Day 1: Arrival.

by Alexandra Rutkowski

It finally hit me that I’m in Israel. Israeli hot over here. (See what I did there? That’s a pun! Lame, I know, but I was really proud of that.) I’m writing from our snazzy tour bus now, and the view from the window leaves me completely in awe. The most beautiful pastel sunset just faded, and the illuminated cities are glowing against a pitch-black sky. I’m also pretty excited about all these palm trees. Even though Israel is a first-world country, it still looks like the Biblical Israel I’ve always pictured. Wait, we just passed a camel-crossing sign. Forget what I was saying.

 We all met up at the El Al Airline gate at around 8 o’clock last night- it was that kind of awkward greeting as you stare at someone from a distance that you recognize cause you’ve stalked them on Facebook and you aren’t sure if you should approach them and give it away. (And don’t you pretend you wouldn’t do the same thing!) The point is, we all met up. That’s all that matters. (Right now, Caleb is so courteously explaining in detail how our current position on a sketchy road between large hills on each side is the pristine location for a terrorist attack. Thank you so much.) Back at the airport, Michael, our group leader, gave us twenty minutes to come up with some kind of video to post for our sponsors about our excitement. On that note, check out the video of Caleb rapping. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. “*beat boxing rhythm* My name is Caleb and I’m here to say, I made this dreidle  and I made it outta clay. SHALOM.

10 LONG hours on the flight later…

2 hours on a BUS later…

Here we are finally at the Masada youth hostile. 

Tomorrow, we’re checking out Ein Gedi’s beautiful hot springs with some nice hiking trails and a wildlife reserve. But greatest of all… we’re FLOATING in the Dead Sea. We’re not allowed to shave tonight because even the lightest abrasion will cause a lot of pain in the water. Good thing I’m still recovering from being covered in poison ivy, right? Yeahya. This should be good.

I have limited internet access, but I will write each day and post when I am able. After the Dead Sea, the next morning at 4 am, we are hiking up Masada and then staying the night at a Bedouin camp in the desert, and that’s right, riding camels.

 After washing up for the night, I went out to the deck overlooking Masada and the Dead Sea and just had a wonderful time with my Savior. Life is never perfect, and tonight was one of those nights. I was distracted and weighed down by some things that just caused a lot of sadness in my heart. Being in a place like THIS, where Jesus was, I didn’t want to focus on those things, and I struggled in shifting focus. I lifted my hands in the air and praised my G-d. My beautiful sovereign G-d. I looked up and just saw the faint silhouette of Masada and the the shimmering lights reflecting in the waters of the Dead Sea. I was just able to escape into the loving and comforting arms of my Father. How blessed we are to have that. I can’t get over it.