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From the Heartland to the Holy Land tour to Israel!

Many people dream of visiting the Holy Land. Did you know it’s easier than you think?

In recent years tourism to Israel has grown exponentially with over four million now visiting this tiny nation annually. An amazing statistic in a country of less than nine million!

promised land israel tour

Here, Anita and Emma hold a Star of David, sewn and framed by Anita’s mom while Anita visited Israel for the first time in the 1980s. Pictured left to right, Dwight, Anita, Emma and Hannah Widaman.

Readers of Metro Voice will have an opportunity to visit the Holy Land of Israel with Metro Voice publishers Dwight and Anita Widaman. The Heartland to Holy Land Tour, scheduled for March 13 through 23, includes both Old and New Testament sites, breathtaking scenery, wonderful food and lodgings, insightful Bible teaching and great fellowship. You’ll be joining new friends from Friendship Christian Church in Centralia, Missouri who asked us to organize the tour.

As a rabbi described it, Israel “is the earthly crossroads of all that has unfolded, determining the affairs of peoples and nations since time began.”

When you visit Israel you see and touch, smell and hear, and feel it as part of your soul. The Bible, once only read in black and white, now becomes full color with all its vibrant hues painting a truer picture of God’s Word than you have ever dreamed.

Over the last 35 years, between the two of us, Anita and I have traveled there 18 times. Each time is new and refreshing. Each time provides exciting insights into the land, her people and current events but especially the Bible and our faith.

No one ever leaves Israel unfulfilled or disappointed. You return home having shed the fog of misperceptions, false media narratives and indifference. When you return home, you are different–

Israel is now forever in your heart and always on your mind.

We want you to experience this with us. Come along! Let’s get started!

 

Day 1: Day 1: From the Heartland to the Holy Land: Old and New Friends Journey Together

Depart Kansas City (or your airport if outside the midwest) for Israel on a direct flight. The overnight flight is 10 hours and 20 minutes. You are served dinner and breakfast.

Day 2: Shalom and welcome. Anticipation and visions!

eurovision singing

Tel Aviv.

After landing at Ben-Gurion International in Tel Aviv at 9:20 a.m., Anita and I will guide you through the airport to be met by Aaron Lipkin, owner of Lipkin Tours. Aaron will welcome us to Israel and introduce you to our tour guide Malkah. As we board the modern, comfortable motor coach, you’ll meet our driver and receive a packet of supplies and personal headsets for use on the tour. And we’re off! You’ll take in the scenery as we travel on Israel’s modern freeways through high-tech suburbs then along the coast of the Mediterranean to Caesarea – an important New Testament city.

We’ll explore the ruins of Herod’s oceanside palace, visit Paul’s prison, a Roman amphitheater and see amazing Roman aqueducts. After lunch we’ll drive up Mount Carmel, where the Prophet Elijah challenged the priests to call on fire from Baal to light a sacrifice. Then it’s on to our Galilean resort hotel to check in and enjoy dinner.

Day 3: Galilee Hills – Jesus’ Childhood

Nazareth Village living history experience is on the site of ancient Nazareth.

Sepphoris (Zippori) was once a bustling Jewish and Roman, then Byzantine city near Nazareth. This is where Joseph and Jesus most likely worked. We’ll see how wealthy Jews and Romans lived including the “Mona Lisa of the Galilee”. Next is Nazareth Village for a biblical inspired lunch and tour of this living history experience that includes a wine press from Jesus’ day. We drive up to Mount Precipice where an angry mob attempted to throw Jesus from a cliff. You’ll see a breathtaking view of the Jezreel Valley plus Mt. Tabor and other Biblical sites. Next is the Valley of Armageddon (Megiddo). It’s the setting for a future battle between the forces of good and evil as human history comes to a close. Dinner and relaxing at the hotel that is located in Magdala – home of Mary of Magdalene.

Day 4: In the Footsteps of Jesus – Miracles and Ministry

First we’ll visit Tabgha where Jesus called the disciples to follow him. Next is the Church of Primacy where Jesus told Peter “upon this rock I will build my church.” A short drive takes us to Mount of Beatitudes – the site of the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6. Another short drive takes us to Capernaum that in Jesus’ time was a flourishing border town that served as the home base for his ministry. Here you’ll see Peter’s house and the synagogue where Jesus preached. Next is Bethsaida – the Galilean fishing village that is the birthplace of Peter, Andrew and Philip. Jesus visited Bethsaida and performed several miracles here. Next is Kursi (Gadara) where Jesus cast demons into swine. Following this we enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. The day ends at the Yardenit baptismal site on the banks of the Jordan River for reflection and an opportunity for baptism. Enjoy dinner at the hotel and a last walk along the shores of the Galilee.

Boat ride and worship on the Sea of Galilee.

Day 5: Along the “Road to Damascus”

We will begin our day with Mt. Hermon in sight on the road to Damascus. Caesarea-Philippi was known for its worship of foreign gods and where Peter made his great confession of faith in Jesus as Son of God. Stepping back into the Old Testament we’ll visit Tel Dan to see Abraham’s Gate and Jeroboam’s Altar plus the ruins of a Canaanite city. We’ll have a picnic lunch at Banias, a source of the Jordan River. Then it’s on to Beit Shean – the magnificent ruins of a major Roman Decapolis City. We’ll also visit the ancient hill upon which King Saul’s head was displayed on a pole and see ruins of an Egyptian temple. We end the day in the eternal city of Jerusalem and check in at the Dan Panorama. Dinner and free evening.

Best She’an is one of Israel’s most prized Roman cities. Today you can explore its many streets and ruins which are sure to impress! The Cardo, or “main street” would have been filled with thousands of people in Jesus’ day.

Day 6: The “Heartland” of Ancient Israel – Samaria

Today we travel biblical Samaria. Our first stop is ancient Shiloh where the Tabernacle stood for 369 years, and what was once the center of Jewish life. You’ll see the actual stones and blocks that formed the outline of the tabernacle and learn how we know this is the actual spot! We’ll visit the Mt. Kabir overlook and see the spectacular view of Shechem, Mt. Gerizim (Mt. of Blessing) and Mt. Ebal (Mt. of Curses). You will be able to identify the sites where many biblical stories took place. Next is Bethel to visit the site of Jacob’s dream of the ladder. Free time in the evening after dinner.

Day 7: Life Springs Anew in the Dead Sea

We begin the day at the Dead Sea where you can float (and never drown) and be revived by the healing mineral water. Arriving back in Jerusalem we’ll visit the

The Dead Sea–lowest place on earth.

famous Machane Yehuda Market to enjoy lunch and explore this bustling place that amazes everyone who experiences it! An interesting stop is Mount Zion and The Last Supper Room directly above the Tomb of David. We stop to see Bethlehem from an overlook. We then drive back to the hotel to refresh and then

Arabs

Machane (Mahane) Yehuda market before Shabbat begins. Photo: Anita Widaman, Metro Voice

take the bus to the Old City welcome in Shabbat with Jerusalem. We’ll visit the Western Wall – one of the last remaining walls of the Temple Mount on which stood the Jewish Temple. Enjoy the festivities and prayers before Shabbat as young Israeli’s sing and dancing in preparation for their day of rest. Back at the hotel will enjoy a special Shabbat dinner and a peaceful evening of rejuvenation and reflection on all the wonderful things we’ve seen.

The Western Wall. Photo: Dwight Widaman.

Day 8: Following the Path of the Passion of the Christ

Mount of Olives

We start our pilgrimage today with a drive to the top of the Mt. of Olives, from which Jesus prayed before His crucifixion and from where he ascended to Heaven at Pentecost. We will travel down the Hosanna Path that Jesus took back to Jerusalem after praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his trial. A unique stop is the Cave of Prophets believed to be the burial site of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Our next stop is the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mt. of Olives. Here you will be overwhelmed by the sheer importance of the moment. We enter into the Old City through the Lion’s Gate and follow the Via Dolorosa continuing to the actual Bethseda (Sheep’s Pool) where Jesus healed the paralyzed man. An important stop is the Western Wall where you can pray and place your own note in the crevices there with the thousands of others. We will continue to the Church of Holy Sepulcher, built by the mother of Constantine and recognized as the site of the crucifixion. We’ll then eat lunch at one of many cafes and eateries in Christian Quarter before visiting the Tower of David Museum and the Kishle – the front entrance of Pontius Pilate’s palace that Jesus entered for his trial. Nearby we’ll see one of the few remaining portions of King Hezekiah’s defensive walls! In the evening, after Shabbat ends, Jerusalem comes back to life and visitors and Israelis head out to eat and fellowship. You can walk a very short distance to Ben Yehuda Street for coffee; live street music, touristy shopping and more.

A visit to the Old City isn’t complete with out checking out the “Shuk”–the ancient market that still mesmerizes visitors today. Anita, Hannah and Emma spent time looking for the perfect dress or lounging pants.

Day 9: Descending and Ascending in Jerusalem

Ruins of the City of David.

We will begin the day at the City of David to see King David’s palace ruins. Then to the Southern Steps of the Ancient Temple. Here you can climb the actual steps that Jesus used to enter the Temple. Were the moneychangers nearby? We will then visit the Western Wall, which is just around the corner, and explore

israel market

(Pictured Above: The Pilgrimage Road at the City of David. Photograph: Kobi Harati, City of David archive)

the Western Wall Tunnel Tour. We will then stroll through and enjoy the Jewish Quarter of the Old City with its bustling shops, tourist stores and historical sites. Next is the Wohl Museum, also known as the Herodian Quarters. The site includes 6 houses overlooking the Temple Mount. The homes are from the wealthiest residents and the priestly class of Jesus’ day. The geometrically patterned mosaic floors, frescoes, and costly glassware and ceramics provide a glimpse into citizen’s life in the days of Herod and Jesus. We enjoy dinner at the hotel and free time.

Day 10: Links in the Chain of History Bring it Together

Emma gazes up at just a few of the faces of the millions lost in the Holocaust. The museum is perhaps the most somber, and important, place to visit in the Holy land.

The Garden Tomb is still empty.

forgeries

We’ll look at the original Dead Sea Scrolls on display.

We begin the day in the beauty of the Garden Tomb and share the Lord’s Supper together. Another highlight for guests is Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial to learn about Jewish life and culture before World War II and honoring the six million who were murdered in the Holocaust. We will continue to the Israel Museum to see the amazing outdoor scale model of the Second Temple period of Jerusalem to see the original Dead Sea Scrolls and learn how they prove the Bible’s accuracy. Next we drive to the bustling city of Tel Aviv and visit Jaffa where Jonah set sail and where Peter had the vision that the Gospel was for the Gentiles as well as the Jews. It’s an appropriate ending to our journey. We’ll enjoy a farewell dinner (included) as we laugh, eat and celebrate all we experienced. Then it’s a short drive to the airport for our evening departure. Day 11: Shalom and goodbye! Overnight flight arriving in the US early in the morning.

Jaffa, where Jonah set sail. Our last night in the ancient city.

Cost and what’s included

Considering a spiritual and educational journey to this amazing place evokes serious reflection and thought. There are costs to consider, time to commit and soul searching to be done. But this is the Holy Land where God walked in the form of the man – Jesus.

All of these surely work together for the good, for the reward of such travel is a deep stirring of the soul – something that is difficult to measure in mere human terms.

It is possible and we want to help make it a reality for our friends, family and readers of Metro Voice.

The land portion of the 11-day trip is just $2750.

A late-night dinner on the veranda of the King David Hotel, which holds a central position in the history of the modern-day founding of the Jewish nation.

Land price includes:

  • 9 exciting days in Israel
  • All entrance fees to sites including churches, national museums and archaeological digs special events and more!
  • 8 nights (all lodging) in exquisite 4-star hotels
  • Air-conditioned premium travel coach with wi-fi
  • Licensed tour guide
  • Licensed coach driver (licensed through the Israeli government)
  • All breakfasts
  • All dinners (with both Israeli and American food choices and drinks)
  • Last night farewell celebration dinner in Jaffa!

Not Included:

  • Tips for hotel, driver and tour guide (collected before departure)
  • Lunches
  • Flights. We have flights from Kansas City for an amazing $1245 per person. Other departure cities also available.

For solo travelers, there is a $900 charge for a single room or you can choose to share a room if another solo traveler participates. Families up to three can share a room.

To register go to Heartland to Holy Land

For more information call Dwight and Anita at 816-524-4522 or email dwight @ metrovoicenews.com.

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