Day One - Arrival

It is always an exciting and sometimes intimidating prospect to travel halfway around the globe to meet up with people from different countries and continents and pursue a spiritual journey that followers of Jesus for two thousand years have spent fortunes and risked their lives to undertake: walking in the historical footsteps of Jesus. Thankfully the cost and challenge of such a pilgrimage have been greatly reduced in modern times, but it is still quite a trip! And so it was with gratitude that every person in our group gathered in the spacious lounge of the Lutheran Guesthouse tonight to get to know each other and begin this spiritual adventure. A few of us who arrived last night had a chance to do some exploring earlier in the day ... here are a few shots from Day One as our adventure begins!

We left LAX on Thursday around 6pm. We arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, around 13 hours later, and immediately boarded our flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. How many movies can you watch in one sitting?

As we arrived in Israel on Friday night, the excitement was building! We landed, cleared customs, and met with our new Australian friend Margie in the airport. After tracking down the lady who mistakenly took Amy's bag, it was about an hour taxi ride into the ancient Old City, where we checked in to our hotels within the walled city and were finally able to sleep!

This morning, the weather was great! We have a gorgeous view of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount from where we stay. The guest house where our rooms are is a beautiful stone building with an expansive garden and patio area with stunning views of the city (and Amy!).

We walked along the city walls to get an overview of Jerusalem. This picture is from the top of Damascus Gate looking south into the Old City.

After that, we checked out Solomon's Quarry, an underground limestone quarry that goes underneath the Old City itself. It is amazing to see what was removed to build and rebuild the great Temple of Jerusalem.

By dinnertime all the members of our group had assembled and we enjoyed a delicious dinner together at the Lutheran Guesthouse, our unique accommodations inside the ancient walls of Jerusalem. After dinner we had a chance to begin exploring the ancient city of Jerusalem together with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which marks the site of Jesus' death and resurrection, and the Western Wall of Herod's great Temple Mount. We are hoping for a good night's sleep as our body clocks adjust to as much as a ten-hour time difference. We will need all our energy for tomorrow as we begin exploring the world into which Jesus was born. Thanks for your prayers. Please post comments and check back daily!