We left on Monday at around 8:30 in the morning. Since it was an international flight, I got there a little earlier than normal. i was still the last one there I think, but in plenty of time. I was surprised to see that some of the people from around El Paso were there and others flew out of El Paso. They didn't know they had a choice, which is pretty unfortunate. I'm sure that's a little annoying, but it didn't seem to bother anyone too much. I repacked my stuff that morning into a lighter suitcase because it was supposed to be under 40 lbs. and it turns out that doesn't even seem to matter much, but oh well. We had a really short flight to Phoenix and then our flight to Philly got delayed, so we waited in the Phoenix airport for a long time. We talked and walked around the airport for a while and got some food. We planned on getting a pretzal and cheesesteak when we got to Philly but that didn't work out. It took like 4 hours to get there which was a pretty long flight, but I was sitting across the aisle from Joe who I hadn't seen in a while and we had a good talk, which made the flight go pretty fast. We talked a lot about new church stuff and i got lots of ideas floating around in my head that I've been thinking a lot about. We went to the New Church development conferences together and have many shared opinions and experiences in that regard. Joe's wife Alex was there too and she was really patient about putting up with our 4 hours of flapping our mouths :-)
When we got to Philly we had like very little time to get on the plane to Tel Aviv. Joe and I got a couple of refreshments as we were walking by, but the lady at the gate was rushing all of us pretty hard. We had to go through an additional security gate since it was an overseas flight. It was no big deal and it seemed like every time we got on a plane US Airways rushed us to get on and then we sat and waited once we were on the plane. It was kinda annoying, cuz i don't like rushing :-) My seat was not around anyone I knew and I went up and sat with Jeb for a little bit and ate dinner with him, then went to my seat and watched a few movies and slept. Jeb and i noticed a drugged up lady and a large number of people that went to the bathroom without locking the door. We woke up and got breakfast before we landed, I think the flight was like 9 hours or so. The neck pillow thing that I got worked like a charm. i was pretty comfortable and was able to sleep for at least a few hours. The time difference is like 9 hours ahead in Israel.
So we get to the airport and go through customs and get our bags. There were 3 ladies at my station and I showed them my passport and they start asking me qustions. i don't understand them very well, but it kind of freaks me out. It turns out that they just want to know about my piercings and which ones hurt and they told me how much they liked them. *whew* all was well. I don't have the best luck at check stations and things like that so chit chat was the last thing I wanted at that point, but it all worked out well. We got on our Tan bus and a lot of the people got on their Blue bus and we were off and headed for Tiberius. We passed tons of miliatry stations and lots of Muslim neighborhoods. They were all fenced off and it was amazing how separated people are here. Our bus broke down and we had to all get on the blue bus about halfway, and we hit rush hour so we got to the hotel pretty late, but we ate anyway and i did the first devotion of the trip.