Holy Land 2023 (Penny)

The Most Reverend Dr. Hosam E. Naoum, Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, flanked by our leaders

Travel Mercies

Early in the pilgrimage, my friend asked, “Penny, what’s your favorite word?” Today, it is ¡Ojalá!, a Spanish word derived from Arabic during the VIII century when Muslims ruled Spain. Today, across religions, it means “I/we hope” or “hopefully.” I prefer the translation, “God willing.”

Borrowing a term from my time as a camp counselor, today is Change-over Day. Most of our group is already en route to Tel Aviv, beginning the long trek home. Nine of us are extending our trip into Jordan. While we are all adults and each responsible for the continued success and blessing of our pilgrimage, we will also be looking to our leaders, Emily and Steve, to shepherd us until we are back in our hometown or in our next home-away-from-home tonight.

My understanding is that our smaller band of pilgrims will meet our next Arab guide “on the bridge” between Israel and Jordan during the afternoon, after Israeli soldiers finish their scheduled maneuvers in the area.

While our plans seem more nebulous on this day of transition, I am excited. I am leaning on prayer and curiosity, hoping all will go well for both groups. Ojalá…’Iinsha’ allah…God willing.


We are in Petra, Jordan! Team approach to leadership was great today with Deborah handling the papers; Erik, Mary and (again) Deborah chipping in to tip our luggage porters on both sides of the terminal; and Melanie offering Grace. All is well.

3 thoughts on “Holy Land 2023 (Penny)

  1. I am holding you and your fellow travelers in my heart, showering you with light to keep you all safe on your journey.


  2. I also love Ojala! 🙂 And here in Djibouti, I love how ‘Iinsha’allah is uttered frequently throughout conversations, serving as a constant reminder that God’s will is determining the course of events in this world, even if some of us frequently forget that elemental fact as we get caught up in details of day-to-day living.


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