Here's the latest email from the parents in Israel:
Breakfast on Day 3 started off engaged in conversation with Dr. Rutland. He's currently president of Southeastern University in Lakeland and formerly was the head pastor at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park. He also is leading the Holy Land tour. It was a nice time of catching up and sharing the directions our lives have taken since Mark ran the Overcomers groups at Calvary when Mark Rutland was there. After breakfast, we boarded a boat across the Sea of Galilee on a foggy morning, so much so that you couldn't see very well across the lake. Makes that story about Jesus walking on the water and scaring the bejeebers out of the disciples very understandable. We also had a demonstration on how the fishermen fish at the lake, although no fish were caught during that brief time. Once ashore, we landed on the northwest side of the lake and headed to Capernaum. There, we saw lots of interesting ruins, such as what was believed to be Peter's house, an ancient synogoue and the foundations of the old city. From there, we went to the Mount of Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount took place. Very peaceful and serene there, and the hillside was a gently sloping area. You begin to understand much better the context of all the things you read about when you see the actual place where they took place. Next, we headed to the "Jesus Boat," an old boat that was only discovered 10 years ago that dates all the way back to the time of Jesus. Quite fascinating how they found it and got it out of the water in remarkably good shape. Then we headed north to Caesarea Philippi. There, we saw the rock cliffs and all the various sites dedicated to the many gods of the other religions at the time of Jesus. The cliff face was full of them, and you can see with much better insight how Jesus was there when he asked the disciples, "Who do men say I am?" It was in this very setting that took place. And when he then asked the disciples the bigger question, "Who do you say that I am?" Kind of gives you chills as you imagine that whole story unfolding. From there, we toured the Golan Heights. Quite fascinating to see all of the bunkers where the Syrian armies tried to use to take that part of the Galilee area. Also saw burned out vehicles that were abandoned after the Israeli army fought back and reclaimed the Golan Heights and more. We finished the day at the south side of the Sea of Galilee at the Jordan River where a number of people got baptized. (The water temp, by the way, was 65 degrees!). The day ended with dinner back at the hotel where we ran into a couple from Calvary Mark knew from his days of working at the Calvary counseling center. Was nice to catch up with them as well. Tomorrow, we head to Bethlehem and then Jerusalem. If we find Internet access, we\ll e-mail again. If not, it may be a couple of days before we move to another location. Having a great time.
Love to all,
Fr. Mark and Cindy