I noticed and appreciated all of the heart and thought you put into every aspect of the trip.
I was so overwhelmed by all that we saw and experienced that I'm sure I will be processing for years to come. Thanks to you and your incredible team, I didn't have to be overwhelmed by trying to figure anything out. You had it all in capable hands and anticipated every need. You were not just our trusted guides, but became our friends as well. Thank you! I am so grateful for this amazing journey! God's hand was upon it from the very start. To say the least, this was a very impactful trip. I am still processing, but His Word has become more alive to me after seeing these places with my own eyes. Linda, with Alpha 2 Omega Travel, took care of every detail and went above and beyond to make our trip seamless and so special. She did so many little things to give it a personal touch. Jarir, our guide in Israel, was so knowledgeable of the culture and history. He made the trip a great learning experience, but what I appreciated most was the Christian viewpoint. He also made it a lot of fun as he was very personable. When you go, make sure to request him! Rabir was an amazing driver and was so helpful & cheerful. Marwam, our guide in Jordan, was also incredible. Very knowledgeable and informative and friendly. I cannot say enough about the experience but encourage every Christian to pray about experiencing it for themselves! Julie Atkinson, Hampshire, IL
It was such a pleasure to travel with you.
This year to Israel and Jordan. I am so thankful that God gave me this opportunity and you made it a memorable trip. Alpha 2 Omega Travel is one of which you should be proud, and I will be sure to let my friends know that if they plan any trips, to contact you. I never worried about my safety while in Israel and Jordan. The first week I thought something was wrong with me because I wasn't feeling God's presence, but when we went to the Garden Tomb, and then on the boat where Jesus performed the first miracle, the spirit of God was definitely with me and I knew I was supposed to be there and experience His presence. I didn't want to leave the boat. Another special moment was when I was baptized by Scott Reece and Jerry Helms in the River Jordan. Oh, and riding the camel and walking the 830+ steps to see the mausoleum was incredible.The tour guides did an outstanding job and thank you so much for your friend having us all for lunch at his house. What a joy and pleasure it was to meet his family. They are lovely. I also appreciate the bus driver going back to Jericho to get my phone. Thank you again for calling the hotel. Sally Weckel, Moline, IL
Our Holy Land trip was truly a “trip of a lifetime.”
Linda, our tour operator at Alpha 2 Omega Travel, had the whole itinerary worked out to a T, every detail, every hour of the day. She brought us to the most awe-inspiring places from where Jesus was born, to where He lived in Capernaum, to where He fed the 5,000, to where He was crucified, died, and was buried. Not for one instance did we ever feel afraid on the whole trip. Safety was a given and we never gave it a second thought. Randy and I renewed our wedding vows at the Church of Cana, which was extra special for us. We floated on the Dead Sea and we even got to take a boat on the Sea of Galilee!!! It was AMAZING! Our tour guide, Jarir who was from Jerusalem, was very knowledgeable in his explanation of everywhere we went. We used these ”whispers,” basically earphones, so we could hear perfectly what Jarir said when we were inside quiet places. On the bus, Jarir used the microphone so we always could hear what was going on. Pastor Jeff led us all in the inspirational Biblical perspective of our entire tour. We couldn’t have had a better Israel trip to the Holy Land!!! P.S. Linda, thanks so much for a Super trip!! And thanks for the special necklace you bought for me when I wasn’t feeling well. I love it!!! Debbie and Randy Peterson, San Clemente, CA
A Pastors perspective on why you need to travel to the Holy Land….
For over 25 years, I have been leading Bible Studies, giving sermons, and generally doing all the things that pastors are privileged to do. When it comes to spiritual growth, there are few things that can rival a trip to the Holy Land. People will read the Bible their whole life, but the stories can seem distant and it is often hard to imagine the connections that these events have to the bigger story in general, and to our own faith journey in particular. A trip to the Holy Land allows one access to what many call the fifth Gospel—the land itself—and this access is often the missing ingredient in understanding the Bible as a whole. To be outside of Bethlehem in Beit Sahour, the location of the Shepherds fields, and to stop for a moment in the chapel built into one of the caves, to hear the story of that holy night when a heavenly host appeared to those shepherds, and to look up into the distance and see Bethlehem, to gaze on the terrain, to feel the breeze, to see the distance they would have run some 1.5 miles to the place of the manager; this will change Christmas forever! Why? Because now you have seen with your own eyes and connected the story with your footsteps that have walked the same path. As you find yourself on the on the sea of Galilee, you will see Capernaum to the north, the home base of Jesus, and as you turn your eyes west and continue to circle around, you’ll see the Church of the Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount), Tabgha, where we commemorate the feeding of the 5000, the Mensa Domini, where we remember the resurrected Jesus eating breakfast and the great catch of fish. As you keep turning, you’ll remember all the stories of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee, and finally you’ll look to the ‘other side’ where Jesus cured the man who was plagued with a legion of demons! All of this happened here in this place. Small things like the distances between these places, the vegetation, the song birds, the smells and the ruins themselves will make the stories jump from the pages of the Bible and become more real than you had ever imagined. But then again, this is simply my perspective! Why not take to heart the words of Jesus and find out for yourself, “Come and see!.” Pastor Jeff has been to the Holy land many times and has traveled with Alpha2Omega his last three trips. Peace! Pastor Jeff Frohner, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, San Clemente, CA.
What a great tour!
Your guides, Jarir and Marwan were fabulous - very informative, and they kept us moving, and with 38 in our group that was very important. I found myself visualizing Jesus and the disciples in different sites we visited - cooking breakfast for the disciples on the shore after they had unsuccessfully fished all night. At the Lord's command to "Cast your nets on the other side of the boat" their catch was abundant. Knowing Jesus walked on the water there was amazing. Recalling Peter's conversation with Jesus, "Do you love me?..." I enjoyed so many areas - Mount Nebo where Moses viewed the Promised Land, but was not allowed to enter. So many things took on special meaning. I was reading I Samuel this week of the Philistines hanging the bodies of King Saul and his three sons on the wall in Beth Shan. With a little investigating I discovered that was Bet She'an, which we had visited. The Bible feels more alive after visiting Israel and Jordan. Every day was well thought out and planned. It was great having you with us throughout the tour. Thank you again for an enjoyable, informative, and spiritual experience. Thank you, Linda! Grace Godwin, MGT New Hope Foursquare Church, Moline, IL
Every time I read my Bible
I just want to take a moment to thank you for putting together such a wonderful trip for us. Every time I read my Bible I can visualize places I have been. I hope someday to be able to travel with you again. I had to think about my favorite place and/or what I enjoyed the most. I loved being able to see Petra. It was so amazing and so much bigger that I thought it would be. It is hard to imagine how it was all carved without all the things we have available to us today. It was just one of the times that made me think "and we think we are so smart and advanced.” Glenn and I also very much enjoyed renewing our vows in Cana and the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. It was a lot of fun getting a catch in the nets and then dancing. The trip to Bethlehem and the Shepherds Grotto was also a good day, and the lunch with the dancers was wonderful! And, so much fun learning to dance with them.You added so many personal touches to are trip to make it even more unforgettable. Thank you so much! Nancy Bagsby, Kingston, IL
The Crew is phenomenal
Linda and her crew put together a phenomenal team effort and gave us the experience of a lifetime in Israel and Jordan (March 2017) - every detail was taken care of for us. Linda and our guides were very informative and helpful every step of the way from providing excellent narratives at every site, to letting us know what to expect each and every day, to retrieving a lost smart phone for one of our fellow travelers - no worries! If you want to get the absolute most out of a visit to the Holy Land, then Alpha 2 Omega Travel is the way to go! Thank you, Linda! Jim and Lauren, East Moline, IL
Just a few short weeks ago, I had the extreme honor
Taking my 3rd trip (and best so far) to the Holy Land. Together, with about 35 other passionate pilgrims, we made the journey from the United States to one of the most unique pieces of geography on the planet. Having taken 2 other trips, I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to the long flight, but was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that Turkish Airlines was a step above and catered to those of us traveling with a genuine sense of professionalism, care, and concern. The plane itself was very comfortable and the service was second to none. Arriving in Israel and being greeted by Linda Miller of Alpha 2 Omega gave all of us a real sense of security and care. The bus was exceptional, the tour guides where phenomenal, and beginning with the very first night, the hotels were above and beyond our expectations. I had stayed in nice hotels on my previous trips, but was not ready for the first-class treatment that we received from each of the hotels in which we stayed. Coming to a world-class hotel every night after busy days of exploring the land of the prophets, was indeed, a real treat! While the days were busy, the schedule was well thought out and quite comprehensive. Starting in Jerusalem and watching the faces of those that were there for the very first time was rewarding and fulfilled a sense of purpose and destiny in me as a pastor. Watching the stories of both the Old and New Testaments come to life before your very eyes is an experience that you literally have to walk out for yourself to even begin to realize how powerful these moments are. During the journey itself, I appreciated the depth of knowledge and comprehension that our tour guide had, but also that Linda Miller shared so willingly with the group. It was very obvious that those who organized the trip and led us were passionate, not only about their jobs, but particularly about the Holy Land and the people of the Middle East. As we moved through the week, I found myself intrigued by the depth of experience, knowledge, and exposure that our leaders possessed and the variety of locations that we visited. Having taken two other trips, I quickly discovered that this wasn’t an ordinary “touristy” trip, but a pilgrimage that allowed us to venture out in our faith and discover people, places, and events of the Bible that we had only read about in the Bible. For me personally, I always enjoy being “out” from Jerusalem where Jesus actually lived and “did life” with His family, friends, and disciples. The reality of being in the very places that Jesus loved so much, made me feel closer to Him and having returned from our trip, I find a deeper passion and hunger for the reality of the Word and I read the Word with a greater longing to connect with the authenticity of the life of the Gospels. Crossing the border into Jordan and walking through Petra was a dream come true and one of the most amazing experiences I have had in my life. Having that included in our trip rounded out an exceptional time in a very special place. I cannot begin to recommend Alpha 2 Omega Travel and the ministry of Linda Miller enough! Please note that I used the word “ministry” because that’s genuinely how Linda approaches every trip and every group that she takes to Israel. It is very obvious that her objective isn’t about the dollar, but about providing a unique experience for each of those who travel with her, and by the end of the trip, become her friends! Thanks Alpha 2 Omega Travel... Scott Reece, M.A., Senior Pastor, MGT New Hope Church, Moline, IL
My wife and I, Along with two other pastors
Had the pleasure of leading a tour group to Israel with an extension to Petra in Jordan, with Alpha 2 Omega Travel. It was an amazing journey! Top notch all the way! Every detail was taken care of! Our travel agent, Linda, who traveled with us, our guides (one in Israel and one in Jordan), and the bus drivers were so good to work with and they treated us like royalty! They even did some things for us that were above and beyond what was expected, such as, our guide in Jordan inviting all 38 of us to his home for lunch. What a treat! As for me personally, having been there 4 times before, it was a treat to visit some sites that we had not seen before. Perhaps one of my highest points (literally) was to visit Mt. Nebo and then on to Petra in Jordan. We had always wanted to see those sites, but for one reason or another, weren't able to. The drive alone up to Mt. Nebo was worth the price of admission. I would highly recommend them. Linda Miller, the owner and lead agent for Alpha 2 Omega Travel, was wonderful to work with, the guides were very knowledgeable and fun to be with, and the bus drivers were amazing. All in all, it was a wonderful trip! I certainly hope we'll be able to return again someday and take others to share the journey with us. Pastor James Freund, Lead Pastor, CrossWind Community Church, Genoa, IL
Thank you for your work
On behalf of our Israel/Jordan trip. Your great attention to detail was obvious. It was my second trip and what a joy it was to return to Israel! We made new friends and visited with old friends along the way and were treated as royalty. It was a very special treat to be guided at the Garden Tomb by my friends Stan and Molly Doland. Thank you for making this trip happen! Pr. Jerry Helms, CornerStone Christian Fellowship, Moline, IL
First off, let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for an absolutely life changing adventure.
I didn't know what to expect and I was praying for Jesus to reveal His reasons for me being on the trip. I knew I wanted to walk where Jesus walked, but being there was completely surreal. While there are many places where archeology and history can likely assume Jesus was, the one place that proved to be the most memorable to me was at the Church of the Primacy of Peter. Most of the other sites we went to were ornately decorated, but this church was simple and quiet. I was able to stand on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and imagine the whole scene playing out. By chance, there was a boat about a hundred yards away, and I could just picture Peter jumping out of it and running to where Jesus was standing. While I've always been told there's nothing I can do that will keep me from being loved and forgiven, seeing the spot where Jesus redeemed Peter grounded that reality. Thank you again for putting together an itinerary that will not only change the way I read the Bible, but one that profoundly strengthened my faith and relationship with Jesus. I am forever grateful. -Jean Nosco, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach
Planning this trip to Israel had some difficulties for me.
First, I didn’t have the funds and my parents didn’t want me to go to the Middle East with all the tension. They flat out told me no! But the Lord put the trip on my heart and after the first payment being due and meeting in December of 2016, I signed up not knowing what was going to happen and the Lord came through. My passport came on time right before it was time to buy our plane tickets and the trip from fundraising and other avenues was all paid for. I knew during those early months of 2017 that I was meant to go on this trip. I didn’t know why I was going, but I knew the Lord wanted me to go. I didn’t grow up in the church and in some moments in my life I didn’t think God existed because I thought, how could I go through these horrible moments and this is your plan, Lord. So yes, I rejected him completely, but he had a way and came to me in many different ways. It was in my trials and tests where I remembered the two years I did go to a Lutheran private school, and everything clicked one day when I was asked if I believed in God, in the Bible, and how another group didn’t use the Bible and I said, “no the only book to use is the Bible and God exists.” From that moment, the Lord led me to Grace Lutheran Church in Huntington Beach and within a month of being there I was baptized. At that moment, I knew who God was and who Jesus was, but my relationship with him was just beginning. I went to church and did what I needed to do and read the Bible, but that wasn’t enough. He wanted to be everything to me and he wanted to change me from the inside out. I went to Cursillo and then the Israel trip came up, and I went. I hate flying and it was my first international trip without my family. I know I wasn’t alone on this pilgrimage, but doing something like this without my family was huge. I totally had to put everything in the Lord’s hands and that was hard for me. Doubt came in, but I pushed it aside and told myself you’re going on this pilgrimage for a reason and the Lord wants to reveal something to you. Through this trip I have finally learned to put my whole trust in the Lord and to stop trying to fix everything myself. He is in control. Also, he is the author of our story and it was hard before to let him control my life. But now going through everything I’ve been through I now know that the Lord did not leave me and he was there every step of the way guiding me and now I know about love, forgiveness, and trust. Also, from my experiences I’m able to help children pull through their own adversity and teach them that forgiveness and love is key, but also having a relationship with the Lord is what will get you through life’s obstacles. He also knows what we need and when we need it, don’t doubt him. If he brings you to it, he will bring you through it; have faith and trust him, because he knows what he’s doing. Now I’m more confident, at rest and peace, and I’m excited to work hard to learn with the Lord as he directs my steps. I hope my testimony helps you in your decision to follow the Lord to the Holy Land. Thank you to Linda, Pastor Chris, Lisa, Emad, Jarir, and everyone who went on this pilgrimage with me. It is an experience and memory I’ll have for a lifetime. - Brittany Jolivette, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach
Thank you for your hospitality and your willingness to welcome tourists into your home
It is not a right for others to come into the Holy Land and explore the sacred sites, but a privilege that you have granted to people around the world. Your eagerness and efforts to preserve the culture and sacred practices around you is only a testament of your kind hearts. I understand that some members of the Western World (specifically media outlets) have done a disservice to Israel by spreading misconceptions or blatant false statements about your country, and I apologize for that. These hateful thoughts and messages often stem from simple ignorance. The idea that travelling to Israel is “unsafe” is simply a general statement. And after spending 12 days in Israel, I can personally attest that the statement does not apply to all. Yes, there might be some who have not felt safe in your country and I recognize tragedies have occurred in recent history, but as for my experience, there was not a moment where there was threat to my safety during the time I was in your hands. From the men at Jerusalem’s Old City gates to walking the city streets at night, a feeling of overwhelming hospitality occurred at all times. One man in particular welcomed my group of 16 people into his restaurant with no notice. I could tell he was caught off guard, but with the help of his wife, an appetizing meal was served. Some members of my group even claimed it was the best food we had eaten during the trip. He would later share that he works relentlessly to support his kids. His kind words and life story was a reminder that the people of Israel are extremely loving. Thank you for pouring your hearts into these sites and the culture. Before my trip, the immediate draw for me was the culture. The idea that different religions can live in close proximity with little conflict only shows your maturity. There are millions of unwarranted arguments over religion on the internet, conducted by immature people who have no understanding toward others. Your actions are only a testament to yourselves. It is ultimately your personal choice to preserve sites and their value. Your willingness allows others to visualize history and its stories. We're grateful for your passion as it is evident your love for the land is abundant. Some of you dedicate your lives to studying and researching these places and the ability to physically walk on these places is a reality because of you. Some may argue the accuracy or legitimacy of religion or whether or not these stories occurred, but nonetheless, thank you, for dedicating your lives for the education of others. The Holy Land carries years of history and it is the location of birthright trips for some. For many others around the world, it is where religion becomes a reality. Some live their whole lives in Israel, enduring generations of conflict and face the repercussions daily while others only have the opportunity to visit and are given a glimpse into your lives. You may argue that it can be harsh living in Israel because of the past, but I can say as a visitor that I was warmly welcomed and treated with tender hearts. I walked away from my 10 nights in Israel, even more awe of than ever. I am forever grateful of how you treated me and appreciate your love of the land around you. Thank you. - Grant Lee, Huntington Beach
It has been almost a month now since the 15 pilgrims,
Including me, returned from our pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I think I can speak for all of my companions when I write we are still unpacking the experience. While we have posted and shared pictures and continue to swap stories of our favorite moments from our time together, the full impact of what we encountered and shared continues to reverberate through our daily lives. Once you’ve traveled to the Holy Land, you just can’t read your Bible let alone look at our Father’s world the same way you did before. Our pilgrimage was centered in Jerusalem and Galilee, with two separate day trips to Bethlehem and into the Judean desert. Led by our engaging and knowledge guide, a warm and deeply reflective Palestinian Arab Christian, named Jarir, we absorbed all the history and tradition in and behind each sacred site. Whether we found ourselves combing through ancient ruins, huddled together in a church or sailing on waters Jesus once walked upon, we savored the lingering presence of both the Holy Spirit and those fellow pilgrims who came before us to these treasured sites. We often talk of God-moments in our lives; these were God-days. Our cup was indeed overflowing at the tables the Lord prepared for us. And we continue to drink from those experiences. To kiss the place of Christ’s birth. To reaffirm one’s baptism in the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John. To hear you are blessed on the mount where Jesus gave his greatest sermon. To pray in the garden where He prayed before offering His life for ours. To follow His footsteps to the Cross and beyond an empty tomb to the promise of eternal life. Sometimes people ask me: “Since Christianity is a religion of faith – something spiritual, what’s so special about physically journeying to the Holy Land?” My answer goes something like this. Our faith in Christ is not based on abstract beliefs or doctrines. Our faith – our identities are rooted in historical events, tangible places – the reality of the Incarnation – of a God who is literally with us as well as for us. Making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land only reinforces the truth of my convictions. When I read my Bible or hear God’s Word, I cannot close my eyes without picturing the places where our God in Christ chose to reveal Himself, to be fully present among His people. Despite being home to three different, yet related faiths as well as countless ethnic and cultural variations within those traditions, I witness and am humbled by the peaceful and generous manner in which the majority of the people live together. Even though each group interacts with their faith in their own way, there is deep respect for the beliefs and traditions of others. This is evidenced by the incredible hospitality and sincere affection extended to all persons – even if you are visitor from the West! Therefore for me, personally, it’s not so much the places we visit where I most experience the Lord’s love and grace. It is my interactions among the people living in this land. Every time I am privileged to visit the Holy Land – a part of the world ironically associated with so much unrest and tension – I walk away feeling more hopeful about our future. - Pr. Chris Tweitmann, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach
Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Was more than just a trip. From the Shepherd’s Field in Bethlehem to the view of the city walls of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, walking in the land of the Fathers of our Faith and the very places where Jesus himself spent his earthly years has changed the way that I read the Bible. As we walked, I thought of the scriptures born in these places. Now that I am home, the memories add understanding and context to my study. It was incredible to visit the place of Jesus’ birth, walk on the steps of the temple where he taught as young man and follow his steps through the Old City on the Via Dolorosa to the place of Crucifixion and to be reminded that the grave is empty. To see the Church of St Peter Gallicantu marking the place where Peter denied Christ and later to see the Church of the Primacy of Peter where Peter was redeemed. Visiting these places make the words jump of the pages when reading scripture. Easily one of the best parts of this trip was our incredible guide! Jarir is extremely knowledgeable and kindhearted. He took a group of 16 young Americans and connected with them as he taught and led us from the Old City of Jerusalem to Judean Wilderness to Galilee. He taught more than just the history, he brought the past to life with his reflections and depth. We have been home now for nearly a month and the reflections from his teaching are still discussed nearly every day. Spending time in the Old City of Jerusalem was a special joy to me. We walked the streets with our guide during the day and in the evenings ventured out into the city. Our time there served to change the way I think about the relationship between the sacred and the ordinary. I was struck by the images of people living their lives in the shadows and courtyards of Holy Places. Seeing local men and women shop and commute to work and children play while the pilgrims from three major religions come to visit and worship brings a unique sacredness to the place. Thinking back on the trip, one of the things that will sit with me were the depictions of the Madonna and Child in the Church of the Annunciation. Sent from nations throughout the world, they are rich representations of each nation’s culture and people demonstrating both the diversity and similarities we share in our faith. The pilgrimage to Israel is an experience that will continue to shape my faith long after stepping off of the plane back home. I loved the culture and the history of the places that we visited, looking at ruins, religious artifacts, and mosaic floors built by people who share the same faith, but lived hundreds of years ago, gives a weight to the belief that I hold. Looking at my faith through the lens of history offered me a shift in perspective. Seeing the marks left on the land by people who came before me, it became clear my faith is not a personal choice that I made to believe in or accept, but rather a joining of a greater community of faith that is not bound by nationality, culture, or race. I feel like I could truly see our God’s loving, sacrificial, and relentless pursuit for the hearts of his people. - Lisa Bari, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach
I visited Israel with Linda from Alpha and Omega Travel
Agency this past summer.
I have done a fair amount of traveling and was, at first, honestly turned off by the idea of a travel agent. Traveling with
Alpha and Omega meant that I was able to be extremely present. She has made this trip so many times she knew exactly how to avoid many possible altercations and made sure to keep our group moving so that we could see as many of Israel’s gems as possible!
Linda has spent so much time studying Israel’s culture and history. She was eager to share her knowledge and experiences with my team, which is notable because we’re a bunch of obnoxious young adults. This is more than just a job to Linda, it is her life passion. It is inspiring to learn from someone who has invested so much in the land.
I can not thank Linda enough for her loving spirit and hard work. I truly hope that I have the opportunity to travel with her again, and I hope you do too! - Molly Svoboda, St. Louis, MO
This fall, my wife and I were blessed
To visit Israel again and Jordan for the very first time. Both of these beautiful countries are treasure troves of historical, cultural, and biblical sights. The weather for our trip was perfect. The people we encountered in both countries were consistently welcoming, gracious, and generous. While in both nations, as well as going back and forth between them, safety and security were excellent. In visiting so many different wonderful places, we approached this experience as pilgrims, rather than tourists. Tourists pass quickly from place to place, whereas pilgrims move slowly and reflectively, recognizing it’s not just about reaching each destination, but the journey itself in getting to and being fully present in each place. Together, we witnessed splendid and diverse liturgies. We listened carefully to our splendid guides and encountered other local people who explained many things to us. Despite their political struggles, contentious history, and present contradictions and ambiguities, we witnessed the peaceful coexistence of the three great monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In experiencing all of this, we became a real part of the history and geography of salvation that began in these lands. Such a pilgrimage is and was life-changing and personally transformative for all of us. Everyone in our company has returned to our homes renewed, broadened, and strengthened in our faith and commitment to serve the Lord and His Church from our various states of life. Reading the Scriptures now, we truly see our lives as part of the Gospel – the greatest story ever told. Our lives are inexplicably and mysteriously bound to the countless tens of thousands of people who journeyed in faith here to these lands, experienced the living God, and made Him known through their own stories. Pr. Chris Tweitmann, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach CA
Thank you for making my dream a reality
The trip to Israel and Jordan was really special. You took care of all the details so we could fully experience these beautiful countries. Our guides and drivers in both countries were fantastic. I know I’ve been changed, renewed and blessed by this trip. God bless you, Linda. Keep up the good work! Valerie Finch, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Bach CA
So many memories it is hard to choose.
I will remember most our incredible tour guides in both Israel and Jordan as their knowledge, sense of humor, and authentic spirit made our trip amazing! My most cherished moment was at the Sea of Galilee on the boat listening to Christian music, breathing the air Jesus breathed, and sensing His presence. And yes, the Bible came to life for me, and will endure in my heart and mind as I continue on my Christian journey. Our trip was well planned thanks to Alpha 2 Omega Travel, with every little detail taken care of ahead of time. Thank you for memories I will cherish my entire life. Debbie Leahy, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach CA
My amazing trip to Petra
This trip to Petra and riding my newest friend in front of the Treasury was extraordinary. The climbing was strenuous, but definitely worth it. Thanks Linda for a great Christian trip. Alice Toppen, Sherwood Forest CA
I had a great time for my first visit to Israel.
. My most outstanding event was my baptism in the Jordan River. I could not stop the tears when the Holy Spirit fell on me as I came out of the water. Other events were Tel Dan. The walk on the trails reminded me of Upstate NY where I was raised. I loved the streams and brooks. There was so many places in Jerusalem that I felt overjoyed with peace. The Garden Tomb and Temple mount were just two of them. Our tour guide is very informative. There is not one thing about this trip I did not enjoy. I am blessed. Carolyn Albers, Cornerstone Church, Anaheim CA
I can’t stop going its so amazing
This is my 4th tour to the Holy Land with Linda at Alpha 2 Omega Travel. We have enjoyed traveling with her and the knowledge and expertise she and Jarir bring. You won’t be disappointed! The Holy Land tour is a trip of a life time! Pr. Carol Danna, Cornerstone Church, Anaheim
I enjoyed every moment
of the journey, and so blessed to be in The Holy Land. My life changing moment was getting baptized in the Jordan. Rededicating my life to Jesus and walking in holiness, my life is changed forever, and blessed beyond measure. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you so much for all you do! Charlie Dunn, New Life Chapel, Hesperia, CA
THANK YOU AGAIN (and again, and again, and again) for coordinating our trip to Israel. Before we left we knew it would be life-changing, but it has exceeded those expectations in so many ways!
Are any of you planning a trip to Israel? And you want a trip of a lifetime? Please read this. Our trip was not a 5 out of 5, but a 10 out of 5! I totally recommend this organization below, you will not be disappointed, I guarantee it. Linda Ream-Miller's heart cannot be measured. Her event planning/activities were wayyyy beyond our expectations. I also recommend starting an exercise regimen 6 months prior to your departure with her. Linda is a firecracker, orchestrator, on-point, and was so caring and loving to each of us. Love you so much Linda Ream-Miller !!! So happy & blessed to have met you and Jarir, our guide; acquaintances Kel and I will never forget. May God continue to bless you forever and ever, Amen. 🇮🇱️Friends, please feel free to reach out to me for more detail about logistics, planning...etc.Gary Poole, Kansas City, MO
Yes!! Yes!! YES!!!!!! Linda Ream-Miller was amazing!
I have been blessed to travel quite extensively and have planned each of those trips. Our trip to Israel was arranged through Alpha2Omega, and after having been there I can wholeheartedly say there is NO WAY I could have organized this trip and have us see and experience everything we did - and all at an amazing price! The organization it took to coordinate flights, hotels, a [phenomenal] guide, bus & driver [a job not for the faint of heart], choosing the sites, events, tours /tickets, and meals for 50 people is mind-blowing! Linda's experience, care and knowledge made this trip absolutely incredible! I second Gary and would recommend her and Alpha2Omega to anyone! God bless you Linda! All the work you put into this tour has changed our lives forever! Kelly Poole, Kansas City, MO
Great visiting Israel and taking it all in
Linda thanks for making all this happen smoothly and enjoyable. I appreciated looking out over the Sea of Galilee (photo attached). I had a chance to walk early one morning before getting on the bus, and just take in the beauty and peacefulness of the lake. I pictured the contrast of the raging waters when Peter got out of the boat to walk toward Jesus, and how we as humans might be willing to take a walk when everything's calm. Raging waters make us uneasy, but Peter was bold enough to step out over the boat's edge and pursue his Lord. Great lesson to behold. Mike Rizzi, Living Truth Christian Fellowship, Corona CA
Thoughts on “Palm Sunday” and Israel
The week before Palm Sunday we returned from our wonderful trip to the Holy Land with Alpha 2 Omega Travel. One of the many amazing views in Israel is looking from the Mt. of Olives west toward the Temple Mount. As you follow the trail down you cannot help but think of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry.
Our Great Champion and Hero rides in on a colt (cf. Zech. 9:9) to rescue His people. Amidst the cheers He is acclaimed as the Messiah, the King (Matt. 21:9; Luke 19:38). These titles rightfully belong to Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of Zech. 9:9, He is Savior, God and King. He is riding into Jerusalem for us. He knows what He must face and endure to save us (Heb. 12:2). His love is amazing (1 Jn. 3:16). But as He makes His way to the royal city, He does something startling – He begins to weep.
“And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it…” (Luke 19:41)
The word “wept” in Luke 19:41 means to wail aloud (the idea of this word is that of a loud lamentation like one mourning over the dead). Picture the scene. The crowd is rejoicing, they have palm branches to express their joy and even nationalism. They are quoting from the Messianic Psalm 118 and attributing it to Jesus.
They are rejoicing, but Jesus is weeping.
Why? This is a question that hits me deeply. There have been many times in my life when I have stood at places that have great significance, moments that have great importance. But as a believer I am trying to learn to see the world and the people in it through His eyes. What does God care about, how does He see this situation? On that ride down the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem, what did Jesus see? The answer is – something that made Him cry. His tears are a striking contrast to the joy of the crowd.
The descent down the Mount of Olives (which we walked on our “pilgrimage”) gives you a clear and exhilarating view of Jerusalem with the whole city fully displayed. Jesus could see the magnificence of the city and clearly see the Temple Mount on Mount Moriah. Herod’s Temple would be there (facing east), clear and dominating the landscape with its beauty and majesty. But Jesus knew what was going on and what was coming. First, He knew that much of the Jewish leadership and priesthood was corrupt, they were exploiting people in The Court of the Gentiles for their own personal gain. That beautiful majestic Temple, that was supposed to represent God and draw people to His presence, was in many ways bankrupt.
Secondly, He knew what was coming. He knew that as great and lovely as the Temple was, the city that was teeming with people would in a short period of time be devastated by destruction and death (by the Romans in A.D. 70). I am sure that His tears also had to do with the results of disobedience and unbelief that can still be felt today in Jerusalem…And perhaps even a cross that awaited Him.
But…still He rides…
He came into Jerusalem to save. He did not turn around (see Luke 9:51), He did not give up. His prayer just a few days later in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39) tells us how hard it was on Him. But He drank the bitter cup of God’s wrath for us, for you and for me (Rom. 5:8-10). He loves us so much.
Palm Sunday reminds us that despite how far away the world can be from God and how wrong we can get things – God is faithful. He is “mighty to save” (Isa. 63:1, John 3:16). Let us put our trust in Him afresh this blessed holiday season and let us love Him more who first loved us so deeply.
God bless you and yours and shalom.
Pastor Michael Lantz, Living Truth Christian Fellowship, Corona, CA
Rachel and I want to thank you for the most marvelous tour we’ve ever been on.
We will never forget this marvelous journey to Israel. It’s difficult to pick any single moment that was the best, but I guess for me it would be the baptism in the Jordan River. Rachel tends toward our visit to Masada as her favorite part of the tour. It was wonderful to be able to travel with other believers who were as excited as we were to be there in Israel. Our Tour Guide was impressive. He was so knowledgeable, and he answered every question with wisdom and accuracy. The Alpha 2 Omega tour to Israel brought to life the events of the bible. I can only say that if anybody plans to go to Israel, then Alpha 2 Omega is the way to go. We hope to go to Israel again, and other places, with Alpha 2 Omega Travel.
Mike and Rachel Zachary
Hands down the best trip we’ve taken.
It is a blessing to walk where Jesus walked and to see Israel in person. No movie or picture can do it justice. She’s a “must see” with your own eyes!! Jarir, our guide, Obada, our bus driver, and you, Linda were all knowledgeable, approachable, and a ton of fun. We must come back because there is so much more to see and learn. To visit the land of Israel and see her people and culture is a treat and blessing.
A precious moment when being baptized in the Jordan River.
Almost surreal knowing our Lord was baptized there... somewhere in that river.
A renewing of Spirit was all around.....to follow in His footsteps made this trip a definite pilgrimage.
He is Risen!
EXPERIENCING THE 5TH GOSPEL
— Our band of 34 pilgrims visited the Holy Land with Alpha 2 Omega Travel this past fall. As is the case for most church groups, our desire was to go not as tourists but as pilgrims, experiencing the land of God’s salvation history. St. Jerome called the Holy Land, the 5th Gospel. "Read the 5th Gospel,” Jerome said, “and the world of the four will open up to you.” This indeed came true for us as we walked in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus.
Working with Linda Miller and Alpha 2 Omega Travel was an incredible blessing because of the detailed attention she gave to our tour. We were able to not rush from place to place, but to allow time to truly experience each holy site. Linda was very receptive to my ideas for the tour and made sure we were able to accomplish some very special moments along the way. These included:
• Worshiping at The Lutheran Church of our Redeemer in Jerusalem on Reformation Day
• Renewing our baptisms in the Jordan
• Holding a worship service for the renewal of vows at the wedding chapel in Cana (5 couples renewed their
• Celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the Sea of Galilee with individuals cups of olive wood from Bethlehem and
communion wine from Cana
From the moment we got off the plane and throughout our tour, Linda was a hands-on operator. She made sure every detail of every day was taken care of, and so we felt very cared for. Our tour guide, Shadi, was knowledgeable and fit in well with our group (I’d highly recommend him!). The bus was comfortable, clean, and our driver, Emad, kept us safe on some very narrow and busy roads. The whole tour was an amazing blessing and a great joy!
Pr. Steven Borst, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Riverside CA
A Holy Land Journey...
Why every follower of Christ should make the trek. A passionate follower of Christ is one who reads and studies the Bible with an eye to the context and meaning for the original audience to which it was written. Much contextual meaning has been lost to the 21st century reader, but one of the best ways to reengage the context is to actually be in the places and cultures of the people of the Bible. For that reason, it has been my personal experience that a trip to the Holy Land will change how you see the Bible. It comes alive as you walk where the stories took place. The characters become real. Understanding culturally how living in the land must have been. It is difficult to simply read a book about the land and just show up. You need a great guide and facilitator to make the most of your days in the Holy Land. Linda Miller and Alpha 2 Omega Travel did that for our group who just returned from glorious days of walking the land. During the whole process of planning, preparation before going, travel, arrival, and tour - communication was clear, expectations agreed upon and met, and professionalism displayed throughout. All the arrangements were first rate, and on point to make us feel safe and cared for. Our guide was fantastic as a personable, and knowledgeable man of the land. Biblical, archeological, and contemporary information and experience enriched our journey. And we had the best bus driver in Israel to get us safely through the crowded streets to our destinations. I would encourage every believer I know to plan a Holy Land journey. In fact, we are planning our next trip for 2021 with Linda and Alpha 2 Omega Travel. So should you!
Pastor Bob Rufener, Senior Pastor Abundant Life Foursquare Church Hollister, CA
So many wonderful memories!!!
This was my second tour to the Holy Land, so many of the places I had been before, but they were just as wonderful the second time! Highlight firsts for me this trip were being able to go up on the Temple Mount and ride a camel with my daughter! And then the time spent at the Western Wall was special both times!! It was all so amazing and your care for every detail made the trip so enjoyable!!
Mary Rufener, Hollister CA
I just returned from Israel, October 29-November 9th.
Alpha 2 Omega Travel provided an exceptional tour. Linda made all necessary arrangements. I clearly knew every detail before leaving. I felt safe, well-informed, and ready for my first trip to Israel. I was not disappointed in any way. Often Linda accompanied us, making sure we were taken care of. Our guide, Shadi, was so knowledgeable. Each day’s itinerary was well planned and executed. Linda provided a taxi and personnel at the airport to help us through customs. I would highly recommend this company and would travel with them without hesitation.
Sheilah Bellew, Riverside CA
I would recommend to anyone, “Take this trip to Israel!”
I had such an excellent time. It has changed the way I read the Bible. Portions of scripture now have a real setting in my mind to draw upon. It has come alive! Also, for those who are concerned about safety, I never felt we were in any way endangered. We had a professional tour team to help lead us through the different areas making the trip safe, educational, and spiritually enlightening. Thank you, Linda, Shadi, and Emad for all your efforts! They are much appreciated!
Seth Howell, Abundant Life Foursquare Church, Hollister CA
Thanks so much for the blessed tour of the Holy Land.
There were so many wonderful and beautiful experiences shared. My most favorite was the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem, a beautiful emotional experience. I was really was moved by the service in three languages and sharing Communion with so many people of so many different places. Beautiful church, I felted honored to be part of it.
Georgiana Lostlen, Riverside CA
One of my highlights of this trip
Was being at the Sea of Galilee....and our time on the ‘Jesus boat,’ complete with sacred music and communion served to us, the certificate personalized for each one of us, and the tiny wooden communion cup as a special memory. I’m still trying to put together my photos and the daily journal. Thank you for all the special details that made this trip so dear to me. Your personal attention to so many details made this journey extra nice. All of the bookmarks, postcards, and especially the panoramic picture of Jerusalem, are icing on the cake! Thank you!!
Susan Almaraz, Irvine CA
Thank you for the amazing tour you took us on.
I will be reflecting on those experiences for years to come. The planning and extra work you put in is greatly appreciated. I will be encouraging my friends to go on your next tour with the Hollister church family.
Peace be with you, Roy J. Cadalbert, San Juan Bautista CA
Our trip was so awesome!
The Sea of Galilee is really a large lake that is calm, until the eastward wind comes in like our Santa Ann Winds in California. On our way to the Dead Sea, we stopped for a camel ride. Everyone definitely needs to go in the Dead Sea, what an experience. We saw so many beautiful churches and they are amazing. Prayed at the Western Wall. Time went by so quickly, but I did get all my prayers in. Yes, I had a list and followed it. Linda planned out the biblical tour very well. The coordinating, planning, timing, and attention to detail was top notch. Those that have been in business management would be impressed by the organization skills. When you have a chance, take the trip to Israel with Linda and Alpha 2 Omega Travel. Meat lovers, take some beef jerky with you because lamb is not the same.
John Martinez, Hollister CA
We want to thank you, Linda, for a wonderful trip!
What an amazing time we had. Looking back on our trip we were amazed on how much of Israel we got to enjoy. We felt extremely safe and comfortable with Shadi leading us to and around each site. Even in the highly populated tourist areas he knew the right way to lead us to avoid the crowds. The fact that so many citizens in the area knew him by name and were friendly with him, showed us what a great person he is. His knowledge of both biblical and archaeological history made the trip all the better! The use of the "whisper" was wonderful. I am hearing impaired. With the headphones that I had brought with me on the trip, I was able to clearly hear everything that was said throughout the trip as we visited the sites. Without them, I would have been struggling to understand everything. That was a real gift to be able to utilize that system! The bus driver was amazingly capable and got us through many a place that I know we would have had trouble navigating! We couldn't have felt any safer with his fabulous skills! Each hotel had its own high points along the way, each clean and modern. The dinners were superb with the choices offered in the buffets. The weather at this time of year was perfect, cool and sunny. I am so happy you offered this trip at this time of the year for those of us who can't handle high heat. We appreciate the way you checked up on us personally throughout the trip and quickly and calmly handled any glitch that might pop up. You are an absolute pro! If I can offer an advice to future travelers, follow Linda's packing advice to the letter. There are so many things I packed that were unnecessary. She had suggested to pack items that you can leave there. I did for some items, which helped to lighten the load for returning home, but I wish I had done more. I didn't need my big camera after all. I mainly used my Iphone and it took beautiful shots! For those who are hearing impaired, bring a set of your own headphones to use with the listening system. Thank you again for this amazing experience!
Ruben and Anne Garcia, Perris CA
Diane and I had sworn off travel,
Other than by our own, due to past experiences. You and your team have proved a great time can be had as part of a group travel experience. We enjoyed the trip immensely. The itinerary was well planned from travel to and from Israel as well as in country. We were able to feel the connection to the Bible as we journeyed the ancient paths. We had time to feel each location visited and not be rushed. Our daily start time and end day gave us time to enjoy and rest at the end of each day. The hotel accommodations were really good. It is a pleasure to have a clean and well cared for place to spend each night. Each hotel provided us with excellent breakfast and dinner food selections of the country. Lastly, we want to thank you for picking the driver, Emad. He really commanded that behemoth of a bus around on our travels. Your guide selection of Shadi, what can we say! We wanted to take him home! What a guy! A traveling encyclopedia! Of course, all of it is your doing! Thank you, Linda, for a wonderful 56th wedding anniversary year trip! Yes, we were able to renew our wedding vows in Israel as well.
Marlin and Diane Brandt, Riverside CA
Our recent trip to Israel was an incredible experience, and one we will never forget!
When reading through the scriptures, having been to the Holy Land, the richness of the Bible comes alive even more. I remember when we returned home, one verse specifically referred to His Resurrection and I distinctly remember standing at the TOMB and experiencing the presence of the Lord there. Talk about the Bible coming alive! Now as I’m reading scripture, it’s so easy to imagine the sights and sounds having just been there. One experience which was among my most memorable was the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Sailing on a wooden ship and even experiencing a bit of a storm that day really brought home the story of Jesus on the Sea with His disciples. Partaking in communion on the boat was an awesome memory. From the streets of Jerusalem, to the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, Megiddo, Masada, and more. I could go on and on. Linda, THANK you for arranging such a wonderful trip for us. Your expertise, insight, knowledge, and personal touch was so much appreciated! Another thing is that we never felt that our security was in question. You often hear of the turmoil in the Middle East, but that certainly was not our experience. We felt safe and secure, and I of course remember your telling us that in advance as well. Our guide, Shadi, was very knowledgeable and a terrific asset to the group. Oh, and by the way, we’re coming back, and you will be our expert once again!
David and Kathy Novak, Church of Grace, Yorba Linda, CA
I just had the joy of hosting a small group from our church on their first ever trip to Israel.
This was my fourth trip to the Holy Land; it was so much fun being with a group of people for their first time. It is the first time I have used Alpha 2 Omega Travel. The owner, Linda Miller, did the most amazing job to make this trip so successful. Everything went according to plan. Based on the feedback I have received from my group, I know that this Easter will be very different for all of them. Being in Israel makes the Bible come alive. Being able to “see” where Jesus walked, taught His disciples, died, and was resurrected has a tremendous impact on you for the rest of your life. When we were at the garden tomb, everyone in our group had a very moving spiritual moment. I was able to watch their faces turn from being a tourist just looking around to talking to and worshiping Jesus right in that tomb. In fact, on our last night in Israel, I asked everyone what their favorite part of the trip was. All of them told me the same two things: the garden tomb and the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. None of us will ever forget that boat ride. On that day it rained, the wind blew, and the boat shook. We all remembered the story of Jesus stopping the storm and rescuing the disciples, just like He does today in our lives. He stops the storms and rescues us. As I asked our group what they are taking back from this trip, I was surprised to hear what they felt was most important. It was not what they learned, and they learned a lot of wonderful things about our Lord and the land of Israel. It was what they experienced, it was what they felt, it was what moved them closer to the Lord. I know as we are about to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord in just a few days, our whole group will see and experience this very differently because they went to Israel. As you celebrate Easter this year, I pray you will also have a “moving” experience, not just the knowledge of who Jesus is, not just the knowledge of Jesus being raised from the dead, but the “experience” of being a child of God, a follower of Jesus, and a blessed believer. I also pray that if you have never been to Israel that you will do whatever you can to go at least once. It will change your life. Tom Barkey, Ph.D., Lead Pastor, Church of Grace, Yorba Linda, CA
Over and over, I hear the statement “I would love to go to Israel!”
Many of the people who say that never actually go, and as a result spend all of their lives simply dreaming about it instead of actually “living the dream.” Today, I want you to set your heart toward Israel and make a commitment that you will actually go! On our latest trip (last month), we took a lady who is in her 80’s, used a motorized scooter to get around and she was awesome...had the time of her life! It’s not too big for you, it’s not too costly and everything about it is in your reach and very doable! Why Israel? Why the time, why the cost, why the commitment? To know that there is a place on the earth that’s been chosen by God and is still under covenant with Him with a very obvious grace on it, is extremely unique. It is the only place in the world where so much biblical and world history intersects with modern culture. It is a place unlike any other. Walking the streets and hills where Jesus Himself walked and seeing yourself among the thousands who stood at His feet and witnessed the miracles of heaven unfolding is truly life-changing. I sat on a wall in the garden at the Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking the beautiful Sea of Galilee with a gorgeous sun shining down on me, and it became a moment of covenant between myself and the Lord. With all my U.S. distractions laid down, I found the time to hear the heart of God and the whisper of my Father over my life. God was meeting me right where He has met so many others and where He wants to meet you. I have yet to take anybody to Israel who did not come back forever changed. Is it the place, is it the people, is it the experience? Yes! It’s actually all of the above. The hand of God’s favor and mercy is upon Israel and the Bible literally comes alive right before your eyes, but more importantly, in your heart. As we celebrate this resurrection, I have been to both the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as well as the Garden Tomb. While historians and theologians might disagree which is the original site, one thing is not up for argument. The body of Jesus cannot be found in either place! He not only rose from the dead, but conquered death, hell, and the grave and took away the keys from the enemy once and for all! That’s good news for you and I and for the whole world. The death of Jesus was a sacrifice, but the resurrection of Jesus is the triumph of heaven! Today, as you dream of Israel, whether you’ve been there and have blessed dreams of all that you’ve experienced, or have never been and dream of going one day, my prayer for you is that the Lord of Resurrection would fill your heart, mind, and life with His abundance of faith, hope, and love!
Pr. Scott Reece, New Hope Church, Moline IL, Lover of God and Israel
For the past four years I have slowly begun to fulfill my dream of traveling the world.
Although I understand that four years is not a huge amount of time in the grand scheme of things, I have learned plenty from my time abroad. One thing that I have noticed from every trip that I have been on is that people seem to travel for one of two reasons. The first is for the experience and the second is for social media popularity. If you find that one of your main concerns while traveling is the items you can bring home from shopping or the number of people who will see your photos, then Israel is not the place for you. If you are looking for an immersive cultural and spiritual experience that will leave an impact on your life, then I encourage you to consider a trip to Israel and Jordan. I was asked to write a bit about my experience on my recent trip to Israel and Jordan with Alpha 2 Omega Travel. While I was contemplating what my top experience was, I realized I couldn't pinpoint it to a location or activity. That is because the most impactful aspect of the trip for me was the immersion in the culture and learning from the people of the countries. Back in the U.S. I believe that we tend to become adjusted to a western idea of what is normal and we must travel to truly understand that our idea of normal is completely bizarre in certain places of the world. To me this is a humbling and important experience. I loved interacting with the locals to better understand the culture and the general lifestyles of the people of the area. My favorite interaction with a local during this trip happened when I was walking down a street in Jordan. A little girl looked at me with a smile of joy, the type that I can't remember having seen in a long time. She started pointing at me and telling her mom to look. I stopped to speak with her for a moment and her parents informed me that she had never seen red hair before. Although my appearance doesn't tend to stand out in the U.S. it was very foreign to the people of the Middle East, I would have never described myself as exotic, but I suppose that everything is exotic to some. My trip to Israel and Jordan helped me to pull back into perspective. The guides that we had on this tour were very knowledgeable and unbiased. While I appreciate my time in a Christian high school, the information fed to me was very one sided and never the full picture. To be able to see borders and better visualize what I had always been taught as well as come to understand other viewpoints was very important to me. We saw some young Palestinians perform a traditional dance for us. The dance and music taught about the struggles that they face as a people. It's a good reminder that it's not the Israelis who are suffering, and that the youth have nothing to do with the crimes of the past. I believe that until that day some of my fellow travelers had never heard of the troubles the Palestinians face. So, I would like to thank Alpha 2 Omega Travel for the education on this topic. While the people and the culture were the most impactful part of the trip to me, I also completely enjoyed the sites. I've heard the bible stories since I was a child, but to be able to put them into context was enlightening.I could go on and on about the importance of traveling in order to understand the world and its people, but the most significant experience I got out of this adventure was the chance to bond with my mom for two weeks in another country. Without Alpha 2 Omega Travel, I would not have been able to have had this life changing experience with my first and best friend. THANK YOU. -Dorothy Mutum, Milan IL
I can’t thank Linda Miller enough, the owner of Alpha 2 Omega Travel
Another wonderful trip to Israel and Jordan, I was amazed to be in the same place where Jesus was and to walk in the same footsteps that Jesus walked. It was an honor to be able to go to the Western Wall and pray for all the prayer requests from people all over the world. Mount Nebo was memorable for me on this trip. Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land before he died. The view was breathtaking. The Sea of Galilee is my favorite place in Israel. God’s presence was so real to me there. The tour guides and the bus drivers in both Israel and Jordan were amazing. Finally, I would like to thank our travel agent, Linda Miller for taking care of all our travel arrangements and hotel accommodations as well as providing the little tokens of your love for all of us. What a wonderful ministry God has given Linda as well as the tour guides and bus drivers. Sally Weckel, Moline, IL
I've fallen in love with Israel.
I've just completed my 7th time journeying to the land of the Bible and I still want more. Every time I go, I learn something new and exciting. It has brought my Bible reading to a whole new level of understanding. When I preach, I now paint vivid pictures of what the land and the people look like. Alpha 2 Omega travel is amazing to work with your "must see" lists and budget. I would recommend every pastor and every Christian to at least make one trip in your lifetime. It will change your life and open your heart to a greater understanding of God's Word and prophesies still yet to come. Come to Israel now! Pr. Bill Burnett, New Life Chapel, Hesperia CA
For our first time, it was so incredible.
Our best event was the Western Wall. We loved it. The presence of the Lord was all over us. Our other favorite was the beautiful Sea of Galilee. We enjoyed that very much. Anthony and Sandra Calderon, Hesperia CA
This journey brings the Bible to life.
Now as I read, I also bring to memory the sights that we enjoyed. The people, sounds, aromas, and sights just inspire us to learn more! I even completely fell in love with camels and their little attitude looks on their faces. I was able to hold the most beautiful, soft, precious lamb. Goats, chickens, turkeys, and peacocks are beautiful parts of our memories. The varieties of food….beef, hummus, pastries, breads, vegetables, chicken schnitzel, egg dishes, and so many wonderful tastes! The streets of Jerusalem, Western Wall, Dead Sea, Jordan River, Jericho, traveling on the cable car to the adventure of Masada! The Garden of Gethsemane, the Garden Tomb where we took communion with our group, and another group of ladies wanted to join us. So many beautiful churches, the steps where Jesus walked, the hills Jesus traveled and the Sea of Galilee where he walked on water. He healed, he taught, he saw and loved. The beautiful colors of the Mediterranean Sea. The water of the Jordan where many are baptized. Remembering Jesus’ baptism. It’s difficult to define what is important in our memories because it was all important with different thoughts and emotions. This is a must do on your bucket list. Your will not be disappointed!! I have just touched on a small amount of the wonderful journey. Butch and Kathy Knox, Apple Valley CA
No, we weren’t with Indiana Jones.
We were with Pastor Bill. Many thanks to you and Pastor Bill for finding and taking us on a lifetime adventure. Funny to see my big guy float in the Dead Sea, and of course, a camel ride for some evening appetizers is something everyone must do and a memory I’ll never forget. I would also want you to include fun with new friends. From the beginning this group was special and a pleasure. With many thanks to you Linda and Shadi...was wonderful. Dino and Maria Basdakis, Yorba Linda CA
So, you’re going to the Holy Land! Great!
Remember to be watchful for the risen Lord who goes before you; and who might just be found in the people along the way! As the Gospel of Mark recalls the Resurrection of Jesus, the mysterious young man at the tomb tells the women: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you….” (Mark 16.7). This is the promise of Easter….that the risen Lord is always there ahead of us! And perhaps this is the best way to approach our visit to the Holy Land! I’m sure your itinerary will include stops at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the synagogue in Capernaum, and probably an excursion to the Dead Sea and Herod’s fortress of Masada. Wonderful. These sites are definitely a must see and your trip to the Holy Land wouldn’t be complete without the opportunity to walk in these amazing places. There really is no better Christian Education experience than traveling in the Holy Land with your Bible by your side and experiencing the land itself as what many refer to as a ‘fifth Gospel.’ And I have no doubt that you will encounter Jesus in these places. But I want to call your attention to those ‘living stones’ that won’t be on your itinerary. These are the people who call this wonderful place home. I encourage you to see them as a part of your pilgrimage experience and to approach them with love and respect. We are, after all, guests in their land. The shop keeper in the old city who is selling spices that you can take home and add to your rice or an ancient oil lamp that connects you to the history of the places you visit. What is his/her name? How long have they lived there? Or the little boy who precociously is trying to get you to buy a wooden camel or scarf; even if you aren’t going to buy anything, perhaps a playful smile might be better than acting aloof. Would you like to take a picture of someone? Ask for their permission. And if they are there trying to make a living, an offer to give a small sum in exchange is often a common courtesy. If you have the opportunity, try to learn about the different worshipping communities, cultures, their customs, and beliefs. Take the time to see the vibrancy of not only the past stories, but the current narratives as well. Watch the local children run and play—how similar are they to your own kids? Perhaps, it is especially in the people where we see the spirit of the Risen Christ most clearly. Pastor Jeff Frohner, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, San Clemente, CA Alpha 2 Omega Travel, February 2020.
I wanted to thank you for a great trip, filled with fantastic memories.
You could not have provided us with anything better than what we received. You thought of everything. Our bus driver was on point! He would maneuver that bus in and out of places that were incredible. Our guide was VERY knowledgeable and definitely knew how to handle any and every situation that we encountered. He was very accommodating even walking me through town at night to find the pharmacy. It was interesting to me that the things I thought would be the most memorable and important didn’t turn out that way. Everyday Pr. Jeff would ask what our favorite thing was and it was everything. We could not pick out one thing. One of my favorite places was the Shepard’s Field Church. I had never even heard of it before we were there. I loved having communion on the Sea of Galilee in the boat. It was a great experience. I always felt safe. Thank you again, M’Liz Kelly, San Clemente, CA
It was a pleasure travelling with you and your team.
The guide’s knowledge of the area was amazing and the driver’s driving was also amazing. I can’t imagine driving anything in those little towns, let alone a bus. I enjoyed all the sights we went to especially Masada, Herodium, Mount Gerizim, Ceasarea, and of course, the Temple Mount. To be honest though, a lot of it is still a big blur until I start organizing my pictures with the itinerary. But I have to say, I enjoyed being out in the country the most, seeing the plush rolling hills on our way north to Tiberius. I loved Jericho and both places along the Jordon river. I have great scenic pictures from the various mountain tops, but my favorite photo is one that Roberta took on the Sea of Galilee. I think the only way to visit the Holy Land is the way you organized it. We could have never seen all these places in such a short time by ourselves. We didn’t have to worry about where to eat, drive etc., and everything was taken care of. I also enjoyed the camaraderie of our fellow parishioners, some who I’ve never met before. It was a treat to sit and talk to all of them during breakfast and dinner. We met a lot of new friends as a result of this trip. Thank you, Bob Ipema, San Clemente, CA
The trip to the Holy Land was a great experience.
It was a trip of a lifetime for me. I learned a lot about the history, culture, religion, and the food was great. One thing I enjoyed seeing were all the fat happy cats around the area. I highly recommend this trip and have already told my friends and family about it. Carly Pridham, San Jose, CA
I enjoyed the trip tremendously.
I had no expectations. I enjoy traveling and when Carly asked if I would be her traveling companion, I was thrilled. I had not researched Israel, so other than we were going to the Holy Land, I had no background on all that that involved. It was inspiring that we actually visited and touched many of the Holy places of the Bible. Our guide and Pastor Jeff gave two perspectives of the places we visited. Both were very knowledgeable. It was awe inspiring. The trip was both inspirational and educational. The ruins were fantastic. It seems impossible that the level of the ancient architecture could have been achieved without modern machinery. We had many experiences such as floating in the Dead Sea, baptizing in the River Jordan, sailing on the Sea of Galilee, and experiencing beautiful sunsets. Shopping trips and visiting a brewery were added perks. The hotels, the bus, the food, and companionship were all great. I am so glad I went. Judy Servaites, Dayton OH
This trip was momentous and beyond words.
I think I’ve started and deleted this post about five or six separate times over the past couple of days. There were places that made my jaw drop and I was completely speechless. And trust me, getting a 25 year old girl to shut up is no small feat. Our flights were painful, as expected. We arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv exhausted, dehydrated, and stiff. Despite my body telling me to slow down, my mind was buzzing with anticipation, filling with dreams of ancient parables, the smells of cardamom and thyme, the taste of dates and hummus. We walked through a part of the airport where it says, “Welcome to Israel,” the pathway lined with limestone blocks as long as I am tall. It started to dawn on me where I was, and I fought the urge to spin around and dance through passport control (It was past midnight local time). It did not matter just how tired I was or how groggy my body was, I was absolutely thrilled. None of us slept too much that night. I woke up the next morning and took a shower. While brushing my hair, I looked out onto the beautiful patio that was below the room that Lois and I were sharing. The sun was out, the birds were chirping, and flying in beautiful pairs. I silently smiled to myself, my mind soaring through Jerusalem with the birds, until my stomach brought me back to reality. I grabbed my jacket and purse, dashed down the stairs to breakfast. The hotel we stayed at in Jerusalem was Kosher, which meant dairy at breakfast, but not at dinner, and Shabbat on Friday evenings. I grabbed coffee, cereal, and an orange and sat with the group. That first day we went to Mt. Scopus for a view of the city from above, next to the Mount of Olives. I was in absolute awe as our tour guide, Shadi, began explaining both the political and biblical history of what we saw. At one point, I took my ear bud out and just stared into the distance at this city that had shaped humanity. This seemingly small city with traditions, rituals, and structures so old and renowned that it could bring someone to their knees even two thousand years later. I won’t bore you with a day by day playback – everything is old, everything is breathtaking, everything is so wild I couldn’t possibly process all of it within a two-week span. We went into Bethlehem during our trip, which has been divided by a concrete wall built by the Israeli government. It is considered a Palestinian town. Tourists, especially Americans, can go in and out of the city through the check points as they please. Without being too political, I think that walls are sad, no matter the reason, no matter the place, and no matter the time period. They are a sign of division, whether good or bad. With that said, this specific wall has become a place for political graffiti, the boring concrete covered in colors, drawings, and words in multiple languages. This small town where my Savior was born is still so important. As we went between Israeli and Palestinian territories, one of the places we saw was Herodian, King Herod the Great’s grave site. Given his political and religious division during his reign, his tomb was sacked not long after he was buried. Even still, the effort and splendor of his reign still resonates. The grandeur, size, and architectural details are so cool. The view from the top is not bad either. Walking down the small mountain on which it was built, we saw a cat that followed us around, a shepherd with his flock, and working dogs. The historic parallel was wild – this great tomb that was completed in 4 BCE, when Herod died, and this young Palestinian shepherd dutifully watching his flock of sheep as they grazed the new pasture, fresh from the winter rains existing in this place, combining two worlds, one so distant and one ever so present. In Bethlehem we dined at a Palestinian restaurant, with the homemade bread, hummus, tzatziki, cucumber and tomato salad, among other sides and dishes. We watched young dancers and later joined them; holding hands, clapping, and dancing with complete strangers in a joyful moment despite language barriers. One of the dancers and I clasped hands and spun around laughing even though she does not speak a lot of English and I do not speak Arabic, but in that moment it did not matter. We were just young girls laughing and dancing as if we had been friends for years; we hugged after her performance and we had understood each other without the need for words. During our trip we were celebrating two February birthdays and the restaurant brought out a cake and sang “Happy Birthday” much to the embarrassment and delight of the two people. One of the places I was looking forward to the most was Masada, considered to be one of the most heroic standings of the ancient Hebrews. Masada is on a kind of plateaued mountain, sort of like a mesa in New Mexico. The Romans had surrounded the mountain fortress in the middle of the desert and the Jews had to make a choice: commit suicide or become slaves. Given the persecution of the Jews today, I believe that they made a brave and valiant choice to die rather than become slaves to the Romans. The archaeological site is crazy as it is mostly untouched and they are still working on excavations. They have an older Rabbi there transcribing a Torah there. If you ask, he will write your name in Hebrew with a heart, including your spouse if you are married. I felt it was quite symbolic, the ancient Jews had taken their last stand and they probably thought that their legacy would be taken to their grave. However, their story is told with grace while a teacher within the Jewish religion silently writes their holy book and greets tourists from all over the world with a gentle smile. Traveling through the desert, we had to stop at one of the gas stations, buy snacks, and ride a camel. They are tall and wobbly in comparison to a horse, but stable and gentle at the same time. It was quite a view, overlooking the Judean desert, the Dead Sea, and rows of date palms near Jericho – a terrain that probably had not changed very much. Naturally we went floating in the Dead Sea. As someone who grew up by the ocean and sand, it was strange. It was mud and slime instead of sand, and the salt level is so high, you cannot stay in longer than twenty minutes. We floated nonetheless, and mom and I celebrated with a beer from the lowest [in elevation] bar in the world. The other two places I was looking forward to the most were close together and in the same morning: Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall. The Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock is the place where Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe that God saved Isaac from being sacrificed by Abraham, his father. The Muslims built Dome of the Rock in 691 CE. Not 1691 CE, 6-9-1. Architecturally and historically speaking the structure itself is stunning. It is symmetrical, with calligraphy from the Qur’an, beautiful blues, yellows, and greens, all topped with a dome covered in gold. The blues from the tiles nearly rivaled the blue tone of the sky itself. It has become a symbol for both Islam and the city of Jerusalem. The Western Wall (or the Wailing Wall) is not far from The Temple Mount. It the original part of the second Jewish temple that Herod had built, the first one built by King Solomon had been destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar II after his siege of Jerusalem. The second temple was THE temple for the Jews. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, but this wall and some of the main steps remain. This wall has become a place of quiet prayer and reflection for millions of people. Some place written prayers within the mortar and grout between the massive stones, some simply pray through spoken word. I approached it twice, the first time just my hands were against the cold stone as I tried to pray, but I could not seem to get my mind fully around what I was seeing. I felt like I had failed both God and myself. Wasn’t I supposed to feel something? Shouldn’t I feel different? I saw an opening and I quietly told my mom I was going to go back. I stood “toe to toe” with the original wall where millions of people and prayers had come forth. I took a deep breath, rolled up my sleeves, and placed my bare hands and forehead against the wall and closed my eyes. The stones have been worn smooth and soft from other people doing the same as I was. Next to me a young Jewish woman was singing a prayer in Hebrew just loud enough that someone next to her could hear. I finished my own prayer and as I listened to her, I felt the weight of something ancient within me, a connection to a people who had faced oppression and torment over thousands of years, a part of me understood this pain, I could feel it in my bones. The torture, banishment, and imprisonment of early Christians, of Christ Himself, hung heavy around me as I began to quietly sob, tears streaming down my cheeks, my hands unwilling to leave the stone to wipe them away. The young woman and I locked eyes when she had finished singing and we both nodded, a mutual understanding of centuries full of tradition, full of pain and human greed, but also full of love and kindness all coming together within that single wall. If walls could talk, this one could fill a library. Our home base was Jerusalem for most of the trip, going through the desert, below sea level, into Jericho, seeing the Judean wilderness, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Mount of Olives and His Palm Sunday journey. I even took a selfie with a camel in the oldest city on the planet. I saw the country of Jordan from across the Jordan River. Like I said, it was wild. We continued north to Tiberias, near Capernaum along the Sea of Galilee. Exploring Capernaum was enlightening because it was considered Jesus’ hometown, where he would have hung out with his friends, where he would have prayed, been human. Just like at Herodian, we saw cats everywhere and Capernaum was no exception. My father coined the term “Capernacat.” ™ It was humbling to see the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights, and to be in this place where Jesus had walked all at once. We began the conclusion of our trip in the same way you conclude a Lutheran church service, with Communion. We were on a boat on the Sea of Galilee, the sun peeking through the clouds in such a way that you just knew in your heart God was there. Pastor Jeff was preparing the table with Shadi, our tour guide, who is a Palestinian Christian from Nazareth. He had remained with us during our entire tour, giving us insight into life in Israel. We broke the bread and shared the wine. After, I watched the water from the bow looking upon the terrain that had not changed much since Christ had calmed the storm. This whole trip was life changing and there is so much more I wish I could share, but this post would soon become an entire book; maybe someday. I would gladly go back to Israel, I could have stayed longer and explored. If you ever get the opportunity to go, seize it. I can say without hesitation it is the most remarkable place I have ever been to in my lifetime. The combination of old and new is an exceptional reminder that history must never be forgotten, but in doing so, we as humanity must also remember to live. KC Kelly, Denten TX
This May, along with nine other eager pilgrims
I traveled to the Holy Land. This was my sixth pilgrimage to Israel. A natural, obvious question arose during our journey together as one of my fellow pilgrims asked why in my continuing travels, I kept returning to this part of the world. For me, the answer is simple and remains unchanged. From my first pilgrimage to Israel, I learned how to read the Bible in color rather than in black and white. Growing up in the Church, I was taught to read the scriptures from a single point of view. Not surprisingly, this interpretative lens tended to be monochrome - reflecting a decidedly Western point of view.
While in seminary studying to be a pastor, I was introduced not only to the possibility but the reality of various interpretive possibilities when it comes to reading and understanding the Bible. As much as this revelation sunk for me in concept, it only was when I journeyed to the land and people among whom the stories of the scriptures were weaved that I realized all the color I had been missing. Pilgrimaging to Israel puts oneself on the actual canvas upon which the history we read and the theology we are taught were shaped. There are hues and shades of meaning that can only be grasped by seeing, touching, and interacting with the culture and topography of Israel. It is one thing to read of the emergence of Israel and another thing to experience the land and people that the Lord God birthed and nurtured into a kingdom and then a remnant.
We can speak of following Christ but to visualize - to literally walk in the footsteps of Jesus and tread the ground upon which the Body of Christ, the Church, was breathed into being by the Holy Spirit - adds a crucial dimension to our continuing discipleship that cannot fully be put into words. The Jesus many of us know and the Church most of us perceive as the Body of Christ is far too limited by an American/European perspective. However, when you visit the Holy Land and briefly interact in a different culture with very different assumptions and norms, your internal picture of both Christ and the Church is both challenged and broadened. Why do I keep coming back to Israel? Because making the journey to Israel forces me to engage the biblical world and our shared faith not only with my intellect or my emotion but with my whole being. Returning again and again as a pilgrim renews my understanding of the proper orientation of my relationship to Jesus as a Christian. Before the layers of history and the coexistence of diverse ethnic and religious groups, I am reminded that I am called and commissioned to follow Christ not simply as an observer but as a participant in his life and witness in the world. Pr. Chris Tweitmann, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach,
We want to express our sincere joy of traveling the Holy Land with Pastor Chris and Linda of Alpha 2 Omega Travel.
The effort to combine so much in such a short span of time was great! The many places in which to experience our pilgrimage and connect with our faith were truly inspiring. Seeing (and tasting) the water of Jacob's Well, walking and praying the Via Dolorosa, reconfirming our baptisms in the Jordan River, standing atop Masada, and being on the lakeshore of the Sea of Galilee knowing here, Jesus forgave Peter for his betrayal. These were some very spiritual experiences. Our tour guide, Bassam, was thoroughly knowledgeable in all aspects of history and religions, making our trip such a great learning experience. The comfort and ease of travel each day rewarded us with true learning experiences. These were just a few of the life-time memories we will cherish from this wonderful pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We highly recommend making this journey. Gary and Nancy St. Clair, Huntington Beach, CA
My Holy Pilgrimage to Israel was definitely one of the most meaningful experiences of my lifetime.
My Holy Pilgrimage to Israel was definitely one of the most meaningful experiences of my lifetime. It was an incredible blessing, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to travel there as part of the May 2022 tour led by Linda Miller of Alpha 2 Omega Travel.
There are just too many favorite experiences to settle in one a top one of two! Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, tucking prayers into the Wailing Wall, dancing on the Sea of Galilee, renewing my baptism in the Jordan River, experiencing late in the day the song of the priests at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, floating in the Dead Sea, exploring the walls of Jerusalem, tasting water from Jacob’s Well, etc. It’s true that I now see the Bible in 3D as my faith has come alive in a vibrant way. I was able to step back into history and it was amazing. Our guide, Bassam, pointed out that Israel belongs to all of us. Such a profound statement. Yes, of course, this is true as Israel is the land central to my faith…the beginning and the end!
My husband Jeff and I are so thankful to Linda for her attention to detail, her generous and adventurous spirit, and for bringing us all together as family! Pamela Stephens, Huntington Beach, CA
Alpha 2 Omega Travel P.O. Box 402128, Hesperia, CA 92340 US Phone: (760) 985-3540 Website: www.alpha2omegatravel.org