Thursday, July 2, 2009

Zimmerman's Holy Land Experience

What an adventure to eat in the Holy Land! We were privileged to have buffets for breakfast and dinner each day, so we could try a variety of food that we probably would not have ordered from a menu. We usually had lunch in the midst of a travel day, so were able to partake of local food.

Have you had olives for breakfast? There were usually several varieties on our buffets, always with the pit intact, as well as tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, cheeses and large bowls of fresh yogurt. Without labels it was hard to distinguish the plums (which we liked) from the small pickled eggplants (not such a popular choice for breakfast). The scrambled eggs were always a safe bet, as well as the different types of bread for toasting. I loved the cocoa spread (similar to Nutella). The cheese and buns made a good sandwich to take along, in case hunger arrived before lunch.

Our dinner buffets usually featured beef and chicken, as well as an assortment of vegetables and salads. Rice often appeared, potatoes less frequently. One of the chopped salads was especially good so I asked the waiter what it was called. He went to get someone who spoke English, who returned to tell me the name of the salad, "Vegetable Salad". Pita bread was a common item, along with hummus (made from chickpeas). The fruit platters were lavish, with a melon that tasted better than our cantaloupe, but was pure white. We also enjoyed the large fresh dates. A special dinner featured kabobs, individual gyros on a stick, and stuffed grape leaves.

One day our bus stopped in northern Israel, near the border of Lebanon and Syria, and we all jumped out for lunch. One of the options was a "sandwich" of Druze flatbread, grilled to order, with a spread of olive oil and goat cheese, and a sprinkle of zatar thyme. This was then folded (like a burrito) and eaten with a small bowl of marinated olives. We asked the name of it and were told some people call it a Lebanon sandwich. The other frequent lunch offering was the local treat, Falafel, which is a chickpea "meatball", in pita bread with vegetables and sauce.

Some things looked so familiar, like Coca-Cola (although the can was in Hebrew), and Icee drinks from the corner machine. Popsicles were a welcome treat, especially when we found they were apricot flavored! And so we ate our way through the Holy Land, savoring every bite.

Craig and Jane Zimmerman

Friday, June 26, 2009

Home Safe and Sound

We arrived on time and are now all through customs! Now time to go home and sleep! Thank you for your prayers!

Israel 09

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our last post from Israel:(

Well what a day! We have had a free day to explore. The majority of us started the day out by walking the Old City Wall. We enjoyed the view from above.

We then split up and visited many different places. Some went to the Jewish Quarter to explore, others went St. Peter Gallcantu ( sp). All finished their shopping for souviner. Most took snap in the afternoon to rest up for our long day of travel.

We ended the day with a wonderful dinner out in the courtyard of our hotel. We then spent some time talking about our trip. We then took a night walk around the city.

We are now sitting waiting to load on the bus to head to the airport. Please keep us in your prayers for safe travel. We will see you tomorrow afternoon.

Bye from Israel!

Wednesday seeing the city

We started the day with having a Communion worship service at the Garden Tomb. It was a beautiful place. It was a nice place to visualize where Jesus was crucified and buried. 99% sure this is not the actual place, they think it should have been where the Church of the Holy Sepluchre.

We then went to the Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem. We only spent about 2 hours there, and boy we could have spent more time there.

We then went to the Israel Museum. Here we saw the Model City and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Model City is a huge model of Jerusalem from Jesus' time. The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, The Shrine of the Book, showed artifacts fromthe sight where the scrolls were found. The exhibit had apart of the actual scroll of Isaiah.

It was hot yesterday. It is supposed to be the same today. Today is our last day here, please pray for safety as today is a free day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday and Tuesday touring the Old City of Jerusalem

Sorry for no updates the past two days. We have been busy touring the Old City.

Monday we started the day out at the Temple Mount. We saw the Dome of the Rock. Not the inside, due to the fact it has been closed to the public for the last several years. We had to be off of the Temple Mount area by 11:00, for the Muslims to be able to pray. We then exited the area toward the Lions gate. We saw St. Anne's Church which was built during the Crusades. It was built on top of the Pools of Bethesda, which are mentioned in 2 Kings. We then followed The Via Dolorosa, which are the stations of the cross, down to The Church of the Holy Sepluchre. Here is where Jesus was hung on the cross, buried and resurrected. We ended our day then and were given the chance to rest or visit the street shops of the Old City. Some of us have become real barterers.

On Tuesday we started the day out earlier than normal to see the tunnel under the Western Wall. Here we were able to see the wall's foundations. We then headed through the streets by foot to the Burnt House. The Burnt House is remnants of the Kathros family home which was burned in 70 AD. We then went to our guide's home church, Syrian Orthodox Church. The afternoon was spent by some resting and most others taking a bus tour with ICAHD, more will be explained later about this. Last night we had a guest speaker of an Israeli Jew.

There are several of us that aren't feeling well again, but we know that the trip is coming to a close fast, so we are trying to see as much as possible. Please continue to pray for safety and health.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dead Sea

Wow, what an experiece! It is true what they say... Those like me who cannot float on their back can float here. I felt like I was a human life~jacket. It is actually difficult to lower your legs into the water. When you lean back, they rise to the surface. Then it dawned on me ... What a great place to be a lifeguard. If someone is drowning, you just blow your whistle and say "Hey you, sit up!!"

Phil Kingsbury


Masada is a flat-topped mountain on the western shore of the Dead Sea, on which Herod the Great restored a massive fortress adding 2 palaces with a Roman bath, well stocked storerooms and deep cisterns for collecting drinking water. As impressive as this is, Masada is best known to Jesus as the place of ultimate courage and sacrifice. It was here in 74ad that about 1000 Jewish rebels made a last stand against a Roman legion who had laid seige to the mountain for months. When it became clear that the Romans would overtake the fortress, Eleazar Beu-Yair, the leader of the Jews inspired his followers to choose to die in freedom rather than to live as slaves to the Romans. Ten men were chosen by lot to kill all the others and then themselves, which they did. The next morning when the Romans breached the wall they found no one to meet them. All was silent. They found all bodies of the Jews in Herod's palace.

The Jewish historian Josephus wrote: "Here, encounterning the mass of slain, instead of exalting as over enemies, they admired the nobility of their resolve and the contempt of death displayed by so many in carrying it, unwavering into execution."

Today Masada is a common site of Bar Mitzvah ceremonies and the commissioning of Isreali military units. Masada is aplace of rememberance, sacrafice, freedom, and national identity.

Pastor Jeff