Holy Land

Holy Land Pilgrimage Jan. 08: Day 3

"There was found in the Sea of Galilee a wooden boat from the time of Jesus, people called it: The Jesus Boat." And today, on a replica of the Jesus boat, the pilgrims sailed, prayed, listened and pondered, "How is Christ asking me to get out of the boat?" "Will I trust Him?"

Sailing the Sea of Galilee

Along for the the ride were the pilgrims' marvelous guides, Roni & Menachem.

Our Wonderful Guides

After crossing the Sea of Galilee, Mass was celebrated at St. Peter's house in Capernaum and graced with the beautiful music of Nate Reinhardt.

St. Peter's House

While visiting the Synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus healed and taught, the pilgrims continue to learn as Roni teaches them what it was like during the time of Christ.

Then it was on to the Mount of Beatitudes to enjoy some tranquil and contemplative time. Here the pilgrims release a carrier pigeon.

Jeff Preparing to Release Carrier Pigeon

We Have Lift Off

At Caesarea Philipi the pilgrims take a break from listening intently to Jeff as he teaches on Matthew 16:13-19 (The Primacy of Peter) to smile for the camera. Then its back to the books... or rather, The Book. "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Mt 16:18).

Location of the Testimony of St. Peter

Last, it was back to Kfar Kedem (a Kibbutz) where the pilgrims were greeted with the note they attached to the carrier pigeon on the Mount of Beatitudes. Another beautiful day in the Holy Land draws to a close.

Note From Carrier Pigeon

Holy Land Pilgrimage Jan. 08: Day 2

The pilgrims packed a lot into one day as they visited Cana and had an opportunity to renew their Wedding vows; celebrated Mass in Nazareth at Church of the Annunciation; went to Kfar Kedem to experience life as it was during the time of Christ (donkey riding and all!); and, enjoyed a fabulous special St. Peter fish dinner together all before tucking in their warm (and rain free) beds at Kibbutz hotel.

The Blue Bus

Our Shepherd: Fr. Rich Simon

Chad & Marilyn Going For a Little Ride

Our Shepherd's Sidekick: Jeff

If Lauretta had a sheckel for everytime this happens...

We Are All In Israel!

I'm happy to announce that we are all in Tel Aviv. We arrived around 10:00pm at the Dan Panorama in Tel Aviv as we got a late start out of Atlanta due to weather. Once we came to the hotel we had about twenty minutes to celebrate mass before the next day began. We had a beautiful mass celebrated by Fr. Richard Simon and we also enjoyed a great dinner. Now...it's time to go to bed as we rise early and head toward Caesarea, Mount Carmel, Megiddo and the Sea of Galilee. Should be a good day tomorrow and we will try to post a few pictures.

Keep writing your loved ones as I hope to print them off and pass them around during dinner.


Jeff Cavins

Departing for Holy Land Pilgrimage!

Wow! I can't believe the time has already arrived! Soon you will be "Leaving on a Jet Plane" heading for the Holy Land! I wish each of you a peace filled and spiritually blessed pilgrimage. By now, you should have all your pertinent information in hand, and if you have any last minute comments, questions or concerns regarding your travel, please contact Bonnie Lane of Golden Eagle Travel and Tours as soon as possible.

For those of you leaving from Minneapolis, for both the Pre-Tour January 18 and the Tour January 19, Bonnie Lane and/or Bill Strickland will be meeting you at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Lindbergh Terminal. They will be near the Delta check-in area 3 hours prior to your scheduled flight to help direct you to your destination.

For those of you joining this pilgrimage from other parts of the country, please know that JoAnn Magnuson will be at the airport in Tel Aviv to welcome you.

Also, for all of you departing out of Atlanta to Tel Aviv on Jan. 19, you will be meeting up with the group from Minneapolis at the departure gate, so be sure to look for Jeff. (I'd put his picture up, but I think you can find an image, or two, of him somewhere on this website.) Jeff will have your baggage tags.

I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing (via the Internet) about all your wonderful experiences in the Holy Land! As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Have a glorious time on your journey and may God's spirit of love reassure you are blessed,


Message From JoAnn Magnuson for the January 2008 Holy Land Pilgrimage!

I would like to introduce you to JoAnn Magnuson who will be joining me on the January, 2008, Holy Land pilgrimage. JoAnn is a much sought after speaker on Israel and Christian/Jewish relations. JoAnn is the U.S. Director of Christian Friends of Yad Vashem: A Joint Project of Yad Vashem & The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. JoAnn is a wealth of knowledge and has agreed to share some of her thoughts with you about clothing, money, accommodations, food and spiritual preparation before the trip. If you would like to learn more about JoAnn Magnuson visit her web site www.joannmagnuson.com. I'm especially looking forward to seeing all of you in Lodi, California.

Family Pilgrimage To The Holy Land: June 2008

Join Jeff and his wife Emily and family for a ten-day Bible study tour of the Holy Land -- the land where it all began! The Bible will come alive for you & your family like never before while you walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Peter. A priest will also accompany the tour to celebrate daily mass at selected historical sites. Enjoy swimming in the Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea, rafting in the Jordan, and even experience digging at an archaeological site! Click here to download the brochure.

A Fabulous Guide to Prepare you for your Holy Land Pilgrimage

Jeff Cavins & Sarah Christmyer JournalThere are many ways to begin preparing for your pilgrimage to the Holy Land. You can scan the inexhaustible sites on the internet, check out books such as Fodor's Exploring Israel and Jerusalem and the Holy Land, interview countless people who have made the journey, absorb yourself in the history and geography of the Land of Milk and Honey, or watch a documentary such as The Path of the Messiah. All of these are excellent options and will serve you well, but, the best step you can take in self preparation is one of prayer.

What better way to equip yourself for the journey ahead than to have the power of prayer in your pocket, and what better way to pray than to pray the Scriptures? As you look forward to not only walking in the footsteps of our Lord, but also to embarking on the journey of a lifetime, you will recognize the intrinsic need for guidance, for a spiritual road map. I once read, "The Holy Land is the only place in the world whose 'tourist guide' is the Bible." That is a fascinating thought. Just hearing it makes me want to dive in and read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation to assure I am completely prepared to set out on this great adventure. However, reading through the entire Bible is no easy task! Luckily, I have found a wonderful guide, a journal that walks me through salvation history in a 90 day reading plan, taking me through the fourteen narrative books of the Bible as outlined in the Great Adventure Bible Timeline. The book is called, The Bible Timeline Guided Journal by Sarah Christmyer.

The Bible Timeline Guided Journal is an excellent recommendation for anyone who truly wants to prepare his or her soul for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Arranged in chapters designed to take you through the twelve periods of Bible history, this guide assigns several chapters of reading over a 90 day period and provides ample room for you to journal. How great it would be to devote the months preceding your pilgrimage to reading and praying Scripture through the assistance of this wonderful guide and then to take it with you to the Holy Land and add to the appropriate pages that which you are taught by Jeff once you are actually sitting in the places where Christ lived, taught, suffered, and died for our sins.

I highly recommend including Sarah Christmyer's The Bible Timeline Guided Journal to your list of tools as you prepare for your pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Whether you are traveling with us in January, June or just someday, this book will prove to not only prepare you for your specific pilgrimage, but it will prepare you for a lifetime of reading Scripture as you journey on this great adventure!

Holy Land Pilgrims Walk the Path of the Messiah

Greetings Friends!

I hope you are well on your way to getting back to your daily routines, yet it's hard to imagine that things will ever be just as they were before. While I've found that I am back to my old circadian rhythm, I'm learning that having experienced such a profound and inspirational pilgrimage to the Holy Land has added a new joy to my daily life. The Rosary brings me to holy places, the reading of Scripture ignites an extra excitement in me when I read of places I've been, and the Mass has come alive even more than before. Just today, the Gospel brought a smile to my face as I warmly remembered how many of you offered your prayers and concern for me on the Mount of Beatitudes as I over came a short lived illness. May God bless you all!

I have found that sharing my pilgrimage has kept the experience alive for me. But, because we saw so much in such a short period of time, I have had to stop and put everything in its place. Last night for our "Family Night" I sat down with my husband and children and ate pita bread, hummus, and a cucumber and tomato salad. (I know, I too thought that after 11 days of an almost purely hummus diet that it would be a while before I ever ate it again!) As I explained to my family that this was a staple food in Israel, we watched the video Jeff made with Raymond Arroyo called The Path of the Messiah and I found that now not only was I walking in the footsteps of Christ, I was also retracing my own footsteps through the Holy Land. It was great! I could now connect the dots of all the places where we had been and even better yet, share them with my family. (I now have three kids that can't wait to go to the Holy Land!)

I know that some of you inquired about getting this video and for that reason, we are providing you with a link to EWTN where you too can purchase the video and recapture your Holy Land memories.

I thank each of you for unselfishly sharing your wonderful gifts and transforming 93 strangers into uniquely bonded brothers and sisters in Christ.

May God continue to shower you with His graces,


Wrap Up to a Wonderful Pilgrimage!

Hello Friends!

Can you believe that it has only been a week since we were together in the Holy Land? Although it seems like an eternity ago, it certainly has provided a lifetime of memories!

On behalf of Dr. Tim Gray, my wife Emily, and my assistant Kelly, I would like to thank you for making our journey to Israel so memorable. We truly experienced a wonderful and unique pilgrimage. Never have I been on a trip where so many people have come forward and shared their gifts: musical talents, spiritual direction, and even medical support!

Another unique quality to this pilgrimage was the beautiful diversity in age groups. How blessed we were to witness the old (mature) and the young inspire each other: the younger inspiring the older with their enthusiasm for Christ, and the older inspiring the younger with their tenacity in faith.

Adding to the wonderful qualities above, we were greatly blessed by the presence of our fabulous priests. What beautiful witness these men are to His Kingdom on earth! The quality of the homilies each day was stunning. Many of you commented on this exact fact, and I only wish we would have recorded each and everyone of them; for, they all filled us with a lifetime of spiritual direction.

I would also like to thank you for your patience and flexibility on this journey. As in many pilgrimages to the Middle East, itineraries can change, and each of you just went with the flow so nicely. Even our much anticipated video blog experienced problems, yet you were patient. On that note, I will be continuing to post the videos so you can enjoy them on the website. I will also post links on the website to purchase both Danielle's CDs, and the video The Path of the Messiah (A two hour video documentary which follows Raymond Arroyo and me as we travel to the Holy Land, retracing the footsteps of Our Lord from His Birth to His Resurrection.) We are also currently looking into a way to share our pictures online and as many of you are aware, Theresa is working tirelessly to set up an email distribution list so we can all keep in touch. We will also be organizing trips to Turkey, Greece, and Rome and 2nd timer's trip to the Holy Land, so continue to watch the website for information.

Now that you've walked the path of Christ, I suggest you start to read through the Scriptures. Devotionally read the narrative books as outlined in The Great Adventure and try to pick out places you've been. Also, pray the rosary, meditating on each place you stood.

More than anything else, on behalf of the team, we pray that Mass is a deeper experience for you, that your prayer is more intimate, your reading of Scripture more enlightened, and that Christ is forever glorified in your life as a result of this investment. I think you would agree with me that this trip was an investment in our spiritual journey for life!



Holy Land Pilgrimage Update 5/14

Wow! 6 days until departure!!! It is getting exciting! I did receive some emails with questions common to those posted by Herb on May 12, so I will try and cover all the bases in this update:

1) As there are only about 25 of us traveling from MPLS, you can just check in and go to the gate where you will be joyously welcomed by Jeff, Emily, and myself. (Should you show up there with a Grande Non-fat Chai Latte, my welcome to you would be even more joyous!)

2) With respect to what time to arrive at the airport, the airport does suggest you be there 3 hours ahead of time; however, one of us: Jeff, Emily or I will be there at 5:00 am to greet you at the Northwest domestic counter to help you through.

3) Those traveling from MPLS and Denver will have their luggage checked all the way through to Tel Aviv. This is possible because the flight has been set up by Pentecost Tours. Make sure that they ticket your bags with a TLV ticket. If you have set up your own connecting flight to Newark, you will need to take possession of your luggage and recheck it at El Al counter in Newark.

4) Bring your Frequent Flyer number to the desk with you at check in as Frequent Flyer miles may not be issued ahead of time. Know that you are responsible for asking the person at the desk about Frequent Flyers miles. If you don't do this at this time, save all boarding passes, ticket stubs and flight schedules and do it upon your return.

5) Seat assignments will be issued by Pentecost as they have tried to arrange for roommates, families, and husbands and wives, to sit together. You will be able to check your seat assignment at the airport.

Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday!

God Bless,


May 2007 Israel Prep Video No. 2

Below you will find the second of our Israel preparation videos. You will notice that there is a little light flicker toward the end of the video. It is not your computer that is causing the flicker, it was my patio table moving the laptop camera. I think my table was nervous.

If you are not going on this pilgrimage there is good news. Next January I will be leading another Holy Land pilgrimage. Click on the Pilgrimages & Cruises banner above.

Can you believe how that video makes me look. Honestly, I'm not upset with anyone.


Pilgrimage To Israel - January 2008!

I will be leading another pilgrimage to Israel from January 19 - 31, 2008. I'm really excited about this pilgrimage as we are offering an optional extension to Mt. Sinai. Click here for a pdf of the itinerary and registration form. The pilgrimage to Israel this month with Dr. Tim Gray and myself is sold out but we will be putting video up on this site each day. That video will give you a better idea of the type of pilgrimage we conduct.