Home…

Hello friends . . . grace and peace,

We’re home.  Nothing more needs to be said.  We’ll see you on Sunday at either the 8 or 10 am service.  We have storied to share.

peace to you

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One Final Push…

Hello friends . . . grace and peace,

We’re in Chicago.  Our bags have made it.  God has bought us this far safely.  We are blessed and thankful.

We have just one final leg to go and it’s a mere 3 hour drive north into Wisconsin.  It will be lovely to see the Land of Cheese once again!

On this Day of Giving Thanks, we are so thankful for so many things…

…for the opportunity to go on this trip, for the way that God protected us, for the things we have learned, for the people we have met, for the way in which we have fallen more in love with Jesus and his teachings, for the chance to share all these things with you in the coming days, weeks, months and years.

We pray that as you are spending time with family, friends, food, football, and fellowship, that you may come to know just how blessed you are and how much you are loved by God.

peace to you

Our Cell Phones Work Now…

Hello friends . . . grace and peace,

We have landed safely in New York City.  Thank you for your prayers but please keep them going.  We have three legs left to our journey.  From here we fly to Atlanta, then to Chicago, then a drive north to the Fox Cities.

If it now OK to call and/or text our phones.  We’ll have them on and we’ll be waiting for your communications if you so desire.

While is is good to be back on our home soil, if we are honest, we are already missing The Holy Land.  We miss our friends at St. George’s College, our fellow classmates from the Palestine of Jesus course.  We miss our professor, Fr. Kamal, our chaplain, Fr. David, our liaisons guide, Bishara, our hospitality host, Rev. Honey, and others.

We miss The Old City, the falafel, the smells of spice coming from the Islamic Quarter, the presence of Jesus as we learned about his activities, the waves on the Sea of Galilee, the Holy Spirit leading us, and more.

Our lives are forever changed and we can’t wait to share our stories, photos, laughter, tears, and the presence of God with you all.

peace to you

On Our Way Home…

Hello friends . . . grace and peace,

The St. Thomas Six have LEFT THE BUILDING!!

We are officially on our way home.  Please pray for us…

…for safe travel, for smooth security checks (there are many), for on time departures and arrivals, for our bags to arrive with us, and more.

We’ll post again once we are on the ground in New York City.  You can watch Aran’s Facebook and/or his Twitter account for the latest.

peace to you

The Way…

Hello friends . . . grace and peace,

We started early this morning . . . 5:30 am wake up, 5:55 am gather, 6:00 am departure.  Our destination?  The Old City of Jerusalem.  Our purpose?  To walk The Way of The Cross along the very streets that Jesus would have used.

Let that sink in for a moment . . . well, more than a moment actually.  We’re still letting it sink in and it was over 9 hours ago that it took place.

Obviously, if you’ve been following along in this blog, you know by now that there are many MANY sites in the Holy Land that are “traditional” or “monuments” or “remembrances” of events that took place because we simply don’t know the exact location or, more commonly, those places are deep underground.  This is due to the fact that buildings and churches were destroyed many times over the centuries and then, when a different occupying group came in, they just built on the rubble of the old places.  1st century buildings, built on top of by Byzantines, built on top of by the Crusaders, built on top of by the Ottomans, built on top of as late as the last 40 years!

But still, the notion of having walked along the same streets or even just in the same area as Jesus did in as we participated in The Way of The Cross is an honor at the last and life altering at most!

We were asked not to bring cameras but I snuck two with my phone (tee hee . . . shame on me)

We used John Peterson’s book called “A Walk in Jerusalem: Stations of the Cross” as our guide and liturgy.  It’s a phenomenal book and one we highly recommend.  You can find it at Amazon right HERE.

After breakfast, we went to one of the towns that claims that they are the site of the true Emmaus, where some of Jesus’ followers were headed on the day of his resurrection.  (no one knows for sure where the REAL city of Emmaus is)  We had our final Eucharist together as a class and it was lovely.  A fitting farewell to our time together in the Holy Land.

Currently, as this is being written, we are packing up the things we brought with us as well as all the stuff we’ve got for our loved ones back home.  We have a final meal together this evening, a short ceremony/celebration, and then many of us begin the journey home.  We’ll keep you updated as we travel here on the blog, on facebook, twitter, email, texts, etc.

peace to you