Gifts From Above
Inspirational Travel to Rejuvenate the Body and Spirit
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I use a Travel Consultant?
I'M PRETTY GOOD WITH A COMPUTER -- WHY SHOULD I USE A TRAVEL CONSULTANT?
WHAT, EXACTLY, CAN YOU DO FOR ME?
I get questions like these a lot.
My answer usually confuses people because, truly, it's a bit complicated: "I listen and I ask a lot of questions!"
What was that?
My job as a group travel planner is to learn about your interests and the interests of those you'll be traveling with. I dig deeper because I want to find out what excites you. What experiences do you want to have; what's your dream vacation?
Does your group have any special needs; and what's your budget?
Once I'm satisfied I have a clear picture, I go to work. My gifts are the ability to research, strong organizational skills, a passion for travel and broad knowledge of the travel market.
Working for you and your group, I compose a travel package – present it to you for your approval – and then handle all the details. If the group is large and new to a destination – I travel with you to make sure you get the quality you paid for.
"ALL THAT SOUNDS GOOD – BUT WHAT'S THAT GONNA COST ME?"
That answer is simpler -- NOTHING – the companies I work for pay me.
IN THE END, I GENERALLY SAVE YOU MONEY – NOT COST YOU MORE.
And regarding your budget, I'm respectful of your hard earned money --- but I rarely look for the cheapest options. My primary concern is VALUE (getting you the best possible quality for the price).
WHO SHOULD ENGAGE MY SERVICES?
· Church groups who seek to explore Biblical sites.
· Professional groups who would like to combine continuing education with fun or educational travel.
· Family Reunions (those who truly want a truly memorable get-together.)
· Not-For-Profit Organizations looking to combine travel with fundraising opportunities.
· Anyone hoping to celebrate Wedding, Honeymoon or Anniversary in unforgettable locations.
· Friends who like to travel together.
· Folk who love to cruise & those who don't.
· Anyone who finds travel enriching but hates the details of planning and wants to make sure they get the most for their money.
Make an appointment to talk – or invite me to speak to your group. I'm always ready to listen.
What Should I Pack?
IMPORTANT – make at least three photocopies of the picture/photo page of your passport. Keep them in different places in your carry-on luggage and, better still, give a copy to a traveling companion. Leave one in the hands of someone at home. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen.
*** NEVER PACK YOUR PASSPORT IN THE LUGGAGE YOU WILL BE CHECKING – INSTEAD --- CARRY IT ON YOU AT ALL TIMES (& consider wearing a money belt or carrier under your clothes).
*** NEVER PACK MEDICATIONS IN THE LUGGAGE YOU WILL BE CHECKING and when estimating your needs, bring enough medication for four extra days.
*** DON’T LET BLISTERS RUIN YOUR EXPERIENCE – Pack only comfortable, well-broken in, walking shoes – we will be walking up and down hills and steps. If you wear sandals, those with a closed toe and some support are your best bet for wandering around archaeological sites.
REGARDING LIQUID ALLOWANCES AND AIRLINE REGULATIONS FOR CARRY-ON LUGGAGE:
All carry-on liquids must be 3.4 ounces or less and must fit in a one quart, clear, plastic, zip-top plastic bag. Only one bag of liquids is allowed per person and must be presented at the time your carry-on luggage is screened.
HOW TO MAKE AN OVERNIGHT FLIGHT MORE COMFORTABLE
*You are allowed 2 carry-on items, we suggest you take both. Ideally, you’ll want one “squishable” piece that fits under the seat in front of you – an expandable, zippered, canvas tote works well – you may want to consider packing the following in that bag: a cervical pillow (many stores sell inflatable models), ear plugs, sleep eye-mask, socks/and or rubber soled slippers (feet swell at high altitudes and restroom floors can get messy on overnight flights – stocking slippers are not the best choice). Wear loose, comfortable clothing (such as a jogging suit with an elastic waistband). You may want to consider wearing removable panti-liners in your underwear. Don’t forget a sweater or jacket (the temperature on overnight flights tends to be cool).
*Chamomile tea bags – have with dinner – it’ll help relax & lure you to sleep and/or a sleep aid containing melatonin.
*Pack a small bag with travel sizes of toothbrush and toothpaste, fresh wipes, tissues, and a change of socks.
* Include all medications, cash and valuables in the bag you have under the seat in front of you – keep it with you at all times.
* If you wear glasses, consider bringing a hard covered case to store them in while you sleep. A case with a hook that can fasten to your tote is handy as it will prevent loss of your glasses.
STORE YOUR ROLLING CARRY-ON IN THE OVERHEAD BIN–
***In that piece, pack at least three complete changes of clothing (this can be a lifesaver in the case of lost luggage).
DON’T FORGET TO PACK –
Sunglasses and a pair of back-up glasses if you wear prescription lenses.
Packaged or travel-size stain remover
A rain jacket and an umbrella
A travel size Bible, a journal, notebook, and a supply of pens.
Bring plenty of film for your camera, estimate your needs -- then double them. Film is available in the tourist areas – but can be very expensive. Extra batteries and a back-up microchip are also recommended.
Bring packages of tissues and keep them on you at all times, (often restroom facilities lack toilet
Our dress code while touring is strictly informal –During the day, comfortable clothing which can be layered is best. The buses will be cool and air-conditioned but outdoor temperatures will vary greatly. A jacket/hoodie is recommended.
Khaki or dark- colored slacks and light-colored, light-weight, short sleeve, collared shirts are good
choices. (Consider topping sleeveless shirts with sleeved (or ¾ length) light-weight shirt as protection from the sun.)
Generally, on one evening while on the Crystal (as is the case with most cruise ships) they feature a “dress up” night for the dining rooms -- but even then neither dresses for ladies nor sports coats for men are required.
**Many religious sites do not allow shorts or sleeveless shirts. A jacket or scarf to cover bare shoulders is necessary. Capri-length slacks (cargo pants) or pants that zipper to shorts - especially with pockets that close -- are a good compromise for shorts.
Choose your in-flight canvas bag carefully – look for something that can be used on the bus each day. Items can be safely left on the bus while we are touring and could include things like a jacket, umbrella, camera, snacks, Bible, notebook, water bottles, etc., etc.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER –– our tour IS NOT a fashion show!!
Considering extra baggage charges and lost luggage problems, packing is becoming a science. We encourage everyone to travel light (even though your luggage will be handled for you at the hotels, you’ll still have to lug it around the airports).
We suggest taking only one rolling carry-on and a fabric bag which can be stuffed under the seat in front of you. Nothing to check -- nothing that can be lost!
Suggested clothing - Total slacks - 4 pair – a mix of light to mid-weight slacks, jean or capris/cargo.
Generally, on one evening while on the Crystal, they feature a “dress up” night but even then neither dresses for ladies nor sports coats for men are required.
Total shoes - two pair - (comfortable athletic shoes/sneakers for walking & closed-toed sandals)
4 or 5 shirts with rollup sleeves, light weight, light colored, breathable, collared, cotton/poly to protect from sun (choose those you can mix and match with 5 or 6 sleeveless cotton shirts.)
Bring a rain jacket and umbrella.
Be prepared to dress in layers – for evenings on the ship’s upper decks a warmer jacket is advised as temps are expected to be in the high 50s and low 60s at night.
Try on all clothes before you leave home to make sure they are comfortable and will be worn. Don't pack items randomly and then decide, over there, whether or not you want to wear them.
If an item can't be worn with more than one outfit - leave it home.
Any seasoned traveler will tell you to take all your oldest socks and undies -- wear and toss!
We suggest lightweight PJs and bathrobe (I pick mine up at a Thrift store for $1.00 each and leave in ship’s stateroom.)
Pack only travel-sized bottles of shampoo, even hairspray – then toss them before you come home.
All the tossing makes room for the books and souvenirs you will be buying.
*** Savvy travelers know it’s not wise to wear valuable/irreplaceable jewelry.
What is the Grafted-In Symbol?
The emblem -- with its unique message -- was discovered (etched in pottery) during excavations (in the late 1900’s) of an ancient church on Mt. Zion (Jerusalem) in which James (author of the Book of James and brother of Jesus) was known to be the church leader. The symbol is composed of three parts: a Menorah, a Star and a Fish.
Although the Fish is widely recognized today as a traditional symbol of Christianity – the other two symbols (the Menorah and the Star) are poorly understood by those who’ve not been exposed to Jewish history and tradition. The message of the symbol was, of course, directed toward first century believers who were predominately Jewish. They, therefore, understood the meaning of the symbols – both separately and joined as one.
*The observer will first note that any attempt to separate out any of the three symbols results in destruction of the whole – within the interwoven design rests a powerful message.
If we, as modern believers, are to understand the message we must first study the meaning of each symbol separately. Thus we begin with a review of the Menorah:
*The Menorah/Lampstand/Candelabra – is described in Exodus 25:31- 40. These verses reveal some of the following: the design for the Menorah was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, by God (at the time He provided instructions for the Tabernacle and how He was to be worshipped). The Lampstand was made of pure, hammered gold; the entirety in one piece—with a base, center stem, lamp cups, buds and blossoms. It had 6 branches – 3 branches going out from each side of the center stem (yielding a total of 7 oil lamps).
The Talmud described its height as 18 handbreadths (the height of the average man) -- therefore 3 steps were placed before it so the priests could tend to it.
- The Menorah became a symbol of Temple worship and the essence of Judaism – today the Menorah is recognized as the official symbol of the State of Israel.
- The manufacture (from pure gold) represented the sacredness of God (YHWH).
- The 7 Lamps represented divine perfection.
- The branches were directed upward – towards Heaven. Exodus 27:20 – 21 reveals the Lampstand was to be placed inside the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle (and this would be the case later after Solomon built God’s Temple). The Lamps burned only pure olive oil – and were kept lit continually (both day and night, tended to by Aaron and his sons – who were designated as priests). (see also Exodus 30: 7 – 8 and Exodus 40:24-36). The wilderness Tabernacle had 1 Menorah; Solomon’s Temple had 10. Ezra’s Temple and the Temple rebuilt by Herod had only 1 (That Menorah was taken to Rome by Titus (the son of Emperor Vespasian) in 70 CE/AD when the Temple was destroyed. The Roman emperors were so proud of their conquest of Jerusalem that they commissioned the construction of the Arch of Titus (located today in the Forum Romanum on the Via Sacra) which includes a relief panel depicting the candelabrum.
*The light from the Menorah represented the presence of God’s glory filling the Temple. It symbolized the light of God’s creation (Genesis 1:3-5).
*The menorah was not the light itself – but it bore the light.
*In John 8:12 and Matt 5:14 Yeshua/Jesus said: “I am the light.” – which meant He was the presence of God.
*Oil always represented the presence of the Holy Spirit; that’s why it was used for anointing.
*For the believer the Menorah represents the church—with Jesus as the spiritual light. The Oil (Holy Spirit) provides the means and power for us to reflect His light into the darkness.
The Six-Pointed Star – Magen David or Shield of David associated with King David – recognized God as David’s Shield and Protector. Read I Samuel 17:41-47 (specifically verse 47). David’s victories were credited to his faith and were accomplished through the power of God. With these verses in mind, modern Zionism has placed the Star on the flag of Israel as a symbol of the power of God. The Shield/Star represents the promise that the scepter would not depart from Judah (Genesis 49:10) – the house of David.
*Numbers 24:15-19 is a record of the prophecies spoken by Balaam. Verse 17 states “A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel.” For the Jew the star represented the promised Messiah.
*II Samuel 7:12-16 is God’s promise/or covenant with David. “Your dynasty and your kingdom will continue for all time before me, and your throne will be secure forever.”
*I Kings 9:1-9, specifically verse 6, is God’s promise (and warning) to Solomon.
*Matthew 2:1-3 references the Messiah’s Star seen over Bethlehem. It was the star which led the Magi to Judea and announced the birth of the Messiah/or Saviour.
*In Revelation 22:16 Jesus says: “I am the Root and offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Jesus is the comforting light in our dark world until the Dawn of His return.
The Fish –ICTHUS – was the Greek word for fish – the symbol has been used since the 1st century as a means for believers to identify themselves to each other during times of persecution. IXOYE or ICTHUS–was an acronym, roughly translated: Jesus Christ, God’s Son is Saviour.
*Mark 1:16-18 – Jesus calls the disciples to be ‘fishers of men’ and fish were identified with his teachings.
*Matthew 14:13-21 – the story of the feeding of 5000, shows fish (believers) being multiplied.
*As a side note, Matthew 17:24-27 tells the story of the coin found in the fish caught by Peter (at Jesus’ directive) to pay the Temple tax.
*There is also the tie to Jonah (Matthew 12:38-45)—just as Jonah spent 3 days and nights in the belly of the fish, Jesus was crucified, entombed, and resurrected.
The Grafted In Emblem as a whole –
*Genesis 12:1-3 records the promises God made to Abraham: If he was obedient in his faith he would be made the father of a great nation. He would be blessed and made famous. He would be a blessing to others. God would bless those who blessed Abraham and curse those who cursed him (something every nation should be mindful of when dealing with Israel). And all the families of the earth would be blessed through Abraham.
*Genesis 17:1-7 details the Covenant.
*****Romans 11:17 “Some of these branches from Abraham’s tree, some of the Jews, have been broken off. And you gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, were grafted in. So now you also receive the blessings God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in God’s rich nourishment of his special olive tree.” This explains why the symbol isn’t popular with some denominations as the verses teach that the roots/or foundation of Christianity is Judaism. Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism—and not a separate or new religion. It for this reason Messianic Jews worldwide have embraced the symbol.