Holy Moly, It's the Holy Land! (Feb. 29 - March 2, 2024)

Well, it was bound to happen. I got Sandi’s cold. I could feel it coming on as we were getting ready to board our plane to Israel. But thankfully from Rome it is only a 3 hour flight. Once we landed we got through immigration and customs and rented a super tiny car. The Kia Picanto, with so little horse power, even the horses thought we were crazy for renting it. Its ready to rip and roar with the Smartstream G 1.0 L engine that gets 0-60 in 5 minutes! But, it did come in handy in a few really tight spots in Tel Aviv and on our trip. We got to our hotel in Tel Aviv and had an awesome Mediterranean fish dinner and then went to the pharmacy to get more cold meds. Our plan was to get up early and head to the volunteer center, but by now both of us were hacking up a storm and thought it best if we tried to just stay in as much as possible and rest.

The next day we loaded up the Picanto and headed to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. On the way we stopped by Caesarea to see a 2000 year old Roman aqueduct and pickup sea shells on the beach, then back to the road. Ah, the roads… the driver’s in Israel are INSANE! Everyone goes over the speed limit and there is much zig zagging over lines and around other cars. After white knuckling it for an hour and a half we were almost to our destination when… the GPS went crazy and said we were in Beirut! We were immediately lost, trying to go from street to street with crazy drivers honking at us because we were too slow for them. Tiberias is a very compact town on a giant hill. Everything is curved and moves up and down. Every parking spot is taken and there are few places to even pull over. I noticed that many people just drive their cars up on sidewalks, I followed suit and got the car to stop so I could check my map. After much debate we were able to write down the names of the streets and look at maps I had screenshots of to finally find our place.

Now this was Shabbat in Israel and that means that everything shuts down at Sunset on Friday. We had made plans to meet up with another couple nearby to have Shabbat Dinner with them. They are Carolyn and Richard Hyde who have a ministry of music and “Aliyah”. Aliyah is the Hebrew word that describes Jews coming back to their homeland. As a Christian she helps Christian and Non-Christian Jews make the transition back to Israel. They can also use this as a witness to others and share the gospel in a tangible way. Carolyn has been a worship leader and songwriter for years, starting in the states until she moved to Israel 20 years ago. She grew up as an orthodox Jew but came to Jesus in her 20s. Check out her YouTube Channel here! 

We had a great dinner with her, her husband Richard and their daughter Deborah. They invited us attend worship with them at their congregation “Kehilat HaCarmel” or Mount Carmel Church. Yes, THE Mount Carmel as in the one in the Bible where Elijah had his confrontation with the false prophets of Baal. The people were so happy to see us and that people from the west are here despite all the turmoil going on right now. We sang modern worship songs and Messianic songs in Hebrew. The screens had Hebrew, English, and Russian lyrics simultaneously. During the songs a special dance team with children paraded up and down the stage and people in the congregation played shofars and tambourines. What a great celebration of these people that have come full circle from Judaism to full faith in the true Messiah Jesus. No wonder they had so much passion in worship! The pastor’s message was from Joel 13:14. Which reads…

“Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”

He showed a 200 year old winnowing fork that he bought in Jerusalem and explained that the time has come to make a decision: Will you stand with Israel? I have no doubt that God is not done with His people. A great remnant is returning to the Lord and I’m a first hand witness to that here. 

After the service we traveled up to the traditional place where Elijah had that great battle with the fake Baal prophets. From that point, not more than 20 feet is an overlook where you can see the Jezreel Valley. This is the Valley that is also called “Megiddo”. I remember when Pastor Mike talked about this in one of his recent sermons. This is where all the armies of the world will gather to fight God’s army. Then Jesus will return and wipe them out! Looking out on this valley I could see how vast and wide this place truly is! It could easily fit millions of soldiers and weapons. That’s when it hit me that this place is where it all begins and ends. Israel is still in God’s plans and his people are still in his heart.

After taking more cold medics we turned in early and took it easy to try to beat this cold while praying that the Lord speaks to us and helps us to make more connections with people while we are here.


Sandi's Two Cents: 

Steve and I rented a car to drive from Tel Aviv up to the city of Tiberius in the region called Galilee. (I’m just going to level with you – we were crazy to get onto these roads! The drivers are very intense and aggressive. I will probably never complain about Colorado drivers ever again!) As we drove along the highway, we saw blue and white Israeli flags EVERYWHERE! Sometimes the sides of buildings were draped in them. It was a beautiful display of national solidarity and patriotism. We kept noticing a particular phrase along with the flag: ”Am Yisrael Chai”. Because it was written in Hebrew, I pulled out my Google translate app and took a photo of it. In English it means “the people of Israel LIVE”.  Unfortunately, many wicked people and nations want to see the demise and destruction of Israel. But we know why that awful plan will FAIL. In Genesis 12:2-3 God promised Abraham, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Then in Genesis 15:5 the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” So not only are the people of Israel ALIVE, but they are also blessed! 

Here's our recap video of our journey up to Galilee! Just click the “Play” button! 


Israeli flag saying, ”Am Yisrael Chai”

2000 year old Roman aqueduct


Walking though time


Sea of Galilee behind us!


Sandi with Carolyn Hyde


200 year old winnowing fork!


Place where Elijah has his showdown!


Megiddo the place of the Armageddon

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