|Christ Church, Jaffa Gate|
On Friday 8th March, Roger, Mary, Helen and Beth met at Birmingham Airport ready to fly to Tel Aviv via Schiphol. The flights were good and uneventful, and the party arrived in the early hours of the morning and found a taxi-minibus to go to Christ Church Guesthouse, just inside the Jaffa Gate in the Old City part of Jerusalem.
|Beth just outside Christ Church|
The purpose of this advance party was to meet with key people locally - the tour operator Shoresh, the folks at Christ Church, and the team at Bethlehem Bible College.
For the Saturday, Sunday and Monday the weather was sunny but with a very cold wind, although the temperature was to increase steadily in advance of the main party arriving in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The team met with Levya and Sahar from Shoresh. Levya had been instrumental in all of the planning of the tour, and Sahar was to be the guide. It was a very important meeting with them as it laid the groundwork for the arrival of the main party and ironed out a few potential problems.
|Beth, Roger and Mary on the tram in Jerusalem|
On the Sunday morning the team attended worship at Christ Church. As the service there already included guest musicians, it wasn't appropriate to perform any music, but Roger was able to stand up and advertise the performance in the 'notices' slot of the service. The Rector, David Pileggi, was very welcoming, and he had worked with Roger on a number of occasions in the past.
|Roger, Mary and Beth at BBC|
On the Monday George the taxi driver drove the group to Bethlehem and to the Bible College. There the team was able to meet with Danny and Gabriel, in order to plan the visit of the main houseparty. It was very exciting to see the work of the college, including their own mini TV studio, and to hear about their work with the choir. The team were also treated to lunch with the staff of the college.
|View from the hotel, Netanya|
On Tuesday, after one last meeting with Levya, Sahar and David, the advance party travelled to Netanya, the seaside town just north of Tel Aviv, to await the main party who were due to arrive in the early hours of the morning.
|Mary paddling at Netanya|
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