Right now we are cruising at 39,000ft. outside our aircraft the air is a brittle -46c/-51f. We have about 5232m/4802km to travel until we land in Tel Aviv.

I’m not a good flier, and this part of traveling is difficult on me. But at the same time, I am so excited. We are on our way. Months of planning and prayer and hope and anxiety and joy are culminating into an experience that I and 21 other travelers will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Right now, in this aircraft, a dream of mine is taking form.

And it is worth it. Worth 10.5 hrs in the air. Worth traveling with a cold. Worth the exhaustion. Worth all of the work that has brought us to this moment and all of the work still to be done once I am on the ground.

Our clerk of Session, Molly Harvey, sent a small gift for each of our travelers. On it was the symbol of a fish (the icthus – an ancient symbol by which Christians would identify themselves and declare their faith), and an encouraging verse from the Bible. Molly chose this verse for me:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Molly knows that I find flying difficult, and that I believe in trusting in the Lord. Sometimes the smallest word of kindness means the most. I am thankful for this word of encouragement, which will travel with me throughout this trip and for all of the other words of prayer and encouragement that friends, colleagues and congregants have spoken directly to me or on my behalf to God.

I carry you with me, as the poet said, I carry you in my heart. And my life is made better, brighter and stronger by your presence in it.

I can’t stop thinking that it’s all happening. The trip is finally here, and I couldn’t have made it here without you. You are a blessing which I trust the Lord to provide.

Chances are, there are people in your life that you feel that way about. That you know you couldn’t have made it this far without. Take a moment and let them know – you will be honoring God as you honor them.

Let the Holy Land blogging begin!

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