Our group worshipped this morning in Bethlehem, at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church. The service was conducted in both Arabic and English.

Following worship, we traveled to Jerusalem and spent time at the Western Wall. Also known as the Wailing Wall, the site is considered to be the holiest place in Judaism. The huge stones are part of the retaining wall that surrounded Herod’s Temple.

Members of our group joined the segregated sections of women and men to offer prayers, which were written onto slips of paper and inserted into cracks in the wall.

The remainder of the afternoon included free time in the Old City, followed by an evening program with UMC General Board of Global Ministries United Methodist Liaison to Palestine and Israel Rev. Kristen L. Brown; Global Mission Fellow Grace Killian; and Grace Tours manager Elias N. Ghareeb. The day ended with the Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers football game – on live TV – in the Manger Square Hotel bar.

The Western Wall Plaza, the large open area that faces the Western Wall, functions as an open-air synagogue.

The Western Wall Plaza, the large open area that faces the Western Wall, functions as an open-air synagogue.

Perkins alums Carrie DeLeon and Lynette Ross touch the Western Wall as they pray.

Perkins alums Carrie DeLeon and Lynette Ross touch the Western Wall as they pray.

Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion group meets with UM mission personnel and Grace Tours manager.

Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion group meets with UM mission personnel and Grace Tours manager.