Joe’s dad is in Israel right now. He was accepted as part of a group of pastors to take this pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Before they left, the foundation that runs these trips asked several family members and friends to write him letters that he can open while he is over there. Below is the letter I wrote him. Even though I am sure most everyone wrote sentimental letters, I decided to take a different approach. I felt it was necessary, considering the type of trouble I know he is apt to get into. If you know him, you will understand and probably give me a thumbs up for keeping him in line. He needs it. Hope it makes him laugh. Enjoy.
Dear, Dear Father-in-law of mine,
I am sure by now you have read some pretty encouraging letters from other family members during your trip to Israel (and if they started with mine…I’m very sorry…I am sure the mushy emotional letters will soon follow). I figured I would use my letter writing to give you some much needed words of wisdom for while you are traveling through the Holy Land.
Now, as you know, I do not have much experience traveling over seas and I haven’t even been to the Holy Land Experience here in Orlando. But I am well versed in something that is essential during any trip to a war zone: rule following.
Please follow the rules, so you don’t get dead. We want you back home safe and sound. Here are some scenarios I imagine you will run into during this trip:
Hypothetical Scenario #1:
It is night time and everyone on the trip is hunkered down for an evening of shut eye. You are not tired though and find yourself wanting to take a late night run like the one you did with Bill Hybels on your last travel abroad. You think to yourself, “This is a good idea – a late night view of the Gaza Strip” Please note: It is not a good idea. There are several things that could happen to you – like you get mistaken for some sort of rebel bad guy and take a bullet in the back of your head. Or you are unfamiliar with the jogging trail up the Mount of Olives and fall into a small crevice, breaking your ankle and unable to cry for help. (Note: I am not looking at a map as I write this and, therefore, throwing out places that may in reality be nowhere near each other or where you are traveling…but you get the idea.)
Hypothetical Scenario #2:
It has been a long day of site seeing with your new pastor friends (quite the exciting crew) but you notice that you are not going into any of the “really cool” places, due to silly “safety precautions.” You have stopped listening to the tour guide, put on your head phones, and decide to take a self guided tour. Who cares if there is a Palestinian or Israeli man holding an assault rifle? Please note: This is not a good idea. You could get lost in your world of country music as you meander through unfamiliar streets and get jumped by a gang of angry bad men. (I don’t know why they are angry either…just stay with the group.)
A good rule of thumb during this trip is to ask this question: “What would Catie do?” And the answer will usually come back as, “Catie would follow the rules.”
Having said all that, I hope you have an amazing trip and I can’t wait to hear about it!