I have just received word from the travel agent Bonnie, who is accompanying the post-tour pilgrims, that they are doing well and soon to return to the States. Twelve of them ascended Mt. Sinai on camels and ten made the remaining climb to the summit on foot -- pictures should be coming.
I am now reflecting on the inspirational journey that I experienced with so many wonderful people from around the country. Many of our pilgrims expressed the joy of hearing from their loved ones via the comments from this website. It truly was an exciting addition each morning on the bus for everyone to read the web-posts I printed daily and share news from home with one another. Your prayers and participation from home were an added bonus to the pilgrims. Thank you!
One highlight of the tour was seeing the eagerness of the participants to learn from our great Israeli guides Roni and Menachem about the Holy Land and also the joy the pilgrims experienced through the beautiful liturgies celebrated by Fr. Simon and Fr. Schneider. Nate Reinhart added so much by leading in music, and many of us will carry the memory of his voice when we reflect back on our time together.
A big thanks to all those who added to this pilgrimage with their gifts. I was particularly inspired by the tenacity of some of the senior citizens on the trip. Pilgrimages can often be challenging with time changes and long days but complaining was not a part of this group. Every day they set out to discover with a smile on their faces. These last two weeks truly were a pilgrimage as we experienced the joy of walking where Jesus walked and even the challenges of snow in Jerusalem! Thank you for allowing me to share this life-changing experience with all of you.
A special thanks to JoAnn Magnuson on her sixtieth pilgrimage to Israel. JoAnn is such an asset with her knowledge of the Holy Land and I know the pilgrims enjoyed her talks. JoAnn is back in the States now after battling a severe case of shingles while in Israel. Continue to keep her in her prayers for a speedy recovery. Even through her great discomfort JoAnn was an inspiration and continued to give to others as she is known to do.