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December 6, 2022

After breakfast, we took the very short ride to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. We first visited an artisan woodwork factory run by a Christian family. The Christian community is under duress in the Palestinian-controlled area. We watched artisans taking blocks of olive wood and turning them into beautiful objects, often religious in nature. We were able to visit the traditionally-accepted place of Jesus’s birth, a cave. One can crawl on hands and knees to touch the accepted place of the birth. Only a short distance away are the shepherds’ fields where the temple shepherds were watching their flocks at night when the army of angels appeared to them announcing the Savior’s birth. Up the hill is a church with phenomenal acoustics. Our rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High” sounded beautiful. 

Watching a Christian artist create a Biblical scene out of olive wood.
Entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
Within the Church of the Nativity the traditional site of the birth of Jesus
A Bethlehem church in the Shepherd's Field honoring the angelic choir that announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds
A scene in the Bethlehem church
Our group in the Bethlehem church

From Bethlehem, we returned to Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus went to pray with His disciples. Over 2,000 year old olive trees witnessed Jesus’s visit. We had one section of the garden to ourselves where we spent time in personal reflection and prayer. This was a powerful time, and our view of Jerusalem across the valley was glorious. We walked all the way down to Jerusalem on the Palm Sunday Road immediately outside the gates of the Mount of Olives, the same road on which Jesus rode a donkey to the applause of the people of Jerusalem. After the Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane at the base of the Mount of Olives. Here He was betrayed by Judas, handed over to the soldiers, and the Passion Story began to unfold ending in the Crucifixion of Jesus. We visited the stunning Church of All Nations at Gethsemane filled with intricate mosaics. 

The Mount of Olives
Within the Church of All Nations
The Church of All Nations in Jerusalem

Our day concluded at the Western Wailing Wall, which is a remnant of the Great Temple that at one time stood there. People approach the wall to pray and to stuff small pieces of paper with written prayer requests into the crevices of the wall. It was a long day and a very rewarding day. Evening meal, shower and sleep! 

The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
The women's side of the Wailing Wall


  1. Sandra Nichols says:

    I am so enjoying your blog and pictures. To get to walk through the life of Jesus must be an unbelievable journey but such an awesome experience. Thanks for sharing your trip!

  2. Sandy Farrell says:

    I am ecstatic to be a part of this blog as a recipient. You do have a way of reporting and recording our journey. It was such an incredible time and I loved getting to know you guys better. Y’all are just awesome. With your permission, I might share a few of your words with my friends on Facebook, who keep asking me about my journey. And my description is all over the page. It’s just hard when you see that much and get that much information in that short of a time to transpire to someone else. I usually wind up saying you just Gotta go and you gotta go with Oreo. Lol that’s my nickname for Ori.

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