17 August 2010

Trip to Israel - Part 4 (final)

Fourth and final part to our Israel journey...

We spent the last part of our Israel journey staying in a lovely hotel in Jerusalem (which was like heaven on earth after having been in the desert and youth hostels for a while!).  

What an amazing city!  As our group stood from a lookout and overlooked this famous land I was truly in awe. Although many of the buildings are new and the Old City looks nothing like it did 2,000 years ago, it still took my breath away to see this historical land with my own eyes.

Jerusalem

One of our first experiences here was to walk through Hezekiah's Tunnel - definitely not an experience you would want if you are in any way claustrophobic.  It was an amazing experience though to walk through this 500 meter tunnel (in the dark, with water past my knees!).  The mind boggles at how it was dug, thousands of years ago, especially considering the tunnel walls are solid rock.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

Visiting historical and Biblical places like the Temple Mount and the Pool of Shiloah were amazing - but to be honest, they weren't at all like I had imagined.  I never thought about the layers and layers of history (other buildings/construction) on top of these sites - although, when I think about it now, that's what usually happens when life goes on. Things weren't as 'original' as I had thought they would be  - but they were still pretty amazing.

The Temple Mount

Another one of my most impacting moments in Israel would have to be visiting Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Museum).  This experience was not at all enjoyable, but it was one of those painful experiences that you know you need to endure, and are so glad that you did when you come through it.  I learned so much, experienced so much and was impacted beyond words.  A must visit place if you are ever in Israel (and having a guide take you through makes it even more impacting - our lovely guide was German).  

Photographs were prohibited inside the museum, but outside there were many amazing sculptures representing different aspects and stories of the Holocaust.



We also had the privileged opportunity to hear a Holocaust survivor tell her story (Ester Golan).  Both of her parents were killed during the Holocaust - and as you can imagine, many tears were shed as we listened to her story.  It shocks me that there are still many people today that deny that the Holocaust ever happened.

Other amazing experiences included our group being able to welcome a plane load of people making aliyah (Jews returning to Israel ), experiencing what it was like to be taught in a Jewish Synagogue, and being able to witness a first time occasion in Israel - an Arab Christian preaching in a Synagogue (and a pretty amazing guy too - he used to be an assassin for Yassar Arafat!).

We visited the famous Jerusalem food markets, The Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, The Western Wall (Wailing Wall), the Garden Tomb, the Old City and all the markets within it. So many sights, smells and experiences.

 Gethsemane


The famous Jerusalem food markets before Shabbat begins

As our time in Israel came to an end, our large group gathered for a farewell meal on a hillside overlooking Jerusalem.  It was beautiful to see the sun set (finishing Shabbat) and the city filled with lights as the darkness fell.  There were many hugs and tears as we all said goodbye. So many good friendships were formed over the two weeks we all shared together - a rather amazing and emotional journey.

I really don't feel like my four blog posts on our journey have done justice to our experience - but hopefully they have given you a slight taste of our time there.  We have learned so much about the history of this land, the culture, the politics and the amazing people who live here.  We would totally recommend visiting Israel - it will honestly change your life! 

Farewell dinner overlooking Jerusalem

A big thank you to the amazing Operation Exodus Team (especially Andy, Paul & Ness) and also to our fabulous local tour guides (especially Moshe and Yuval).  You are all amazing people!  

Also a massive thank you to everyone who supported us while we embarked on this amazing adventure - your encouragement, prayers, financial support and family help was appreciated so much.  As we served and gave in Israel, we did it on your behalf too.


"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure." Psalm 122:6 (NIV)


See here for our Israel journey Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Go here to read an amazing study my husband has written about Israel.
Go here to find out more about Engage Israel! 

8 comments:

  1. Wow. I can only imagine how much this trip has impacted you. It sounds like an amazing time. I hope I can go one day. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

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  2. Awesome Kristy. I can only IMAGINE how amazing your trip would have been.
    thanks so much for sharing,
    xx

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  3. Love the movie. A great way to debrief as you settle back in.

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  4. Wow Wow WOW!!! What an amazing and impacting time! It must have been an incredible feeling to visit all those places so well known from the Bible and looking over Jerusalem. AMAZING!!
    Lovely to read of your experiences, bet you're loving being home with your children again though with no snakes or scorpions to worry about!! XX

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  5. I want to say WOW too but so has everyone else!
    Loved that video clip, LOVED it!!!
    Amazing experience.

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  6. amazing. a dream of mine..

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  7. wow! just wow! what an amazing journey you guys were on! so happy for you! :) the photos tell such a story! wow.........

    love the video too!
    i want a camel friend! hehe

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  8. How did I miss this post?

    I still feel incredibly impacted by anything that is about the holocaust - it's haunting. There are movies that I haven't been able to sit through - the fact that these things happened upsets me.

    I'm so glad that you guys got to do this. It's a trip of a lifetime, for sure! Awesome that you were enabled.

    glad that you are back too :)

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

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