Jet lag is very real! Going over, there is such excitement, you jump right into the trip and enjoy everything you see. Coming back, the exhaustion sets in on the trip home. We got up on Saturday, March 23 at 2 a.m. Cairo, Egypt time to ride the bus to the airport for a 7:30 flight. They insisted we arrive 3 hours early when things weren’t even open yet in some areas. After two flights and the 9-hour difference, we arrived in New York City at JFK at 4:30 in the afternoon. This was the middle of our night in Cairo. My roommate and I went to a Holiday Inn and were sound asleep by 6:30 p.m. We boarded a shuttle the next morning at 4 a.m. to catch our 6:30 flight to Dallas and then finally to Oklahoma City by 11:30 a.m. Then the fatigue really set in. Unpacking is not nearly as much fun as packing! It took me this long to be awake long enough to write a blog entry.
Was it wonderful? Absolutely! Was it a life-changing trip? Absolutely? Was it marvelous to be at some of the exact places where Jesus, the apostles and Moses stood? Absolutely! We saw so many wonderful sites and read scriptures at many of them of what happened there. The highlight of my trip was climbing Mt. Sinai as Moses is my favorite Bible character because of the relationship he had with God. That could be another reason I was so tired. The morning I climbed with 2 others from my group, we left the hotel at 1 a.m. on March 21. The first 2 hours of the climb were riding camels before walking to the last 750 very steep rock steps to the top. It is 8,000 ft. altitude causing oxygen supply to be limited. We summited at 4:50 a.m. in a full moon and then started down. The sunrise was at 5:50 a.m. and was absolutely breathtaking. I slept well March 22 but then was up at 2 a.m. March 23 for the trip home.
Before I left, I was telling Jerry how sad I was that I couldn’t take him with me. Then I thought, “Why not?” I filled 10 tiny bags with about a tablespoon of his ashes and packed them. Here are the places I left Jerry:
- Caesarea Philipi in Herman Creek which flows into the Jordan River
- Sea of Galilee
- Synagogue at Capernaum
- Dead Sea
- Mt. Moriah where Abraham was willing to offer Isaac
- Garden tomb
- Mt. Sinai on the trail up (he was a mountain climber)
- Mt. Sinai at the peak
- St. Catherine’s Monastery where Moses’ well is
- The Great Pyramid
- The Sphinx
Of course, Jerry didn’t need to be left all over Israel and Egypt, but I wanted to experience it with him. When I told one of the older men I had left Jerry’s ashes all over, he said, “You are going to make it difficult for the second coming for Jesus to find Jerry.” I responded, “My God is powerful and it won’t be difficult for him at all.” Some day, his box of ashes will be willed with empty little bags labeled with where he is.
There were other widows on the trip and 25 all together. Yes, I would go again. It is a strenuous trip with about 10,000 steps a day of walking and not necessarily over smooth, concrete paths. The 8 weeks of preparation I had done to climb Mt. Sinai served me well for the rest of the trip. My 83-year-old roommate, Anne, was a trooper and did almost every step the rest of us did. She was an amazing partner for the trip. As we got to know each other, we discovered we had a great deal in common. I barely knew her before we boarded our first plane together.
Exodus 14:13-14 – “Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.'” This has totally new meaning to me now, of course, after standing on the places where Moses did and also seeing the landscape where all this happened. The Sinai Desert is barren and rough terrain. All the land where the Israelites spent 40 years wandering were not pleasant places. Living there alone for 40 years would have been punishment alone for not believing in God’s deliverance. They obviously did not listen to Moses letting them know God would take care of them and deliver them from their enemies. He will still do that today for us BUT we have to be still. That is the difficult part for me.
Today I am thankful for:
- A great trip to Israel and Egypt.
- Safety along the way traveling by air and bus.
- The many sites we visited from the Bible.
- My physical stamina.
- Anne, my amazing and funny roommate.
- The many scriptures shared at the sites helping to see the site’s place in scriptures.
- Leaving Jerry scattered all over Israel and Egypt.
- God blessing me financially to allow me to make the trip.
- A week to recover from the fatigue of the trip.
- God fighting for me if I will just be still.
I have 2 prayer requests for you please. My cousin, Joetta (2 days older than me), passed away last Tuesday from a long battle with cancer. Prayers for comfort for the family. The second is a gentlemen on our tour, Duane. He arrived in Nashville at 10 p.m. after our long day of flying and turned down invitations to stay with someone overnight in Nashville. He fell asleep at the wheel and crashed. He has had neck and back surgery and is now in Rehab in Cookville, TN. He is single but has lived there all his life so will have a support group.