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Building Faith While Touring Israel

Experiences from the ICEJ's US Feast tour 2012

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28 Sep 2012

We said goodbye to Jerusalem this morning, but only for a few days before we return to the beautiful city on a hill to begin celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. Could anyone actually ever say goodbye to Jerusalem? My hunch is “no.”  Before leaving the Dan Boutique Hotel, I awoke at 5:00AM in order to snap a few photos of the sun rising into horizon just beyond the Mount of Olives over Jordan. There is a reason that Jerusalem is nicknamed the “Golden City.” The sun just seems to shine different here than anywhere I have ever been.

Jerusalem Sunrise

After breakfast the group loaded the tour bus and headed north to the land our Savior began his ministry…the Sea of Galilee. Along the way, Kenny, our tour guide, educated the group on various points of Biblical and national history as we drove up the Mediterranean Coast of Israel. After a pit stop that allowed me to grab a delicious cappuccino, Kenny encouraged the group to give individual testimonies about our faith and what led us to Israel. The faith of this group is strong and the love each of us has for God is amazing. It is evident that God ordained this group of people to come together in Israel to pray for this nation and its people. We anticipate God meeting us each and every place we go in Israel and it is spiritually uplifting to see how God is using each of us and how He prepares us and our hearts each and every day.

As we approached our first tour stop of the day in Atlit, we placed the testimonies on hold until we returned to the bus. For those who do not know, Atlit was the site of a former British detention camp for “illegal immigrants” coming into Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s. Many of the detainees were Holocaust survivors attempting to come home to establish a Jewish state. In 1945, the late and former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, planned a raid that liberated over 200 Jewish detainees. This event at Atlit represents, in my opinion, the tenacity and dedication the Jews had in returning to their homeland and reestablishing the Jewish nation of Israel.


From Atlit the group traveled north through Haifa and stopped in Acre, also known as Akko, which is an ancient port city that served as a staging ground for the European Christian Crusaders attempting to gain control of the Holy Land. Akko provided stunning views of the Mediterranean and trip back into history with the fortified stone walls and remnants of the lighthouse that dates back to the Middle Ages. Akko was truly a charming city that echoes a time long gone.

The final tour stop before making our way to the Sea of Galilee may be Israel’s best kept secret. Rosh Hanikra, which sits on the Mediterranean Coast where the Israel and Lebanon borders come together, has to be one of the most beautiful sites in Israel, and maybe even the world. The group rode cable cars to see the underground grottos carved out of the rock by years of water and salt crashing into the beautiful white cliffs of Rosh Hanikra. The peace and calming effect of the waves crashing and the warm, golden sun over the Mediterranean made me believe I might have entered Heaven along the way!

  Rosh Hanikra  

Today was a full day of stops and travel from Jerusalem that allowed me and the other tour members to take in the land of the Galilee region of Northern Israel. A day after an emotional visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem and a day before we begin retracing the footsteps of Christ, this tour day where we were able to relax and enjoy the history and beautiful sites was perfectly scheduled.

So now I sit on the banks of the Sea of Galilee at Kibbutz Nof Ginosar. I am blown away at the moment to even consider that I, a Southern boy from Tennessee, am at the place where Christ walked on water and calmed the storms. Someone! Anyone! Please pinch me!! 

   Jeremy Carney   


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