My Visit to Israel (Part 7)

This is the seventh part in a multi-post description of my recent visit to Israel. To start from the beginning, go here.

We started off the morning with a great breakfast at the Inbal hotel, then packed up our bags and headed to Bethlehem for our final day of shooting video. Since our Jewish guide and van driver were observing Shabbat, we connected up with a Christian guide and his friend, a Muslim driver.



The Garden of Gethsemane is a heavily visited location, so we knew that we would have to capture video for that spot in a different place. This olive grove outside of Bethlehem was the perfect location for some peaceful footage.


This little boy got some candy from our thoughtful Campus Pastor, Mike Baker.


Beautiful almond tree in bloom in the middle of the olive grove.

Once shooting was done, we drove to the Shepherd’s Fields where the angels brought the message of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus, to the shepherds. Unfortunately, like many places, our large tripod bags called a little too much attention to ourselves, and we were turned out when we didn’t have express permission to shoot video in that location.


So we headed into Bethlehem, the city of Jesus’ birth, and as we scouted out a nativity-looking location, we went ahead and shot a video overlooking the city.

Since Bethlehem is a Muslim city now, our video was interrupted by the Muslim call to worship by several nearby minarets.


Pastor Chris has once again donned Justin’s shirt.

We completed that shoot, and then driving around the town, we noticed a nice little cave where we could video and talk about Jesus’ birth.


Looking down from the location of the cave at our van and the town.


Once we finished shooting a few videos in this location, we headed to lunch.


No matter where we went, the food was amazing. If you’ve traveled much, you know how rare this typically is.

Our time was coming to an end, but one thing was still a problem: we had shot tons of video, but not many locations offered great views of ruins. This was problematic since we had already planned on theming the series as Glorious Ruins (a nod to the wonderful people at Hillsong and their amazing music).

After a little Google searching, Justin came up with a location just outside of Jerusalem, and abandoned town of Lifta.


We were fortunate to arrive there just as the sun was beginning to set behind the nearby mountain, and it provided us with the perfect place to wrap up our final videos and capture some great footage of the ruins.

It was a little creepy to discover that people still live in many of these structures. In this building alone there were multiple areas of bedding in the floor.


Once we got home, the shot above was also used by Faith Promise’s Graphic Designer, Heather Burson, to create our series graphic that would be used for all of our Easter theming as well.




Pastor Chris and Chad Funk


Sid, looking very contemplative.




Campus Pastors.


Almond tree.

Once photography and filming was done, we headed back to Bethlehem for our final meal in Jerusalem. We ate dinner, our best meal yet, in a beautiful stone building dating back hundreds of years. It had been gorgeously renovated.



Final group photo.

From there, we headed back to Jerusalem, picked up our bags, and then drove back to Tel Aviv to catch a midnight flight.


Looking up the street at the Inbal in Jerusalem. Saying goodbye to the city until next time.

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Photo locations throughout our trip.

Final Thoughts:

I’ve traveled a bit in my lifetime so far, and I’ve seen some amazing things, but to visit the land of the Bible and to experience the places firsthand has completely transformed my reading of the Scriptures. Now, when I read about an event, I have a visual construct in my mind of the location.

The people were kind and welcoming, the food was delicious, and in many ways it felt as though we were stepping back in time two thousand years.

I’m grateful to my Pastor for including me as a part of this trip, and I hope it’s not my last time to visit this amazing country.

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