Israel – March 2023

This past March, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Israel for the first time. Yehovah made my greatest, far-out dreams come to life as I was in His land.

Today I have a special guest, Maggie, who was my roommate/sister for three weeks while we experienced the land together. She kindly agreed to join me today and talk about our trip. Together we will answer seven questions about the trip. Thank you so much, Maggie, for joining!

Question 1: What was your favorite place?

Maggie: Caesarea. It was cool to see the Roman architecture–the tiles, buildings, and arches–still intact where they were laid two thousand years ago.

Faith: My favorite place was Jerusalem.

Maggie: (gasps, pretending to be surprised) Oh, really?

Faith: (laughs) And other than Jerusalem, my second favorite place was Gilgal.

Maggie: Oh, that was really cool. I think that it was my second favorite too.

Faith: Yes! With the stone fence there that the Israelites built and the place where the Tabernacle would have been!

Maggie: Well, I’m not really sure if that’s the real place where the Israelites were, but it was cool to be in the “West Bank” and see another side of civilization where it was more deserted and wasn’t touristy at all.

The arches at Caesarea
Us at the Mediterranean Sea
Us with a friend, Ava, at the Mediterranean Sea at Caesarea
The beach–Maggie’s “happy place”
Jerusalem–the city that has stolen Faith’s heart
Faith by the Jaffa Gate
Faith at the Garden Tomb, Jerusalem
Gilgal, our second favorite place
The flock of sheep at Gilgal, in front of a date grove. Nothing touristy there, only nature.
See the ancient fence?

Question 2: What surprised you the most?

Maggie: Probably how “under-whelming” some of the places were, like when we were in Jerusalem. You expect things to be more awing, based on what others who have visited said. But really, sometimes when you visit places like the Garden Tomb, or the Western Wall, you realize they are only locations. Significant locations, but still just ‘places’. What is really awing is God Himself, and the fact that we are His children and nothing can ever change that. 

Faith: Amen! I thought the same thing when we were at the Garden Tomb. Seeing the empty grave doesn’t compare to knowing the risen Messiah personally. The thing that surprised me the most would probably be either the “under-whelming” thing that you were talking about or the fact that the Israeli shopkeepers would literally step out of their shops to talk to you. You were there with me, Maggie. (laughing) “Come in! Half-price!”

Crowded shop on Mount Carmel

Question 3: What is a time when the Bible came alive?

Maggie: There are so many times when the Bible came alive. There was one time when we were driving and we saw an old grave on the side of the road that looked sort of like what Yeshua’s grave would have looked like.

Faith: Yes, the old family grave! That was so cool! For me it would probably be either at Gilgal or at the Shahak factory. At Gilgal, you literally can touch the ancient fence and see where the Israelites would have camped and where the Tabernacle would have been. At Shahak, you are at the very edge of the “West Bank” (Samaria). The people in this region are brave settlers, and you feel so close to prophecy there in Samaria.

Empty Manasseh family grave, right beside the road
Samaria, also known as “The West Bank”
Rocky Samaria landscape

Question 4: What is an inspiring or special memory from this trip?

Maggie: I think it was inspiring how close-knit the people are–how they work together towards one goal, and it’s just really united and cohesive. 

Faith: Are you talking about the Beth El community (where we stayed the whole time) or about the Jewish people in general?

Maggie: Both. I also thought it was inspiring how (at least the Israeli Jews) all have to serve in the military once they become adults, and the sacrifices that they individually make for the entire country. Many of the Beth El youth also serve/served, but if I remember right, they aren’t required to like the Israeli Jews.

Faith: My inspiring or special memories include speaking Hebrew with native Israelis, walking through the Old City of Jerusalem, standing on Mount Carmel, seeing so much history, and, most of all, hearing the voice of Yehovah. It was also really special to celebrate the Biblical new year in Israel!

Maggie: Ha. I remember you and the Williams dragged me outside with y’all at nine o’clock to look for the new moon!

The new moon starting the Biblical year, as viewed from the guesthouse balcony
The view from Mount Carmel

Question 5: What was it like being a part of a group?

Maggie: It was really great to get to know everyone, their stories, and where they came from.

Faith: It was a big learning experience for me, because it’s the first time I’d traveled without my family. Also, I’ve never worked in the public, so it was a big experience working with people. There were some personality challenges, but our group had a strong bond of unity. And you know how they all babied me.

Maggie: (laughing) Oh, yes, you were their golden child.

Faith: Yes, I was babied. I love them all. They are very special people.

Our group of eighteen people in Caesarea
Our group at the Sea of Galilee
Us with our dear French “aunt”–Ghislaine. Backseat buddies!
Us with our “adoptive parents”–Johnny and Gail Williams
Us with the trip coordinators–Mr. And Mrs. Dee

Question 6: What are some differences between Israel and America?

Maggie: In Israel the weekend is Friday and Saturday, instead of Sunday.

Faith: And in Israel there are bomb shelters or bunkers with air filtration systems nearly anywhere you go. In Israel, the roads are bumpier and the drivers are scarier.

Maggie: Yep. I remember we got rear-ended once while in the little bus, and our driver got out to make sure the other driver was okay, talked for just a minute, then climbed back in and we just kept going. Small collisions like that are just the norm there, apparently.

Question 7: What would you want to tell a first-time traveler?

Maggie: Get off the beaten path. Go to the less touristy areas. Visit the little boutique shops on the side-roads, talk to the owners, and notice little things like kids playing on the sidewalk while their mothers sip espresso and chat in Hebrew. Also, in the rougher market areas, expect people to scam you— you are a tourist, and they know it, and they will try to get as much money from you as they can. It’s just how it’s done there. Bargain whenever you can, but don’t get frustrated if you still get scammed. It’s part of the experience, to be honest.

Faith: Be expecting things to be dirtier than America. Be expecting different weather, different culture, and a desert climate. Most of all, be expecting amazing things from Yehovah. His eyes are always watching that land. He loves to change lives and meet people there in His land.

The “Founder’s Street” in Zichron Yaakov, with many little shops we visited together
Our first day together, at the nature park in Zichron Yaakov
The “sisters” by Gideon’s stream
With friends at Nachsholim beach
On the Gilboa mountains
By the Sea of Galilee

Now, dear readers, I want to invite you to comment below with any questions for Maggie and me! “Next year in Jerusalem.”

Faith Williams
I am a nineteen-year-old girl who loves to write, especially fiction. I write many stories and poems. I usually have a moral or lesson behind my writings, for I hope these stories and poems, which Yehovah (God) helped me to write, will glorify Him as I share them on this blog. Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy your stay!


  1. Did your three week old experience in Israel with Hands to the Land change you in any way? Does it seem you have a closer relationship all with the Father because of being in His Land?

    1. I won’t answer for Maggie, but personally the answer would be yes to both questions.

      I am definitely closer to the Father now and changed/grew while in Israel.:)

    2. Hey Kathy! I definitely feel like I grew during that experience. Personally, I’ve never really travelled that far without any family, so I felt like I was more confident in myself after the trip as compared to beforehand. And yes, I grew closer to God. Being in Israel kind of confirmed everything the Bible tells us. It was so refreshing to see everything with my eyes instead of just imagining it. I would love to go back sometime.

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