by Ministry of SHOFAR on October 10th, 2013

We have mixed emotions today.  Today is our last day in Israel and we have experienced so much and GOD has truly changed us for the better in so many ways.  We also head back home to the States today and are looking forward to reuniting with our families and friends and sharing all that GOD has done in and through us during this journey.

We started our day a little later than usual which allowed us to have a leisurely breakfast and finish packing.  We then went into the center of Jerusalem headed to the Tower of David.  We enjoyed that beautiful scenery along the way.
Anita was excited to take a picture by the mezuzah at the entrance of the Jaffa Gate into the old City.
Next we arrived at the Tower of David!
We then journeyed to the site where they are excavating the debris of the 2nd Temple and were able to participate in finding remains!!!

Below you is the gentleman that explained the excavation process.
Here are some of the key finds our team identified!
Anita and Jennifer struck gold... literally!!!  They found a piece of mosaic that was infused with pure gold!  This was a very valuable find!
Each morning we would greet Abie with a HALELU-YAH and he would greet us with a "Good Morning" song.  We had to hear him sing to us one more time before we parted.
Below is Abie our invaluable guide and friend (who we think should be Israel's official historian) and our bus driver Abed who can drive a bus like no other!  We learned many a time throughout our trip that nothing,  no place or space was impossible for Abed and the bus!
The crew that rocked Israel!
We ended our day with dinner together at the hotel.  The decor of the hotel was so beautiful.  Anita couldn't resist taking a picture next to the excavated finds especially after we personally did some excavating ourselves!
This is the waiter who tended to us nearly every night and was such a help to us in so many ways.  He looks forward to our return to Israel and we look forward to seeing him again too!

by Ministry of SHOFAR on October 10th, 2013

We began our day by traveling to Qumran.  Along the way we stopped at the area that is at Sea Level... the lowest point on earth.  There we had a blast taking camel rides!
We finally arrived at Qumran.  Qumran is where the dead sea scrolls were discovered.  The finding of the scrolls was one of the greatest archeological finds of the 20th century!
Next we traveled to the infamous Masada!  Masada is where the last stand took place by the Jewish people against the Roman army following the destruction Jerusalem and the 2nd
Temple.  This massive fortress of refuge was built by Herod.  A Hollywood movie was made depicting this incredible story called by the same name.  The heroic stand exemplified at Masada is such a key symbol to the nation of Israel that still today, Israeli soldiers (IDF) journey to Masada as part of swearing their allegiance to the Nation of Israel.
Our last stop for the day was at the Dead Sea!  We were so ready to have some fun and relaxation in the healing waters!  Because of the heavy mineral concentration, it is impossible to sink so everyone was enjoying their ability to relax and float!
Having a fitness instructor traveling with the group assures that we will get our exercise in even while relaxing!  Many thanks to Linda Ross for allowing us to participate in synchronized aerobics!
We were so relaxed when we left the Dead Sea that many of us fell asleep on the bus ride back to Jerusalem.  Our skin felt so smooth and rejuvenated!  We definitely slept well that night!  We can't believe our journey is almost over and that we head back to the States tomorrow.  However, we are excited that we still have adventures to experience tomorrow before we head to the airport! Shalom and Goodnight!

by Ministry of SHOFAR on October 10th, 2013

Today was truly the most life-changing day of this journey yet! 

We started our day at Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Museum).  Words cannot express the impact this experience had on our hearts.  We were not allowed to take pictures but  what we saw and experienced will forever be branded on our hearts.  It truly shakes you deep within to see the horror that happened and can happen when little by little, mankind allows lines to be blurred, values to be altered and GOD's plumbline to be removed. 

What enters is a spirit of evil beyond comprehension that can take control and try to obliterate GOD's plans and purposes for all HIS children.  BUT GOD still has the LAST AND FINAL WORD and HE being all powerful and seeing the end from the beginning did not allow HIS people to be "wiped off the face of the earth" as was evil's plan.  GOD's Word is True and He promised Abraham that his children would be as numerous as the sand by the sea and the stars in the sky.  GOD brought survivors through the horrific Holocaust and brought life from them.  After viewing the unimaginable terror and suffering that was inflicted and experienced during the Holocaust, There was a memorial to life.  It showed survivors marrying and having children once again despite the extreme trauma they experienced.  GOD, the Giver of Life brings restoration even out of the worst of ashes.  HIS people will rise and still fulfill purpose as HE destined them to.  
Our next stop was at the Israel Museum.  This museum displays a model of the City of Jerusalem during the 2nd Temple period.
After the Israel Museum, we stopped for lunch at the museum's two eateries.  Since dairy and meat are not to be served together according to Kosher observance, one eatery was for veggie and dairy foods and the other was for meats.  The team split up to eat at the eatery of their choice and enjoyed the experience.  Below is the group that chose the eatery with meat.
Here are team members that chose the veggie/dairy route.  They enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches and pastas.
After lunch we made the long anticipated journey to Tzur Hadassah to plant olive trees in the newly created Yuval's Park!
We were overwhelmed by the exuberant and heartfelt welcome by the community of Tzur Hadassah upon our arrival.  They ran out to the bus to meet us!
Many of the people wanted to blow Rabbi's shofar, starting with our guide, Abie's wife pictured below.
The youth were so ecstatic about our arrival.  They had worked so hard the previous two weeks to prep the park for us to come and plant the olive trees in honor of their beloved classmate and friend.
One of the young men gave Darryl a shekel as a gift from Israel.  Darryl returned the favor by giving him a quarter from America.  They both were honored by the gesture of friendship.
The mayor of Tzur Hadassah and the fellow members of the community welcomed us so warmly.
Rabbi was honored by planting the first and second tree located on either side of the entry walk into Yuval's Park.
It was such a blessing to be able to join with youth and elders of the community to plant all 70 olive trees.
Words cannot express our gratitude to be able to meet Yuval's grandfather and Aunt.  Pictured below (Left to Right): Gilad (Abie's son that first asked his father if we could plant trees in their community), Abie (our tour guide), Abie's wife who is also an Israel Tour Guide, Anita Spivie, Yuval's Aunt, Rabbi, and Yuval's grandfather.
Yuval's grandfather proudly and tearfully brought out a picture of Yuval for everyone to see after Brandy Stone-Miller asked him if he had a picture they could view.
It was so hard to leave Tzur Hadassah where our hearts have been knitted so tightly with everyone there.  We do not say "goodbye" but instead "until next time".  We eagerly look forward to coming back and visiting our beloved friends and watching the trees grow year after year.
After our amazing experience at Tzur Hadassah, we were so excited to welcome in Shabbat.  We of course couldn't resist beginning with dancing and celebration!
Today was truly incredible!  We know that GOD purposed our journey for such a time as this.  The connections we made and relationships gained were more than we could have ever imagined.  Praise be to the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the abundant blessings he as bestowed.  We gladly and gratefully enter into HIS rest (Shabbat) and this new month (Rosh Chodesh).  We are blessed to yet still continue in this journey tomorrow.

by Ministry of SHOFAR on October 4th, 2013

The SHOFAR Israel 2013 Team was so excited and anxious to plant 70 olive trees in Tzur Hadassah, Israel.  This tree planting was to create a park called "Yuvel's Park" in memory of a 17 year old girl from the community that died tragically of Cancer within the past year and a half.  SHOFAR was truly honored to be able to bless this grieving family and community.  We were welcomed so warmly and have truly established a life-long relationship with the community of Tzur Hadassah. 

The Mayor wanted to greet the entire SHOFAR gathering to give his thanks.

by Ministry of SHOFAR on October 4th, 2013

We continued our Journey through Jerusalem by first visiting Gethsemane where Yeshua and His disciples went after their Seder meal.  This is where Yeshua prepared to be the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the entire world.
While in Gethsemane, the presence of GOD was so strong and Anita felt the Lord's prompting to anoint us for the new season GOD is bringing us into.
As we walked to our next destination, we were able to get a great view of the Eastern Gate.  This is the gate that Yeshua will enter when he returns!
Next we visited the Davidson Archeological Center.  Here we were able to see various ruins of Jerusalem dating back to the 2nd Temple.  While on the grounds we saw a Jewish family preparing their sons to Pray at the Western Wall. 
As we came out from viewing the Jerusalem ruins, we were able to join in another Bar Mitzvah celebration!  What an honor!
We then went to the Temple entrance where the original steps still exist.  We were able to walk up the very same stairs that many generations past walked up to enter the Temple.... including Yeshua.
While on the top of the steps to the Temple, this is the view of the city.
While waiting for the group, Rabbi found shade by a beautiful Oasis.
We then headed to the Kotel (Western Wall) tunnels.  They are still doing much excavation here and finding more and more of history from the previous centuries.
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Because these are the ruins of the Temple, this area where these women are praying is believed to be the outside wall of where the Holy of Holies stood.
After viewing the foundations of the temple, we were able to journey to the infamous Western Wall.  There were many soldiers present.  Abie, our guide, informed us that they had come to the wall to pledge their allegiance to Israel.   We were so honored to be able to join so many at the Western wall.
We prepared to go to the Wall with a cleansing (washing our hands).
Since women and men are separated by a fence at the Western Wall,  I could only catch a glimpse of Rabbi praying at the Wall.
We concluded our day at the Garden Tomb where Yeshua was crucified, buried and resurrected!  Our tour host for the Garden, Ceasar, was a true blessing to the group.
We ended our day with a spectacular light show that depicted the history of Jerusalem at the Tower of David Museum.  It was truly phenomenal!  Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures so you will just have to journey with us next time to see this amazing sight! 

We are so full already from all that we have experienced.  But our journey is not over yet.  We remain expectant for the fullness of what GOD purposed us to come to HIS land for!