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.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

JSam: The Year isn't all that's new

I hate when I lie, and that's the truth!

I promised Hyam that she'd have no problem getting through the Israeli border today. Apparently her number came up and the border guards kept her behind for more than 2.5 hours for whatever reason they do those things. She survived, and I think it was actually an important moment for our group to see what sure appeared to be bold discrimination against a young Arab woman by the soldiers. I was very impressed with how Hyam processed what I think was really pretty traumatic for her, and very pleased with the support for her shown by every member of the group. After leaving the secured area without her, Charlie even managed to talk his way back in, went to bat for Hyam with the passport people, then got himself yelled out by a guard for his troubles.

As amazing as this week has been, one of the highlights for me so far has been being able to worship with the group tonight at the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, or Shabbat. George (not Charlie, as previously rumored;-) led us through the ceremony (photo to the left) that has been practiced by Jews every Friday night for thousands of years. His explanations and patience with us allowed for a very significant time of reflection on my faith, the rituals in which the sacrament of my Lord's supper is rooted, and the respect and appreciation that can be shared by people of differences when they are all seeking the same God.

Yesterday (New Year's Eve) was pretty much a play day as we got to ride camels and jeeps while laughing with and at each other. There was also a little testosterone that kicked in (left) that is causing some sore muscles today. You can check out the picture links for more about king of the sand dune.

If you're on Facebook, I think you can also follow some of the real time photos and updates we do there. Try if you are a Facebooker.

My flickr pictures are here:
• DAY 4 Begins here on the way to Wadi Rum, Jordan:
• DAY 5 Begins here on New Year's Day and into Israel:

Paul Gibson's photos are here:


yaakov said...

funny I thought I did the service....sleep deprivation can play tricks with memory :)

JSam said...

Just checking to see if you're checking to see.

Nancy Gibson said...

Great to know you guys are all looking out for each other over there. ;D