Some MSC Pilgrims reflect on the day's highlights for them:
(Lorene Branson, Cece Huffnagle, Alda Schnase, all from Green Mountain UMC in Lakewood, CO, and Rev. Emily Flemming, Windsor, CO)
Bob Stowe, Gillette, Wyoming:
My take from yesterday's initial experiences in The Holy Lands. DINNER WITH YOLI. Last night, Ruth (Stowe) and I ate dinner with a remarkable woman at our hotel, Leonardo Club. Yoli, short for Yolanda, was sitting alone at a table for 4, next to the table where the three other Pilgrims from Gillette, WY were eating. Soon after giving us permission to join her for dinner, she engaged us in conversation: "Is this your first time in Israel?" YES. "Where are you from?" UNITED STATES, the state of Wyoming. Not unlike many East Coast residents of USA, she had never heard of WY. Then she queried "Are you here on a tour vacation, or to learn?" Ruth and I still had our EO badges on. We answered her somewhat broken English "Yes, we are on a Pilgrimage, learning more about the cultural setting where Jesus lived, taught and performed the miracles." " She nodded and said, "Yes!"
We learned that Yoli cam here in 1949, 70 years ago, when she moved to Israel, the homeland of her religion, Judaism. I asked her if she was but a baby when she immigrated. She replied, "Oh, no! I was in my 20's." Somewhat taken back, I said you must be ninety-something!" She quickly and proudly replied, "I am mil, one hundred years old!" I was astonished by her age. From her face and hands, I was thinking she might be in her early 80's, but not 100! I asked Yoli where she immigrated from. She replied "Poland." That gave me pause, knowing that after Hitler had occupied Poland in the late 1930's, and that after he put Political Opponents, Scientists and Jehovah's Witnesses into concentration camps, he then ferreted out Polish Jews, sending them to the concentration camps. Most of them died from the heavy labor, being poorly clothed for Northern European winters, from poor nutrition, rampant diseases and later, from gas chambers.
Yoli read my mind and said, "I lost all my family in Auschwitz. I had to make a new family in Israel with a husband, 2 daughters, 8 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. She then said she worked for Leonardos for 40 years. A retirement perk she receives is a week's stay at the Leonardo Club each year. She now lives in Haifa, about 60-70 km to the west of Tiberius, on the Eastern Mediterranean coast. I know this was a "God-incident" dinner meeting when she stated that she and Jewish people share the One God with Christians. And in a surprise she stated that we share God with Muslims, from the lineage of Abraham. One never knows what a dinnertime conversation might yield!
Tom Kramer, Gillette, Wyoming:
Rev Tiffany Keith, Colorado Springs, CO
One of our tour guides, Abraham, talks with the group
Learning a little about the apostle Peter
The place where the risen Christ shared a meal with his disciples
On the Sea of Galilee
Rev. Tiffany Keith leads a devotion on the Sea of Galilee
Learning about the town of Magdala