This whole trip came about REALLY quickly. I had never wanted to go to “The Holy Land.” I figured I could worship Jesus from here, no problem. Here’s how God put all this in motion!
I’ve been doing The Bible Recap this year. This Bible reading plan and podcast is written by Tara-Leigh Cobble, the founder and CEO of D-Group, a discipleship ministry. Tara-Leigh and her team went to Israel earlier this year for a month (with special permission from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism), and she shared the most beautiful photos of the country on her Instagram stories. I never knew it was so green or so modern! Turns out I had never given Israel itself much thought at all. (THAT was humbling.) On June 14, I took a peek at The Bible Recap’s Israel trips information page juuuuust out of curiosity. I was like, oh look! They’re all booked through 2022. So this isn’t even anything I need to think about.
THEN I noticed a trip scheduled for August of THIS YEAR! And it still had some openings! I emailed them for basic trip info.
I started getting excited and quickly started praying. I mentioned it to Gene, and his response shocked me although it shouldn’t have. “I’ve been to the Middle East, and I didn’t leave anything there.” Oh. Right. I forgot about ALL those deployments during his 27-year Air Force career. But, SURPRISE!!! Three days later we decided to go on the trip and sent in our deposit. God works FAST sometimes, y’all!
THEN, they asked us if we’d be able to leave on July 30 instead of August 20! (Like I said, FAST!)
Israel was still closed to tourists due to Covid, but D-Group had approval to take a group in under a pilot program from Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. Long story short, we found out on July 16 that the trip was a GO, leaving on July 30. And we got our flight info on July 24! Whew! THEN we had the whirlwind of getting Covid PCR tests taken early enough to get results back within 72 hours of departure but late enough to give us a little time buffer in case the flights were delayed.
The day before we left we had to file an online health form with Israel, but it kept messing up! We were up super late that night and super early the next morning trying to get it to work. Finally got that done and…
…headed to the Savannah, Georgia airport on Friday, July 30. Checking in took a while because we had to show them multiple documents, some in Hebrew, but we finally made it to our gate…where we sat for several hours because our flight was delayed a couple of hours and we had gotten there super early.
Eventually we landed in Newark, snagged a quick hug and photo with a friend who just HAPPENED to be there. (Surprise blessing from the Lord!) We scurried to our connecting gate, got in line to board, and discovered that we had to get OUT of line to get all our documentation approved again! Then we got BACK in line, worked through Israeli security (NO JOKE, that), boarded the plane just before the door closed, and got a free upgrade to a bulkhead row! I wept, I was so overwhelmed by all the last-minute miracles God had worked!
I wasn’t able to sleep on the 10.5 hour flight to Tel Aviv, so that was pretty miserable. But we got there and were met at Tel Aviv by a guide who walked our group through passport control, luggage claim, and yet another PCR test. Then we were on our way to our hotel to isolate for the rest of that day.
Next up, more about Day 1 and all about Day 2: FOOD, glorious food; Roman ruins; and more! Be sure to scroll down and subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss any of the fun!Follow me in social media: