Steps leading to the High Place at Dan.  Jeroboam built this platform for worship to a golden calf during the period of the Divided Kingdom.Taking a trip to Israel is a life-changing experience. For those of us who have continually read the stories in the Bible since childhood, the opportunity to see the actual places where these stories took place is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, you need to make the most of it. Recently, Wayne Stiles has written two excellent articles on how to get the most out of your trip. I highly recommend reading them. His first article, entitled "How to Prepare for a Holy Land Tour" discusses a number of items that you need to do before you go. Of the things he mentioned, I'd like to highlight two of them.

First, become familiar with the geography. You have probably seen a map of Israel a million times. There is probably one posted in your Bible classroom at church. But, have you really studied it? You need to. You are about to be there. Understand the terrain. Have a general understanding of where places are and how they are affected by other locations.

Second, get in shape. You are going to visiting places that were originally constructed thousands of years go. Therefore, there are no elevators, escalators or moving sidewalks. There are uneven sidewalks, ancient stone steps and rocky slopes. You need to be able to get on and off a bus with ease, walk moderate distances on uneven terrain and do so in the heat of the outdoors. You don't have to be in perfect shape to go, but you need to be prepared for what is ahead of you. Trust me, it will be worth it.

His second article, entitled "8 Tips to Maximize your Holy Land Tour" discusses things you should do while you are over there. Again, I'll highlight a couple of suggestions.

First, stay hydrated. As I have already mentioned, you'll be doing a lot of outside walking. Depending on when you go, the air could be pretty dry. Normally, I do not get out of the bus without three items: my hat, my camera and a bottle of water. Drink water continuously while you are over there. I know what it is like to be over there and not drink enough water. Trust me, you will be glad that you did.

Second, look for opportunities to see things that are not on your itinerary. Every tour spends a night or two in Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. One morning you are there, get up a little early, walk down to the shore and watch the sun rise over the Golan Heights. It is not on your itinerary, but it will be one of the highlights of your trip.

I know of some friends that are going over there in April. Be sure to read what Wayne has written. His words will help you get the most out of your trip.