Eleven pack their bags for Holy Land Tour this month

From December 31 to January 11, a group of Ouachita students, faculty and alumni will leave Arkadelphia to embark on the International Travel Program’s Holy Land Tour. The group of 11 travelers, headed by international travel coordinator Bill Dixon, will join a Texas group of approximately equal size to explore a multitude of sites in Israel and Jordan, which are packed with historical and biblical significance.

“We’re going on this trip because I took a group [to Israel and Jordan] in March 2007, and I received many requests to repeat it,” Dixon said.

The tour will begin in Tel Aviv, Israel. From there, the group will travel to Caesarea to see the aqueducts, theater and other ruins of the ancient capital; then on to Mount Carmel to visit the place where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal; to Megiddo, home of Ahab’s stables and famous water system; to Sepphoris, the birthplace of Mary, mother of Jesus; then on to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee—and that’s just in the first three days.

They will visit many more sites of general and familiar interest on the tour, including Nazareth, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea Scrolls Museum, Capernaum, Caiaphas’ palace, Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Mt. Zion and Jerusalem.

All of this is arranged by Dixon and the International Travel Program, which was created in 2000 to give alumni a chance to travel together. Since then, the program has conducted 14 trips around the globe, visiting places such as Peru, South Africa, Russia and China, Dixon’s “favorite place.”

While most of the travelers are adults, students are “very welcome” to go. Sarah Horton, a sophomore Christian studies and Christian missions major, is one of the students taking part in the upcoming Holy Land Tour.

“I really don’t know a whole lot about the trip, but I’m so excited,” she said.

Students who are interested in international travel but were unable to go on the Holy Land Tour can look for more travel opportunities in the near future. In fact, the International Travel Program has already planned trips to Egypt and Costa Rica for 2008.

On the Egypt trip, which will be April 4-16, students will visit Cairo, Alexandria, the Valley of the Kings, Mt. Sinai, the Sinai Peninsula, the Aswan Dam and others, while the Costa Rica excursion will visit rainforests, beaches, a volcano and historical sites.

Information is available on the International Travel Program page on the Ouachita homepage, through the alumni publication The Ouachita Circle, and through those who have traveled with the program in the past. The deadline to sign up for the Egypt trip is Dec. 19.

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