June 3rd, Friday: (flying)
We will meet at the Gate in Miami airport around 8:30 pm and fly, fly, fly.
June 4th, Saturday: (arrival, Tel Aviv)
Arrive in Tel Aviv around 6 pm. Gather luggage, exchange some money, and pick up our rental car and drive a little way north and stay at Azimut Hotel Medi Terre in a little beach town, Netanya. We can stretch our legs on a little walk and watch the sun set into the Mediterranean Sea if the timing is early enough. Dinner will likely be some salads or sandwiches we grab from the airport.
June 5th, Sunday: (Israel's Coastal West to the Negev Wilderness)
Today is Shavuot, Pentecost Sunday. After a nice, restorative sleep-in, we start with a delicious breakfast and rich Israeli coffee at our hotel and pack up and check out by 9:30 to head to explore the massive Ancient Port of Caesarea. Then head over to the Roman Aqueduct to put our feet in the Med. Then we hit the road south into the desert wilderness. We can stop at Valley of Elah, site of the David and Goliath showdown. In the mountains coming down from Arad, we will also stop at a roadside overlook of the region. Then we will check into our hotel, David Dead Sea resort for one night. Take time to walk down to the Dead Sea for a float before a nice buffet dinner when you can sample many different tastes of Israel.
June 6th, Monday (Desert Day)
Late leisurely morning and breakfast. (If you missed the Dead Sea float the night before, take a morning dip.) We will check out by 9:15 and drive to Masada (video) for a morning of ancient exploration. Then we move on to hike Ein Gedi and enjoy the waterfalls and little pools. Then on to Qumron (link is video), the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We continue north, past Jericho. We will close the day with a nice fish dinner at the Kibbutz, Ein Gev and watch the sunset over the Sea of Galilee. We continue around the lake to the north shore near Ginnosar and check into our hostel on the lake: Karei Deshe (video I shot a couple years ago). Evening is free time on your own to explore the property or take a swim in the Galilee.
June 7th Tuesday Jesus' path near the Sea of Galilee
Wake up and enjoy a quiet morning at our space on the sea. By 10 AM we depart. Order of site stops will depend on what time our boat ride experience is: Jesus Boat Museum and 50-minute boat ride on the Galilee, St. Peter's Primacy spot, Capernaum, Magdela for exploration and contemplation, (optional) Jordan River Baptism by 4:00 pm. Out to the Big Ben Restaurant in Tiberias and time on the boardwalk in the evening. Then drive back around to Karei Deshe.
June 8th Wednesday south Galilee
Breakfast at 7:30. Mount of Beatitudes, Gamla National Park, then down to Bet She'an, an ancient Roman Bath city, to climb among the ruins where Saul's and Jonathan's bodies were hung on the walls. We will grab some lunch in town and then have some afternoon downtime we can spend time wading and wandering at the beautiful Gan HaSlosha (three gardens/pools). Drive back around the lake to our hostel to clean up back at Karei Deshi and have a rest, time on your own at the lake, then drive back into Tiberias for late dinner (7-ish) maybe at Decks Restaurant on a deck over the water and then wander the boardwalk in Tiberias. If we don't feel like driving that far, we can stop at Magdela and eat and drop into the grocery store for snacks and exploring fun.
June 9th Thursday: (Golan Heights)
Enjoy another later morning and breakfast and load up by 9:30 or 10, before we check out of Karei Deshe for a big driving day. We'll drive even north in the Golan heights to the border with Syria at Mount Hermon and Mount Bental. (If war appears dangerous, we will reschedule this time, plenty of options: Tel Dan, "Nimrod's Castle" etc.). Time of intercession on the border, and coffee or lunch depending on time. View volcanoes, Caesarea Philippi, and enjoy a waterfall stair-hike at Banias with a lunch/snack stop to try some local Druze cuisine. We will stay in the general area at Z'fat's Artist's Colony. We will explore the city and find some dinner out on the town.
June 10th Friday: (Central Israel, Megiddo + Enter Jerusalem)
Today will be another early day. After breakfast we will drive west to Armageddon (the Tel Meggido National Park). Continue to the Carmelite Monastery at site of Elijah's Mount Carmel showdown with the prophets of Ba'al. A falafel lunch will be offered at a local mom and pop place in Carmel. Then we drive into Jerusalem for our first view of the holy city. We will check into our apartment, a home away from home for the next week, then go for a walk to find a restaurant open on Shabbat for dinner and explore a little on our walk home. (Get reservations at Foccacia or First Station). Depending on time, we could stop on the way into Jerusalem at Abu Gosh for a traditional Arabic dinner with the best award-winning pita!
June 11th, Saturday Christian sites in Jerusalem on Shabbat
Enjoy a late morning and start with a drive over to the Garden Tomb for a tour at 10:45, and contemplation time. Drive to the top of Mount of Olives for a beautiful and iconic view of the city. Walk down the path past (or stop if time) the Tombs of the Prophets to the Garden of Gethsemane and spend some contemplative time in the Church of All Nations. We'll have a walk around and dinner in the Armenian Quarter, perhaps joined by the Jansezians (friends of mine).
June 12th, Sunday (The New City of Jerusalem Day)
After a leisurely breakfast at home, by 9 AM we will take the Light Rail or drive over to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial for 3 hrs. We can grab a light lunch of coffee in the cafe if you want. Our afternoon will offer us a drive-by of Bethlehem, the US Embassy, and a contemplative stroll at Panorama Park near the U.N. and overlooking Jerusalem. Afternoon/evening options: We can have an hour or two at IHOP's Succat Hallel for corporate worship and private intercession. Or quiet time to review your trip so far. If you'd like to visit a local church, in English, King of Kings Assembly begins at 5PM tonight. Need to arrive before 4:30. Then go out for dinner either at First Station if we are by Succat Hallel or on Jaffa Street if we go to King of Kings. Then head back to our apartment.
June 13th, Monday, Jerusalem of Gold Day
Start on top of the city today on the Ramparts walk. We will come down at Zion Gate to visit the Upper Room, David's Tomb, and Caiaphas's House and the cistern where Jesus was held. We will sit down for High Tea--or a Middle Eastern version of it--at the beautiful King David Hotel. (This meal is paid in place of dinner tonight.) Evening shopping at Ben Yahuda Street if you want to.
June 14th Tuesday, Jerusalem Underground Day
Our last full day of touring we go underground. We will enter the Old City of Jerusalem via Jaffa Gate make our way through the Old city past the Cardo before enjoying some quiet contemplation and prayer at the Western Wall. Then at noon we have tickets to delve into the Rabbinical Tunnels. From there we walk over to Saint Anne's Church and the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda and then walk the Via Dolorosa to find a late lunch in Arab Quarter. Then we trek back across the Old City and out to the City of David (change into water shoes and appropriate clothes for a sloshy walk) to go through Hezekiah's tunnel. In the later afternoon we will go to the Temple Institute to see the Third Temple implements. Tonight, will be our finale dinner out in the Old city or Mamilla area. Then a walk back to our apartment.
June 15th, Wednesday: (+1 day) Jerusalem on your own
The tour and food portion is officially over as of last night, but we are keeping the apartment for some free time on your own over the next few days. I can help you with pricing out these options while we are in the city. Most places you tell taxi driver where you want to go, or walk.
Ammunition Hill 6-Day War Memorial and Museum. Zion Gate, the Upper Room, David's Tomb, & Caiaphas's House Western Wall for Prayer & The Cardo--modern shopping at the city-level of Jesus' day in Old City. Wander the Old City Shuk and see the Alabama Store (Roll Tide!) More intercession time at the International House of Prayer
Taxi over to Israel Museum to view the Dead Sea Scrolls and a replica of the Old City of Jerusalem in miniature
You can buy extra groceries for breakfasts or venture out to a café. You can revisit a restaurant you loved, or try new places. We can go out together if you want, we'll just go dutch.
June 16th, Thursday (+2 day) Jerusalem on your own
see above ideas
June 17th: Friday (+3 day) flying to Greece on your own
We will order you a taxi for your early, early morning flight. I will take care of cleaning and check out of the apartment (around noon), Plan to leave at least 4-5 hours before your flight for an hour's drive and airport drop off. Security and check in at Ben Gurion.
$1000 down due with application
$1500 due Nov 21, 2021
Balance due April 15, 2022 (~50 days prior to travel).
This trip includes accommo-dation at a range of hotels, hostels, and an Air BnB-apartment experience in Israel, 11 breakfasts (including groceries for 3 Jerusalem make-your-own mornings) and 8 dinners, 1 light sandwich/ salad dinner, 1 tea time, 1 boxed lunch, entrance fees to the sites we will visit, group transportation via car, (except in Jerusalem where we walk), two books (1 for studying ahead and a Spiritual Journal for on-site use), and fun formative experiences with the Lord on location.
Not included, but recommended: Flight, tips, snacks, lunches, water, trip insurance (medical and travel interruption) or souvenirs.
Stuff you should know before you go
We will be spending 13 nights (with 10.5 days of touring) in the Land of Israel. There is lots of walking involved in this kind of learning and experiencing tour. We suggest that you start training your body as you train your heart for this trip so you will be able to fully participate in it with your teammates. This trip is personalized and limited to 2-6 people. Our micro-team size allows great access and perhaps some spontaneity as we go. There is an aspect of spiritual development, prayer activations, spiritual formation exercises, and "Friendship with Jesus" strengthening and deepening that accompany each Ruth Israel Initiative Journey of Understanding Trip at nearly every location stop in the Land, and the Lord usually shakes some things up in our hearts in a beautiful way. If you are not accustomed to journaling or "listening prayer" Seth Barnes book Listening Prayer is another book you'll want to pick up to prepare your heart and skills for listening for God's voice as you interact together in the Holy Land. It is great to hone listening skills in a daily devotional.
In addition, the volume of information available to you while you are in Israel won't sink in unless you have a proper grid of understanding already formed with which to process all that we will experience, so Diane Wither's book Unbroken Cord is a pre-requisite read and will really fill out your foundation so that you can get the most out of your time in Israel. See the Resources Page for even further study.
We will offer several team meetings scattered throughout our time together to build friendship as we share what God is doing in our hearts, but you will also have some evenings free to rest or explore on your own.
Ready to go? Apply via Google forms, download an application from the top of this page, or request an application via email. We also invite your questions!