Israel Trip

Oct 16-26, 2018

IMPORTANT NOTE

Because we want all who go to enjoy the trip and want no one to be frustrated with their experience, it is vital to realize that this Study Tour involves daily rigorous walking and climbing. On most days, we will hike 4-5 miles and climb terrain with some steep stretches.  If you don’t prepare; or if you have asthma, heart conditions, joint pain, weight issues or any other medical condition that make vigorous hiking frustrating or unsafe, you should not come on this trip. You will slow the group, and you will not enjoy the experience. If, however, you are in good health and prepare with regular moderate exercise, you can make it – young or old; and you will love it!     

TOUR PURPOSE.  To help all encounter God in His Promised Land so that they return home as more devoted disciples of Jesus.

TOUR DESCRIPTION. This is a “Study Tour” with these valuable distinctives…

  • Extent.  We cover most of The Land from “Dan to Beersheba.” We visit many of the most memorable sites throughout Israel following a roughly chronological path.  Starting in the south with Old Testament highlights, we move north along the Jordan River to Jesus’ home in Galilee.  Then we move west to the Mediterranean and finally “up” to Jerusalem for the grand finale. 
  • Experience.  We get out of the bus and learn the Bible as Jesus’ disciples learned it – with all senses engaged.  We hike the “ancient paths” to sites away from the crowds.  We go up the mountains, through the canyons, along the streams and across the fields. We pause at the threshing floors, sheep pens, shepherd caves, fig trees and thorn bushes. 
  • Encounter. We make space for the Holy Spirit to speak and us to hear.  At most sites, we read the Text, journal what God is saying, and share what we are hearing. As a disciple of Jesus, you’ll love it!
  • Equipping.  Through a series of Updates and Prep Sessions, we will prepare you for the trip.  Spiritually, we’ll help you establish a lifestyle of meeting with God daily to read His Word, listen to His Spirit, and share your heart in prayer. Mentally, we’ll prepare you with a 4-session, pre-trip course to help you to make the most of your visit.  Physically, we’ll help you get in “hiking shape” for the trails and climbs ahead. The trip is rigorous; but if you prepare, you’ll be ready to get the most out of it.  
  • Fun!  It will be so much fun… lots of good company, great food and laughter along the way! 

TOUR BENEFIT.  Those who go commonly report how helpful it is to visit the places “where it all happened.” There is something about being on site that makes us all keenly eager to learn.  Every sense is engaged.  We see the difference between wheat and tares.  We smell the sheep and goats.  We feel the rocky paths and prickly thorns.  We taste the figs and olives. We hear the child’s “Abba, Abba.” For many, the combination of pre-trip study and on-site experience provides a giant step forward toward understanding and living the Bible. For most it’s life-changing and unforgettable. 

TOUR SECURITY.  While the Middle East is constantly in political turmoil, Israel is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world.  With tourism as one of its main industries, the Israeli government prides itself in its unusually high levels of security in all the places we will visit.  If for any reason international tensions make the tour unsafe, our tour company will reschedule the trip. Below is a summary of GTI Tours security history:  

The U.S. State department has been issuing travel advisory warnings regarding Israel since before we began operating study tours in 1992.  During that period they have never issued a travel ban or evacuation notice pertaining to Israel, however due to security concerns we cancelled a total of five tours in that time frame.  In the case of a group cancellation due to security, airlines are technically required to provide air travel equal to the residual value of the ticket within one year.   However, we have never had a problem with any airline not waiving refund restrictions and for every tour we cancelled, participant tour funds were refunded in full.  

 

TOUR DETAILS.

  • Dates.  Oct 16-26, 2018
  • Group size.  35-45. Good size for easy movement and good discussion.
  • Lodging.  Simple – clean, safe, good food (3&4 star hotels).
  • Instructors.  We will enjoy background instruction from an experienced Israeli guide and receive Bible instruction from Pastor Roc. 
  • Cost.  $4250/person, double room with $100 reduction if you register before May 29, 2018; $850 add on for single room. The trip cost includes everything but your souvenirs.
  • Weather.  50’s in the hills, 90’s in the desert.
  • Physical Prep.  You will need to be in “good” condition – able to walk 4-5 miles in a day, including climbs. There is nothing “severe” planned for the trip; but we will have several 2-4 mile walks with some step grades (great views at the top!!). We recommend regular moderate exercise starting no later than Jul 1, 2018.  
  • Equipment/Clothing.  You will need a good day pack, water bottles, hiking shoes, hat and sun glasses.  Plan to pack light and dress informally for “the trail” (women, modest apparel required at most sites) with one “nice” outfit for “farewell party” on last night. 
  • Daily Schedule.  We will normally be going 7am – 7 pm most days with a hearty breakfast, lunch on the trail and sizeable dinner.
  • Travel Company.  GTI Tours, Holland, MI.  Specializes in physically vigorous “Study Tours” (e.g. they do all of the trips for Ray VanderLaan of Focus on the Family’s “That the World May Know” video series). Extensive experience and outstanding service for our kind of trip.
  • Guide.  Carefully chosen guides (usually Jewish Israelis, sometimes Palestinian Christians).  These guides have been specifically selected for this kind of “hands/feet-on” tour that includes hikes, off-the-beaten-path sites, and plenty of time on site to read/talk the Text.
  • Teaching Leader.  Roc Bottomly.

TOUR INTINERARY.  9 days in Israel, 2 travel days.

  • Travel to Israel
  • Shephelah and Negev.  Gezer, Valley of Elah, Beersheba, Wilderness of Zin, Arad.
  • Dead Sea and Jordan River. Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, Beth Shean.
  • Galilee. Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum, Korazin, Caesarea Philippi, Mt Hermon, Dan.
  • Jerusalem. Mt of Olives, Pools of Siloam and Bethesda, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Temple Mount, Bethlehem, Herodian, Gethsemane, Caiaphas’ House, Pilate’s Fortress, Golgotha and the Garden Tomb.
  • Travel Home.

TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE…register with deposit of $500 at the GTI Tours website, http://gtitours.org/trip/olcc.

QUESTIONS?  Feel free to call/email Bev at bevbottomly@gmail.com or 405-326-3800.  She has all the details and will be the Trip Administrator who will coordinate with GTI.

OK!  SO… COME WITH US!  You’ll get to…

  • See the Land with its sheep and goats, fig trees and olive groves, wheat and tares, deserts and mountains, rivers and seas.
  • Meet the People with their shepherds and farmers, children with “Abba,” rabbis and disciples; 
  • Experience the culture… villages and foot paths, synagogues and Sabbath, music and dance; 
  • Visit the places… Capernaum and Bethsaida, Nazareth and Cana, Mt Hermon and the Mt of Olives, Bethlehem and Jerusalem;
  • Read the Text on site with opportunity to visualize the action and talk life-lessons with like-minded friends.