Good Friday

Pat, Carol, Me,Jim, Victor, Linda, Jane and Robert

This trip to the Holy Land has proven to be the most unusual and difficult journey. With the convergence of three major holidays, Greek Orthodox Easter, our Easter, and Passover, the Israeli army and police were out in full force.

We arrived at the Lion’s Gate only to discover that it was blocked by a group of young military personnel. We were poorly treated and got caught up in a battle of words. We were held up an hour before they allowed us passage. As we made our way in, another barricade, and an added another half hour delay. We spent this time praying the Rosary out loud with a group of foreigners joining the chant.

Victor and Jim as Jesus

The Old City was decorated with a festoon of blue barricades, and the crowds that normally follow us were detained behind the barriers. The great thing about this was that we could stay together as a team. It turned out to be one of the best reenactments.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher,me, Jane, and Pat
Church of the Holy Sepulcher basement

Delays the entire time gave us more time to pray and that is what we did. I know we made a difference because I have never put out this type of virtue. I had no strength left when we decided to visit  the newly restored Church of the Holy Sepulcher; how we made it there was another miracle. Again the blue barricades to control the pilgrims. We made it inside to a sea of people attempting to do the same. We found several areas to pray in and we took our time to meditate on the prayers.

All the taxi drivers understand they are in high demand and because of so many street closures they jack up the price. We had to pay $70 to get back to the hotel. This was more offensive than highway robbery; it was a hostage situation too. So today after we were done in the Old City, we decided to walk back. I did  this about 15 years ago, so to save money we made a truce to walk. One problem, was that the walk was about a seven miles, mostly up steep hills. We walked part of the way and hailed a cab, but not before negotiating a price of $20.

The money has not changed, and  just like in the times of Jesus the Israelis still use the  Shekel. We have never exchanged our American dollar because it is considered common currency. I always bring a $50 of one dollars bill for quick small purchases. The exchange rate is 3.75 Shekels to our dollar.

Victor and the team

The day we arrived a met a young man from Mexico named Victor. We were both attempting to get on the hotel’s wifi when I shared with him what our ministry did. I asked him if he would be interested in being part of our carrying of the Cross, Victor wholeheartedly agreed to join us. Victor is a law instructor as well as an attorney. He was gracious and made one of the best Roman soldiers. He was an answer to prayer and thank God for Facebook, we will always be connected.

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