My husband, Paul, and I recently returned from a trip to Jordan, Israel, Palestine, and Egypt. There were 21 of us related somehow to St. Luke’s Lutheran in Park Ridge, Illinois, traveling “On Holy Ground” together. We had the time and the leadership to (1) encounter people and groups representing many perspectives/views/sides of the issues; (2) visit important Lutheran places and people at Augusta Victoria Hospital and Resurrection Lutheran in Jerusalem, St. Andrews in Cairo, and Christmas Lutheran in Bethlehem and others; (3) experience the holy places and churches; and (4) do some fun, touristy stuff like visit Petra and take a bob in the dead sea.
Our group had regular meetings to prepare for the trip and we’ve had our first meeting to debrief and prepare for post trip. We talked about how we answer the question, “How was your trip?” We came up with words like engaging…enraging…enlightening…and others less alliterative. We admitted that we couldn’t yet really answer “How was the trip?” for ourselves, much less for others. Most of us just answer “It was great!” and promise ourselves to work on a better answer for the next time.
I invite you to visit our photo journal at http://imageevent.com/edisonswift/onholyground — e-mail me for the password. And, if you or your congregation is planning a trip to the Holy Land, I heartily encourage you embrace a “Peace Not Walls” itinerary and to visit Lutheran “holy ground” places like those I mention above. I happen to know that, as I type, someone is attending New Global Mission Personnel Training who will be charged with helping travelers to the Holy Land accomplish these very things. Until we have direct contact information, please call 800/638-3522, ext. 2654 or 2117.
By the way, our trip was great, blessings on top of blessings. Sue-s