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Travel Blog

This will be the blog site for my trip to Israel beginning on June 9th. I hope you all will follow along and join me on this journey!

Posted by Jordan Long 11:00 Comments (4)

The journey begins

75 °F

Hello everyone! We made it! I have been writing along the way but have not had internet to be able to post. So I am just going to catch up

Ok...we are finally on the plane! That was like the most stressful travel! We got stuck in traffic so it took two hours to get to the airport. Then the lines were so long that we were waiting for a long time for curbside checkin. Then we headed through security. The lines were really long with that too.

Then we got to the gate in time to hear the final group boarding. We got on and I was so relieved to see everyone on the plane. We still have two others on a separate plane, so hopefully they made their connection ok. Now we are finally getting ready to take off. Wow.

10:35am Paris time(4:35 US time)
We are on our second plane now. Everyone made the connection with time to spare. It was a little interesting figuring out where to go, but we got there. It hardly seems real that we are actually heading to Israel.

8:50 pm Israel time

We are at our hotel in Ariel. We had a pretty crowded flight to Tel Aviv, then it was a little crazy going through passport control. My Mom and Dad were waiting on the other side of customs for us with Justan, Andrew, and Tzuriel, and Don. It was such a relief to see them. We got everything on the bus and headed to Ariel. Now I think we are heading to bed. Everyone is tired from the trip but it is good for us to be here.

I am going to be heading to bed soon, so I will write more in the morning. Breakfast is at 7:30, and our bus leaves for the day at 8:30.

Posted by Jordan Long 11:12 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Day 1- Shomron

Hi everyone,
It is 10:06pm here in Israel. I am finally getting a chance to write about the day. I will try to share in detail ....it was a very full day.

Everyone came to breakfast much refreshed after a good night's sleep. We had a typical Israeli breakfast of chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, tuna, various cheeses, yogurt, granola, and eggs. Then we met our tour guide, Moshe, and headed out for the day on our bullet proof bus.

Our first stop was at the Oak of Moreh or Elon Moreh. Under the shade of the tree we looked down the steep slope into the valley through which Abraham passed on his way from Ur in Chaldea to Canaan. It is amazing to stand in a place where it is known that Abraham walked over 3,000 years ago. The theme was about following God into the unknown, trusting Him, and having faith.
From there we drove to Mount Gerizim, otherwise known as the Mountain of Blessing in the Bible. There are two mountains next to each other, Mount Gerazim, and Mount Ebal (which is also called the Mountain of Cursing). Upon these two mountains the twelve tribes stood after they crossed the Jordan River, half upon one mountain and half upon the other. The tribes on Mount Gerazim proclaimed the blessings of keeping the Law, and the ones on Mount Ebal, the curse for those who broke it. Currently upon Gerazim is the last remaining community of the Samaritans. Mount Ebal is uninhabited due to the fact that the Palestinians believe that the mountain is cursed. Halfway down the slope of Mount Ebal an altar was discovered, which is believed to be the altar which Joshua built in Joshua 8:30
After that we headed to the Jewish community on a slope of Mount Gerazim called Har Bracha, which in Hebrew means “Mountain of Blessing.” There we met a rabbi named Yonadav who taught at the Yeshiva (Jewish school of learning for boys) in the community. He first of all wanted to know who we were. He noticed how many in our group wear tzitzits, but at the same time knew we were Christians, which caused him to want to know more about who we were before telling us about himself. He appeared relieved after discovering that we do not believe that the church replaced the Jewish people, nor do we believe in removing the mitzvahs (commandments). This created uninhibited dialogue between us, and he began his presentation addressing us as brothers and sisters.
In continuation of our travels, we drove to an overlook of the large Palestinian city of Nablus, biblically known as Shechem. From this point, with much concentration, we were able to identify the small white dome that decorates Joseph’s tomb. Adjacent to the tomb were the ruins of ancient Shechem, built upon the plot of land purchased from the Canaanites by Jacob. DSC_0087.jpg

Due to the lack of falafel shops, lunch was slightly chaotic and disappointing.

Following lunch we continued our tour through the Shomron with a stop at the yeshuv (settlement) of Nofe Nechemia. We were greeted by a young woman named Rachel, who began narrating the story of the yishuv to the group. Rachel was the wife and mother of two young children, who grew up in Israel yet spoke perfect English. While seated in the synagogue, she described some of the challenges of a growing community. Despite the hardships, it is a rapidly growing community with a long waiting list of applicants. Two-thirds of the community are children, with the oldest being 12. They all possess a strong sense of purpose and hope for future generations. Their faith and positive attitude toward life was inspiring.

Shilo, our final stop for the day, is always a place of significance to our group and congregation as a whole.
Due to the fact that the Tabernacle once stood there, and that it was the place where Hannah prayed to the Lord for a child, knowing that God’s presence was there for so many years, we come with the expectation of an encounter with the Lord. Just as Hannah prayed there for a child over 2,000 years ago, her prayer is still being answered today. We have personally experienced the result of people’s prayers at this place. We were very excited to be returning on this trip with an answer to one of these prayers, and just as Hannah returned Samuel to the Lord at the Tabernacle, so too Baby Malkiyah’s parents, Tim and Tiffany, dedicated her to the Lord today.

The day culminated for me personally with my dance to a worship song “Everything and Nothing Less.” This connected to how we began the day discussing Abraham’s dedication to following God. The message of complete surrender to God applies to my journey as I seek to follow His will for my life.
Until tomorrow, which is nine minutes from now, shalom from the Land of Israel!

Posted by Jordan Long 14:20 Archived in Israel Comments (2)

Day 2- Shomron

Shalom everyone! This blog is becoming a group effort. Kelsey, Desire and Andrew assisted with descriptions of yesterday’s events and faithfully stayed at it with me until after midnight. They are here with me tonight also. We had another busy day in the Shomron. We just finished eating a delicious supper, and I decided to get an earlier start on writing tonight so I won’t be getting to bed at 12:30!

This morning we started out the day in a community called Maale Levona, located southeast of Ariel. Ma’ale Levona was founded 33 years ago, and now is home to 150 families. The woman who showed us around, Mina, was the fifth to join the community.

The name Ma’ale Levonah carries biblical meaning. Ma’ale means ascent in Hebrew, and Levonah is the name for frankincense, an important spice used in the incense for the Tabernacle at Shilo. It also carries the name for an ancient Israelite village that once stood at the edge of the valley also called “Levonah.” (Judges 21:19)

This community had a petting zoo with a variety of animals.

Mina’s pet dog followed her everywhere. Mina spoke about the importance of the children to the community, and how much it is like one big family. She shared many of our own views when it came to guarding children from wrong influences from computers and TVs.

Upon leaving Ma’ale Levonah, we continued on to Karnei Shomron, the community where the office of Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC) is located. There we met Sondra Baras, who led us around the community.
She brought us to the park where we were to plant trees in fulfillment of biblical prophecy. These trees, once fully grown, will provide shade to the next generation of the community.
After that we stopped at the shopping center in the middle of the community for lunch. Most of us got our first falafels of the trip. They were so good!

When lunch was finished, we continued our journey and stopped at Kedumim. It was the first community established since the Shomron was regained during the 1967 war. Within the community is one of the largest religious girl’s high schools in the Shomron. Kedumim is diverse in more ways than one, as many ethnic backgrounds are welcomed here, including a large population of Ethiopian Jews. Over 5,000 residents of both secular and religious Judaism call Kedumim home. A woman named Shoshana joined us on the bus to show us around the community.
She gave us the behind the scenes tour of life in the community. It was striking to us the amount of responsibility given to younger members of the community and their willingness to do so.

Our day finished with a stop at Moshe’s community, Havot Yair. This rapidly growing community is one that is special to all of us. We have been closely involved in the progress of the community over the past years and seen it increase from about 30 families to over 70.
This time we contributed towards the expansion of their library.
Moshe requested the two of us who brought the shofars to blow them in front of the library. He told us that the people of the community have still been talking about the three shofar players since we last played there in 2011. He said that it impacted him.

The newly expanded synagogue was three times the size of the one we had seen the last trip.

Before leaving we stopped in the community center to watch a play that was put on for the children.
Watching the delight in the children was a rewarding experience. Communities such as this one require that each member do their part in contributing to building toward the future. While this is a great sacrifice both financially and physically, the reward of the quality of their life is worth it all. This was a recurring message through each person we spoke with today. Just as every member of the community does their part in contributing to the whole, we come alongside them to help them in their projects. And, the end goal they all possess, which we likewise share, is what they call Tikkun Olam, or making the world a better place. This is evident in their daily lives and conversations. I think we all could learn a lot from these amazing people.
Tomorrow we will be changing hotels and heading up to the Sea of Galilee. Shalom from Israel!

Posted by Jordan Long 12:50 Archived in Israel Comments (1)

Day 3- Heading to Galilee

Good morning! We are on the bus now.

Our new bus has WIFI, so I will try to write throughout the day.
We have left the Shomron, or the West Bank, and are heading towards the coast in our journey up to the Galilee. I will write later....shalom!

Posted by Jordan Long 23:12 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

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