This is just a brief note to let you know that we have arrived safely in Jerusalem after a long and tiring, but (mostly!) uneventful trip. All of our connections worked beautifully at all stages.
On the Frankfurt to Tel Aviv leg of our trip we shared the plane with a large group of young Jewish 8th-graders (some 75 or so) from the Davis Academy, a Jewish school in Atlanta, GA. I had a very interesting conversation with one sweet young girl from the group who was seated next to me on the plane. She wondered (interesting question!) what coming to Israel meant to me as a Christian! What a fascinating opportunity to reflect on such questions!
Our most exciting moment, for absolute certain, came just as we were about to touch down on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International Airport this afternoon. Instead of touching down we instead zoomed back upward at the very last minute! The pilot informed us that we had encountered “cross winds,” a situation which made our landing unsafe at that moment. So we circled around and came back in a few minutes later with a safe but bumpy landing.
Our second most exciting moment came, as Nancy Floyd has reminded me, when we landed in Frankfurt in thick fog. Looking out the window of the plane, I assumed (due to prior experience with coming out of clouds) that we were still going to emerge from the clouds and see the land below. But instead we thudded to the ground in the very midst of the thick fog. That was one skillful pilot, for which we all are very grateful.
We have by now moved into our lodgings at the Lutheran Guest House in Jerusalem, a guest house so beautiful that folks are remarking about it. And we have now had our first dinner here and our first Evening Prayers. We will begin our formal touring tomorrow with Tony, our longstanding tour guide. I was reminded again this afternoon of just why Kevin and I keep working with Tony. He is a veritable “walking encyclopedia” of information about the land and the people. And he is a very charismatic tour guide.
Blessings to you all! And wish you were here with us! More in coming days . . . .
Dorothy Jean, for the “Places, People, & Prayers 2009” tour group
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