Journey from the MidWest to the MidEast ...

The Indianapolis-based International Interfaith Initiative (III), in collaboration with the Village Experience, led a trip of a diverse group (including representatives from Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Evangelical, and Hindu religious communities) to the Middle East from December 27, 2009 to January 9, 2010. It was a follow-up to the very successful III Mideast trip of 2008. Read about the adventure on this blog. Look for partnership opportunities for your group at ... and be part of the next trip from Indy to the MidEast.

Friday, January 8, 2010

JSam: Marsalami, y'all

See more trip photos by clicking here:

My new friends went off and left me in Nazareth this morning. They would probably tell you that I just didn't get on the bus, but here I am and there they go toward the Jordanian border and their flights to Cairo, Paris, Kenya, New York, Chicago and wherever else these folks are headed.

As my mind and enthusiasm shifts to the work I get to do here in Israel over the next week with the Galilee Team of the Christian HolyLand Foundation, my emotions are still spinning over the experiences of the last two weeks with this Interfaith group. There were plenty of hugs to go around as they all saddled up right after breakfast, but I have to admit that there was a particular satisfaction in the sincere embraces with Father Jeff and George. That is not to diminish in any way the relationships that developed with others in the group, but I suppose Jeff and George and I perhaps traveled the furthest together in terms of how far we came in terms of leaving our presuppositions behind and crossing over to new understandings. At the same time, I don't have to think very hard to remember specific blessings that each of the people in this group left me with. And when you add that to all the things we witnessed, experienced, and participated in along the way, it's been a pretty incredible trip.

Yesterday I had the deep pleasure of introducing my traveling group to the Team of Arab ministers I work with here in Israel. Our time was cut short by just not watching the clock closely enough, but we enjoyed a lunch at the Church in Cana that was provided by the Team, and that was probably our best meal of the trip. Then we spent an hour in fellowship and song and discussion that seemed to open hearts on both sides--the travelers and the Team.

Thank those of you that have been following our trip on this blog or over on Facebook, and Thank YOU to all the people on this trip that have made me a little better person with a little stronger faith than what existed just a few days ago.

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