This was the first time any of the four of us had been in the Holy Land. We chose not to travel with a tour group but considerable planning went into this stage of our adventure. While many expressed concerns about safety, the fact is that we did not experience any truly tense moments during our time there. Our main base of operations for our time in Jerusalem was the YMCA Three Arches Hotel. It is within easy walking distance of the old city of Jerusalem. After five days, we rented a car and set out to tour much of the rest of this small country.
ESTHER'S JOURNAL CONTINUES:
Thursday 2/28 –
We started our tour of Jerusalem by riding in a taxi to the Mount of Olives and
had a beautiful view of the Old City. We thought of Jesus’ words: “O Jerusalem,
how often I would have gathered you under my wings…and you would not!” I
believe He knew what would now be on the site of the temple He visited at age 12
and later too. As we walked down the mountain we saw a tomb with bone boxes and
then the Garden of Gethsemane.
We entered Jerusalem’s Old City at St.
Stephen’s Gate and saw most of the “stations of the cross” as we walked through
busy markets. The last several sites are in the Basilica of the Sepulchre.
While some of the places are doubtful to us, we have no doubt our Lord Jesus
died and rose again. Marvel had a memorable conversation with a woman from
South Africa. He is risen! He is risen indeed!
We ate a late lunch at a rooftop café and then shopped in more market areas. After returning to the Three Arches YMCA we had dessert in the restaurant.
Friday 2/29 –
We went first to the Western (Wailing) Wall – men to the left, women to the
right. After praying at the wall we toured some of the residential areas in the
Jewish Quarter. Always walking involves fending off pushy merchants!
We ate lunch in an Armenian restaurant and
then toured some of the Armenian Quarter and the museum there. We had a light
supper at the Three Arches.
Saturday 3/1 –
Our Palestinian taxi driver Ali took us to Bethlehem. We toured the Church of the Nativity
with a Christian man.
We went to Mt. Herodian. The Buhlers and Tom climbed to
the top. We had a delicious meal in Bethlehem in the shadow of the
Our driver took us back to Jerusalem to the
Garden Tomb. We saw Skull Mountain and the tomb. If that is not the site of
Jesus’ death and resurrection, it must have looked much like that. There were
songs of praise and tears of joy.
Sunday 3/2 – We attended worship service at the Church of the Redeemer (Evangelical Lutheran). The English congregation Pastor is Mark Holman; his wife Marcia and her mother Opal are from Canton, SD.
We toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. (No pictures allowed.) Very sad! “The important thing is not that 6 millions Jews were murdered, but that there were 6 million murders, and each one of them was a Jew.”
We went to a big mall and ate supper at a
Kosher Burger King. After shopping a bit we were ready to drop.
Monday 3/3 – We
mailed letters after buying stamps. Then we went to the Tower of David and
enjoyed the museum there, with very good displays re the history of Jerusalem.
We went by taxi to City center in downtown Jerusalem where we ate late lunch and
shopped a bit.
In the evening we saw the “Tzabarim Mechola”
Folklore Ensemble’s program of music and dance. It was very enjoyable! I
was surprised that the troupe used songs from "Fiddler on the Roof." On this
last evening in Jerusalem we were tired, but ready to see other parts of Israel.
Praise God for this opportunity!