There is no shortage of conflict in the world today. But anxiety should not prevent us from visiting these troubled countries as long as reasonable precautions are taken.
TourMagination proceeds with a trip only after reviewing travel advisories from key agencies like the US Government, the Canadian government, and the World Health Organization. If a situation is dangerous, we modify the itinerary or cancel the tour.
Though we do not take irresponsible risks, we don’t let fear dictate where we travel. In fact, we believe that there are many good reasons for touring nations that are experiencing political or religious conflict—including the Holy Land.
People in areas where there is conflict and suffering welcome guests from the outside who seek to understand their struggle. TourMagination visitors to the Holy Land come home personally acquainted with individuals living in the midst of strife. These include the local guide who accompanies us (usually a Palestinian Christian), the bus driver (usually a Muslim Palestinian), hotel staff (Jewish and Palestinian), and Mennonite Central Committee workers (who explain their reconciliation work). The love of Christ embraces all races and nations.
TourMagination views history and current events from a Kingdom of God perspective.We travel across the Holy Land as band of disciples, learning, praying, and building community. We grapple with Bible stories of war and conflict, peacemaking and forgiveness. We travel on both sides of the “separation wall” that divides Israel from the West Bank—and ponder the promise that all descendants of Abraham and Sarah will be blessed.
Reflecting on biblical sites and narratives gives us a framework to understand suffering in the Holy Land and in our own home communities. Hope for healing of the nations in the Kingdom of God undergirds all of our conversation and worship.
Going on a TourMagination trip to the Holy Land or elsewhere will not significantly change those trouble spots, but it will change you! From a distance and from news reports it is easy to imagine that one side is right and the other is wrong. I return from the Holy Land with new appreciation for the complexity of the conflict. Both Jew and Palestinian are beloved of God, and both deserve a homeland. Both have injustice in their past and seek the same safety and wholeness that you and I want for ourselves. Despite the struggle of peoples in the land where Jesus lived, there always is an abundance of beauty, friendship, and fabulous food—with no sense of foreboding.
You will return home with insights and questions that energize further learning and witness. Bible stories leap off the page for me because I can visualize their setting. Ancient ruins at Masada, at the Temple Mount, or at Qumran remind me of the waste of war. The Mount of Beatitudes or the Garden Tomb fill me with resurrection hope. I am more likely to seek justice for both Palestinians and Jews because I know individuals from both peoples. I read websites and newsletters about the Holy Land with keen interest, and understand better how to pray. Above all, I have renewed commitment to follow Jesus because I see that the gospel of reconciliation and forgiveness is the best hope for a broken world.
For almost half a century TourMagination has brought participants back safely from hundreds of tours. We hope you will travel with us to the Holy Land and beyond as an ambassador of Christ’s reconciliation.
Sources TourMagination Consults About Travel Safety
When considering whether to travel to a country where there is conflict we consult several sources.