Welcome to Israel!
We have arrived in the Holy Land! I’m Debbie and I will be documenting our Up to Jerusalem journey with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. After a long flight we were greeted by our guides, Tito and Ronnie, when we arrived in Tel Aviv. We are very thankful for interesting and funny guides, especially after having so little sleep and going straight into a full day of visiting sights.
We learned that today is Shabbat (Sabbath). Because it is a day of rest, the roads are not as crowded and a lot of businesses are closed. We will check in at our hotel after sundown because the observant Jewish people won’t be able to check out until sundown.
As we headed to our first stop at Jaffa, our guide reminded us that while many countries have specific places for touring (like Paris in France), the entire country of Israel has significance. The Bible happened in the whole land. In Jaffa we saw the Tel Aviv skyline, gazed out into the Mediterranean Sea, walked the narrow, stone streets where many artists live, and saw what could have been the house of Simon the Tanner from Acts 9. https://www.bibleplaces.com/joppa/
We then enjoyed a lunch of shawarma and falafel.
Our next stop was the Ayalon Institute. Forty five young people worked underground below a kibbutz to manufacture bullets that were used during the 1948 War of Independence. It was a fascinating story of bravery, and we know that it was all part of God’s plan and provision for Israel. It was miraculous that they were able to keep such a production a secret. Even their family members didn’t know what they were doing. If they were caught it would have cost them their lives. You can learn more about this story of bravery here, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-ayalon-institute.
It was raining as we stopped at the Valley of Elah where David fought Goliath, the Philistine. We were able to pick up stones there as a memory of what David did to defend God’s Chosen People. https://www.bibleplaces.com/elahvalley/
As we head to our hotel, I know 99 people are going to be very happy to have a comfortable bed. Even though we are tired, I can tell that hearts are blessed by knowing that we are in the land that God promised to His people.
I can’t wait for tomorrow’s adventures and the opportunity to get to know the rest of the tour participants. I am sure many new friendships will be formed.
Blog author: Debbie Helbig
Administrative Assistant for Ministry Advancement
The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry
Photos: Brett Helbig