I BELIEVE yet I’ve never BEEN. I’ve never walked where Jesus walked and I’ve never seen the land that Jesus saw.
That’s gotta change.
Have you been? Don’t we have to go at least once? If you’ve been once…why not twice? If you’re like me you’re a Christian and have been for decades. Yet I’ve never set foot on the same soil that Jesus walked on when he was here on earth. I don’t know about you but that is an itch I have to scratch. Have to. Call it the pilgrimage of a lifetime – because that is exactly what it is.
Turns out there’s a F3 brother in Hickory, Walk-On (David Wachter), who leads trips to Israel on a regular basis. He’s nearly completed his seminary education and has a thing for taking groups to Israel. A former college quarterback, Walk-On is on his self-described “third vocation” after spending much of his twenties, thirties and forties as an engineer and then financial planner. He’s long had a call to seminary and is fulfilling that call now at 46 while maintaining his financial planning business.
Like a lot of people who do this regularly he’s “got a guy” on the ground in Israel, his name is Boaz (naturally), to help coordinate that side of the pond and then grab him and his groups when they get off the plane in Tel Aviv. So what had happen wuz…I was talking with my father, Abraham (this is all a bit too cliché perhaps?) and mentioned not for the first time that I really want to go to Israel and he put me in touch with Walk-On. This was all pre-ordained (yep, I’m a Presbyterian) because Walk-On is leaving in May to take a group and wants to do another trip in May 2018. His trip this May is a run of the mill, on the path, touristy trip but Walk-On really loves the other kind of trip. The other kind of trip is a bit, shall we say, harder. Walk-On likes leading an “intense trip” for 30 people OFF the beaten path. We will still stay in hotels every night so, no, this is not a camping trip or a no shower mission trip but what this sounds like to me is a PERFECT F3 trip. Don’t just go look at the mountain, climb it. Don’t just go look at the desert, hike across it just like Jesus and his disciples did. The trip will of course include all of the Israel “must sees” like Masada, Qumran, Jericho, Galilee and the Golan Heights, Tel Dan, Jerusalem, Mt. Arbel, Mt. Tabor, Mt. Carmel, Garden of Gethsemane and the Garden Tomb but with a different, off the beaten path, approach. Check out a sample itinerary here: http://www.insightsintravel.com/utica-israel-trip-2017.html and a video promoting that trip here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0zk-6kOSpU.
So, how does all of this work? Walk-On’s wife, Noelle, has a travel agency in Hickory (http://www.insightsintravel.com/) and she does all of the nitty-gritty planning and coordinating work with flights, hotels, meals, etc. We will fly out of Charlotte together (centrally located for most of F3, “New Jerusalem” as Dredd calls it for some reason). The ideal trip size is 20-30. Walk-On likes to travel Israel with a group about the size of Jesus’ group (naturally right?). If we have more than 30 that are ready to HC then we’ll coordinate a second trip.
Who: F3 men and their wives (from anywhere, this is not region-specific, put the F on your chest and come on). My approach is that I really want to walk where Jesus walked and see what Jesus saw and I want all of that for my wife also. We are capping the trip at the first 30 total people to HC and then will form a waiting list in the event something comes up (30 total people, not 30 couples). If we have enough for two trips then we’ll plan a second one around the same time. We can take singles as well but if there is not another single to bunk up with then there is a “single supplement” to be paid on top of the trip price (more on that below).
When: The dates are not 100% set in stone but we’re looking at May 18-30, 2018. If we have a heavy contingent of people that need the trip to be later in the school year we can shift into early/mid-June if that makes sense. Plenty of time to commit to this, set your calendar, get family/sitter set up for the children, plan and save money…about that…
Cost: Israel is not cheap but that’s mainly because of flights. For some reason flying to Israel is a good bit more expensive than flying to other locations of similar distance (someone reading this may know why that is but I don’t). The price is all-inclusive and includes mandatory travel insurance (seriously, everything is included except any gifts you buy and any incidental beverages you put in your mouth) and will likely come to ~$4,200 per person. Steep yes but not much more than “canned trips” and a WHOLE lot more bang for the buck. Plus the price tag is broken up into payments with an initial deposit, second payment and then a final payment (like this http://www.insightsintravel.com/pricing-and-terms4.htm). If you’re going to do this once in your life then the price is the price. I don’t say that about many things but I do about this.
How do you HC? Send me an email (email@example.com) and I am going to keep a list. You can HC below of course but make sure to send me an email as well so that my list stays solid. If you can’t HC just yet but you are pretty interested then email me and I will put you on a “maybe” list and ask you before I give away your spot. Our first payment, likely a $400 per person down payment, will be due in September or October, so you have time but first come first serve on reserving your spots on the list.
So, who wants to go to Israel and take your wife and have a trip of a lifetime? I do and in May 2018 I’m gonna do it. Come with me. We’ll do burpees in the Holy Land. Email me now to reserve your spot: firstname.lastname@example.org.