A Special Wisconsin Area Israel Tour
Tour Hosts – Gary Madsen and Diane Ernst
Tour Coordinator - Dr. DeWayne A. Coxon
Tour Guide – Raed
February 19 – February 28, 2017
This tour is limited to only 30 registrants in order to allow a maximum of personal
interaction with each other. Each person will receive a copy of The Israel Experience,
inscribed by Dr. Coxon, noting the special occasion of this tour.
We want you to enjoy a life-changing journey as you travel to Israel and the Holy Land.
Our carefully crafted itinerary is built on our own experienced travel to this most historic
and spiritually significant land of all times. As Christians, we will grow in spirit, faith and
Tour Host: Gary Madsen
Gary Madsen is an experienced worldwide traveler who lived in Asia
for several years. His international travel experience in Europe,
Asia, and Australia, brings a rich background in worldwide cultures
to the tour. Gary’s visit to Israel brought scripture to life and he
looks forward to sharing these experiences with others.
He was part of a Wisconsin trip to Israel in 2014, and when asked to
co-host this tour in 2017, he agreed. His wife, Linda, is an avid
traveler as well. They have three children and four grandchildren.
He is an engineer by profession and an active member of St. Peter and Paul Parish in
Hortonville, Wisconsin.
Tour Host: Diane Ernst
Diane Ernst made her first tour to Israel in 2008. In 2014, she was
one of three leaders in another Wisconsin tour to Israel. She has a
deep interest in introducing new people to Israel where she believes
that a deeper understanding of the scriptures can be achieved by
visiting the Land. This will be her third tour with Raed as the guide.
Tour Guide: Raed Makhouli
Raed Makhouli will be the guide for our “Experiencing the
Holy Land” tour of Israel. He has become our friend through
the years, having travelled throughout Israel with us on
previous tours. He visited Wisconsin for a week after our last
tour to Israel. During that time, he did a presentation on
Israel to the Fox Valley Area and met with our tour group for
a cookout.
He lives in the north of Israel and is a Christian. He is a
member of the Greek Orthodox Church and lectures on the diverse cultures and
religions of Israel.
He is a licensed, registered Israeli guide, and one of the most experienced in Israel, a
specialist in guiding Christian groups. He truly brings the Bible to life.
Tour Coordinator: Dr. DeWayne Coxon
DeWayne A. Coxon is the founder and President of Blossoming
Rose. He received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University and
served as a public school teacher, a minister, a college instructor and
administrator from 1960 – 1984. Shortly thereafter he started
Blossoming Rose, an organization whose mission is to bless Israel
through various programs, including the maintenance and restoration
of the 55 acre Biblical Tamar Park. He has visited Israel over 150
times in the last 50 years. His knowledge of Jewish, Christian and
Muslim history gives him a unique perspective on contemporary events taking place in
the Middle East. He is the author of the book, Living Prophecies: A Crumbling Wall
between Christians and Jews, as a well as three books on renewable energy systems.
Tour Itinerary
Day One
Sunday – February 19: USA to Israel
A chartered bus will take our group from here in Wisconsin to the airport in Chicago.
Our flights will depart Sunday and arrive in Israel on Monday. (Participants must be at
the airport three hours prior to the flight.) Meals will be served during our flights.
Day Two
Monday – February 20: Arrive in Israel, Leonardo Hotel in Netanya
Dr. Coxon will meet us at the airport and take us to our
charter bus. Our bus driver will take us to our hotel on the
Mediterranean Sea where we can rest from our long flight.
We will be served a delicious buffet dinner and we’ll have
time to enjoy the evening and get to know one another before
we turn in for the night.
Day Three
Tuesday – February 21: Mediterranean Sea, Caesarea, Church of the Annunciation,
Sea of Galilee, and Tiberius
The day will begin with a bountiful Israeli
breakfast buffet and then we’ll take some time to
enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean Sea beach by
our hotel. Our friend and guide for several years,
Raed, will join us and talk about the oftenoverlooked significance of the Mediterranean Sea
and Caesarea. From our hotel, we will go to
Caesarea, the ancient wonder of the world. We will
continue on to Nazareth and to the Church of the
Annunciation where we will see the latest
excavations where 1st century remains have recently been found. By late afternoon, we
will walk on the shores of the Sea of Galilee where Raed will share information about its
history. Our evening will end at our hotel, The Leonardo, in Tiberius on the Sea of
Galilee, where we can rest, shop, and enjoy their hospitality and good food.
Day Four
Wednesday – February 22: Magdala, Mt Arbel, Mt of Beatitudes, Capernaum,
Tabgha, and Boat ride on the Sea of Galilee
After leaving our hotel on the shore of the Sea of
Galilee, we will visit the excavations at Migdal
(Magdala) which was Mary Magdalene’s home town,
including a recently discovered first century
synagogue likely frequented by Jesus and His
followers. We will then head north, looking down on
the striking Sea of Galilee from Mt. Arbel where Jesus
spent many hours in prayer. We’ll continue on to the
Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus preached to the multitudes, and then on to Capernaum, an
authentic reconstruction of the synagogue, in which Jesus preached in the 1st century. We
may have Communion at Tabgha on the Sea and then we will return to Nof Gizzanar,
where the Jesus boat is in the museum. We will board our Galilee boat and watch the sun
set as we worship God together. We look forward to returning to our hotel and having
private time walking on the shore of the Sea of Galilee before dinner.
Day Five
Thursday – February 23: Jordan River, Beit Shean, Jericho, Qumran, and Jerusalem
We will stop at the Jordan River as we leave
the lush greens of the Galilee and see the
brown hues of the Judean desert. During our
drive, we will stop at Beit Shean, the huge
Roman City built on the ruins of past
civilizations. Jesus certainly stopped on his
way to Jerusalem for the Feasts at Jericho,
where we will stop to see the famous ruins
dating to the times of Joshua and the
Israelites. We will continue our day at
Qumran, the site of the discovery of the Dead
Sea Scrolls. There will be time to discuss the significance of the Scrolls and address the
question as to whether or not John the Baptist or Jesus would have ever visited this desert
spiritual headquarters of these people of the “Way.” We will also visit the newly
discovered tomb of the Teacher or leader of the community and talk about his possible
identity. We will then take the steep road up to Jerusalem and catch a glimpse of the Holy
City before checking into the Watson House in the Old City for the evening. After dinner
everyone will be free to wander throughout the City or go to the Western Wall to pray.
Day Six
Friday – February 24: Mt. of Olives, Bethphage, Gethsemane, Kidron Valley, Mt.
Zion, Bethlehem, the Shepherd’s fields, and the Old City
Our day will begin on the summit of the Mount
of Olives with a spectacular view of the Old
City spread before us. We will then visit the area
of Bethphage near Bethany, explore some 1st
century tombs, and walk down the northern path
of the Mount of Olives where Raed will show us
the place believed to be “Golgotha,” the
authentic site of the crucifixion of Jesus. We
will then visit Gethsemane, cross the Kidron
Valley and see the site where James, the brother
of Jesus, was murdered. We will pray at the Western
Wall and then enter the Old City through the Jewish
quarter. Following that, we will go to the area of the
Upper Room where Jesus had His meal with His disciples
and James the brother of Jesus, along with Jesus’ mother
Mary, who guided the Nazarene movement. We’ll learn
about the most recent excavations in that area, including
what has been identified as the Essene Quarter of ancient
Jerusalem. We will continue on to Bethlehem to the Church of the Nativity and the
Shepherd’s fields and then end the day near to the Watson House where we will have
time to shop and take pictures before dinner..
Day Seven
Saturday – February 25: Jerusalem, Via Delarosa, Church of St. Anne, Pool of
Bethesda, Holy Sepulcher, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of Domitian, and
Caiaphas’s House
We will begin the day by walking to the Via Delorosa and
then on through the ancient historic places like St. Anne’s
Church and ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We
will go to the Garden of Gethsemane and other places around
the Old City. We will then return to the Jaffa Gate in
Jerusalem where we will have time to relax and shop. Our
hotel is five minutes from the Jaffa area, so there will again be
time to shop either in the Souk or modern Mamilla Mall.
Day Eight
Sunday – February 26: Ein Gedi, Masada, Dead Sea and Biblical Tamar Park
Today we will experience both the climate changes
and the elevation changes as we descend from the
mountains of Judea at 2,700 feet, to 1,500 feet below
sea level near the Dead Sea. We’ll stop at Ein Gedi,
the place where David hid from King Saul and then
we will continue to the upper Dead Sea. We will
drive to Masada for a tour
of the historic palace which King Herod built on the
mountaintop. We will continue on to the Dead Sea
to experience the water where people float and cannot drown, and then go on to Biblical
Tamar Park. Arrival at the Park will be in the afternoon where we will be met by the
Park Supervisor and other volunteers who are helping Blossoming Rose restore this
ancient city. We will move into our rooms, have a tour of the Park, and eat dinner. Our
day will end with us gathering under the Sukkah, in a large circle around the fire, to hear
the story of Tamar from the time of Abraham.
Day Nine
Monday – February 27: Beersheva, Elah Valley, Jerusalem, Airport
When we rise in the morning we will feel
the stillness of the desert as the sun rises
over the Jordanian mountains. We will have
breakfast, and enjoy a devotional in the
Sukkah and then board our bus for
Beershev, where Abraham dug his wells.
We will continue on to the Valley of Elah
where David killed Goliath. The afternoon
and evening will be spent in Jerusalem
where we will be free to shop and visit
before being taken to the airport for departion to the USA.
Day Ten
Tuesday – February 28: Jerusalem and the USA
Our overnight flights give us opportunity to “catch up” on sleep we have missed during
our exciting days in Israel. Welcome home
Sponsors: This itinerary has been developed specifically for Christians eager to expand
their journey of faith. Those who have organized this trip have all traveled to Israel
several times and will be participating in this special faith-based travel. We have
collaborated closely with our friends from Blossoming Rose, a non-denominational
Christian organization with a long and storied history in Israel. Organizing members in
the Fox Valley are Gary Madsen and Diane Ernst. Our bus driver and guide are well
known to us and will significatly enhance our experience. Additionally, safety is a focus
for us all.
Tour Package:
Included in Tour
Hotels – Breakfast and Dinner meals
National Park passes
All listed sites that we visit
Bus transfer to and from Ben Gurion Airport
Not Included
Flight Insurance
Cost: $2,135 for land only
Plus $100 for tips and gratituties
You will be notified by email when there are sufficient registrations to buy your airline
tickets. If you would like to use the Blossoming Rose travel agent, the information is
listed below. Blossoming Rose will provide transportation to and from Ben Gurion
Airport at the designated times, which will be announced later. If you arrive or depart
outside of these times you will be responsible for your own transportation to and from
Biblical Tamar Park or the hotel. Airfare is subject to change and tickets are presently
priced from $550-$1200, depending on where you live and how soon the tickets can be
purchased. If you decide to go with our ticketing agent it will be coordinated with the
times of the bus arriving and departing from Ben Gurion Airport. You can also go online to buy your own ticket or use your frequent flyer miles.
You may reserve a place immediately by paying your deposit of $500
on-line at www.blossomingrose.org/tours/2017.html, or send it with the
Registration Form to Blossoming Rose, P.O. Box X, Cedar Springs, MI
49319, or scan and email it to at [email protected]
Diane Ernst
Contact E-Mail: [email protected]
Cell Phone: 920-475-7505
Gary Madsen
E-mail: [email protected]
Cell Phone: 920-284-6833
Home Phone: 920-757-0823
Dr. DeWayne Coxon
Blossoming Rose
E-mail: [email protected]
Office: 1-800-317-7673
Independent agent recommendation
Brenda Johnston
Breton Travel
Email: [email protected]
Phone Number: 800-942-2887

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