Published: January 12th 2009January 12th 2009
I am writing this from the comfort of my living room in Marietta, Georgia having just returned from Israel a few hours ago. Many thanks to Patricia and Dale for picking me up at the last minute from Marta and Mitch for taking exceptional care of Snuggles these last two weeks.
I have one last entry from Israel--Bethlehem from the West Bank. This was definitely not a planned trip but one I will never forget. A colleague named Pat from the counselors' group and I headed out to Jerusalem on Saturday as we had some rare time to ourselves during the Jewish Sabbath. We were approached by a cab driver in front of our hotel who made an offer we decided we would not pass up--he drove us to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem which is actually just a short drive from our hotel but in the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank. The trip was definitely the adventure of a lifetime as we headed across check points to an area not very well visited by tourists since 2000 because of the conflicts. As a result, we had full access to the actual place Jesus was born as
well as the location of his crib and the manger which are located in the Church of the Nativity. We did witness racism on the way back into Jerusalem as the Israel soldiers would not let us back over the border crossing we had used after noting that our driver was Palestinean. We then got a little more than we paid for as we had to drive through small border towns as our driver made his way to another crossing. We returned safely after a total of about 2 hours and were the envy of the other Christians in our group who also contemplated this adventure but were actually discouraged by us!
I will be posting all of the pictures from my trip on the web and will send a link later. Many thanks for the messages I received from many of you during this trip. It was wonderful sharing this with so many caring friends and family members.
There are more photos below