were jealous of the mexican barbies lol our hair didn't feel like hair until we got back did it! lol

    looking forward to the rest of kirsty/symon' adventures :)

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  5. Amazing, Kristy. Amazing to be in that ancient land, amazing to be where all those things have happened. I just can't imagine 40deg heat, but wow, how amazing! (Sorry if I'm repeating myself but it's AMAZING!)

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  6. LOVING this! Thank you for sharing- can't wait for part 3!!!

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  7. So cool to hear about all your experiences. It would be so surreal to be over there, so different from little old NZ. You are brave for sleeping in the desert like that. I don't think I would sleep a wink!

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  8. Awesome, what a great experience for anyone to encounter! lol at the good butt spanish error :)

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  9. OH wow! I can't wait to hear more! It sounds like an amazing trip!! I'm so glad you all are home safe and sound now!

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  10. oh wow! What beautiful photos
    Gael xo

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  11. shall remember to include that Jewish local and his family in my prayers

    again I look forward to reading more
    your an inspiration to me

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  12. Oh wow! It sounds like an amazing time. I just got to catch up on both posts about your trip. I can't wait to read the rest! :)

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  13. The heat would have been amazing for you to experience..... it's never quite like that in NZ!

    Rockets, snakes, scorpions, under the star sleeping, camels..... so much to take in, more amazing experiences. I love that photo of the hammock.

    What an amazing trip, to be able to help out, pray, learn, meet people, experience something so different.

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Thanks for your comments... I love hearing from you!!!

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