Our First Day on Pilgrimage!

Hey, our darling Siestas! This is your happy but bleary-eyed Siesta Mama writing you from our first stop on pilgrimage. Melissa, the entire LPM staff (minus AJ and CJ), many of our volunteers (for whom this trip was thrown) and I made it to Tel Aviv about seven hours ago, loaded onto buses and headed a half hour’s distance to Joppa. (We are 100-strong) For those of you who are interested, this is the very place Jonah boarded a ship to flee from the will of God. It is also the place Peter raised Dorcas (Tabitha in Aramaic) from the dead. We do not know why she was named Dorcas. We hope it was not because her father was an infamous Dork of antiquity.

Perhaps many of you know by now that Curtis’s beloved maternal grandmother passed away suddenly the night before our flight so AJ did exactly what she should have done. She cancelled out on the trip and headed to Missouri with both children to stand by her man. We miss her so much and bear all the Joneses on our hearts as they mourn their loss and celebrate the absolute certainty that she is with Christ.

We will spend tonight here in Tel Aviv then load back onto the buses in the morning and head for Caesarea and Megiddo. Here are a few pictures Melissa has taken for us so far:

The beautiful coastal city of Joppa, our first stop on the trip.

The Mediterranean Sea

Our First Teaching Session overlooking the Sea:

(I got a little amused when I looked at this one. That’s Hawk standing up in the back. She’s keeping a good eye on her charge. That would be me.)

The Hebrew Text of Jonah which mentions Joppa as the town where Jonah boarded a ship for Tarshish in attempt to run from the Lord (1:3). (That’s Melissa’s Bible. Not mine.)

While we were in route, we came upon quite an intriguing sight. This is a gathering of Jews from one of the most orthodox sects in Israel. They are protesting a building development they believe to be upon an ancient gravesight.

And to make things more interesting , they were “helped” into a restricted area by some police.

Our sweeping view of Tel Aviv from the Hotel

We wish every single one of you Siestas were with us here! We’ll try to stay in pretty close touch. We love you!


209 Responses to “Our First Day on Pilgrimage!”

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  1. 1
    Siesta OC says:

    How very thrilling! Gorgeous shots, and yes the protesting one was very interesting.

    AJ – What a wonderful woman you are. I know there would be no other thing you would have done, but still, cancelling your trip to be with your husband was such a picture of a woman living out the will of GOD.

    Prayers with you and your family. I am so sorry Jones’ for your loss.

  2. 2
    Sarah says:

    So glad you arrived safely. Thanks for the pictures. I have never been to the Holy Land and I will enjoy hearing and seeing about your trip.

    Sorry to hear about Curtis’ grandmother.

    I know you’ll enjoy the rest of your trip. Be safe and thanks for sharing with us! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. 3
    God's not-so-little Dutch girl says:

    What an amazing opportunity! I’m sure God will continue to shower His blessings on all of you! So sorry for Curtis and his family, I will be praying for them as well.Thanks for sharing this experience with us! Beautiful pics, Melissa! Joan

  4. 4
    mariel says:

    wow wow wow…what I would give to be there one day! thank you for keeping us posted!! great pics!

  5. 5
    Brenda says:

    What beautiful pictures!! How wonderful to be there! Praying for you all to have a safe and fantastic trip, and praying for the Jones’ as well! God Bless! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Brenda in Illinois

  6. 6
    HFridelle says:

    That sounds like so much fun!! My prayers will be with those in the holy land and the Jones’ family.

  7. 7
    Patty says:

    I had not heard of Curtis’s grandmother and I am so sorry for their loss and I will be praying for the Jones family.

    It would be so nice to be there with all of you! Praying for you all as you are there and I love “The Hawk” , she does her job well!

    Blessings to you all!

  8. 8
    Janet says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us! Wish we were there with you….but we will experience the trip vicariously through your blog posts! (makes me want to sing: โ™ชโ™ซ”I’ve walked today where Jesus walked!” โ™ชโ™ซ
    as a matter of fact, I think I’ll sing it right now!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. 9
    April says:

    Beth, You never fail to make me laugh out loud, completely caught off guard (last sentence, first paragraph.) Thanks for sharing the pics. It looks stunning there, particularly the picture of the The Mediterranean Sea, Wow! Praying for blessing and safety for you all.

  10. 10
    Janet says:

    P.S….Love the Hebrew “Scripts” Melissa is toting!

  11. 11
    April says:

    Prayers for Curtis and Amanda.

  12. 12
    Rockin' My Freedom says:

    Our deepest heartfelt condolences to CJ’s family.

    Thank you for the pilgrimage update. We look forward to being with you cyberly as often as you can indulge us!

    Love & prayers for the whole team,

  13. 13
    Anne says:

    Ohhh. I’m crying – for you being there. For me not. Oh. The joy. I long for Jerusalem. Thanks for the vicarious trip. Love you!

  14. 14
    Marilee says:

    That looks like an amazing experience!! Oh how I hope to do that someday. Does Melissa really read from that Bible on a regular basis?! Have a wonderful, blessed time.

  15. 15
    Denise says:

    Thank you so much for the pictures and descriptions. I would love to go some day but living it through your descriptions is blessing enough for the ‘here and now’ of my life. Please keep the photos and explainations coming – it is thrilling, even through a computer screen. Glory to HIM!!!
    Praying for your safety and HIS AMAZING PRESENCE on everyone.

  16. 16
    Barb says:

    Praise the Lord you made it safe & sound! Thank you so much for sharing with words & pictures!!! What awesome shots, Melissa! Praying for you all and the Jones’!!
    lovingly, Barb

  17. 17
    sue powell says:

    Thank you, Beth, for your keeping in touch. I was on the JESUS THE ONE AND ONLY in 200 and know how difficult it is through swollen and blurry eyes of traveling!
    Bless you all; we will be praying

  18. 18
    Sharon says:

    Oh my! What a blessing!!!!!!! Now this I’ll have to admit, I am jealous of this one! Not for you… but for me! ((*smile*)) Oh, I can only imagine the feelings you must feel! Oh, how I would love to be there! To experience it! To be whoa-ed by all of the wonder! How exciting for all of ya’ll! May God rock your worlds and blow your socks off! Every one of you! And may you be constantly filled with the awe of our Father! May everyone of ya’ll come back eternally changed because of this journey. Oh…. how I’d love to be there too!

    I am so sorry to hear that about Curtis’s grandmother. May God comfort them all in knowing what she knows now… and all that she sees… and the Presences she’s in!!! Now that, too, is a journey I’m a bit jealous over! But one that I am guaranteed to make when this lifetime is over!!!

    Blessings to you all!

  19. 19
    Jina says:

    Oh My!!! What an amazing opportunity for all the staff! I am praying God will knit your hearts together even more deeply. There is something in me speaking about a time of preparation for a launch of ministry like no other. Praying God will accomplish all He desires in each of you. Praying you will find rest in the midst of teaching, the long schedules and jet lag.

    Praying for you Amanda that God would meet you intimately as you chose to follow Him and support your husband. Praying you will be filled and overflowing as you sense His pleasure of your choice to offer this up.


  20. 20
    sepik-meri katie says:

    yay!!! you made it! so happy you dropped a word in on us siestas at home! we are praying for the jones’ as they grieve their loss, and rejoicing for another pilgrim’s arrival home. hugs to A&C. also praying for your time there, and miss and love you!! and we’re a TINY bit jealous too ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. 21
    sepik-meri katie says:

    mama B, you look adorable by the way! love you!!

  22. 22

    Oh WOW!!:) Ya’ll are there!:) These pics are interesting, and the history of the places you all are going to just makes this trip that much more exciting!

    Amanda did do the right thing, sticking with Curtis. Praying for them…

    Blessings to you all,


  23. 23
    jackie says:

    How awesome for each of you ladies to experience this! I pray safety over all of you as you travel and open hearts as you walk on the very soil our Savior walked on!

    Blessings to you all.

  24. 24
    Kim b in AZ says:

    I am glad you guys had a safe trip. I am sorry that Amanda could not go. Also sorry for the loss in Curtis family.

    Have wonderful trip

  25. 25
    Sandee says:

    Awesome to see your photos…What a blessed trip. and Blessings to Amanda on her choices. I will be traveling at the tail end of this week, just me and my 11 year old son…on our way to Ethiopia… to bring home my newly adopted daughter.

    Every time I get scared about traveling….I pray, knowing God knows the number of my days and then I think, well Beth travels ALL THE TIME! ๐Ÿ™‚ Blessings….

    • 25.1
      jackie says:

      Sandee, congratulations on your new baby daughter! Praying safety and blessings over YOU as you travel!

  26. 26
    Karene says:

    I didn’t know Curtis’s grandma had died. Amanda, please accept my condolences to you, Curtis, and his family.

    Beth, I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than sitting under your teaching while gazing at that beautiful Mediterranean Sea in the Holy Land! I’m so happy for all the volunteers and staff of LPM (and trying really hard not to be jealous ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Thanks for thinking of us in Siestaville–we’ll live vicariously through your updates. Terrific pictures, Melissa! You all will be in my prayers.

  27. 27
    Jen H. says:

    AWESOME! I’m so looking forward to your updates from your trip! How does one get invited to be a part of that 100-strong group? ๐Ÿ™‚ wink, wink! Are you doing a Jonah Bible study?

    Love you, Beth, and praying for a safe and God-filled adventure!

  28. 28
    Sparki2003 says:

    May God bless all of you with the safety and love that only He can give !

    May He astonish each one of you with new knowledge while you are in His Precious Holy Land !

    Curtis, you and your family are in my prayers.

    In Christ’s Love,

    Jennifer O.
    Southern Wisconsin

  29. 29
    Deirdre says:

    wow. how can you teach against a backdrop that looks like that? …
    answer, you get barefoot and connect to the significance of the place.

    so sorry to hear about Curtis’ grandmother.


  30. 30
    Sarah says:

    I have never posted before, but I was so blessed by your sharing today. Thank you for making us a part of your trip to the Holy Land! It means so much. I am sure your team will be very encouraged while you’re all there, and I will pray for that. Bask in the Surpassing Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ!

  31. 31
    Diana says:

    Praying! Praying! Praying! for you all and all the Lord would accomplish through this journey!

  32. 32

    Wow! conflicted emotions. So happy you all get to be there in Israel, but so sad that Curtis and Amanda didn’t get to go. And I know they wanted to be with his family to honor his grandmother. I’m sure there will be another time.

    Love it, love it, love it when you take us with you on a trip like this. and I personally love to hear all you have to say Melissa. You’ve been quiet lately so Im expecting to hear from you as you go on your way.

    We’re praying for all your safety and that you will EACH hear huge things from the LORD. I find that to praise him (in worship) while you’re in Israel magnifies the significance of “His Country”. His presence is so very poignant there.

    hugs to all of you,

  33. 33
    Marjie Scheib says:

    Praise the Lord for answered prays of safe travel. May you all be blessed beyond measure in the coming days. Thank you for sharing theses early photos. Have fun ladies.

  34. 34
    Tara G. says:

    My youngest and surprise baby got her middle name from a verse in Jonah that meant the world to me when I was pregnant with her. My oldest accepted the Lord through Jonah’s testimony….we love Jonah. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a blast!

  35. 35
    texatheart says:

    What great picutres! What a great trip to be in the Holy Land would be such a blessing in and of itself, but to be there with Beth … Heaven on earth! Have a great time and be safe.
    Amanda and Curtis I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers will be with you at this time.
    Love you all,

  36. 36
    Mary Ellen Hale says:

    My sympathy to your family, Amanda, and God’s blessings on you all…Such an adventure for you and your staff, Beth, which I am selfishly hoping includes a film crew that is producing a new Bible study for us as you travel! Either way, your siestas are with you in spirit! Have a great time! Love, Mary Ellen

  37. 37
    Becky Henry says:

    How I wish every Bible study siesta could be there with you, hearing the Word taught and seeing with new eyes those Bible stories in their geographical context.

  38. 38
    Tiffany Morse says:

    I am so excited for you guys, I sure do love that you are there! I can’t wait till each update!

  39. 39

    This whole pilgrimage thrills me, and I’m so glad you’ll be blogging! And with awesome pictures! So sad for Amanda and Curtis, but I know God has other blessings in store.

    p.s. I love you, Hawk! You are EVERY WOMAN!!

  40. 40
    Aimee Horstman says:

    thanks Beth for sharing! How AMAZINGLY COOL is this? I would love to visit this place one day with you as my teacher..that would be AWESOME!, yet as I even let myself contemplate that, I realize that because we are siesta’s in Christ, one day we will be in heaven witnessing these “travels” of Christ and his followers first hand, hand in hand. Now THAT will be awesome!
    Take care sweet Momma!
    Much love

  41. 41
    Michele says:

    Oh, MamaBeth! Wow – wow on where you are and what you’re doing. Beautiful pictures!

    So sorry to hear about Curtis’ Meemaw (do they say that in Mizzou or is it a TX thing?). Sorry that AJ had to cancel, but that is another demonstration of her character and the noble priorities you guys have. I have great respect for her. Many prayers for the Jones’ family.

    It must be such a huge blessing for the group to not only have Beth’s teaching, but to have Melissa there to provide amazing insights from the original language texts. Go Melissa!

    And GO HAWK!! Such a perfect picture of her dedication! Thank you Michelle for taking care of our sweet Siesta Mama!

    Thank you so much for sharing! Many prayers for your safety and a blessed time!

    • 41.1
      campbell6 says:

      North Missouri girl here –
      My grandparents are simply “Grandma and Grandpa” but I hear a few “Meemaw and Peepaw” titles around these parts. Curtis is from way down South MO so it may be used a LOT down there. I feel so important right now. That is it for MO social culture today class, you may be excused. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a good one!

  42. 42
    April Martinez says:

    Looking forward to reading more about this journey/Pilgrimage. I am new to this whole “blog” thing but I have to say that I am somewhat addicted at this point. I get excited when I see a new post. ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep Smiling !!

  43. 43
    Terry says:

    The pictures are awesome. What a beautiful teaching site. Can’t wait for more updates.

    Amanda and Curtis our prayers for God’s comfort are being lifted up for you and your famiy during this difficult time.

  44. 44
    karen says:

    wow….all i can say is…..wow
    what a blessing from God to be able to go on this trip!

  45. 45
    Living4Him says:

    What a Blessing to share in your trip. Thank you!!!!

  46. 46
    Warm in Alaska says:

    Oh Yippee! Also, isn’t Joppa where the logs for the building of the temple came down from Lebanon and then were carried to Jerusalem? Pretty sure…anyway – SO EXCITED for you all! I’m so happy so many LPM volunteers – whose hard work has blessed me and every other Siesta in Siestaville – get to go soak up the Word and the Land of Israel! Have a most spectacularly, wonderful, splendid, over-the-top time!!! I will so be keeping you foremost in my every thought and prayer!!

  47. 47
    Beth says:

    wow!!! I can’t wait to visit Israel. It looks like you guys are having a fantastic time. Praying for you while you’re there. Keep the pictures coming. =D

  48. 48
    Donna Jo says:

    I want to be there with you so bad I could just cry! Love the pictures!!

  49. 49
    Gena says:

    How fun!

  50. 50
    Joyce Watson says:

    Beautiful Mediterrrian Sea! Wonderful place to remember God’s forgiveness, salvation, compassion and new beginnings.
    (funny! Jonah means dove, but you had a hawk)

    Cannot help it I had to write this:

    In my distress I called to the Lord,
    I called for help and you listened to my cry
    All the waves and breakers of the seas
    swirled about me and swept over me
    The waters engulfed me into the deep,
    I sank until I could not cling to life anymore,
    But you brought me out of the pit, O Lord my God
    And I have nothing but thanksgiving and praise
    For you are my Salvation
    You are my Calm when the sea is wrapped around me
    You have picked me up from destruction
    You are gracious and compassionate
    Take my life as a living sacrifice to be used for
    your glory and for your purpose.

    Praying for you and hope you enjoy your trip. Love the photos! This is Jewish land and anxious to hear more about the people and land there!

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