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  • Kim Olachea

Adventures in Israel – A Taste of Israel

Israel was never on my bucket list, although my husband, Joe, had led several tours to Israel while I stayed home with our growing family. I imagined staring at a bunch of rocks with a guide pointing out a particular place, stating, “This is the place where Jesus ____________,” with the expectation that I would magically feel connected to the Bible and ancient history.

Rocks, ruins, and museums are usually not my thing, and I honestly feared the experience would underwhelm me. Over the years, friends I knew who had visited Israel raved, saying things like, “Seeing where Jesus walked changed my life." That didn't seem possible for me, and I didn't want to pretend, nor did I want to be embarrassed that this transformation did not happen for me.

By 2013, our kids were old enough to live at home while we traveled. The opportunity presented itself for me to go to Israel with Joe. I decided to go because I wanted to spend time with him and better understand what he had been doing all these years. But I still feared that I would be bored or disappointed.

We arrived at our hotel outside Tel Aviv an hour before dinner, with time to explore and relax. Having been warned by experienced travelers, we avoided a nap to minimize jet lag. Instead, we met up with some of our group for a walk. The sun was setting, and I was awe-struck by the rhythmic blue water of the Mediterranean and the vibrant sunset colors of orange, yellows, pinks, and blues painted by the great and mighty Creator God. I leaned over to my husband and whispered facetiously, “When can we move here?”

It was not until we stepped into the boat and sailed out into the waters of the Sea of Galilee that my heart almost skipped a beat. I became consumed with the thought that Jesus had been here on this same water, listening to the call of seagulls hunting for their meal, gazing, much like me, across the landscape with His eyes facing up toward the high cliffs of Mt Arbel. It was in this place that Scripture describes the time when The Teacher walked on water and calmed the raging storm – a storm that rose so suddenly, so unexpectedly, when the wind swooped down from the cleft between the cliffs, that it threatened the most experienced fishermen to the point crying out, “Lord, save us!”

Finally, the trip became all that I had hoped it would be, something I thought impossible.

There were also some humorous, less spiritual moments on my first visit to Israel. Although we laugh now, it was a bit disconcerting at the time. My friend Barb and I were with our group bringing up the rear while our husbands chatted together in front, leading the way. It was quite crowded that day, more than I had seen before. An Arab merchant, leading his donkey along, stopped suddenly, directly in front of us on the narrow path. Our group continued walking while we were trapped in the crowd behind the donkey. No one looked back or realized we were gone. All we could see was the back of the donkey and masses of people.

Barb and I experienced a few harrowing moments, wondering if we would find the guys or be forced to find our way back to the hotel. But finally, we spotted them frantically searching for us! For some reason, our husbands were more than a little annoyed with us, thinking we were talking and not paying attention to the guide when the leaders left us “behind” – literally!

Since I first visited Israel in 2013, Joe and I have led five more tours together, three to Israel and two to Greece. Our most recent trip was in November of 2022, where we enjoyed one day in Jerusalem and Bethlehem as part of a 14-day Greece & 3-Continent Cruise, which we hope to offer again. We are excited to return to our favorite place on earth – the Holy Land of Israel.

We invite you to go with us from February 26 through March 8, 2024, to the land of Israel, plus two days in Jordan, where we will visit Petra, Jerash, and the Dead Sea. In addition to a highly qualified, English-speaking Israeli guide, Joe teaches at most biblical sites, using the land and culture as his “PowerPoint," much like Jesus did with His followers and the crowds.

For more information or to register for our 2024 Israel-Jordan Trip, visit our website at

To learn more about us and what we do, we welcome you to join us for this FREE Workshop and dinner:

A Taste of Israel: In the Footsteps of Jesus is happening right here at the Fairfield Harbour Community Center on Tuesday evening, August 22, from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. This event is completely FREE, but you MUST make a reservation by signing up on Eventbrite.

Feel free to call us at 609-706-0573 (Joe’s cell) or email us at if you have any questions! We look forward to meeting you and sharing a meal!

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