Well, what an adventure we had on our Jordan extension! Scott, Wendy, and I finally made it back from our 3 day excursion to see Petra. We encountered a whole new level of Israeli security (more about that later), saw the beautiful city of Eliat on the southern tip of Israel, and experienced the full and complete distinctive of the Arab culture.
Our trip began the morning after the rest of the group headed home. We flew to Eliat early in the morning to cross the boarder into Jordan. Our transition into Jordan was fairly smooth and uneventful. However, it was not long before we knew we were in an Arab country…and that was a new experience. Our Jordanian tour guide met us at the boarder to take us to Wadi Rum which is a beautiful, yet rugged, Jordanian desert wilderness. It is the location where much of Lawrence of Arabia was filmed.
We encountered numerous camels, Bedouin tea time, and a wild Jeep ride. We also learned from our tour guide that Jordanian Bedouin men are allowed up to 4 wives. Our guide was surprised to learn that we were not attracted to that idea. Scott and I explained to him that keeping up with our one wife each was quite enough. Although, we did have some fun with this discussion. Our trip was often interrupted by one of four Muslim calls to prayer which are broadcast in every city, town, or village from all the Mosques. It was a very unusual experience.
The next day we walked into Petra to view the magnificent stone carvings of the ancient Nabataeans. It was absolutely incredible to view this preserved and protected city.
One of Scott’s main desires in going to Petra was to leave behind a carefully wrapped Bible in the crevices of the rock. The idea being that the Jews who will flee to Petra in their escape of the coming persecution of the tribulation would find this copy of Scripture to give them light and hope in their restoration. Wendy and I laughed uncontrollably as Scott paused at one of the large “king treasury” structures to chuck his gift up into one of the unreachable rooms high above the ground. All the while trying to avoid tourist attention. It was both meaningful and fun.
After returning to Israel later that day, we checked in to a hotel in Elait for our final night’s stay. The next day we snorkeled the Red Sea, packed and showered, and headed off for a looooong night’s travel home. We were detained at the airport in Eliat and questioned for our trip to Jordan. Now, don’t get me wrong. I completely understand and support Israel’s high degree of security. We were fully cooperative. But, man were we given the third degree. Due to a couple of questionable answers to their questions about our trip to Jordan, they decided to make sure we were not a threat. Our entire luggage was stripped and unpacked while everything was tested exhaustively for any dangerous residue. After 50 minutes of interrogation, we were finally released to travel. Just when we thought we were home free in the Tel Aviv airport, I was selected to be the recipient of more scrutiny. I was stopped, searched, and questioned again to ensure I was not a threat to Israeli safety. I was even told that one of my carry on packages (two Bible atlas books that I purchased) tested positive for dangerous residue. That was strange since they had remained in the back since their purchase. But, I did not argue (having been in security I know better). We all made it home safe and sound.
This entire trip has been life changing. We carry with us unforgettable memories and precious experiences to help us in our walk of faith. We also have a deeper passion for God’s Word and the truths found in it. The Bible is more alive for us today than it ever has been before. May the Lord continue to bless Israel with the increased settlement of their land. I pray for their safety and their peace.
If anyone is interested in joining us for our next trip to Israel, please contact me as soon as possible. The more people that go on this trip, the lower the price will be. Simply click on the table of contents link in the right column of this blog site. Then, click on “upcoming trips”. I look forward to the opportunity to lead you on the most exciting trip of your life.