11005-bethlehem-funToday is our last workday.  Our projects are complete.  We are cleaning and putting a few last finishing touches here and there where needed.  This afternoon we are walking back to the Nativity Square to do some evangelism.  There are many tourists who frequent the supposed place of Jesus’ birth but leave there never hearing who Jesus really is.  May the Lord stir hearts for Him today as we sing, hand out Gospel coins and present the plan of salvation.  May we be bold as we tread where not many do.
This past Thursday, we completed a desert trek through the Wadi Qelt.  It is a valley running west to east across the Judean desert in the West bank.  It originates near Jerusalem and terminates at Jericho.  It is home to a variety of animals including hyraxes, of which we saw two precariously chasing each on the cliffs walls scaling both sides of the valley.  The Greek Orthodox Monastery Saint George can also be found in the wadi as well as the oldest Jeweish synagogue in the world.  The hike took us two hours.  Parts of it were steep and difficult, but it was a nomadic experience, walking through the desert like people used to do before the age of technology.  We literally walked all the way to Jericho, where the bus picked us up and took us to the center of the city.  Jericho is the lowest permanently inhabited site on earth. It is also believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.  We spent about 30 minutes there resting and refueling with popsicles, soda and other goodies that teenagers use to charge their bodies.  We also saw a very old sycamore tree…perhaps the very one the Zacchaeus climbed to get a look at Jesus.  From Jericho, we continued on our journey to the Dead Sea.  It was absolutely one of the most spectacular places I have ever been to!  Its surface and shores are 423 metres (1, 388 ft.) BELOW sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth’s surface!!!  It is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, with almost 40% salinity.  It is almost 10% times saltier than the ocean.  For those of you who have ever gotten a mouth full of salt water while playing in the water at the beach, just imagine how the Dead Sea must have tasted for those sensory team mates of ours who just had to experience for themselves just how salty the sea was.  Yuck!!  The salinity makes for a harsh living environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name.  It was comforting to know that nothing was creeping around our ankles besides the luxurious mud that most of us used to give ourselves an inexpensive spa treatment.  Great pictures were captured of team mates covered in mud, looking like Amazon men and woman.  Besides being incredibly salty, the Dead Sea is also incredibly dense, which makes swimming similar to floating.  Great pictures were also captured of people posing in positions only possible to achieve the sea.  My favorite was the Superman pose.  Our last sightseeing spot of the day was Shepherd’s Fields, the fields identified since ancient times with the shepherds who saw the Star of Nativity.  “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”” (Luke 2:8-10)  Every place we have visited on our trip so far has touched our hearts and souls in some way.  Despite being modern Israel and Palestine now, lacking the reverence and wonder that they had in the days of old, both were still fascinating.  Instead of tiny villages with men and women on donkeys, we saw large cities with honking cars and crazy drivers.  Most biblical sites were crowded and busy with eager pilgrims anxious to touch the holy places.   However, we know that we can meet with Jesus in any place around the world.  Now that is special and life-impacting.  I praise the Lord for the precious gift He gave to humanity over 2000 years ago in the form of a babe, perhaps born on the very ground we stand on today.



  1. Thanks for sharing! Israel is truly an amazing place, filled with history, living history right from the bible, It has brought back many many memories, of my tmi trip to hope school in 1986!
    Jodie (mother of Switzerland 11001 TMI Teen)

  2. I wish I could swim in the Dead Sea too. The hikes sound amazing. Parents miss their kids and wish they could be enjoying the sites as well. Thanks for the updates.

  3. Juana Hernandez

    Praise the Lord indeed.

  4. Remember that as you complete the work you do there do not look back with saddness. Rather look forward to the next thing that GOD has for you to do. Turn the page and follow wherever the Lord leads you to go. Focus on Jesus and let his light shine through you. May GOD bless you all and hold you all in his loving arms forever. I love you Larissa.


  5. Brian and Sally Kraus

    If I ever get to Israel, I want Mike and Michelle to be my personal tour guides. BBC saw and experienced far more than we thought would be possible. Heart’s full for a lifetime. Thanks Meyers family, TMI and the Lord’s rich blessing and grace. Safe travels home to families that are anxious to hear more after welcoming hugs!

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