A Travellerspoint blog

NEXT TRIP TO THE HOLY LAND BEING PLANNED

Our next tour group will be in either Mid-April or Early-June of 2012.

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It is difficult to put into words how incredible a trip to Israel can be. There is just nothing like walking through the land that is God's chosen stage. The things we learn by thrilling experience stay with you forever. Come walk where Jesus walked, see the Biblical and historical sites, and experience the Holy Land through all your senses. If you have never been, it will absolutely change your life. For those of you that have been before, we have added some exciting new sites and experiences.

More to come.

Please comment or email me if you are interested in joining us.

Posted by Budwenzel 16:09 Comments (0)

JORDAN TRIP EXTENSION

Extension to see Petra

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. Wadi_rum.jpg
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. petra.jpg
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.

Posted by Budwenzel 14:18 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

CROSSOVER IN THE LAND - DAY 9

Day 9

Today was the larger group’s last day in Israel. Although, a few more will go on to see Petra in Jordan, most were experiencing mixed feelings. This is about the time people really begin missing home. Family, loved ones, and priorities at home begin to call us…and yet, there is part of everyone that wants to stay here. Israel has an unexplainable draw to the genuine believer. After all God does always have His eyes on this land. How special it has been to see the gates from Abraham’s day, the caves that David hid in when learning to trust completely upon God, float on the water that Jesus walked on, and stand on the holy Temple Mount where one day Jesus will literally reign as King. Who would ever want to leave all that. And yet, God has much planned for us in our everyday lives. That is what we have learned all about here in the Land of the Bible. We are to live with such conviction and commitment in our area of influence just like the Children of Israel were trying to do in this land.
The day began in a very somber and meaningful way. We visited Yad Vashem which is the holocaust museum here in Jerusalem. It was so much more meaningful because our guide (Gilla) shared with us in a very personal way. Her Mother is a survivor of Auschwitz. She was very tender and transparent with us as she shared what it is like for survivors and their families. We all wanted to just wrap her up in our arms and say, “I am so sorry”. We all feel that much closer to not only Gilla, but all the Jewish people as they struggle to experience new life and hope. The museum was truly moving for all.Thursday_051.jpg
After lunch we moved to the close of our journey. How fitting it was to end up at the Garden Tomb where it is believed that Jesus was raised from the dead. The site Golgotha (skull hill) was also attached to this very site. Whether this was the actual historical location or not was not quite so important to us. The fact that Jesus is no longer in a grave but walked out of one just like it was very important to us. Thursday_052.jpgWe celebrated the Lord’s Supper right there at the site and sang a short but sweet hymn. I think we were all renewed in our deep love and appreciation for what Jesus has done for us. Words cannot adequately express our sense of aching desire to serve the Lord out of our immense gratitude.
The day ended with a sharing time. It was especially sweet to express our thanks to Gilla. We have really grown to love this special lady. “Gilla, I think your dog is calling…she wants to go out again!” Well, I guess you had to be there for that one. We ended with lots of deep reflection, lighthearted bantering, and lots of laughter. This was an incredible trip! Thank you all who went and sought after God with all your heart. May He bless you richly with the precious physical experiences and lasting memories. Thank you all who prayed and supported us while we were here. May the Lord bless you in sharing through our testimony. Thank you to my precious wife and daughters who have gone through a very difficult 9 days. May the Lord bless your sacrifice with the knowledge and mystery of His will. Mostly, thank you Lord for being absolutely faithful. God is worthy of our entire and complete devotion. The land and all that it holds reminds me of that every time I am here. Jesus is coming soon. We must be found faithful.

Watch for updates and more blog about our smaller group extension to Petra in Jordan. I will be taking Scott and Wendy tomorrow morning first thing. Scott is really excited!

Posted by Budwenzel 13:24 Archived in Israel Comments (1)

CROSSOVER IN THE LAND - DAY 8

Day 8

One of my goals for this trip was to make sure that I spend much more time on the Temple Mount than I had on previous trips. Our wonderful guide, Gilla, got up early to take us so that we could have a full 2 hours walking around up there.
After making our way through security (which I will tell you more about), we finally arrived at the very top of the existing Temple Mount. It was a very powerful and informative time for all. We asked lots of questions about what was where. We tried to place everything as it would have been during the different periods of time. One of the highlights was seeing an original stone step that led up to the upper court of the sacred or “holy area”. This is how they would have accessed the sacrifice altar, brazen laver, and other inner court activities. What an experience to look at the very spot where God revealed Himself in a special way among His people. On a personal note, I think I finally have the Holy of Holies placed!
One very interesting observation about the current Muslim presence on the Temple Mount. I want to speak to the growing voice of those who are less educated about the Temple Mount and its’ true history. There is a thought among many Americans today that this should be a special and holy site for all faiths. In other words, we should not be so exclusive to consider this place as only sacred and relevant for the Jews (and Christians). These people speak as though the poor Muslims should be allowed to have access to their holy sites up there…I mean, after all don’t they let everyone else worship on this sacred place? The answer…NO! I found it very interesting that the Muslims who control the Temple Mount do not allow certain things to take place there. Out of all the things I could have tried to bring up on the Temple Mount, it was my Bible that I was prohibited from taking up there. Yes, you heard me correctly…my Bible! The check point screening area complete with an airport scanning machine has been placed before the entrance to look for Bibles. I cannot pray up there either, but the Muslims have two Mosques’ for their place of prayer. It seems they are not very open to “all faiths sharing that place”. Also, if it is so sacred to them, why have they completely trashed it? There is garbage and debris everywhere. It really made me sick to my stomach to see such disdain and contempt for a site that is holy to the Jews and Christians…but only claimed holy by the Muslims. Oh, by the way, it is also very interesting that all the Archeological finds on and around the Temple Mount from before the Hasmonean period are distinctly Jewish. Israel may not have much history as an U.N. recognized State, but they have all the history there is as a nation who belongs in this land. No matter what people say, feel, or think, this specific piece of land was given by God to the Jews for exclusive Worship of the one true God. The rest is irrelevant.
Well, back to the trip. We went from the Temple Mount to the pools of Bethsaida where Gilla sang to us Psalms in Hebrew at a church with amazing acoustics. It was beautiful. We were all speechless. A couple of people commented later that they could have just sat there and listened to her sing that all day. I agree!
Most of the rest of the day was spent walking every square foot of the surroundings of the Temple Mount. We walked the Rabbi’s tunnel along the western wall, saw the excavated first century community along the southwest corner, worshipped on the southern steps, and watched a video about temple worship.
After a short rest at our hotel, we headed back to the southern slope of the mountain of the temple mount which is the city of David. It was cool to see discovered evidence of the presence many of Israel’s Kings. I guess Israel has much more history here than many people realize. A few brave souls walked Hezekiah’s tunnel which is a water way dug out by King Hezekiah to re-route the water of the spring of Gihon. Larry, Greg, Wendy, and Deana walked the entire 2/3 of a mile in the pitch black with water up to their knees in a very tight and narrow passage way under ground. Terry has affectionately labeled this group the Crossover Swim Team. We all met up at the pools of Siloam to see yet more evidence of the Biblical tie to this land. What a great day! It was very hot, and I think there were a few times where the heat took the energy out of people. However, this journey is surely changing lives.Wednesday_002.jpgWednesday_013.jpgWednesday_020.jpg

Posted by Budwenzel 08:12 Archived in Israel Comments (1)

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