Day 1: Netanya Travel Recovery Day, Welcome Reception

I’m here in the holy land to document my 10th tour group from Ecclesia Houston embarking on a Breaking Bread Journeys tour. I wanted to try to get something up before I sleep to commemorate the arrival day for an amazing group of new friends who have all come together to discover the beauty, depth, history, and diversity of this magical land. Here are some images from this first day together in Netanya, Israel, a simple beachside town with many beautiful, serene scenes to welcome even the most travel-weary sojourner.

I won’t write much today as it was basically a free day with the group taking it easy to recover from travel and jet lag. We enjoyed a small reception for the entire group to meet each other where we also met Christina Samara and Lisa Moed, co-owners of our tour company, Breaking Bread Journeys. Pastor Chris shared with us why the holy land is such a meaningful destination for him and included these quotes for us to consider as we take in all the perspectives we will encounter this week:

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

“There never was a pilgrim who did not come back to his village with one less prejudice and one more idea.” — 19th-century French writer François-René Chateaubriand

After the reception, we enjoyed a group dinner at an outdoor cafe near the hotel. The views of the Meditteranean Sea from Netanya are breathtaking; we enjoyed walks on the beach and explored the town. The weather has been absolutely perfect. The official tour kicks off tomorrow bright and early.

Nicaragua: Compassion International visit

Continuing my tour with Ecclesia Houston… Today we woke up at the crack of dawn to begin our journey back to Managua to visit a Compassion International program. There we met 20 children that members of our group sponsor for education and nutrition support through Compassion. It was a very moving experience that neither the sponsors nor the children will soon forget. Compassion staff had several activities planned for the group, and all involved had a great time. There are over 46,000 children sponsored by Compassion donors in Nicaragua alone. It’s an absolutely impressive operation, making an exponential difference in the lives of an entire generation.

Then we made our way back to the coastal village we’re basing out of just in time for a spectacular sunset. Pastor Chris Seay led us in prayer before our evening meal. This group of 60 has already begun to bond and all are having a great time getting to know each other and the local culture.

These trips are always very challenging for me as a photographer because of the vast amount of subject matter, shooting hundreds of images, coupled with having to narrow them down and speed edit on a daily basis. Learning to let go and just release these as they are. Soooo hard! But I love it!

Click/tap on the first photo to begin a slideshow.