9-Day Familiarization Trip to Israel 2021

Led by Dr. J. Marcus Merritt

December 1-10, 2021

Dr. J. Marcus Merritt


In December, 2021, we will be visiting the very sites where Jesus walked, ministered, died, and rose again. Yes, we are going back to Israel, and you can go with us!

This trip is made possible primarily due to the generosity and vision of Yael Group. Last January, Yael and I hosted a group of 28 pastors from across our state and we are ready to do it again. We call this a Familiarization Trip, or, “Fam Trip.” The best news is that Yael has almost cut the price in half for you at $2600. AND, if you bring your own group (minimum of 20) back within two years, you will get a full refund of your $2600! That means you traveled to the Holy Land TWICE at no cost! Also, I will be happy to provide a letter requesting that your church sponsor you on this trip.

Yael Group has put together an incredible itinerary for our group to experience. You will find the daily schedule on this link, along with other pertinent information. You will need to officially register on this link and provide them with the other requested information.

Pastors, we are headed to Israel for a trip of a lifetime! I am so honored to be serving as your host for this trip. You will be hearing from me periodically with updates and information. I will let you know when and where. In the meantime, feel free to contact me via email [email protected] or via cell (678) 654-3119.

With Blessings,


Dr. J. Marcus Merritt

Director of Advancement and Professor of Pastoral Ministry

Luther Rice College and Seminary 


Turkish Airlines Flight DepartArrive
TK 32ATL on Dec 1 at 9:45 pmIST on Dec 2 at 4:10 pm
TK 788IST on Dec 2 at 6:25 pmTLV on Dec 2 at 7:25 pm
TK 785TLV on Dec 10 at 10:20 amIST on Dec 10 at 1:40 pm
TK 31IST on Dec 10 at 3:55 pmATL on Dec 10 at 815 pm


NightsDatesHotel / City
1 NightDec 2-3, 2021Ramada / Netanya
2 NightsDec 3-5, 2021Lakehouse / Tiberias
5 NightsDec 5-10, 2021Olive Tree / Jerusalem

General Itinerary

Day 1  – Wed – December 1 – Depart from the US

Depart from the US to Tel Aviv.  Dinner and breakfast will be served during the flight.

Day 2 –  Thu – December 2 – Arrival to Israel

Our representatives will meet you and walk you through customs.

We will meet our tour guide, and then drive to the hotel for dinner & overnight.

Day 3 – Friday – December 3 – Caesarea / Mt. Carmel /  Megiddo / Mt Precipice

After breakfast, proceed along the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea by the Sea to visit the Crusader Fortress built upon the ancient city of Caesarea, named after Augustus Caesar, who imposed the tax that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.  Here we will visit an ancient Roman Amphitheatre, where the group can experience the acoustics of a structure built in the days of Christ.

Mount Carmel where Elijah issued his challenge to the False Prophets.

Megiddo, Site of Armageddon.  We will see where generations of civilizations were destroyed and rebuilt over and over again. Somewhere between 28 and 32 times, cities would be renamed and rebuilt after being conquered. This city was a strategic location for going into battle.  King Solomon established it as a ‘chariot city’ and housed hundreds of horses. It’s also home to a 120-foot water shaft (which many of us toured) which connects the city to a spring outside the city gates.

Mount Precipice (Luke 4:29-30).  We will stand on the mountain from which Jews tried to throw Jesus after He told them He was the Messiah they had been waiting for. They couldn’t believe he was making such a bold statement, but Jesus was able to walk right back through the crowd unharmed.

Dinner & overnight near the Sea of Galilee.

Day 4 – Saturday – December 4 – Caesarea Philippi, Mt of Beautitudes, Capernaum, Magdala

On this day we will take the road through the Golan Heights where we will hear the explanations of the strategic and political significance of this area. On the Golan Heights we will visit Caesarea Phillipi at Banias.

Then onto Mount of Beatitudes (where Jesus delivered “The Sermon on the Mount”).

We will, visit Capernaum, the town of Jesus.

After lunch to Magdala, with its first century synagogue, a complete first century city and remains of a once prosperous fish processing industry. Complete with shops, marketplace, residential areas, and wharf, this is a city where Jesus himself visited and taught.

We end the day with a visit to Yardenit, the traditional baptismal site on the Jordan River. Return to hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.

Dinner & overnight at Hotel

Day 5 – Sunday – December 5 – Boat Ride, Gideon’s Spring, Beit She’an, Qaser el-Yahud, Jerusalem

After breakfast, sail on the Sea of Galilee & visit the Ancient Boat Museum at Kibbutz Ginnosar.

We bid farewell to the Galilee, and then proceed to visit Gideon’s Spring, where the Judge Gideon selected 300 warriors to go into the battle with him against the Midianites (Judge 7).

Beit She’an – one of the earliest and most important cities in Israel from the time of the Canaanites.  It was here that the Philistines impaled King Saul’s body to the city wall – we will view its magnificent excavations.

On our journey, we will stop at the site Qaser el-Yahud on the Jordan River where many believe Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. This river borders the country of Jordan and Israel.

Proceed to your Hotel in Jerusalem for dinner & overnight.

Day 6 – Monday – December 6 – JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM

Our morning starts on the Mount of Olives with breathtaking panoramic view of Jerusalem.  The day continues with visits to the sites that will helps us of understand the Lord’s prophecy about Jerusalem: The Chapel of Dominius Flevit, where Christ Prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 18:41), The Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-53) and The Church of the Agony (Church of All Nations), the site where it is said that Judas betrayed Jesus. We will proceed to visit the sites on Mt.  Zion: the Gallicantu Church which was built over the ruins of the Palace of Caiaphas, the High Priest before whom Jesus was brought for trial (Mark 14:  53-65). We’ll visit the Tomb of King David and enter into the Upper Room – the site that commemorates Jesus’ last meal with his disciples.  We end by visiting the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the birth place of Christ.  Dinner & overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 7 – Tuesday – December 7 – JERUSALEM, Layers of History

Our day will begin with an exciting tour to the site where much of the Bible was written, the City of David.  Here Archeologists found King Hezekiah’s 2,700 year-old water tunnel, one of the wonders of early engineering, and the seal impression of Gemariah, son of Shaphan, possibly the scribe of King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 36:10). Continue to the Pool of Siloam where Christ healed the blind man by sending him to wash his eyes (John 9).  In the Jewish Quarter, we’ll explore the Roman Cardo, the Madaba Map, the Western Wall and the Davidson Center (with its amazing virtual model of the Second Temple). We will view the Temple Mount and we’ll hear about the traders driven out of the Temple by Jesus (Luke 19:45-48), see the Dome of the Rock and other famous buildings.

Day 8 – Wednesday – December 8 – LAZARUS TOMB, DEAD SEA, MASADA

After learning the amazing story of Lazarus, whom the Lord raised from the dead, we’ll continue to the Judean Desert.  Our first stop today will be next one of the St. George Monastery crosses, which offers an amazing view of the monastery.  This stop is important for understanding the water system of the Judean Desert and monasteries.  We’ll continue to Qumran to hear the amazing story of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery. We will try to answer questions such as: Who wrote the scrolls?  Who were the Essenes?  How did they live and why there?  Then to Masada to learn about the dramatic story of almost one thousand men, women and children who chose suicide rather than becoming Roman slaves.  We’ll visit the archeological finds and enjoy the palaces, bathhouses, walls and the remarkable view of the Dead Sea.  We’ll proceed to bathe in the Dead Sea and to enjoy the sun and the famous mud

Dinner & overnight at the hotel in Jerusalem.

Day 9 – Thursday – December 9 – Shiloh, Valley of Elah, Jerusalem

Drive to the ancient city of Shiloh, an ancient city in Samaria mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. A tell or archaeological mound, called in Modern Hebrew Tel Shiloh. It is located in the West Bank, to the west of the modern Israeli settlement town of Shilo and to the north of the Palestinian town of Turmus Ayya. Relative to other archeological sites, it is south of ancient Lebonah and 16 kilometres (10 mi) north of Beth El.

Shiloh was the major Israelite worship centre before the first Temple was built in Jerusalem, and was established by Joshua, son of Nun, approximately 3,500 years ago, as the spiritual capital of Israel. The Tabernacle was placed there, and Jews from all over the land came to worship at the location (Joshua 18:1). The Tabernacle stood in Shiloh for over 350 years according to Jewish tradition, and its remains can still be seen today.

We will continue on our way to Jerusalem we will stop by Valley of Elah, best known as the place described in the Bible where the Israelites were encamped when David fought Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2). We’ll walk through the old city market to the Damascus gate and proceed to the Garden Tomb, where we’ll have communion.

We will have farewell dinner than transfer to the airport for our departure flight back home

On our way to Jerusalem for dinner &  overnight 

Day 10 – Friday – December 10 – DEPART BACK TO THE US

We will have early breakfast, and drive to the airport for our flight back to U.S.

We return home full of rich and unforgettable memories. A common refrain is heard — is the trip really over?  Can we start planning for our return visit?


Required by July 22:  Scan or take a picture (without flash) of the ID page of your passport (full page, all corners visible), then please send it to Michael at [email protected]

Note: Passport must be valid at least six months following end of tour.

Payment Details

Package price per person sharing double rooms: $2,600

Single Supplement: $650

Special Offer: 

Each pastor who will lead his own group (minimum of 20 full-paying participants) within 18 months after this trip will receive a full refund of $2,600.


Terms of Payment:

First Payment: $350 due on upon registration

Second Payment: $1,125 due by July 1, 2021

Third Payment : $1,125 due by August 1, 2021

Single Supplement: $650 — only for those who wish to reserve single rooms — due by August 1, 2021


Included in Package Price

  • Round-trip Flights Atlanta – Tel Aviv – Atlanta
  • Meet & Assist upon arrival in the airport
  • Porters service at hotel & at the airport
  • Deluxe Motor Coaches
  • Fuel Charges and Taxes
  • 7 nights, First Class Hotels
  • Daily Breakfast and Dinner
  • 1 Lunch – St. Peter’s Fish
  • Entrance Fees to Scheduled Sites
  • English Speaking Israeli Guide
  • Yael Group Kit – Hat, Map & Bag
  • Farewell Dinner

Excluded from Package Price

Travel insurance, beverages, tips to local guide and driver, anything not mentioned in the program.

Tips Guidelines:

  • Guide – $8-10 per person per day
  • Driver – $3-4 per person per day

Travel Insurance

Full Covid-19 insurance coverage is required.  We also strongly encourage you to purchase general a travel insurance plan to protect yourself against unforeseen events that may impact your travel plans, health, personal items, etc.

COVID-19 – Information / Requirements

All the necessary information about Israel’s travel requirements regarding Covid-19 can be found here:


As the situation is subject to change, we suggest checking back often.

Cancellation by Yael Adventures

In case of lack of participants or any other reason, Yael Adventures may cancel the tour. In such a case, Yael Adventures will be responsible to provide a full refund. Yael Adventures will not be responsible for and will not refund any purchases not made through Yael Adventures, e.g., airline tickets. Cancellation according to state travel advisors and/or warnings, acts of war, acts of God, natural disasters or other reasons that are out of Yael Adventures’ control, will not be eligible for any form of refund.

Cancellation Fees

  • $350 non-refundable. 
  • 61-75 days before the departure day: 50% of total cost.
  • 31-60 days before the departure day: 75% of total cost.
  •  1-30 days before the departure day: 100% of total cost.