Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 5
Photos by Trish Thompson and Ucheoma
Sunday Travel Blog
We slept in and ate later today. Great way to start a Sunday. Before today's journey, we gathered in the lobby area and had morning prayer. Our lesson on Galatians prepared us to understand the inclusiveness of the gospel message.
Our first stop was the Dung Gate on the Southern wall. We walked through the teaching area for a quick architectural lecture. The size of the stones helps identify dates of construction. We also saw the mikveh - ritual cleansing pools for bathing before worship. We next entered the gate then visited The Jewish Archeological Park. We saw ruins of the Temple area amidst the backdrop of several bar mitzvah parades. Old vs new juxtaposed!
When we left the park, we continued to the Western Wall, a Remnant of the Temple. Women and men were screened through different entrances and separated for prayers before the wall. Several of our group followed tradition and placed prayers in the wall cracks.
The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering the Old City Bazar. Lots of great souvenirs were found! See pictures of the spice stalls.
An Interview with Dorsey and Carol Blair
Why did you choose this adventure?
Touring the Holy Land was a bucket list for both of these newlyweds, but they wanted to go with a church family. “When Alex announced the trip, we signed up right away,” said Carol. Before coming on the trip, Carol knew several faces in the group, but really began to connect with fellow travelers on Sunday mornings as the group met to learn about the destinations. Additionally, they joined ministry teams serving on recent work days and Sunday mornings to engage more with their church family.
Has the trip met your expectations?
"Most definitely!" And they would encourage others to visit Israel.
What has been memorable for you on this trip?
Dorsey got most out of the Mount of Olives and Kidron Valley, especially The Garden at Gethsemane at the Church of the Nations. This part of our tour gave him the best sense of being where Christ was. "As I walked around the garden, I felt closest to being where Christ walked." Many areas seemed commercialized but this garden with ancient olive trees seemed more authentic. It was as if time really stood still here and we could envision Christ at this time.
Carol emotionally connected with her faith while visiting The Grotto at the Basilica of the Annunciation. In this place, Mary received the message that she would give birth to Jesus, see the picture included. She also witnessed a pilgrim group reciting the rosary in Spanish. Carol shared, "The rhythmic cadence brought up memories and even though I didn’t understand their language I knew the prayers."