Day 2: Caesarea, Tiberius, Sea of Galilee

Monday, November 5, 2012 By: Sandy Thorn Clark

BRIGHT AND EARLY START: Arriving in Israel on 14- to 20-hour flights from the United States and Canada after a stress-filled week with flight changes and concerns prompted by Hurricane Sandy – and getting a much-needed night of rest – Journey Home Tour participants received 6 a.m. wake-up calls for their first hectic and fulfilling day in the Land of Promise.

SCENIC TOUR OF TIBERIAS REGION: As buses headed to Caesarea from Tiberius on the placid Sea of Galilee a region Christians know as the headquarters of the earthly ministry of Jesus – the visitors passed stunning scenery and learned many interesting facts about Israel including that:

  • The state of Israel is only the size of New Jersey.
  • It’s the time of year when millions of birds including storks and pelicans migrate to South Africa via a route over Israel.
  • There are only two golf courses in Israel.
  • American corporate giants McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Toys R Us and Office Depot are popular in many modern malls. Ironically, though Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts opened stores in Israel, they could not gain sufficient patronage to remain open.
  • Fruits being grown along the route included pink grapefruit, grapes, strawberries, avocados, mangoes, and bananas.
  • Olive groves are lush and abundant.

‘AHA’ MOMENT RECALLED AT CAESAREA: At Caesarea, built by Herod the Great as the great seaport of his Mediterranean kingdom, tour co-host Pastor Jerry Clark recalled how in the Christian New Testament Paul was on a course of destruction until he realized – through divine intervention – that he had to do something to turn his life around and determine what was truly important. Clark urged his audience of Christians and Jews to examine the counter-productive habits in their lives and make a positive decision to turn their lives around.

VISIT TO FELLOWSHIP-SPONSORED ORPHANAGE: Emotions ran high – especially for Chuck and Charlie Tonkin of Knoxville, Tenn. –during a visit to Neve Michael Children’s Village in Pardes Hanna, home to 300 children and youth at risk ages four to 18. Tour participants chatted with and hugged the youngsters, played soccer with boys on a playground, and viewed a building to be renovated by funds contributed by Fellowship donors. Yael Eckstein, daughter of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, spoke of the orphanage’s many needs and thanked donors for their support of Neve Michael.

NOT-READY-FOR-PRIME-TIME PLAYERS DEBUT: The tour gathered in the chapel at Mount Carmel, known as the location where Elijah though out-numbered and facing destruction defeated the prophets of Baal, to laugh and applaud during a skit starring the amateur “acting” talents of Fellowship staffers Tonya Derrickson (cast as Queen Jezebel), Mark Climie-Elliott (King Ahab), James Ray (God) and Fellowship board member JR Dupell (Elijah).

OTHER STOPS: The group visited Megiddo, believed to be the site of Armageddon, and Nazareth Village, where volunteers and live animals donkeys, goats and roosters re-create the village of Biblical times by showing how to press grapes, do carpentry work, weave, and shepherd grazing animals.

SHUTTERBUG ACTION: No tour member worked harder than Evelyn Franklin of Brandon, Manitoba, to get the perfect camera shot at Caesarea and the Village of Nazareth. And no tour member will be in more snapshots than 11-year-old Israel Banks (accompanied by his parents, Ronald and Yolanda Luckett of Des Plaines, Ill.) whose captivating smile and enthusiasm for the tour has captured the hearts of everyone.

TUESDAY’S SCHEDULE: Another busy day is highlighted with a sunrise service on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, a visit to a bomb shelter in Tiberius (one of hundreds of Israeli bomb shelters renovated through donations to the Fellowship), a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee with Rabbi Eckstein, and a renewal of baptism ceremony in the River Jordan.



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