Monday, February 10, 2020

Everyone got a good nights sleep last night with some free time yesterday afternoon so they’re fresh and ready to go today. We start the day with Mass at Mount Nebo (homily here) which is a brand new church built over the ruins of ancient churches. It’s run by the Franciscans and it marks the place where Moses looked out over the promised land and died. From there we looked out over the Jordan Valley into the Promised Land of Israel (Steve Ray’s talk here).

From there we visited the mosaic making shop and then saw the famous mosaic map in Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church and had a marvelous lunch of “ Upside Down“ at Elias‘s family‘s restaurant. About an hour into our drive to Petra we stopped at the fortress of Machaerus where King Herod held John the Baptist prisoner and had him beheaded. I gave my talk there about John the Baptist (talk here).

Then on the last leg of the journey to Petra  prayed the Rosary and stopped at a nice rest area along the way. It began to snow along the way and people on the bus were amazed that it would snow in the desert, but it does! Checked into Petra had a great dinner and we’re ready for the “bucket list” day tomorrow ?


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Dear Steve and Janet,

Teresa and Brian and Tom and I would like to thank you for creating a Holy Land pilgrimage of a lifetime. Our hearts are still ablaze from our experiences.

On Mount Tabor, we heard Peter speak to us, “Lord it is good that we are here.” This became our prayer upon rising for each of the nine days. Like Peter, we wanted to commemorate our experiences. We each began a journal writing down all the stories you shared with us at the holy sites.

Upon arriving home, we created a photo book chronicling our days. But photos were not enough, we wanted to include the stories about each site that would be remembered by our families, generation after generation, just like Amer’s family tradition of visiting the holy sites and telling and retelling the stories. Using our journal notes of your daily talks, your website, handbooks and CDs, and other websites, our photo journal turned into a mini catechism.

We wanted to share our photo journal with you, Amer, and Fr. Seiker as well as our tour group. Here is the link to the Dropbox: May I ask you to forward this email to Amer as we do not have his email.

Once the photo book was complete, the fire within us was not quenched. We felt compelled to share our experiences with others outside our immediate families. We hosted a party to share our Holy Land experiences with people who may never visit Israel or inspire others to make such a pilgrimage. As you see from the attached photos, we taped pages from our photo book on the walls and served foods reminiscent of what we ate during our trip. It was an incredible evening of evangelization.

Our guests were ignited and some shed tears as the viewed the overwhelming beauty of Israel and our Catholic faith. The take-home message from our guests was that this evening should be repeated in different venues. We are praying about the next steps as we are still inflamed by the fire of Christ.

We are forever grateful to you both for enkindling within us a fervor to share the Good News with others. We are already planning our next pilgrimage with you in 2021 to Fatima and Lourdes!

Amore Christi, Nina & Tom, Teresa & Brian

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