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In a room by the sea…of Galilee

February 17, 2011

We have arrived!  After an hour delay of takeoff, our Delta 777 glided peacefully through the night air for no less than 12 hours.  I trusted the plane would do its thing while I dozed in and out of sleep, awaking periodically to food being placed on my tray, announcements coming over the intercom in multiple languages, and the muttering voices of faithful Jews who arose to greet the sun with prayer.

We landed in Tel Aviv, easily passed through customs, and acquired our bags once more.  Stepping out onto Israeli ground only lasted a few steps before we met Jimmy, our tour guide, and loaded up onto the bus.  It was around 7:00 pm and the sun was already setting, so our two-hour bus ride kept the secrets of the city covered in darkness longer still.  It did feel a little like Christmas morning as the Educational Opportunities (EO) leaders started handing out full color maps, EO baseball caps, “shopping” bags (hint, hint…they’re ready for us to spend our money), and an Ali Baba chocolate wafer bar.

Off to Tiberias we drove and wound our way down the hills surrounding the Sea of Galilee.  At the hotel Bishop Watson and others welcomed us with greetings.  I stepped off the bus and noticed the first thing about Tiberias was a sweet pleasant aroma filling the air.  As our bags were taken to our rooms we were sent for a quick dinner before the kitchen staff was released from duty for the night.  A full buffet was spread before us and among some delicious salads, potatoes, lentil soup, and fried sole was the best hummus I have yet to experience.  I look forward to more of that soon.

So although it felt like we slept most of the day and have done nothing but travel so far, it’s beyond time to go to bed once more.  Jimmy will be calling us at 6:00 am for a wakeup call.  At that time I’m sure it will hit me that I’m in Israel and that I’m about to walk where Jesus walked with my fellow clergy and friends.  Here’s to sweet dreams of excited anticipation.

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