The Holy Land Trip was a very inspiring Christian journey...
I would encourage all Christians to visit this country to have their faith enriched by walking in the footsteps that Jesus walked...having my baptism rededicated in the Jordan River was, to me, the most powerful experience for a Christian...Alpha 2 Omega Travel with Linda as our guide was so informative, helpful and guided us along each step of the journey...Love U, Linda, God Bless your work.- Marilyn, IN.
My experience in the Holy Land, led by Alpha 2 Omega Travel, was one that I’ll never forget.
This adventure greatly impacted my spiritual life and served as a relaxing vacation at the same time. Alpha 2 Omega did an excellent job from beginning to end. They not only took care of all of our arrangements and accommodations, but the spiritual, historical, and geographical insights truly helped me grow in faith and knowledge. I most definitely recommend Linda Miller and her team to anyone who may be interested in embarking on such a journey.- Pastor J. Brown,Praise LutheranChurch, IN
Alpha 2 Omega Travel is the way to go see Israel.
Alpha 2 Omega Travel is the way to go see Israel. Todd and I had a wonderful and memorable time to the Holy Land. The small group was definitely a nice way to see everything. Thanks Linda! It was great! - Chris and Todd, IN
Everyone should visit the Holy Land at least once in his or her lifetime, and we highly recommend Alpha 2 Omega Travel with Linda Miller for an unforgettable trip.
Linda does a great job organizing a very informative and inspirational journey. Her company hires knowledgeable local Christian tour guides and bus drivers that really help the historical significance of the sites come alive. The itineraries are amazing – allowing you to encounter first hand places where Jesus walked, where great biblical accounts took place, and the general geography of this ancient land steeped in history. Linda does a great job making sure that the one low price includes most everything – including all travel, hotels, entrance fees, breakfast and dinner buffets, and tips. It’s truly a wonderful trip. Thanks so much, Linda. - Pr. Wally and Marilyn Quandt, CA
Linda, thank you for organizing a truly life changing trip!
We found the tour to be wonderfully edifying and spiritually uplifting as we followed in the footsteps of our Savior – our Bible reading has come alive and our faith truly enriched. We encourage anyone considering a trip, to sign on with Linda and Alpha 2 Omega Travel. You will be well taken care of, and as a result of your excursion in the Holy Land, you will never be the same! - Melinda Schulteis, CA
Thank you for all your organizing, planning, and guiding us along the way.
It was much appreciated. The highlights for me: -seeing the many places where Jesus walked, the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, Palm Sunday walk, Last Supper meal with fellow travelers, and enjoying the beautiful country side. - J.H., Canada
Thank you for all the work that you did to make this trip of a life time so successful and memorable.
I appreciated your emails and preparation information before the tour and the way you cared for us throughout that week. I would certainly recommend Omega Travel to any of my friends in the US and NZ too if they were wanting to join up with a tour. You are very experienced with travel in Israel and that is a real plus. - Jinny Andersen, New Zealand
When it comes to making a trip such as going to the Holy Land as a person with an ambulatory disability;
it is the kindness and assistance of others who are willing to go the extra mile to make it happen, by their gracious helpful hand. Such is the case for Alpha 2 Omega Travel: Linda and her crew, as well as those who also were on the pilgrimage as clients. On behalf of my wife and myself, we thank you all for making it possible to fully take part in this trip of a lifetime. May God bless you all. - Rev. Tom and Nadine Evens, Yucaipa, CA.
The Holy Land has always been the top of my list as place I wanted to visit.
So when Linda asked me if I would be interested in hosting a trip, it was an opportunity I could not turn down. Highlights of the trip for me include a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and actually getting to baptize one of our group members in the River Jordan. I also enjoyed spending time at Gethsemane. The food and hotel accommodations were wonderful. Our tour guide, Jarir, a Palestinian Christian, was incredibly knowledgeable of the sights we visited. One member of our group has MS and brought his electric wheelchair on our trip. Linda, our driver, and guide did a phenomenal job making sure that this man was able to see almost all the sites. I was impressed with their commitment to making sure we all had a wonderful trip. Thank you to Alpha 2 Omega Travel for making our trip such a memorable experience. I look forward to hosting another trip soon! - Rev. Lara Janssen, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Rialto, CA
Alpha 2 Omega Travel did a great job arranging for trip details and enabling us to see as much as possible in our week-long familiarization tour.
Hotels and tours were well-arranged, and our tour guide and bus driver were outstanding. We will always treasure the memories of walking in the footsteps of Jesus! And, the trip has enabled us to not only grow in our understanding of Biblical events, but to also be able to share the facts that we learned with our church and family. We feel blessed to have been able to take this trip. - Pr. Norm and Roe Schmoock, Zion Lutheran Church, Victorville, CA
From taking communion on the Sea of Galilee, visiting the Shepherds fields in Bethlehem, to walking the way of the cross in Jerusalem,
our trip to the Holy Land could not have been more meaningful as we encountered not only the Biblical sites, but also the people who continue to call this place home. We couldn’t have been more pleased with our trip and all the care provided by Linda and Alpha 2 Omega Travel, both prior and during our trip. - Pastor Jeff and Kelly Frohner, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and School, San Clemente, CA
We had a wonderful experience traveling with Alpha 2 Omega Travel, to visit the places in Israel we have heard and read so much about.
Even though I have been to the Holy Land before, so much of what I saw was new to me that it was almost a first-time experience. We appreciated very much the opportunity to have a Christian guide, who really believes in the New Testament message, and enjoyed the company of fellow pastors and their spouses. Thanks again, Linda for a great pilgrimage. - Pr. Rockne and Sonja Dahl, Palmdale SDA Church
Thanks, Linda, and thanks for being such a blessing to our group...
I heard nothing but gratitude and highlight of my life comments. - Pr. Dave Ley, Hesperia Community Church
Dear Linda, Israel is a wonderful dream.
Thank you for all you did to make everything so special and safe for us. We had a great time. - Fondly, Joe and Rosanne Smith, Apple Valley, CA
Thanks, Linda, for another wonderful trip with Alpha 2 Omega Travel.
My favorite place in Israel has to be the Mount of the Beatitudes - so beautiful and meaningful. Everything around the Sea of Galilee is special to me. Since I traveled to Israel in November 2011 with you and went, again, in July 2012 with you, it goes without saying how much I enjoyed the trips. I always felt safe and well taken care of. These memories will stay with me throughout life. Thank you so much. - Susan A., Florida
I did not have just one favorite place or experience on my recent tour of Israel;
I had 12 days of inspiring, beautiful, and moving experiences throughout the Holy Land. Each new day a look into our Judeo-Christian history was presented in a manner that challenged us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I was motivated to learn more and more about the antiquities of the Holy Land, and to gain a better understanding and appreciation for the diverse population of Jews, Christians, and Muslims who live there. My memories of the Sea of Galilee, Jericho, Qumran, Masada, the Dead Sea, the wilderness of the Negev Desert, and the Old City of Jerusalem will remain with me for the rest of my life. Since I have returned, I have enjoyed researching many of the places we visited and their Biblical references, their history, and their present populations. If I should ever be fortunate enough to travel to Israel again, I will feel as if I have "come home". In addition to the spiritual inspiration that this trip provided, my husband and I were so inspired by the outstandingly delicious food we were treated to wherever we ate. Everything we were served was fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits, meats, and dairy products. Our tour guide, driver, and Linda provided us with what can only be described as the trip of a lifetime. My hope is that many more Christians can experience the beauty, the history, and the lessons that only Israel can teach us. - Stephanie Heller, Church of the Valley, Apple Valley, CA
The Israel Tour 2012 which Alpha2Omega Travel prepared for us was very inspiring.
This was an amazing, unforgettable trip. To be able to walk where Jesus and His disciples taught, and actually see these places was so spiritual. Now when I read about these places in the Bible it is all the more believable. For me one of the most memorable days was my birthday, on July 9, when I was able to sit on the teaching steps where Jesus would have been. Pastor Mike and Sue Clark were incredible in leading the group. Also Linda, our tour guide, and our bus driver…they all were incredible. - Judie Theel, Kingman, AZ
It was fast - you kept us moving - so that we could see it all -
we loved the Guide Book that you recommended, as it helped us to recall all that was shared; We loved Jarir; our Arab, Christian Guide; and we loved your personal commitment to make certain that everything was just right! We loved the food and the vendors selected by your team; fish at the Sea of Galilee, followed by fresh trout in the forest adjacent to the stream; seeing the Old Testament come to life by seeing the three different King David's construction projects identified by the walls, and then the trips underground seeing the construction projects of the early Israelites bringing water into their walled cities. You introduced us to the Holy Land; sharing your love and our Father's Love; hi-lighting the fact that now that you gave us the over view; distances between locations; the actual size and depth of the Jordan (and baptism with fish feeding on your dirty toes); you created the need within us to dive into the Bible History with the map adjacent, as we read, and return for a slower deeper study and understanding of scripture; and a desire to return to the Holy Land. Seeing the desert of Israel bloom; seeing the new ongoing construction; the lack of idle or vacant land; the families celebrating on Mondays and Thursdays their 12 year-olds Barmitzvah; the drum, the flute, the crazy snake dance while the children were being carried on the shoulders of fathers and grandfathers with wild intense joy; followed also by the intense celebration of the start and end of the Sabbath; leaves us to feel that prophecy is being fulfilled that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming! - Your brother and sister in Christ, Bruce and Marcia Young, Apple Valley, CA
I had the wonderful pleasure of traveling to Israel this summer as a host of one of the tours that Alpha 2 Omega Travel coordinated.
My husband and I have been to Israel many times, hosting church groups, and have always appreciated all that a tour of the Holy Land has to offer. However, I had never experienced the personal service provided by Linda and her agency as this was our first trip with the company. Not only did we have an extremely knowledgeable and energetic guide, we were lead through Israel by a loving Christian man who took the time to get to know us and minister to us. We also had the honor of having Linda join us on our excursion. The care she provided was absolutely amazing. I was so impressed with the details that were attended to so that we could see all the sites in a comfortable manner. Traveling in July meant that we were often searching for cool areas to gather around for teachings and for meals. Our guide thoughtfully sought out these places, including calling ahead to secure lunch accommodations. In addition, the bus we traveled in was well maintained and driven by an extremely competent man. I can speak for the group in saying that we always felt safe in the care of Alpha 2 Omega Travel. Touring as much of Israel as possible in two weeks is a challenge. My husband worked with Linda to maximize our experiences for each day. Our itinerary was arranged as we requested. We spent four nights in the Galilee region, two nights at the Dead Sea, and five nights in Jerusalem. Each hotel accommodated us well, providing us with large buffets of food for breakfast and dinner. The days were filled with visits to historical, spiritual, and nature sites. The evenings were times to reflect on the day and share with our fellow travelers. We were able to relax each evening, knowing that Linda had the next day taken care of for us. We plan to travel with Alpha 2 Omega Travel again. There is still so much more to see and do. Linda's knowledge of the region and her enthusiasm for arranging tours is contagious. I hope many more will take the opportunity to discover the Holy Land with Alpha 2 Omega Travel. - Susan Clark, Church of the Valley, Apple Valley, CA
My trip to Israel was what I thought would be a once in lifetime adventure.
I never thought I'd be able to do this but with my Pastor, Mike Clark, working with Linda at Alpha 2 Omega Travel, my dream came true. To be able to see many of the Holy Land sites is a very surreal feeling. Knowing that this is where the events of the bible took place still has me awestruck. Linda's knowledge of the many areas of Israel and her work with the hotels, restaurants and special events made my first trip with a tour group a memorable one. I can't wait for my next opportunity for a trip to Israel! - Lori Anderson, Apple Valley, CA
I have just returned from a wonderful and exciting trip to Israel with Linda and her fabulous team.
With a group of about 15 amazing people it was easy to get to know each other. Within a very short time we were indeed a family traveling together. This trip was definitely a bucket list item for me. My expectations were met and exceeded. Linda and her team are truly amazing. Each day was an exciting adventure visiting places we have only read about in the Bible and history books. I truly felt God's presence with me everywhere I went. The weather was perfect for November. Of course I live in the desert so it was like home to me. We stayed in three different hotels each one quite unique but definitely having first class accommodations. I have never experienced the variety of food selections as we had for each meal. During the day we visited a local restaurant near where we were traveling. Linda picked places that provided us with quick service and delicious food. As I now prepare my photos and other memorabilia for making my travel photo album I am reflecting upon what I saw and experienced during the eight day stay. First of all, I must say that all of the planning and the execution of the details were done in a professional caring manor. Linda choice of guide for us was perfect. As a Christian Shahdi read pertinent scripture to enhance each destination. He always allowed us the time necessary to visit each site, often times giving us extra time for personal reflection and devotion. Having a pastor with us made it all the more special. During these days we were able to share our faith with one another, experiencing the joy and the special love that comes with being Christian family. Of all the many memories I have, several stand out that still give me goosebumps. Our special communion service on the shore of the Sea of Galillee being watched by several small animals who did not move during the whole time. Since I was a baby when I was baptized and have no recollection of it, Pastor Paul gave the others and me the unique opportunity to reaffirm our baptism in the Jordan River. I will definitely sing the praises of Linda and her staff for one of the best trips I have ever taken. Now I will be able to give more of an eye witness account of the places I have seen in Israel. - Libby Williams, Helendale, Ca
Ok what can I say about my journey to Israel/Palestine. It was amazing.
The people, the food, the history, everything. The country just consumes you when you are there. It was a trip of a lifetime for me and I cannot wait to go back. From Jerusalem, walking thru the old city and seeing the Dome of the Rock, the Al-Aska Mosque, the Wailing Wall, looking over the Mt of Olives, walking the way of the cross thru the Arab markets, and going and visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In Bethlehem we went to the Church of the Nativity and was able to touch the place where they say Jesus was born. The church itself is so beautiful. On to Masada and the Dead Sea. What a beautiful trip that was, the barren massive mountain on one side and the Dead Sea on the other. Once you got up to Masada you could see for miles. It was beautiful. Floating in the Dead Sea was so much fun. We also stopped by the Jordan river where they say John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Pastor Nelson, who was the pastor with us on our journey, reaffirmed all of our baptism in the Jordan. The overwhelming feeling you get while it is happening is something I will never forget. On to Tiberius and traveling thru all the lush farmland, I did not realize they grew so much food there. Our hotel in Tiberius was across from the Sea of Galilee and waking up every morning to see the sunrise over the mountains was spectacular. Going to the Mt of Beatitudes and standing on top and looking over the Sea of Galilee was a sight to behold. We also took communion on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with an audience of small critters observing, again something I will never forget. Linda and her team are excellent and they take care of everything. You will not want for anything. Our bus driver Sami was so funny and he was an excellent driver. The way he gets that big bus in and out of places was a sight to behold in itself. And Shadi, our guide was so knowledgeable about everything we saw and everywhere we went. They both taught me to see Arabs in a whole new light. I will definitely return one day and Alpha 2 Omega Travel will be my first call. - Kathy Marietta, OH, USA
I traveled with Alpha 2 Omega Travel to Israel for the first time in November of 2012.
I was so impressed with how well organized the tour was. It was particularly helpful that all the entrance fees and other miscellaneous expenses for entry to various sites were included in our tour price. We never had to waste time looking for the proper change for admittance - Linda and our guide took care of all that for us. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about both the historical places we visited as well as the current political climate. Our driver was amazing - he was able to get us in and out of tight spots. After watching his expertise, I can't imagine trying to ever drive myself around the Holy Land! My thanks to Linda and Alpha 2 Omega Travel for ensuring that our trip was smooth and memorable. -Rev. Paul A. Nelson, Emanuel Lutheran Church, Santa Barbara
We wish to thank you for arranging a fantastic tour of the Holy Land for all of us.
Having traveled to many lands and experienced many cultures, different thinking and beliefs of people, this tour was outstanding. We were able to see and experience the Holy Land in a way that exceeded our expectations. To be able to visit and walk on the locations where Jesus walked and taught was exhilarating. The visit to Jerusalem, the Western Wall, Temple Mount, Via Dolorosa, Mount of Olives, just to name a few, was fabulous. We also enjoyed the very informative presentation at the Augusta Victoria Church and Hospital. This was a very enlightening presentation. The visit to Jericho, Qumran, and the visit to Masada was educational; to have something read about come to life is a dream come true. Floating in the Dead Sea was also a wonderful experience. The many places we saw while staying at Tiberias were equally as impressive, enlightening, and heart moving. The boat ride on the Sea of Galilee was enjoyable and inspiring. The Primacy of Peter, Mount of Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi, Nazareth and Cana - the site of the first miracle, all awe inspiring. It was wonderful to also visit with a very good friend of mine that resides in Tel Aviv, as we had a wonderful visit during out farewell dinner in Jaffa. It was great to arrange for this personal visit with a friend that I have dealt with in business prior to my retirement. The trip was wonderful and we never had any concerns regarding comfort or safety. Furthermore, we must state that the guide you arranged to be with us during this tour, Jarir Rabadi, was excellent, very knowledgeable, very friendly and helpful especially with the seniors who required additional assistance to get around. We cannot speak more highly of him since we know of no equal to his expertise, professionalism and kindness. The driver was equally as great in maneuvering the tour bus through some tight locations in the most professional manner with unequaled expertise. Thank you for having made this a VERY MEMORABLE and UNFORGETTABLE trip. - Mike and Nina Suess, CA
We have just returned from an incredible Holy Land Tour with Alpha 2 Omega Travel.
Our group enjoyed the visit to so many of the important sites of Jesus Christ's life and ministry. Linda, Jarir, our Christian guide, and Rami, our driver, were all so knowledgeable, kind and helpful. They were especially helpful to a member of our group with difficult mobility, who required a walker and wheel chair at times. We experienced not one minute of security issues during the whole interesting and life enhancing time! I absolutely recommend Alpha 2 Omega Travel for pastors and lay people who wish to plan a personal and custom style tour, and I would surely like to go again. - Pastor Lee B. Rozen, Lutheran Church of the Master, La Habra, CA
Come experience the land. Come experience the food and the culture.
Walk where Jesus lived and see the land chosen by God for His people. Watch the Bible come alive from the past and see how prophecy will be fulfilled in the future. Come to Israel with Alpha 2 Omega Travel. I've been to this great land a number of times and can say from experience that your travel plans and safety will be in the experienced staff members, who anticipate and plan for a great trip filled with wonderful memories to the Holy land. I highly recommend Alpha 2 Omega Travel to all who are looking to experience God's land and God's people.- Pr. Bill Burnett, New Life Chapel, Hesperia, CA
Our trip to Israel last month was, for us, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
When we told people that we were going, of course, we were asked if we were worried about our safety, due to the tensions in the area. Those concerns were unfounded, and we felt safe everywhere we went, even at the various checkpoints our bus encountered on our tours. Coming from our steel and concrete country to one hewn from stone was a shock to our feet (wear sturdy, comfortable shoes!), but it reminded us that we were walking where ancient cultures lived, worked, and worshiped. Passing the sign as we neared Jericho that said “Oldest city in the world, 10,000 years” was an indescribable moment. We live in a newcomer nation that is only 237 years old. There, we had a Christian guide, whose family had been there before Christ and had passed down through oral tradition the veracity of the location of Jesus’ tomb, from ancestors who were there. We’re still reflecting on this amazing trip and getting our memories and photos together, so our thoughts are not as well formed as we’d like them to be. But our advice to anyone going there for the first time is to be prepared to be overwhelmed, and expect to come back with a new perspective. This place will live in your heart. - Thank you, Linda, Dennis & Judy Morris
Wow! Third visit to Israel and the best ever!
So many new things I learned since I was there 20 years ago. Had the best guide and bus driver! Plus, Linda’s presence guaranteed the little things were covered. New insights emerged as we visited and ate with Palestinian Christians. I have already planted seeds with folks who have not yet made it to The Holy Land. Put it high on your bucket list. You will indeed be blessed, no matter how old you are. And we felt safe wherever we walked, drove, ate, or stayed. From the Temple Mount to the Western Wall; from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee; from the archeological digs across Israel, you will be blessed! The right tour adviser does make the difference; so I highly recommend Alpha 2 Omega Travel. - Pastor Howell Foster, CA
I so enjoyed the trip.
You and Jarir put together a fabulous tour. It was so organized. I was especially impressed with Jarir's knowledge and faith. Every sight we visited came to life in ways that would not have been possible on our own. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I also want to thank you for all your help coordinating Marlene and my trip to Italy following the tour. Everything went very smoothly and the hotels you set up for us in both Rome and Florence were very nice and well-located. All in all I had a wonderful time our group was just the right size safety was never any kind of concern, and I am so glad that I went thank you! Blessings and Peace Linda Howard
As I write this testimonial, my wife Faith & I are still experiencing jet lag from our recent tour of Israel with Alpha to Omega.
The tour was very professionally designed as it began in the low key north, and built up to the major Christian events and landmarks that awaited us in Jerusalem. The tour guide was very well versed with all phases of the tour. This added new insight into and understanding of the various historical events, which made them come to life in a refreshing and vivid way. The tour schedule was demanding, but I would not have wanted it any other way. It was the only way to experience the deep and moving history of the Holy Land. The accommodations were most adequate and every attempt was made to maximize our enjoyment of all aspects of the tour. I highly recommend Alpha to Omega Travel for well designed tours. You cannot help but to be fully satisfied. - Ronald and Faith Suprenant, CA
People take trips all the time, to Mexico, Europe, Hawaii or across the United States;
but visiting the Holy Land is a pilgrimage—and there is a big difference. I come to the Holy Land, my latest trip with Alpha 2 Omega Travel this past June, to encounter the living Lord. I come to correct the visions I have in my head of what the places should look like with the reality of what it does look like. I come to steal a few minutes in the churches and places to which pilgrims have come for some 1700 years to hear the stories and to plant my faith firmly on the ground in which it was first proclaimed. I come to add sight, smell, taste, and touch to the stories that I have heard since a child. I think the biggest realization that comes to most folks is the geography that is so often mentioned in the Bible, but taken for granted. Standing in Capernaum one can get a sense for what it meant for Jesus to have traveled up and down the Galilee, to have ‘gone to the other side,’ or to have ventured toward the Judean wilderness. Two things come to mind; that the distances are often far less than we have imagined, and secondly the diversity in the landscape. Here in this small country you’ll encounter Biblical places that are lush and green, agricultural land growing a variety of crops, harsh and unforgiving desert, small out of the way towns, and sprawling urban backdrops. The key to your pilgrimage will be to balance the awe of the tourist with the words of scripture, and taking time for prayer and reflection. You will be visiting sites that people have risked their lives throughout history to experience. Take the time to pray, to think not only of the stories that have taken place there, but of those fellow Christians who have come before you to these same sites to refresh their spirits and put earth and context to their faith. Here in the Holy Land, our nuances of theology and different ways of expressing the faith are eclipsed by the story itself and the silent footsteps of those who have come before us. There is a unity to be found here that will enrich you for the rest of your life. - Pastor Jeff Frohner, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and School, San Clemente, California
Hi! We just returned home from our extended vacation.
We had a wonderful experience with Alpha 2 Omega Travel on our tour of Israel! Linda had EVERY detail covered! Her choice of sites, activities, hotels, restaurants and tour guide, Jarir, were TERRIFIC. Somehow, she even arranged for great weather!!! Even though there is a lot of political tension in the area, we never felt in any danger. We were well taken care of and all of our needs were met. There were numerous little surprises thrown in for good measure!!! Thank you Linda, for making this vacation so enjoyable and meaningful! - Sincerely, Ron and Amy Shively, CA
What an incredible experience. I enjoyed all the scenery and all the places.
The guides were so knowledgeable and told us all we needed to know about all the places. I will try to recap some my most favorite and memorable places in the Holy land. When Pastor Rockne mentioned to me that I was standing on the rock where Jesus stood, a feeling washed over me and all the verses of the Bible on that subject came back to me. All of a sudden I was so overcome with emotions, and I was humbled. All I could think was that I had to remove my shoes because I was not worthy enough to be on the same place Jesus stood and walked, with my shoes on. I remembered the story in the Bible when Moses saw the burning bush, then he heard the voice that said, take off thy shoes, for the ground you stand on is holy ground. I had to stay back and meditate for a little while. I was so overwhelmed. All my life I have been hearing and reading these stories, and here I was experiencing it all first hand. The thought came to me, when Pastor asked me what stood out the most, I said the donkey. I didn't get to explain. It must have sounded funny to everyone else, but to me...Seeing all the donkeys that are used to carry people and carts etc. touched me very much. I remembered Mary and her travels when she was with child (baby Jesus). I imagined how difficult it must have been with all the rocks and hills that they had to climb. I remembered before the crucifixion when Jesus rode on the donkey, garments, and palms were thrown down for the donkey to walk on. So it occurred to me how these donkeys must have suffered, but also the very important role they played in the Bible. There were so many other beautiful memories and touching moments such as being baptized in the Jordan, same place as Jesus did, what an amazing experience. I was given the privilege of serving communion from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. I floated in the Dead Sea, stood on the Mount of Olives. There are too many to list, just suffice to say it is a trip that I will never forget. Linda was such a calm and peaceful person, very polite, helpful and always there for us. Alpha Omega 2 tour is the best. I have such gratitude to Pastor for inviting me. - Mirian Firsick, Lancaster, CA
Now that I recovered from jet-lag and lack of sleep,
I wanted to write a Thank You letter for all the hard work you did for our trip. Without your conscientious attention to details and dedication it would not have been as interesting and nice. I am very glad that I was able to go, and experience Israel and Jordan for myself. It is truly something you must experience once in your life. Hopefully more times if possible. - Ruth Dela Cruz, La Crescenta, CA
My wife Carla and I have just returned from an Alpha 2 Omega tour of Israel
It was an incredible week that we just can’t stop talking about. No one site stands out since we saw about 4 or 5 new sites every day all across Israel and they were all fascinating. What made them interesting beyond our expectations was the expertise of our tour guide, Jarir Rabadi. As a fellow Christian, he was very well versed on the significance of all of the sites and went well beyond that by explaining the challenges of everyday life in different parts of Israel. Add to that a Christian bus driver Imad, who skillfully wove our bus through incredibly tight spots. For those of you concerned with security, we did see armed forces in many locations. But what we saw far more of were fellow religious tourists from many different nations. We experienced other groups praying, reading the word and singing hymns out loud in different languages. When was the last time you were uplifted like that in the USA? If Israel is on your bucket list, pray no longer, this is the right group to bless your pilgrimage. Easter will not be the same as we can now completely visualize the grand entrance and ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us in Jerusalem. - Dave Schaller, Concordia Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne
Hi, Linda: Thank you for the great trip to Israel.
I enjoyed very much the places we visited, the people in our group, and of course, the food. The hotel buffets were great, Middle Eastern cuisine is fabulous, those people really know what good and healthy food is all about. The waiters were courteous and friendly. The trip was well planned and organized. Jarir was a great guide, very knowledgeable and well educated. The Sea of Galilea and surrounding areas, the view from Mount Carmel of the Valley of Meggido, wow, what a spectacular sight, very impressive and spiritual. Our bus driver was amazing, this guy knows how to drive. I would never drive in Jerusalem, that city was designed for walking, not driving. All in all, it was a wonderful trip. Thank you, Linda and Thank you, Tracy - Jorge
Just wanted to say thank you for the great trip, and the Bible is so much more alive to me now.
Reading it has become an act of rediscovery, as the places I saw in Israel give me new insights and understanding. I have better context for my devotions, and greater appreciation for what Christ went through as He walked and taught in the land. The tours could not have been better, and they were so well organized. I recommend this trip to anyone who has ever had a desire in their hearts to go to the Holy Land. - Regards, Tim
This past March, my husband and I lead a group from our church, Cornerstone Church Anaheim, with Alpha Omega Travel.
This was our first experience with Alpha 2 Omega Travel. This was my second trip and my husband’s fourth trip. Both of us learned and experienced things we had not on the other trips. Our guide to the Holy Land was absolutely amazing. His background and knowledge of history and understanding of the different cultures was so enlightening and educational. He was enjoyable and very caring for the group’s well- being and always available to answer questions. I was concerned about traveling with a larger group as my trip before was with a private guide with five other people. I can tell you that this trip surpassed my own personal expectations. We had a wonderful bus and driver. Our schedule was delightful with every day filled with wonder and insight. Linda's experiences in Israel have helped shape her understanding as to what is truly important, inspirational and engaging to anyone visiting Israel. We would highly recommend Alpha Omega Travel and are already planning a tour for next year. Our group came back so fired up they have made others want to experience Israel as well. - Pr. Carol Danna, Cornerstone Church, Anaheim, CA
Dear Pilgrims To The Land Of Israel,
I'm a pastor who has made multiple trips to Israel with many different groups. Lately, I've been working with Linda Miller and Alpha 2 Omega Travel. Because of the great service that has been given to me and my people - we use Alpha 2 Omega Travel exclusively. Linda Miller and her team are very sensitive to our needs and that of my people. I have another Israel trip scheduled for November 10 - 20, 2015, and will be having them arrange this trip and make all the travel arrangements for the people going with us. Going to Israel has changed my life and I look forward to going multiple times more in the future. My knowledge of the land is increasingly making my communication of the Word more effective. If you've never traveled to the Holy Land - may I recommend that you would make an effort to do so soon. You will be glad you did. I'm often asked about traveling to a land filled with so much conflict. People want to know if they will be safe. The answer comes in a couple of ways. First, in all the years going to Israel, there has always been some sort of conflict going on. Secondly, we don't go near those areas - ever. Our guides are very wise into the places that they take us and your safety is of upmost concern. Recently, there was a Palestinian/Israeli conflict in one of the synagogues while we were there. We hardly heard anything about it. However, in the United States - it was front page news. Often, those in other countries look at what is going on in the United States and they see the violence and think that it is unsafe to come to the United States. Israel is a country with around 9 million people - most of whom want to live in peace. Violence happens and they do what you and I do... get up, get dressed and go to work. You can live your life in fear or you can live your life in faith. May I encourage you to do the latter and come to the place where the history of the world past, present, and future has and will take place - Come to Israel! - Pastor Bill Burnett, New Life Chapel, Hesperia, CA
Our visit to the Holy Land,
For more than two decades, my professors, my fellow pastors, and many of my parishioners have told me about their Holy Land experiences. Generally, they always seem to say something to the effect, “The Bible comes alive as you experience the Holy Land.” Well, in the month of November, I got to witness the land of our Lord first-hand with folks from my church. For me, the sights and sounds of Israel brought the Scriptures to life in a fresh, bold, and exciting way. To walk where Jesus walked isn’t just a fanciful marketing ploy. You literally walk where He walked! Whether it is seeing what is likely to be Golgotha’s mountains in the vicinity of the Garden Tomb or the being moved to tears while walking around the Garden of Gethsemane; sailing on the shores of Galilee or walking to the church of the Nativity, you experience your faith in a whole new way. Linda Miller and Alpha 2 Omega Travel did a wonderful job planning, guiding, and encouraging us before, during, and after our trip. The next time I go with my church, I will be sure to plan my trip with them. For many years, I thought about going to the Holy Land. Don’t just think about going, sign-up and prepare your heart and your mind, and your life to be changed forever. - Pr. Arthur Andrews, Hephatha Lutheran Church, Anaheim, CA
TEN WAYS MY EXPECTATIONS WERE EXCEEDED
I may have visited Israel in 2014, but my life was certainly changed forever. Even though I had high expectations going into the trip, each and every one of them was still exceeded as I journeyed in the Holy Land with Alpha 2 Omega Travel. Read below, written in no particular order, ten ways that this journey was above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I truly enjoyed the food. I’m sometimes a picky eater and hang on tight to my comfort foods. The fish, chicken, and wide varieties of sandwiches and vegetables were a delight. I had no problem finding what I could not only eat, but enjoyed so much that I found myself going back for seconds at the evening dinners. Alpha 2 Omega Travel didn’t skimp on the accommodations. Although I imagine that the tour company could have made a lot of money by only putting us in rooms that were the bare minimum, the accommodations they provided for us were top quality. Our stay in Jericho was more of a luxury resort than an ordinary hotel. Our guide, Jarir, was extremely knowledgeable and personable. He not only knew his facts about the sites, culture, and history of Israel, but he took time to get to know each one of us as we toured that week. There was no doubt that we were in the hands of someone who cared for us and was there to do much more than just what his job required. This is Jarir’s ministry. He takes great pride in what he does and enjoys guiding groups. Linda, with Alpha 2 Omega Travel, was very good to us. Many times she surprised us with extras that weren’t included in the trip. She became part of our group and fit right in with all of us. You would have thought that she knew everyone all along and that we all had been friends for years. Linda treated us like family and spoiled us as we were her guests. I really felt comfortable walking the streets of Jerusalem and visiting the holy sites. Many from back home asked if we were scared to go and if we had concerns about safety issues. After going on the trip, I can honestly say that I never once felt uneasy or as if my safety was in jeopardy. We were welcome there and the people were very friendly. I appreciated the way Alpha 2 Omega Travel made it their mission to economically support the Christians in Israel. When possible, we shopped at Christian stores, stayed at Christian hotels, and ate at restaurants that were owned by Christians. Although it’s important to do outreach and share the Word of God with those who don’t currently walk with Jesus, we also have an obligation to support those who are experiencing difficulties and are persecuted for their Christian faith. Alpha 2 Omega Travel is committed to helping its brothers and sisters in Christ who are taking a stand and trying to live in an environment that is predominantly non-Christian. I enjoyed being able to customize the trip to our preferences and desires – even as we were already on the tour. Alpha 2 Omega Travel was very flexible and worked with us whenever possible to take advantage of last minute opportunities and special requests from the group. Alpha 2 Omega Travel definitely lived up to their name. They took care of everything from A to Z. From trip preparation to ensuring we were all back home safely with our luggage, and everything in-between, this company was the complete package. A word to the inexperienced traveler, Alpha 2 Omega Travel will make sure you have everything you need. Our guide was very intentional about not just taking us to the sites, but to connect us with the historical biblical account and Scriptural significance of each place we visited. He offered a spiritual emphasis that tied in perfectly with the very reason why we had come on the trip. Having a Christian guide made all the difference as we explored an area that is occupied by people of many faiths. I’ve never before had a week where I’ve experienced so many tears, goosebumps, and shivers running throughout my whole body. That, coupled with the excitement and adrenaline pumping in my veins, made for a rush of intense feelings as I visited the very places that my Lord walked and revealed Himself to the world He came to save. To think that my footsteps most likely walked in the very places Jesus the Christ came to seek, save, heal, and proclaim victory over death and all evil, is a feeling like no other. My God! It would be a gross understatement to simply say that I recommend this trip to others. Instead, I say that every Christian must go at least once in their lifetime and it should be an absolute requirement for every pastor and Christian school teacher. The experience will change your life and you’ll certainly never read the Bible the same way again. Praise Jesus for the privilege of going to the Holy Land with Him. -Reverend J. Brown, Concordia Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Our recent trip to the Holy Land was amazing.
When planning a trip abroad you want to find an agent/agency that has experience. Linda Miller and her contacts throughout the Middle East fit the bill. The guides in Israel (Jarir) and Jordan (Marwan) were very informative and knowledgeable. They live in the area and have contacts throughout the region that help to make your trip fun, factual, and flawless. Not only do you walk in the steps of Jesus, but you experience the current culture and people. Accommodations are arranged to provide you with access to the area if you would like to explore on your own - with just the right amount of free time planned into the schedule. Our group was amazed at the perfect itinerary and sense of timing. We were able to visit both Israel and Jordan. There was not one minute that we felt threatened or unsafe in either country - and we are not really the adventurous types. Israel is one great site after another. Jordan is filled with history and the most friendly, engaging community you will ever encounter. We are so grateful we extended our time and added that once in a lifetime adventure. - Ted and Debby Schafnitz, Hope Lutheran Westminster CA
In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” Matt. 4:15
As I write this I am in the city of Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee, the land where Jesus lived the majority of his life and did most of his ministry and teaching. I, and eleven other Hope pilgrims have been blessed to spend the last week here following in the footsteps of Jesus. How amazing it has been finally visiting in person the sites and locations that I have heard from Bible stories my whole life long; Bethlehem, Jericho, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Nazareth, and many more. I have to say it’s been spiritually illuminating as we now see more clearly and better understand Jesus who is the “light of the world”. Coming Down Off The Mountain This trip has literally been a “mountaintop experience”; I stood atop Mount Nahum where Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, Mount Hermon where Jesus was tempted by Satan, and finally the Mount of Olives where Jesus rode into Jerusalem as king on Palm Sunday and the same spot where he is prophesied to return when he comes again. For as much as we’ve seen there is still ten times more that we had to pass on (next time!), but I’ll be forever grateful to God for blessing us with this experience of a lifetime. Our pilgrim group has shared many of the literal experiences common to Jesus and his Disciples; we road in a wooden boat on the Sea of Galilee, we renewed our baptisms in the Jordan River, the four married couples in the group renewed their wedding vows at the church in Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle (turning water into wine for a wedding feast), and visited the hill where Jesus was crucified and the tomb he was placed in until his resurrection. I Will Never Be The Same Again. I honestly have to say that after this experience I feel closer to Jesus than ever; the Bible stories seem more real and understandable now that I can imagine sitting there watching it happen in person. I wish every member of my congregation could have experienced this firsthand but I will do my best to share with them all the value of what I and the others on our trip received on our journey to the Holy Land. However, if this trip sounds like something you wish you’d had for yourself let me encourage you that the Holy Land isn’t going anywhere, so maybe in the next few years a similar trip will open up that you could join; I invite you to start dreaming, praying, and saving so that when the opportunity comes around again you’ll be able to say, “Here I am Lord, send me!” “I Am The Alpha And The Omega” In closing, I cannot thank enough Linda and the Alpha 2 Omega staff for putting together such a great itinerary and experience. Every day our group was awed and impressed by the accommodations, the ease of transportation, the variety of cuisine experiences, and even their recommendations for where to shop! There is no other company I would work with when coming back again (because I have faith I’ll definitely be returning). Just being here is awesome, but being here as planned and executed by A2O made it the best. - Love and blessings in Christ, Pastor Paul Finley, Hope Lutheran Church, Westminster, CA
The whole trip was a life time opportunity to walk in the steps of Jesus - go where He went and see places that are of Biblical significance.
The most meaningful place we visited was at the house of Caiaphas with St. Peters church built over it. When we visited the pit/cistern where Jesus was held the night before his trial, I was struck with just how much suffering Jesus did even before his scourging by the Romans. It was very emotional for me and I will never forget that place. Perhaps because this pit/cistern is not mentioned in any of the biblical gospels - maybe it is myth or maybe it is true. Only through faith can one believe it, and because it struck such a deep chord in me - I believed it and was very moving. Thanks for all the assistance and for a great trip. - Patti Smith
This is my 3rd trip to Israel. The first was with a private guide and a few friends and the last 2 with Linda and Jareer at Alpha2Omega Travel.
I would say hands down the tours with Alpha2Omega have been hands down the best over even a private guide in smaller group. The knowledge and reputation that they have throughout Israel is superior. You leave knowing you have been saturated with knowledge of the history, culture and people both past & present. The tour takes you in "as family" and you become part of the backdrop of this amazing country and people. - Pr. Carol Danna, Cornerstone Church, Anaheim CA
This is the 3rd time that I've traveled with Alpha 2 Omega Travel to Israel.
Linda Miller has a firsthand knowledge of the land and the people that provides the best experience for any pilgrim to the Holy Land. One of my favorite experiences every year is water baptism, and this year was no different. While we had a moving experience with our own group, I was also blessed by the opportunity to baptize a young couple from Russia (who now live in San Francisco). To see their tears and joy was beyond words. There is so much to see and experience every day. I love to teach the scriptures and see "the lights come on in people's heads." I also look forward to bringing more and more groups to experience the Holy Land and allowing people to see what it was like when Jesus was on this earth. - Pr. Bill Burnett, New Life Chapel, Hesperia CA
Israel, the Holy Land. I'm on my flight back from Israel and I'm thinking back on all the things I was able to see and experience while I was there.
Someone in the tour said it best, "I'm still processing." I loved that I got to see so much of Israel each day! The days were typically from 8am to 4pm and were packed with sites and information. I took the time that we had at night to process, journal and write about my day and review the pictures that I took during the day. I felt safe the entire time. Our guide, Jarir, knew Israel like the back of his hand. It also felt like he had a pulse on everything that went on throughout Israel. He had so many connections and knew the areas that were good for us to go to. Just like you don't want to go to watts in LA, there are some places that you don't want to go to in Israel. Jarir knew those places and stayed far from them. The pace of the trip was kind of quick during the tours because Jarir wanted to make sure we got to see as much as we could. I appreciated that so much! He kept us on schedule, and I always felt like he had things under control. Even when traffic was heavier than we expected, he got us to Cana and made sure that the couples were able to renew their vows. Imad was our driver for the trip and he amazed us all at his ability to drive our bus so well and maneuver it through all of the cities! This was another thing I did not worry about during the trip. He did a great job at getting us to where we needed to go when we needed to go. Now about Israel itself, it is a beautiful country! Well, definitely in Galilee. Reminds me a lot of Southern California except for the Dead Sea area. Jerusalem is a very busy and crowded city and it seemed like there was a church or something for everything. A lot of sites felt commercialized so it was hard for me to really dwell on the places and events that happened there. It was easier for me to do this at night after we got back from the tour for the day. For the places that were not as commercialized, I felt like I was able to soak in more of the meaning at the time I saw it. God spoke to me at a couple of places which was amazing. God also reminded me before the trip that just because I'm in Israel doesn't mean He is with me more than He is with me while I'm at home. As a Christian, Jesus is living inside of me so whether I am standing in front of the Garden Tomb or sitting in my office at home, He is always near. I also liked the itinerary for the trip. We started in the busy cities like Jerusalem and ended up in the most peaceful town of Galilee where Jesus did most of His ministry. If I have to give a favorite place, I would have to say my favorite place of the whole trip was Sacellum Primatus. Linda and Jarir added it at the last minute. This place is from John 21 where Jesus appeared with His disciples in His resurrected body and while they were fishing. This is also where Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. I have been studying this passage of scripture recently and to see the place where this happened was so exciting! I could almost picture Jesus calling to His disciples and Peter jumping out of the boat to be with Jesus quickly! How incredible to be in the same place and feel similar feelings Peter had when he was on that day! I would definitely recommend everyone to go to Israel if of they ever have the chance. It is amazing how the people and places in the Bible have become more alive now, that I have been where they would have been and seen what they would have seen! I pray that you also will have a chance to see the Holy Land of Israel and walk where my Lord walked! - Julia Degen, Tour Participant
What an inspirational, wonderful and amazing trip.
I will never forget where we went and what we saw. The Bible came alive for me as we visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Galilee, and many more incredible places. My advice to anyone contemplating visiting Israel is to go, it is safe. Experience the history, the sights, the friendly people, and the food. Linda Ream-Miller and Jarir (our guide) made this a trip I will always remember. - Carol Sauer, First Presbyterian Church, Upland CA
Thank you for such a wonderful trip to the Holy Land.
I think having communion on the Sea of Galilee was, perhaps, my most memorable experience. Also, the Palm Sunday walk down the Mt. of Olives and the Via Dolorosa. Being with you, Jarir, and Pr. Chris was the perfect combination of obtaining knowledge and experiencing all these amazing places. The memory of some of the cathedrals may fade, but being there with such wonderful people will always remain in my heart. Thank you, thank you. - Karla Kniss, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA
We saw so much and were so well treated, that it is hard to single out any one thing that we visited.
Masada with its sad history would be among the most impressive of the sites we visited. The places we visited where Jesus walked or talked were not crowded, so we could enjoy them much more. I thank Linda and Alpha 2 Omega Travel for suggesting the timing of this trip. The tour guide selected was also VERY special. We had communion and sang hymns in the small chapel at Jesus tomb as a VERY special addition to the travel that day. - Jerry Wilson, First Presbyterian Church, Upland, CA
This was the most emotional and inspiring trip one could ever imagine.
There is so much rich history and for Christians, so many places to renew our faith by actually walking where Jesus walked. The most overwhelming feeling of awe for me was at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but there were so many others that confirmed that our faith is in fact evidence based. We felt totally safe and secure with our knowledgeable leader, Linda, and guide, Jarir, who are very aware of everything happening in the Holy Land. This trip to Israel is a must do for all Christians. - Martha Merritt, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA
Just a note to tell you how much we appreciated your kind care and genuine concern for all of us pilgrims.
It is apparent that you truly walk with the Lord and I cannot imagine having gone to Israel without you, Jarir, Imad, and of course, Pr. Chris. As a team you provided the spiritual understanding that we needed to make the trip a lifetime memory. Sherry and I always felt completely safe in all of the locations that we visited. I enjoyed taking unaccompanied morning walks before breakfast at all of the hotels. Our first 4 days in in Jerusalem were truly inspiring. Although I have studied the Bible, the ability to actually see the places will make my reading of scripture much more meaningful. Not only did we retrace Jesus' early ministry at the Temple, but we also walked his footsteps leading to his crucifixion. We followed his entry into the city from the Mt. of Olives, his betrayal and arrest, and walked the stations of the cross with detailed explanations of each station on the Via Dolorosa by Jarir, our guide, and also by Pr. Chris. We saw just how chaotic is the city of Jerusalem and how to many, the entire event was of passing interest in the Old City markets, both then and now. Of particular interest to me, was to be able to stand in the stone pit at the house of Caiphas, knowing that Jesus was suspended on a rope for the entire night prior to his execution. My understanding of his suffering was greatly increased seeing this place, and praying with the group as we stood in the pit. Finally, being inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher gave me a whole different perspective on the scale of the area in which the crucifixion took place. The teaching steps on the south wall of the Temple Mount is a place very meaningful to me because we know that Jesus actually taught on those steps and I could imagine being there and listening to him. The incredible fortress and Herod's residence at Masada were truly breathtaking. It was hard to believe the scale of it, knowing when it was built. That same afternoon we toured Qumran and saw the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. I honestly never expected to see this place, and was impacted by the fact that these ancient scrolls confirmed the accuracy of almost the entire Old Testament. Our entire stay in the Sea of Galilee area (Tiberias) was one highlight after another. We were able to go the places where Jesus preached and performed miracles. The church at the Mount of Beatitudes was particularly beautiful and a place where I felt at peace. Being at the home where he lived for 3 years at Capernaum was also memorable and inspiring. We reaffirmed our marriage at the church at Cana (very moving) and Pr. Chris reaffirmed my baptism on the Jordan River--quite a thrill! Finally, I was particularly struck by the beauty of Caesarea Maritime, the great port and aqueduct built by Herod. It is not only a place of great historical significance, but has a beach which would make a great vacation spot. The entire trip consisted of one historical and spiritual meaningful place after another. We also learned about the culture and politics in modern day Israel, which are quite different than generally known in the United States. In summary, it was the trip of a lifetime because it was not only interesting, but also strengthened my faith. God Bless you Linda for the work you do. It is something that changes lives and strengthens the faith of those who go with you. - Chris Toland, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA
Thank you Linda for taking such good care of us! It still seems surreal that I was able to experience the places that my Lord went.What an inspirational, wonderful and amazing trip.
Here’s my comments for your website/newsletter. I’ve been raving about the experience and just gave your information to a friend from St. Bonaventure Church named Claudia. Here’s my review: I had very high expectations for my pilgrimage trip to the Holy Land that I went on with Alpha 2 Omega Travel in March 2016. They didn’t just meet, but far exceeded those expectations! Linda was able to share some of her archeological experiences and expertise, which enriched our trip immensely. Our guide, Jarir, became a beloved brother in Christ and my new Facebook friend. He had much more than just “book knowledge” about the sites we visited, he had the biblical background to constantly relate the sites to stories and characters we had read about in the Bible, which really made it seem like the words were jumping off the pages and becoming three dimensional. He also was very patient with me and my inquisitive nature, always willing to answer my questions and he helped our group understand the dynamics between the three main groups in Israel; Jews, Muslims, & Christians. I was fortunate enough to go with my pastor, my mother, and a group of fellow pilgrims from our church. Reflecting back on our experiences, it’s hard to just name a few sites, but a couple of my favorites were the Garden Tomb, being able to give each other communion in the grotto, and actually visualize what the garden and tomb may have looked like. St. Peter’s in Galicantu was also a very touching moment, when we all crowded into that cell that it is believed to be where Caiaphas held Jesus, and is the site that Peter betrayed Christ. I think we have examples throughout the Bible of our frail human nature, such as when Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, yet we see God’s grace and mercy which helps us move beyond those mistakes and press forward to do better, just like it inspired Peter. I loved the beauty of Ein Gedi, with the waterfall and wildlife in the middle of the parched Judean wilderness. I could imagine David hiding in those caves from Saul, pouring out his heart in songs, writing Psalms that still inspire and move us to this day. We were able to see so many ancient places each day and cover such a wide array of terrains, I really didn’t expect Israel to be as green and beautiful as it was! Hiking the path to Tel Dan, in the midst of the woods, with the water rushing around us, and marveling at Herod's port city, Caesarea Maritime, set so perfectly on the Mediterranean, were also two of my favorite sites I won’t ever forget! If you are considering this trip, I highly recommend it! I had friends say, “Aren’t you scared to go to the Middle East?” Actually, I never felt that I was in any danger. I live in Southern California, about an hour from the San Bernardino tragedy, so honestly, in this day and age is there any guarantee of safety? Christ is our protector and provider and can be our peace, if we let Him. If you are feeling a tug on your heart to take this leap of faith, I say trust God. He will open up your heart and mind to a deeper relationship with Him! - Kim Jarrah, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA
Thank you, Linda for a wonderful tour of the Holy land.
I especially enjoyed the area around the Sea of Galilee where Jesus did so much of his ministry. Mt. Carmel was a treat because I have sung the Oratorio, Elijah and some of it took place there. Finally, the new site at Magdala allowed us to see the archeology in progress. Thank you for all of your hard work that made our trip possible. - Jan McCrea-Foster, First Presbyterian Church, Upland, CA
Visiting the Holy Land isn’t like touring London or Paris; mere sight-seeing falls far short of describing the experience of walking where Jesus walked.
As a pastor, my chief concern was a trip that would be a spiritual high-point in people’s lives. Retreat, adventure, journey, and pilgrimage are better words to describe what loomed large in our hopes and expectations. Our group wanted a pilgrimage. All the usual questions were there: Is it safe? Who will go? What’ll we see? What happens? These questions were quickly sorted out by Linda in our “interest” meetings that took place beginning a year prior to our trip. With every meeting, our enthusiasm and expectations grew. When it was time to go, we were all not only ready, but eager and focused on the purpose of our journey. Linda covered all the questions, all the bases, and prepared our team for a great trip. It was precisely the careful preparatory work than enabled us to give our full attention—and to be fully present in—our Holy Land adventure. Our safety was never in question. Most of us remain convinced that Israel is much safer than most of America. Jerusalem is not only safer than Chicago, but probably safer than Omaha, which is to say we all felt perfectly secure on our trip. Whether we were in Israel, one of the Palestinian territories, in hotels, restaurants, or in between—safety was never a concern—we felt safe. I had travelled to Israel with a church group ten years previously. The tour group I used then provided a satisfactory—though by no means thorough—experience. In that trip, I had organized a detailed study booklet to accompany folks throughout the tour. A week of study leave prior enabled me to research each of the sites we would see so I would have something informational and insightful to say about each stop. Alpha 2 Omega Travel paired us with guides who were both archaeologists and cultural scholars. As much as I thought I knew, I was delightfully surprised to be learning incredible things at every stop. This empowered me to focus on the experience of others. I didn’t have to play at being instructor or guide; I was freed to fulfill my role as their pastor in full. As to the political landscape, it goes without saying that most of us have biases—like baggage—that we bring with us, and our biblical perspectives tend to shape our personal sentiments about the land. Linda and her team provided us information that was fact-based, balanced, and largely uncontested by either side. We came to see how the majority of folks—be they Jew, Muslim, or Christian—live as good neighbors and long for lasting peace. Our group grew to feel better-informed of the spectrum of differing points-of-view, and had a great time meeting good folks and neighbors from several perspectives. It’s one thing to have planes that get you there and buses that shuttle you around once you’re there, but it’s another thing to feel like your tour company really has you in its embrace—that it is truly shepherding you and your friends throughout the trip. The Alpha 2 Omega Travel team shepherded us before, during, and after the trip with constant care and attention. Our trip was a lifetime high for all of us. We connected with God and each other as we walked the paths of Christ. The glow of it is still upon us a month later. Our pilgrimage was a success: our hopes and expectations were all fulfilled. As to Linda and her team at Alpha 2 Omega Travel, I couldn’t recommend a company more highly. - Rev. Noel K. Anderson, Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Upland, Upland, CA
Linda, you had asked if we had any comments, criticisms, or favorite places or events that were special to us.
When thinking back on our wonderful Israel trip, there are many highlights and a few surprises. Among the things that totally standout was the wealth of information and perspective we received from our tour guide. The trip would have been like a black and white movie without all his amazing knowledge and background information giving it living color. This was key throughout the trip. This was our first trip to Israel, and knowing very little about the country or its many historic sites, it was of tremendous value to have the trip pre-planned to include so many sites and visiting them in an order that allowed us to stay multiple nights in the significant locations. That gave us lots more touring and resting up and lots less packing up and moving. We liked that a lot. It was also very valuable to be able to fully explore and appreciate each site, receiving lots of information about it and having the chance to ask questions, all without moving in haste, but still finishing in a timely fashion. Taking a group and providing a fulfilling tour, without dragging things is an art and you have it down to a science. It seemed almost magic that each site was allotted plenty of time to enjoy and absorb, but none of our valuable touring time was wasted by padding the visits with excess shopping or un-needed rests or long talks or videos. Your tour was amazing in its effectiveness and organization. We were constantly saying to each other “They’ve done this before!!!” and “It’s really nice to have this so well thought out!” And the best part. . .we didn’t have to do a thing but look, listen, and enjoy. Surprisingly we felt no issues of safety or security. You kept us out of harm’s way, if indeed there was any around. We saw no hint of it. On the other hand, there were hundreds of other tourists in the country and it was wonderful to see so many people enjoying and revering the significant locations. While we saw many other tourists and tour groups moving about, we rarely had crowds. I think you just have a nose for how and when to take us into the various places without the crowds. I recall one day that you herded us onto the bus fairly quickly after a short break and we thought this was a somewhat unusual behavior for you. We then learned that it was because your driver had learned where a large tour group was headed. It was the same lunch location we were going to use, so you got us there in time to get seated and get our orders in before they arrived. We ate and went on our way without ever seeing them again. You, the guide and our driver were always watching, evaluating, and helping to bring us the best experience, and the least stress. That was reason enough to be glad we were on your tour. Thank you all so much. Finally, although it is tough to choose only one highlight, I have to describe the most moving and one of the best highlights for both Janet and me. It was a random event (or maybe not so random…hmmm?) that occurred in Saint Anne’s Church. When we went into the church, there was a Korean group standing in a chorale formation and being led by their conductor. They were singing a round, using the word, Halleluiah, as the only lyric. It was either familiar to all of us, or just easy enough to learn that soon, just out of joy, we all started to quietly sing. Hearing voices raised in song in the old church with a high dome ceiling is thrilling. It reverberates like a choir in a huge shower room and fills the air with music. The Koreans heard us singing and soon started making gestures for us to join them. We came to them and stood all around and beside them. We all raised our voices in the song. The sound was powerful and spiritually overwhelming for all of us. After that song, we asked them to join us in singing the Lord’s Prayer. They were happy to join in. When finished all of us were nodding and smiling and thanking each other for the shared experience. We could not speak or understand a word they said, nor could they understand us, but it was plain that we were all brothers and sisters in Christ right then and we would be so, forever. The faces and expressions of everyone is a memory that will never fade. Again, thank you all so much. - Doug and Janet Hunt, First Presbyterian Church of Upland, Upland, CA
One of the most memorable experiences was when we went to the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.
As we waited in the covered area prior to going into the tomb, our group said the Lord's Prayer, sang, and shared the Sacrament of Communion. We listened to our guide explain about the site and then Pr. Chris, and all of us pilgrims held hands and prayed together just as it might have been for Jesus and his disciples. I thought about them spending time together here almost 2000 years ago. We, like the disciples, are anxious to learn, charting new and uncertain waters, but with anticipation and excitement. The details about whether nor not the Garden tomb was the exact place Jesus was laid after crucified is not important. What is important is that He is dwelling in my heart and the heart of our guides, Linda and Jarir, and of all my fellow pilgrims as we visit here in Israel and walk in His footsteps. I am encouraged to learn to pray out loud to Jesus daily - to tell Him about my thoughts, hopes, fears, and dreams, and thank Him for loving me. I can begin by reading scripture out loud. Rick and I are forever grateful to the Alpha 2 Omega Travel team for going beyond the call of duty to make our Israel trip a happy, memorable, comfortable, and safe experience. - Rick and Kathy Wisser, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA
Let me begin by confessing that a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is truly one of those journeys that cannot be fully conveyed through words.
A few, inadequate lines will not suffice to express the profound impact of journeying along the same roads and paths Jesus and our spiritual ancestors walked, of seeing so many of those places we have read about in the Bible, and of interacting with layers upon layers of civilizations. While such things can be beautifully reflected through pictures or carefully described through testimonies, this is something every disciple of Christ needs to experience for himself or herself. Having been blessed to visit the land of Israel for the second time, I am still trying to fully process and digest all that I received during my journey. At present, I still find myself returning to two specific locations. The stillness of the waters of the Sea of Galilee, anchored by the calm and peace of the shore where Jesus called his disciples, has become my refuge when I pray. Each time I do, I can hear Him calling my name. When I find myself overwhelmed—sometimes even a bit crushed—by the demands of ministry, my thoughts return to the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. In such moments, I am humbled in remembering the cross I carry is not mine and I do not carry it alone. Jesus walks before me. He leads. I follow. He dies so that I might live. You often hear how visiting the Holy Land brings the scriptures to life in such way that you can never read or hear them the same way again. I always thought this was a cliché. It isn’t. There is something deeply insightful and moving about being able to visualize not only the locations, but also the cultural and historical context of the stories of our faith. Added to this is the witness of those pilgrims who have gone—who have come to these places before us. Subtle yet noticeable signs of their visits to these sites are visible all around you. Surrounded in a way by the marks left by this great cloud of witnesses remind us these places are sacred—not because of where they are, but rather because we as followers of Jesus continue to inhabit them in faith, hope, and love. All that I share with you is possible because of the fine preparations and exceptional leadership of Alpha 2 Omega Travel. From Linda, our host who ensured our trip was affordable and yet beyond expectations, to Jarir, our guide who imparted not just his wealth of knowledge to us but invited us to better understand his culture and background, to Emad, our driver who made us feel safe, comfortable, and always welcome, we were blessed by their expertise, generosity, and thoughtfulness. They did not just treat us as guests or even as fellow pilgrims; they embraced us, opened their lives to us as family. I strongly encourage you to make the journey to the Holy Land. You will not be disappointed. You will not regret it. Be warned though, you will want to go back. I highly advise you to undertake your pilgrimage by way of the excellence and resourcefulness of Alpha 2 Omega Travel. If you do, you will not just experience a life-changing trip; you will make life-long friends. - Pr. Chris Tweitmann, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA
I want to thank you so much for an emotional trip. It was everything I expected.
You and Jarir brought the love, history, and culture to life. I’ve told the stories of Jesus and his life for 35 years to 4 and 5 yr. olds, and to sit, walk, and hear those same stories was overwhelming at times, especially on the teaching steps in Jerusalem. Gethsemane, Ein Gedi, Cana, Sea of Galilee, and the messages from Pr. Chris put everything in perspective. Thank you again for a safe and wonderful trip. Every day I felt the presence of our Lord. - Sally Rivard, Grace Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA
Media propaganda getting you down? Alpha to Omega Travel will eliminate any apprehension you may have about traveling to Israel.
I know travelling to this part of the world is a concern for most, but I urge future travelers to conduct their own due diligence by going on the next scheduled trip. You should not miss the journey of a lifetime because of misinformation and political propaganda. Israel is an extremely safe nation. A million reviews could not accurately express the beauty of Israel or experience awaiting you! The emotions enveloping me at the sites where Jesus lived, walked, ate, healed, and preached were spiritual and elevating. I have a new appreciation for the Bible, not just as God’s word, but also as an historical document. Agriculture is worth mentioning, since eating is my favorite thing to do. I am a self-proclaimed food snob, and Israel surpassed my expectations. We drove through some of the most beautiful lush farmland I have ever seen. The food system is sustained by local growers without having to export or import from outside sources. Our daily meals contained the most delectable fruit, veggies, and meat in comparison to the U.S. This is not an exaggeration. The archeological sites were breathtaking. To this day, I still vividly envision my two favorite sites: Caesarea Maritima, King Herod’s city along the Mediterranean coast, and the tomb where Jesus was laid to rest before his resurrection. The assortment of emotions, and endless imagery in my mind was overwhelming. Lying in His tomb was a trajectory of fear, sadness, and loneliness. Yet, while walking along the coast where Herod held chariot races, I felt energetic and excited as I imagined spectators screaming for their favorite competitor as the waves crashed just feet away. Each new day’s discovery engulfed me with excitement as I learned more about the Bible, and Israel’s culture. Alpha to Omega Travel offers an unprecedented journey giving travelers a comprehensive understanding of Israel’s people, food, music, and religious history. You don’t have to be religious to take this pilgrimage; the way it is organized welcomes every walk of life. I cannot forget to mention the Alpha to Omega Travel Israeli team. Our tour guide, Jarir, is a well-rounded, educated individual, who presented our group with evidence-based information (very important for someone like me). Please ask for his availability upon booking-YOU WON’T BE SORRY. He is genuine, dynamic, and passionate about his homeland. This is the type of guide you want when immersing yourself into another culture. Some of us tried to think of the most difficult questions to ask, and there was only one he could not answer. IMPRESSIVE!!! Our driver Emad was equally attentive, and professional. He made sure we arrived to each site safely and quickly. Many of us were able to leave valuables on the bus without a worry. On hot days, Emad made sure that we stayed hydrated. The Alpha to Omega Travel team has truly changed my perspective on the world, and life. The love they exude for Israel and all her splendor is contagious. Now that I am home, I understand and share that same love! If you are considering a fun-filled and potentially life changing journey, I will leave you with this famous quote by the Greek philosopher Epictetus, ““Men are not afraid of things, but of how they view them.” - Michelle Wilson, Costa Mesa, CA
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
Alpha 2 Omega Travel P.O. Box 402128, Hesperia, CA 92340 US Phone: (760) 985-3540 Website: www.alpha2omegatravel.org
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