Holy Land


Good Friday Jerusalem, protected by the Israeli Army (green berets) and Israeli Police

We are going to the Holy Land during Holy Week. It has been two years since our ministry team last visited the Holy Land. For over 30 years we have carried the Cross in drama down the Via Dolorosa. About nine years ago, Joanne, our ministry leader passed on the mantle of the role of the Blessed Mother to me. We reenact the 14 Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. This is a powerful witness to all pilgrims visiting the Holy Land to see first hand what Jesus endured for our sins. It is also a great witness worldwide, as media from many countries feed this through the airwaves.

We enter through the Lion’s Gate (also know as Stephen’s Gate) of the Old City and walk up a steep incline to reach the Praetorium. It is in this area that we apply the stage blood on Jesus. We are protected by both the Israeli Police and well as the Israeli Army. They surround our group, encircling us as we go through the Stations of the Cross. We need this protection because otherwise we would be trampled by the crowds and the media. Once we reach the Muslim section it gets pretty intense. They are not celebrating with us, and their reaction is not welcoming. Sometimes we get spat on and there is always a man with a real whip waiting to attack Jesus; the Israeli Army is always helpful in these situations. The Israeli Army form a wall with their arms locked to keep control of the crowd. Many pilgrims who follow, and are deeply moved by the drama. Jim, from our team will be playing Jesus this year. Jim, is a former real rocket scientist who gave up his six-figure salary to serve the Lord and has recently converted to Catholicism.  My role is portraying the Mother of Jesus. I will do what all mothers do in real life, which is protecting our children. Both Jim and I are spiritually transformed. As I portray the Mother of God, the tears that I shed are real and I cannot control what overcomes me. I just feel the deep empathy of a mother in great pain for her child. I am praying for the needs of others as well, at this time.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher, praying and leaving prayer requests

We are prayer warriors, and our intention is to pray the entire time we are in the Holy Land. Once my friend Pat (from the ministry) and I had prayer requests that were to be left at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The problem was that we were leaving that afternoon at 1 PM to catch a flight home. Both Pat and I determined that it was important to fulfill our duty to those that gave us the requests. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher opens at 6 AM so we decided to leave early.  We left the hotel by taxi, our Arabic taxi driver only spoke his native tongue, and we did our best in explaining the way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We were dropped us off at the Damascus Gate, which was unfamiliar to me. The Old City is small so I was confident that we could find our way. The Old City, which has nine gates, is composed of a Jewish Quarter, Muslim, Armenian, and Christian Quarters. We could hear Arabic speech, and the smell of strong coffee filled the morning air, but we were uncomfortable and did not feel safe. Suddenly, from a distance, we could see a group of rowdy young men coming toward us after what seemed to be a long night out for them. We felt so out of place and were trying to remain calm.  As the men came closer the more uneasy it was for us. I know the Old City well and would have eventually figured out how to get to the Church, but this was scary. Suddenly a lone man who seemed to be coming  from  no where, asked us, “What are you doing here?” I stated that we were on our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He softly said to follow him. We did just that, he led us out of the Damascus Gate, and we walked around the Old City, and re-entered through the New Gate. Then the man said, ” is as far as I can go,” and pointed to the way of the Church. Pat and I were in complete agreement that we might have had an encounter with an angel. We walked into the nearly empty church, and prayed for several hours, before heading back to the hotel.

Vintage hotel hair dryer

For years we have been staying at the Seven Arches Hotel. This hotel, which overlooks the Mount of Olives, provides a perfect view of the Old City, and the gold glistening from the Dome of the Rock serves as our landmark. The staff at the Seven Arches have been around as long as we have, and we have bonded with them, and forming a beautiful friendship with our Muslim hosts. We are excited to hear that the hotel has gone through some renovations, and including a new elevator and I hope new hair dryers as well.

Please forward your prayer request!


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