Frequently Asked Questions about the Footsteps of Jesus Experience
Q: How is this trip different from a typical Holy Land Tour?
A: The Footsteps of Jesus Experience is not a tour, it is a spiritual pilgrimage. The goal of this trip is to experience Jesus more deeply in the historical places he carried out his ministry. We pursue that goal during the trip through intentional spiritual practices such as prayer, worship, Scripture reading, and small group reflection. Following the chronology of the Gospels as closely as possible, we focus on the archaeologically credible sites related to Jesus' ministry and seek to understand the history and culture of his time. We keep the group relatively small, stay in historic Christian guesthouses in significant locations and get off the beaten track by visiting many places on foot as Jesus and the disciples did.
Q: Why is there an 8-week course to prepare for the Footsteps Experience?
A: Most visitors to the Holy Land are so overwhelmed with new sights and information that they can't absorb even a fraction of it and as a result miss much of the significance of the places they are visiting. The Footsteps of Jesus Experience is designed to help you maximize the spiritual impact of the places you will be traveling. The Footsteps Preparation Course is designed to help you process the information and images related to the places we will be visiting, so that while you are there you can focus on the significance of that information for you. There is also a comprehensive Companion Guide which you will take on the trip and includes hundreds of site plans and reconstruction drawings to help you visualize the sites as they were 2000 years ago.
Q: Who will be leading the trip?
A: Bob Rognlien will be leading the trip along with his wife Pam and some leaders in training. Bob is an ordained pastor who has been leading this unique pilgrimage regularly over the last twenty years. Bob and Pam lived in Jerusalem while Bob did post-graduate studies in New Testament archaeology and sociology at the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique and Hebrew University. Some trips as noted will be led by Dr. Kevin Murphy, pastor and teacher who has been traveling to the Holy Land for nearly twenty years. Bob has personally trained Kevin to lead the Footsteps of Jesus Experience. Mike Breen has developed special Covenant and Kingdom teachings to go with each day of the trip.
Q: What are the accommodations like?
A: In Jerusalem we stay inside the walls of the Old City of in a beautifully restored guesthouse run by the German Lutherans. In Galilee we stay at a guesthouse located at a private beach on the Sea of Galilee where we eat our meals overlooking the lake and take daily swims. The rooms are clean but simple. Phone and internet access are available. We eat breakfasts and dinners at the guesthouses and our lunches are either picnics or eaten in local restaurants.
Q: What is our means of transportation?
A: Outside of Jerusalem we travel in vans so we can get off the beaten track and gain access to unique historical sites. Occasionally we take short hikes into isolated areas. In and around Jerusalem we travel primarily on foot. Because people come from all over the world to join the Footsteps of Jesus Experience, you are responsible to arrange your own flights to Tel Aviv, where the trip begins.
Q: What level of physical fitness is required for the trip?
A: You don't have to be a marathon runner, but you do need to be physically fit to participate. Every day we will be walking an average of 5 miles up and down hills and stairs in warm to hot conditions. You should be walking 3-4 miles up and down hills three times a week for at least the month before we depart, preferably carrying a loaded knapsack. You will need comfortable walking shoes with good tread and adequate ankle support.
Q: What will I need to bring on the trip?
A: You will bring a soft-sided suitcase and a knapsack or shoulder bag. You will pack lightweight, layered clothing, sturdy walking shoes, comfortable sandals, a hat, a swimsuit, and a towel. The weather is usually warm during May, but the evenings in Jerusalem can get chilly. No formal or dressy attire needed. You will need things like a camera, sunscreen, a flashlight, water bottles, a Bible, and something to write with. You will be provided a Companion Guide for the trip which includes a trip journal. Normally your luggage will stay in your room, except for the three days we are traveling between Jerusalem, Nazareth and Galilee. You will take your knapsack or shoulder bag with you each day to carry your water, Bible, Companion Guide, and other essentials.
Q: What is included in the trip price?
A: Everything you need is included in the price of the trip except for your airfare and transfers to and from Jerusalem. All meals are provided, but the cost of any drinks besides water is extra. Also, you will need to bring money if you plan to buy bottled water, snacks, gifts, and souvenirs or give tips. Single accomodation is extra.
Q: What are the guidelines for clothing at the various religious sites we will be visiting?
A: Each religious community is a little different. Christian holy sites require men and women to have their legs covered below the knee and their shoulders covered. No shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless shirts/tank tops. Muslim holy sites require women to cover their heads (scarf), in addition to legs and shoulders. Jewish holy sites require men to wear a hat or beanie (yarmulke). Most days men will want to wear pants and women will want to wear pants or longish skirts. Women will want to keep their shoulders covered and have a scarf handy. Pam likes to bring a large scarf to wear over her shoulders when she is wearing a sleeveless shirt. Only occasionally will there be a day where it will work to wear shorts. Zip-off pants that convert to shorts are handy.
Q: Is it safe to travel in these parts of the world?
A: Obviously all travel includes certain risks and the Middle East is experiencing more than its fair share of violence, but the areas where we travel are quite safe and stable. We monitor the situation closely and receive regular updates from the US State Department advising us if there is anything to be concerned about. In more than 25 years of leading trips in Israel and Palestine we have never had a problem and have brought our own children with us regularly. If anything were to happen we would adjust the trip accordingly. We do recommend all participants take out affordable travel insurance to cover any uncertainties.
Q: How do I sign up to go on the Footsteps of Jesus Experience?
A: Click on the Register page of this website and follow the instructions there. Space is limited so don't delay! If you have any other questions please feel free to email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.