ISRAEL -- The FlightMonday, June 1st
Our travels began at 3pm as we arrived at the huge Oklahoma City International Airport. All 20 Gates of it. Our flight was at 5:15, but we arrived early just to make sure we get everyone checked in on time. We were all good after a little struggle with Efren, my Venezuelan brother-in-law. Luckily they decided to let him out of the country so we were all good to go! The flight from OKC to Atlanta was basically uneventful, other than the fact the airlines didn’t even seat the couples together so most of our group was randomly spread throughout the plane. Odd. Atlanta arrives and we begin to brace ourselves for the long flight over to Tel Aviv, Israel. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out the flight was (only) 12 hours. For some reason I had 16 hours in my mind so a few hours shorter than I expected was great!
Well it was finally time to board the long awaited flight and off we go. I’ll never understand why they make you walk through First Class to get to the cheap seats. Are they just trying to rub it in that some of us can’t afford that? Yes, I would like a recliner for my 12 hour flight. Thanks. But nope, we’re jammed in a row with an old lady who won’t move to the empty seat next to her husband across the row to give us more room. So my poor husband that can’t sleep in moving vehicles is stuck wide awake sitting straight up with about 5 inches of leg room. Good times. We played some inflight trivial pursuit (thanks Delta, I was impressed with that one), watched a couple movies, and I tried to sleep as much as possible. Brook was kind enough to roam around the plane for a couple hours and let me spread out a bit and get some rest. Before we knew it, it was 5:30 pm in Tel Aviv and we were landing!!!
ISRAEL -- The Arrival Tuesday, June 2nd
We arrive in Israel!!! We’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while now, and we are all very anxious and excited for what is to come over the next two weeks. We make our way through customs. Again, Efren holds us up but they let him in the country and we’re all set! We loaded up on our bus to head to the hotel, but of course it’s 2 hours away. We met Abraham. Our tour guide. This guy is outstanding. For some reason I’d pictured in my mind this old dude with no sense of humor and boring. Abraham is not those things. He’s hysterical, and his teaching is overwhelming to my brain but very interesting. He pulls out a huge map of Israel and starts telling us about his land. This is a good thing for me because I’m not the most “geographic” person and maps help me a lot.
On the bus ride to the hotel it all hit me and became very real. As we drove down the road and I looked out the window at a sign that said “Nazareth”, I was speechless. Even though I knew I was coming to this land and had prepared for it, I still had no idea what to expect. As we drove past Nazareth and Abraham pointed out this city on the hill to us, I was extremely overtaken by the life that Jesus had lived. And here I was, about to walk where he walked. To experience his land and see first hand the place that his ministry took place. It’s simply overwhelming and I couldn’t wait to get started!