“We have good news and bad news,” our pilot announced as we taxied to a gate at San Francisco International Airport before sunrise on Wednesday. The good news was that our 14+ hour flight from Israel was an hour early! The bad news was that customs doesn’t open until 6am, so we must remain on the plane another 45 minutes. Ughhh!
But really, who could complain? 28 of us had just spent almost 2 weeks in the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and we had a four hour layover anyway. Once deplaned, we made our way to baggage claim, customs, baggage recheck, and security that seemed like child’s play after complying with Israeli security.
Most had slept at least a few hours on our flight from Tel Aviv, but we were still a bit subdued as we enjoyed fellowship together during our layover. It was there we bid farewell to our dear friends from California.
Our 2 hour flight to Phoenix seemed like only a hop, skip and jump after the marathon from Israel, but we had quite the surprise when we arrived: a cold (low 50’s), windy day that later gave way to a good, heavy rain. It was 74 degrees, bright and sunny when we left Jerusalem!
By the time of this post, our group members from around the world will also be home. Tired, but filled to the brim with the blessings received.
True, farewells are never easy when you leave the land you grow to dearly love and the family you meet when you go there. But because if our trust in the Faithful One, it is not a permanent goodbye. We shall meet again one day in the New Jerusalem!