Just a quick note to let everyone know I'm back from Israel, safe and sound. We had a great trip — the chance to do ministry and share the whole experience with my 15-year-old daughter was a blessing I'll treasure forever.

We were able to take part in a number of traditional "youth mission trip" activities (orphanage visits, helping paint at a Palestinian Christian church) as well as some other less common ones (medical clinic, visiting with kids and their parents from Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere who were flown in by the amazing ministry Shevet Achim to have heart surgeries in Israel). Young and old alike were rocked by the sadness of Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial) but encouraged by the opportunity to meet, work, and worship with Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters.

On the tourist side of things, we were able to hit most of the highlights, including the Sea of Galilee region, Old Jerusalem and all it contains, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Qumran, Masada (which we climbed!), and more. I even rode a camel.

The situation on the ground got a little dicey as we were winding down our time there, but thankfully all of it happened at the very end of our time there rather than the beginning.

A giant thank you to everyone who prayed for us while we were gone. I really appreciate it!