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. 51
    Sarah says:

    Praying for you all as you travel. Thanks for the update. Love the pics!

    Amanda, May God give you and your family peace during this time.


  2. 52
    Terri says:

    Praying for you both, Amanda & Curtis. May the God of all comfort comfort you as only He can.

  3. 53
    Colleen Delbridge says:

    Hello Beth, how wonderful to hear from you. So glad you arrived safely. I am sure you will have a super time. Looking forward to hearing your news when you have some spare moments.
    O Amanda, I am so sorry for your loss. I pray that you & Curtis will know God’s comforting presence during this sad time.
    Much love

  4. 54
    Danna says:

    My condolences to the Jones family. So sorry to hear about your loss of a loved one,especially a grandmother. They are so very special. The photos are beautiful and I know you all are having a wonderful time, thanks for sharing, it’s the next best thing to being there in person!

  5. 55
    carla says:

    Oh how wonderful for all on this trip. Being there I can just imagine how Beth is even more pumped up than usual. I hope you tape some it to share with us who could not be there. So sorry about the Jones family loss. They, and you all will be in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  6. 56
    Kathy says:

    Oh, thank you for sharing- one of my dear friends and her husband will leave next week on a what seems to be the same route- God Bless and we can’t wait for the teaching to be available- Kathy, Austin

  7. 57
    Crissy says:

    Thank you so much! This is such a blessing to see and read about! We pray for God to do the unthinkable while ya’ll are there! We love ya’ll!

    Crissy, Nashville, TN!

  8. 58
    Stacy says:

    What a beautiful, beautiful place. I pray for a safe trip. & that God reveals what he has for each one on the trip this week!!!!


  9. 59
    Heather says:

    Wow-thanks so much for taking us with you! I always thought that if I traveled to the Holy Land I would be completely overwhelmed with gratitude to Jesus and not be able to take it all in and be a bubbling mess.

    I’m so sorry for your loss Curtis & Amanda, Jackson & Annabeth.

  10. 60
    Val in KY says:

    On Holy Ground–is that why Mama Siesta is barefoot! Love that image.

    My heart goes out to Amanda and Curtis as they deal with this precious loss.

    Look forward to other updates.

    Love you guys,
    Louisville, KY

  11. 61
    Michelle says:

    Can Melissa READ that bible?

  12. 62

    Praying for your trip! I was with you in Grand Rapids and can’t believe you went straight from Living Proof to an international trip. The flight is gruelling but I know God will bless your time. I was in Israel last March and will go again in February… I love the way it impacts those who ‘walk where Jesus walked’ for the first time. Praying that your volunteers faith will be strengthened by the experience! And since it looks like your group has alot of women I will pass along my husbands best quote of the trip “Today I shopped where Jesus walked” – I’m sure your gals will love the markets much more than he did ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. I know most leaders have their favorite guides but if you or anyone going wants to bless the socks off the best bus driver in Israel ask for Akram Abu Kaf.

  13. 63
    heather says:

    how cool is this?! I can’t wait to follow along on your trip-it looks incredible! Praying you all have a blessed and safe trip there and back home.

  14. 64
    Cindy says:

    Love ya to! How exciting to walk where those of the bible have walked, and to see the very sights and sounds!

  15. 65
    Gayla says:

    What a miracle trip. I am so sad for Amanda and Curtis. Grandmothers are so incredibly special. I am waiting for more installments…. it looks like a dream come true.

  16. 66
    Redeemed says:


    I am in absolute AWE of the pictures. Goosebumps galore!

    And to AJ and Curtis, our deepest sympathies. We’re so sorry. Goodbyes are hard, but in Christ, thankfully, they are not forever.

    Safe travels to you………..

  17. 67
    Nancy says:

    So envious!! Can’t wait to hear more!

  18. 68
    Pam says:

    Please keep sending pictures with updates…I’m taking the incredible journey with all of you.

  19. 69

    Wow, wish I was there!

  20. 70
    becky sweat says:

    Touch to tears by these photos. If I were to blog very often you would see I am an emotional sap-in a good way. I just learned about this blog today while listening to Beth’s book on insecurity on cd (love her voice) and loved the book too! It would be amazing to serve God in such a beautiful setting. My prayers are with you-that God will give you wisdom, courage,and strength in mind, body, and spirit and that He will prepare the hearts and minds of those to whom you will witness, that they respond in a positive way to the message you bring. Btw this is the very first time I have blogged.

  21. 71
    Theresa says:

    What an amazing opportunity! Thank you for sharing and please keep us updated. All of you are in my prayers. God bless.

  22. 72
    Kathy B says:

    Amanda, so very sorry to hear of the homegoing of your husband’s grandmother. Also hate that you are missing the trip. Bummer. Doubtless, you are doing the right thing. But still. Bummer.
    Love the pictures. Impressive Bible there, Melissa.
    I imagine this will hang out there in Comment Never Neverland for a while. No prob.

  23. 73
    Marie says:

    Your blog today brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to the places Jesus touched while He was here on earth, but one day I’ll walk the same streets of gold with my Savior.
    I pray you have a wonderful trip.
    May God be glorified.

  24. 74
    Bev says:

    Sorry to hear about Curtis’ grandmother passing.

    Thank you for sharing the photos and the teaching.We are blessed.

    Will Beth host another trip to the Holy Land that will be open for others to join the group?

    Safe travel and enjoy your time together.

  25. 75
    Melissa May says:

    How exciting! Praying Jehovah meets you there in a special way. Also praying for AJ and Curtis and their family. So grateful that they got the news in time for her to stay home and not while she was already in the air or gone. God is good…

  26. 76
    shelli littleton says:

    Thank you for keeping us posted. So wish I were there. Praying for Amanda and her family. And Melissa, you are such a great photographer! Have a special time!

  27. 77
    lavonda says:

    I will treasure every picture you post of these places.
    I’ve always wanted to see my Jesus’ homeland.

  28. 78
    Georgia Boone says:

    AJ and Curtis, sorry about your grandmother. I remember losing my last grandmother and thinking, oh my gosh the matriarch is gone…..I still miss her and she passed away in 1976. Praying for your whole family. Also sorry about you missing the trip Amanda….but I am sure God has a plan.

    Love the pics Melissa……keep them coming. I thought about saying “envy, envy, envy”, but I probably shouldn’t cause that is a sin……so have a very blessed trip and may God’s presence just overwhelm all of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hawk you are doing a terrific job, keep it up!!

    Bible Bunny in NO MI

  29. 79
    His Jules says:

    So excited that you are sharing this pilgrimage with us!! I can not even imagine how wonderful it would be to be able be taught in that environment! So sorry about CJ’s grandmother – will be praying for the entire family and that God will pour out blessings on Amanda for her obedient heart.

  30. 80
    Tami says:

    Oh how I wish I were there!

  31. 81
    Kim B. says:

    Oh Amanda! What a bittersweet decision, but the right one for sure! I am praying for you and CJ and family. ANd for all the LPM gang overseas! May the Lord be glorified by their faithfulness to this trip and your faithfulness to the family.

    God bless you!
    In His love,
    Kim B.

  32. 82
    Andrea S. says:

    All the dear LPM staff, Volunteers and our Siesta Mama,
    What a beautiful place to study the history of our Christianity!!! I pray that your trip will be so worth it for each and every one of you….that God will speak to you and provide his protection over every single one. My sweet Jones-you are in my thoughts and prayers. Amanda I praise God for the mother, wife and daughter that you are….those in your life are so BLESSED by your selflessness!
    Keep the updates coming and know that I am praying and would love so much to be with you!

    In Him,

  33. 83
    Leah Adams says:

    Ok, I’m just jealous. Just absolutely jealous. I love the Mediterranean and can’t wait to see it again. We did not get to see Joppa when we were there in ’06. Hope we do when we go in Nov. Thanks for the pics.

    So, so sorry to hear about Curtis’ grandma. So sorry.


  34. 84
    Julie says:

    Will you say hello to Donna Hazelwood for me?? And tell her I’m praying for her??
    I wish I was with you guys!!!!

  35. 85
    Kristin Takemoto says:

    Can’t wait to follow this journey in Israel on the blog Mama Siesta. And from one shutterbug to another, thanks for the pictures Melissa.

    Amanda I am sorry for your loss but rejoice that she is in heaven with Jesus.


  36. 86
    Sallye says:

    Melissa, Buy one while you are there if possible, esp from the Jewish Quarter-Shorashim of the Old City.

  37. 87
    Terri says:

    Help! I keep getting all the followup comments sent to my email (which isn’t too bad, but since my email is connected to my phone, they are all coming there too!). I keep removing the check from the box that says “Notify me of followup comments va email”, but when I return to the blog, the box has been checked again. It’s somehow defaulted to be checked. Any ideas how I can fix this?

  38. 88
    Lisa says:

    I would have gladly dropped what I was doing, taken a leave of absence from the job and joined in AJ’s place and I’d been a good girl too! Kidding but NOT! Praying for the Jones and everyone there, can’t wait to “view” this!!!!! Luv ya Mama Beth and the Hawk! jp!

  39. 89
    mk says:

    Amanda and Curtis, our prayers are with you. May the Lord bless you, Amanda.
    Beth and Melissa, the pictures are so amazing! Thank you for sharing them with us! Enjoy and soak it all in!
    love and prayers,

  40. 90
    Kristi B. says:

    Beautiful pictures! I’m so excited for you guys and I will be keeping you all in my prayers!

  41. 91

    That was just beautiful the water is awesome never seen water that blue. Also the picture with Hawk standing up watching her charge that is to cute.
    So sorry Amanda could not make it but I have been praying for her family and the Jones.
    Stay safe
    Love you seista mama

  42. 92
    Jill says:

    I know it holds no bearing on the situation, but my first Cabbage Patch Kid’s name was in fact, Tina Dorcus…hmmm

  43. 93
    GlowinGirl says:

    Oh, I wish I were there too!! Thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures — so sorry Amanda can’t be with you. ๐Ÿ™

  44. 94
    Shirley says:

    Ohhhh – I have been to Joppa in my 2009 trip – such memories of the smells and sounds from the sea are coming through your photos and to see Beth leading a study of the Word of our Lord there in the park – just wow – Jonah has a special place in my heart for some of my own running I have done in the past when closing my ears too. So glad to hear you are starting out well. Make sure Hawk drinks lots of water when she is out in the hot sun watching over sweet Beth. I really hope there is another trip ‘home’ to Israel this year in my future. There is just such a feeling there. Bless you for sharing.

  45. 95
    Bethany says:

    Oh how I will be living vicariously through you while you are there. Going to the Holy Land is such a dream of mine…. I am sorry to hear of Curtis’s Grandmothers passing and will be praying for AJ and Curtis as they mourn her loss. Have a fantastic time walking in our Lord’s footsteps. Maybe one day I can be there as well.

  46. 96
    Ashley says:

    Oh Wow this is awesome!! I’m so excited for all of you! Keep us posted and have a wonderful time!

  47. 97
    Donna B. says:

    Prayers for a safe and a happy journey.

  48. 98
    Gretchen says:

    Hope you all have the most blessed time in Israel! Praying for you!!!

    With love,


  49. 99
    moosemama says:

    I cannot even imagine how wonderful it would be, to walk where my Jesus walked and hear you teaching there. I think I would need a great many tissues.

    I am so sad to hear of Curtis’s grandmother. My prayers and sympathy for the Joneses.

    Melana ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. 100
    Jill_in_AL says:

    Seeing Melissa’s Bible makes me so thankful for translations and translators that brought God’s word to English so that I can read it, study it, know it. Enjoy your time in His Holy land, J

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