We had a delightful day on our pilgrimage today. We left Tiberias and traveled to the Church of the Beatitudes (blessings), next to the Sea of Galilee. The church is a beautiful Roman Catholic church built primarily by the Italians. Kent led a worship service in an outdoor pavillion. There was a breeze and the weather was hot, but perfect. We visited the church for a while and then proceeded to an old beautifully preserved wooden boat for a ride around the Sea of Galilee. As soon as we were all aboard the crew had a flag raising ceremony with the American flag raised slowly and live music, The Star Spangled Banner booming out over the Sea. It was very moving. The crew was composed of Israeli Christians and we had a worship service on the boat. Kent preached about Jesus walking on the water from the nearby mountains. We had a lot of fun and of course the end of the trip consisted of CDs (recorded by our crew-shocker) and jewelry for sale. Long live the capitalist system! (we’ve also driven thru Cana twice and amazing-they have “wedding wine” stores of course:) Our next stop was on the edge of the Sea to be re-baptized by the 5 ministers on our trip (Kent, Marsha and 3 other pastors). One of the members of our group had never been baptized so she was first. It was very simple and lovely. We stopped for lunch at a beautiful resort area and then drove for nearly 3 hours thru a severe mountain desert. It was strangely beautiful and it is interesting to note that we have never seen any livestock, sheep-no wildlife because there is no grazing area-only desert. We traveled thru the largest national park which has a few rodents apparently and sometimes deer (I think Sunset Lane has more really). We are now in a beautiful hotel Le Meridien, right on the banks of the Dead Sea, so it is a spa hotel and very chic. Tonight is the beginning of the Sabbath so there are many Jewish Israelis enjoying the evening here with their families. I am still having severe internet issues (as is everyone) and apparently getting both my phone wifi and my ipad wifi to work at the same time would cause an Israeli uprising. They think I am crazy to even want to try this idea. I opted for wifi tonight to type on the blog, but all photos seem set in my phone for now. A future blog will be filled with lots of photos, I promise. All is well with Aunt Marsha and Meme. She was a little overwhelmed by a beautiful rendition of “How Great Thou Art” today on the Sea, but she seems so happy to be here! Love from the Dead Sea, 🙂 Shalom, K

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