Sponsored by Pilgrims of Ibillin,
led by Joan Deming
The May Living Stones trip, with 11 intrepid travelers, began in Bethlehem Tuesday May 16! The three most recent posts to our blog are just below on this page. Click here to check out our full blog for this trip.
For photos and additional record of our trip, please visit Pilgrims of Ibillin’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pilgrimsofibillin/.
Sunday was simply a lovely day, a break from the intensity of the past week, and a chance to renew and refresh. We got to have a leisurely morning before attending worship at Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem where we were warmly welcomed as "frequent visitors."
A quick return to the hotel to change clothes, and we headed to Qumran for lunch and to explore Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, 1900-ish years after they were stashed in clay pots for safekeeping by the Essene Community.
Last act of the afternoon was swimming (well, floating) in the Dead Sea. Everyone who swam loved it, and the ones who didn't took photos.
We closed the day with a stop at Wadi Qelt where we imagined ourselves into the Good Samaritan story (read for us by Alycia) and enjoyed the desert views, gale-force winds notwithstanding. Usama's family joined us for the whole afternoon, and it was great to spend it with them.
It's sad to think of leaving our Bethlehem home tomorrow. We have loved the kindness and hospitality of everyone in our Holy Land Hotel home.
We spent the morning in Hebron, afternoon at Tent of Nations, and early evening with George Sa'adeh and Rami Elhanan of the Bereaved Families Circle. Words fail. Maybe pictures will hint at today's powerful experiences. Check out Pilgrims of Ibillin's Facebook Page for more photos and caption-descriptions of a full, challenging, inspiring day: https://www.facebook.com/pilgrimsofibillin/. While you are there, please "like" our page!
By Samantha Heim, 5.19.2017
Today was my birthday and it was the most amazing and unforgettable one I've had yet.
We began the day by touring the ruins of Herodium, Herod's palace and burial place.
We proceeded to visit the Shepherds' Field, which, believe it or not, is not an actual field. Instead there was a church overlooking what must have been the Shepherds' Field once upon a time. In that church, a magical moment happened, with another group from Germany, we sang Angels We Have Heard On High with both languages mixing in perfect harmony.
The day continued with a meeting with Reverend Mitri Raheb who spoke about his work for returning Palestinian culture and helping his people to "not only survive but thrive."
Of course that's not all, next up was Church of the Nativity and Manger Square.
While in the Square, an unexpected opportunity presented itself. We were able to sit and listen as Palestinian women spoke about the current prison hunger strike (affecting their sons, husbands, and brothers), and their hopes for a peaceful and beneficial resolution.
Just when I thought this day could not get any better, after dinner I was surprised with a birthday cake and impromptu dance party! Everybody in the group joined in as well as the workers and owners of the hotel. I was intensely struck by the generosity and kindness of all the people on this pilgrimage and all the people we have encountered along the way
Excited to meet more of these amazing people and make more incredible memories.
For lots more photos, see Pilgrims of Ibillin's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pilgrimsofibillin/.