At 6:00 yesterday morning (Monday, April 17), a group of sleepy-eyed, excited pilgrims gathered in the parking lot of First Baptist Greenville. We boarded a bus and were shuttled through the early morning commuter traffic of Atlanta. We arrived at the Atlanta airport and boarded a plane for JFK airport in New York. In New York, we met up with our fellow pilgrims from San Francisco – Reverend Joy Yee and members of Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church who will share this journey with us. Our flight from JFK took us direct to Tel Aviv, Israel. In Tel Aviv, we boarded another bus and made our way to a Benedictine convent on the Sea of Galilee – our home for these days prior to traveling to Jerusalem. We are here.

In between flights and shuttles, there’s been a lot of conversation… a lot of wondering…a lot of expectations voiced. Some are expecting a spiritual experience. After years of following Jesus – years of embracing the faith – a familiarity sets in. It’s not that we are bored, but how can an infinite, unimaginable, mysterious God become so…so….common in our mind. We often need a rekindling of our love and devotion to God. Others are expecting an adventure. To see things, eat things, do things that have yet to be disclosed. They are anticipating hiking the height of Masada or walking the Via Dolorosa. Others want to learn… to see…to know…to understand the geographic context of their faith. We all have different expectations. All of us, however, are expecting to join with you in prayer. We will carry your prayers to the Wailing Wall. We will carry you in our hearts. We hope that you will pray for us: Mary Carol Anderson, Jim Gaines, Nancy Gaines, Gordon Herring, Sarah Herring, Diane Hughs, Brenda League, Harriet Major, Anne Martin, Sarah McGregor, Debbie Paden Mobley, Becky Ramsey, Bob Simmons, Carol Stephens, Bill Stoddard, Jeanie Stoddard, Jim Dant, (and from San Francisco) Bob Deel, Mary Beth Deel, Matthew Koshy, Rebecca Koshy and Joy Yee.

We will see you in a little less than two weeks…and I’m hoping you might consider being a pilgrim on the next journey…

— Jim