2018 Tour to Israel..
Val Waldeck Blog..
A blessed Easter to you Neil.
Israel was amazing, magnificent and I have learned so much, had many questions answered and made many new friends. Thank you so much for imparting knowledge and for organising the tour so very well. It was wonderful and I would recommend it to anybody to do.
Thank you again
Dear Brigitte, Karen, Neil, and everybody else that was involved in the planning of the tour as well as everyone that attended it.
Thank you so much for making The tour to Israel such an unforgettable experience for both my children.
Dylan and Nicole came home new, and enriched young people. I praise God for everyone of you that made them feel so “at home” and loved. They can’t stop talking about it, and they both plan to go back as soon as they get the opportunity!!!
May God bless you all richly with blessings of His choice!
Greetings in Jesus
Wanted to thank you, Brigitte and Glen from the bottom of my heart, for all the planning and input into making the most amazing trip to Israel, which for me, has just been the most incredible experience. It was far beyond anything I expected and never dreamed we would have covered seeing as much as we did.
As each day finished, in the morning I just thought, ‘well, today can’t beat yesterday’ and yet every day did exactly that!
There are so many absolutely wonderful moments, Shiloh, ground level with Nir Lavi and his lunch for us all and beautiful wine from his vineyards, the Golan Heights, The Sea of Galilee and surrounds, Masada, The Dead Sea float, Jerusalem/ Western Wall, everything was so special but particularly for myself was walking through the history of Hezekiahs Tunnel. I’d been so aware of all the rock everywhere and remembering scripture in relation to God/Rock and the crucial link with Water/Life, for me it was touching that rock and saying ‘Lord, restore to me the JOY of my salvation!’ It was almost a supernatural experience in a seemingly supernatural land. I definitely felt that I had not quite been on planet earth. So looking forward to my next visit to Israel. Please keep me posted about tours you have in the pipeline.
Again, many thanks.
God Bless .
P.S. Before going through the tunnel and with all the walking we did and hundreds of stairs, certainly had little aches and pains in the feet and knees. Well, it was healing too as I emerged feeling like a spring chicken and have not had one tweak or twinge since, not one! Hallelujah!
I don’t know where to start with saying such a big thank you to you for the most awe-inspiring tour and for giving us all the time of our lives. Really, it was absolutely fantastic and in spite of missing Clive and the children, which was one of those things, I really enjoyed every moment of it. The Lord really uses you in such a mighty way as you help to bring the scriptures alive and the way you present the whole of Israel to us as you do. I am just longing to go again, and cannot stop thinking about the whole 2 weeks. We really were blessed with such a super crowd of people, and I have been missing everyone so much, as many special friendships were formed. How I wish I could be part of the family at COGS, as everyone is so special. However that is not to be, but really it was a very blessed time for me and I have such special and meaningful memories of the whole trip.
Words fail me in expressing my appreciation to you for making it possible to take the wonderful trip with you and your group of young people to visit Israel and the Holy Land.
In the past this trip has only been a dream but now that dream has been fulfilled. I am more than grateful for the constant care and attention which you exercised from the beginning to the end of the tour.
Please accept my very grateful thanks for allowing me to join your wonderful group of young people.
Yours very sincerely,
I would like to thank you most sincerely for your organization, thoughtfulness and caring on the wonderful pilgrimage that ended last Friday. To me it was a very happy time, due in no small measure to your efforts and leadership.
It was also to me a time of learning and absorbing so much of the Bible that is history and coming to appreciate that it all really happened. This was especially so of the Old Testament and I found Michael’s knowledge quite amazing.
Visiting the sites connected with the Life of Christ brought His ministry closer to me and made me feel very humble. To sail on the Sea of Galilee was a really emotional experience.
The times of prayer bound us together and I felt a true bond with those in the party. There was a wonderful friendship and the happy atmosphere was added to by the spontaneous singing.
It was a pleasure to have Wendy with us and I am sure she made your task a great deal easier and happier.
Thank you again Neil and may God bless you.
Love to you and Wendy
I feel compelled to drop you this brief note to once again express my gratitude for all your efforts in the preparation and execution of our tour I am sure that this gratitude is shared, without exception, by all our friends.
I need to emphatically stress the success of your endeavours and how once again you have left your mark on many souls.
There was a spectrum of experiences, high and low, amongst our folk, but the shining light was experiencing the gifts that GOD has given you and how you shared your soul.
I am having difficulty with words but I simply want to say thank you Lord for Neil and may he go on from strength to strength in the lives of many, ultimately for the Glory of God.
Love & Regards
I apologise for my tardiness in conveying to you my grateful thanks for making it possible for me to visit Israel, God’s wonderful, unique and Holy Land, and His special people.
For me it was a tremendous experience. There was so much to see, to learn and to absorb and it was pretty hectic. I have never experienced the closeness of the Lord as I did there – I had to lean on him constantly and draw on his strength and energy, and He never failed me. Praise His glorious Name.
I learned so much from you and David, that super guy.
Exactly one month ago today, we left the airport bound for Israel.
I had no idea that I was going to be so excited, feeling anticipation for something familiar, something I loved, which had been missing.
Well all I can say is that I shall never be the same person again!! The Lord has blessed me abundantly and I really give Him all the praise and thanks for His goodness to me. But the Lord as we know works through his instruments and so I feel that He will know and understand my gratitude to you. Neil you were fantastic. You managed to keep the balance between things secular and things spiritual – not an easy task at the best of times, particularly difficult when not everyone’s focus is the same. You were a wonderfully caring shepherd and a loving friend at all times. I appreciated so much your little “Everything OK?” walks up and down the aisle of the bus, your sense of humour; your honesty and your ability to see that everything was kept under control.
Since the trip I have infected the online family with the same “Israel fever” that I have burning so strongly in me.
Love for Israel and more particularly Jerusalem seldom leaves my thoughts. We were so blessed. I really grew to love David, not only for his wonderful sense of humour but for the wealth of archaeological, scriptural, historical, botanical, agricultural and geographical information he gave us. I ended up writing 26 pages of notes, which have held Don spellbound!! So many wonderful memories Neil: I was tested in areas I wouldn’t have believed existed in me: refined, cleansed, healed and blessed in so many ways. As I repeat my stories to interested friends and family, I relive all these times – breaking bread on the slopes overlooking Galilee, my chat with you in the awful Holy Sepulchre, cementing a longstanding friendship with David; new friends made. Learning to be tolerant of other folks’ idiosyncrasies and so much FUN !! I often felt like a sixteen year old, laughing as I haven’t done for a long time. One of the most amazing lessons I learned at the Dead Sea was that God created me, woman – not wife, mother or housewife, and I bless and thank Him for the reminder. I love my roles that have been expected of me, but it was such a beautiful, special revelation that He created me first and foremost a woman. I’d forgotten that!
So Neil, thank you precious friend and pastor, for all the care, the love, the thoughtfulness and the fun. Never ever did I expect anything like the trip we had. I thank God for my wonderful husband who comes closer to Jesus daily – he now attends church regularly with me and we start the day together in prayer – praise you Jesus. I thank the Lord for Shaul’s courtesy and expertise, for David’s knowledge and humour, for travelling mercies on land, sea and in the air. I thank the Lord for your beloved Wendy who gave you the freedom and peace of mind to lead so many “broken vessels” to His holy hill, where so many of us were healed of so much. I thank Him especially for you Neil – as always you went the extra mile as you just kept going with him and for him – bless you and all those you love with peace and contentment.
With Love always
To thank you is so inadequate – I can only say that your enthusiasm and vitality was infectious, but your discipline and obedience in putting the whole trip together could only have come from the Lord. I trust that you are experiencing His peace and personal fulfilment in knowing that it was a job well done. Bless you Neil, and as you prepare to put together your next venture, I pray that He will guide you and give you strength every step of the way.
I have been asked to share the highlights of my trip with a group from the old Church – Anglican! So Neil, the ripples go on and His love is shed abroad.
Thank you for making it all possible – I have so many memories to draw from, your notes, maps and not forgetting all the photographs.
Thank you Neil and bless you for a job well done.
On His love,
Thank you for being the leader of our tour. It was a wonderful, inspiring, moving experience. It made the Bible world come alive today, by closing my eyes, forgetting the modern day, and now I can put names, places and distances into proper perspective. It made me feel very humble and grateful to Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
Thank you Neil for all the hard work that you put into preparing the tour and all the arrangements, flight bookings and excursions – it was a wonderful achievement.
God Bless you and your family. I pray that the Lord will continue to lead you in all your future tours. I would love to go again, but spend more time in Jerusalem; the Holy City.
Thanking you again
My Dear Neil
As my feet begin to settle on terra firma, I write to say thank you for all the time, effort, organization and love that you put into our trip. If ever I am lucky enough to go again, I do hope it will be with you. Every memory of the trip is precious and I have relived it all over and over again. I loved the way we read scripture relevant to each place we visited, it really has made the Word come alive and now, as I read, I find I am able to picture the events and it becomes more meaningful. I have given two talks to groups since my return, which has made the trip a very sound memory, as I have had to consolidate it all into 45 minutes! Quite a challenge!
I’m still not sure where the Lord is leading me and wait with an expectant spirit. In the meantime, that His hand is very much on my life is evident and I am enjoying just being still in His presence.
This comes with love to you, with thanks for making this trip overseas to Israel such a special one, in fact one of the highlights of my life!
Neil, you were a wonderful shepherd, taking us there, taking us here and herding us together in the way you did, that by the end of the trip, even long before the end, we felt a united flock!
This trip far exceeded any dream I might have had about it and I shall long cherish the memories of the tears, fun and laughter and not least, the wonderful nearness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who lives within us and who never leaves us nor forsakes us. How wonderful He was for looking after us so well in every situation.
One of the highlights for me was the wonderful way we “rubbed up against one another” and so grew; learning to accept each other for what we are and just loving each one; being with such a Christian group for 2 whole weeks was the greatest! I thank God for making it possible in my life!
And thanks again Neil for being just as you are! Just as you were! You made us all feel relaxed and comfortable.
God bless you both and your dear children.
Mollie Jean Barkhuizen
How are you – have you recovered from our tour yet? I’ve taken so long to write because I’m not sure that I can put into words my feelings about our wonderful tour.
Our 2 weeks tour was the most incredible experience of my life.
I know that you and David must have put an enormous amount of work into arranging our tour, but all praise to the Lord as His hand was over everything we did.
I feel as if I had 4 holidays in one!
1st – The actual physical part – all the wonderful things we saw and did.
2nd – The wonderful praise and worship and the presence of the Lord at those times; the early morning prayer time which was so precious.
3rd – The wonderful fellowship we all had together and really getting to know people.
4th – The personal revelation that came to me from the Lord through one of the ladies – that was very exciting.
Thank you Neil for your outstanding leadership throughout the tour. Thanks to you and David and Shaul, we didn’t have to worry about a thing – except getting wherever on time!
Can you believe I didn’t lose anything in Israel? That was a real miracle and praise the Lord everything I did forget was eventually returned to me.
Lots of love in Jesus
Dearest Neil and Wendy
I just want to say how deeply I appreciate all you did as a beautiful team on our very special Israeli trip. Your caring, your love and your twinkling enthusiasm spread throughout the group and helped to unify and set the tone.
The highlights of that trip are some of the highlights of my life – I came back with such an overwhelming joy and knowledge that Jesus is alive, warm, and vibrant.
Thank you again for a truly unique experience.
God bless and tons of love