WBU professors hosting trips to Israel, Turkey in spring

Release Date: September 24, 2009

Ever had a hankering to visit the Holy Land or sites of early Christianity? If so, two professors from Wayland Baptist University have the perfect opportunity.

Dr. Jeff Anderson, professor of religion at Wayland’s campus in Anchorage, Alaska, is hosting a trip to Israel and Jordan slated for March 2-14, 2010. Dr. Jay Givens, associate professor of religion and executive director/campus dean of the WBU campus in Altus, Okla., is hosting an “Early Christianity Tour” around Turkey and the seven early church sites from March 12-26, 2010.

Anderson said he was asked by campus dean Dr. Eric Ash to organize a trip for interested persons and with his background in Biblical history, jumped at the chance to visit the historic area again. He calls the trip, organized through Pilgrim Tours, an inspirational tour for Bible-believing Christians.

The journey begins with an evening in the coastal region near Tel Aviv, Israel, with free time to walk along the Mediterranean and have dinner. The following day includes tours of Caesarea, where Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and were baptized, along with Mount Carmel, Megiddo (the Armageddon Battlefield), Cana and Nazareth, specifically visiting the Nazareth Village recreated in Biblical times with costumed guides.

Other stops on the tour include Capernaum, Dan, Caesarea Philippi and the Mount of the Beatitudes; a cruise on the Sea of Galilee; the Jordan River baptism site, the Dead Sea; Masada and the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered; and Abraham’s Tent, a costumed dramatic presentation from the time of the Patriarchs. Next is touring around Jerusalem for four days, including the Israeli Museum and the Holocaust Museum, the path where Jesus walked his last steps – including the Garden of Gethsemane and the Judgment Hall of Pilate, the Via Dolorosa, Golgotha and the garden tomb.

From there, the group will travel to Jordan and Jerash, one of the best preserved and most complete provincial Roman cities, and Amman before continuing to Petra, home of the Edomites, who were descendents of Esau. The final day of touring includes Mount Nebo, believed to be the site of the tomb of Moses; Madaba, known for its great mosaics and the Greek Orthodox Church; and Bethany before returning to Israel for one last night of free time in Jerusalem.

Cost for the trip is $3,299, based on double occupancy. Single travelers staying alone will pay an additional $655 supplement. The price includes round-trip airfare from Anchorage, air taxes, 11 nights lodging, breakfast and dinner daily, one lunch, tour guides and motor coach service, border taxes and a Jordan visa. Not included are gratuities, optional travel insurance and lunches for 10 days.

Reservations with a $300 deposit are due by Nov. 23, with the full balance due by Dec. 28, 2009. For more information on the trip, contact Anderson at (907) 227-0622 or andersonj@wbu.edu.

Givens’ trip is organized through Tutku Tours and leaves from Dallas-Fort Worth airport for Istanbul. The first day takes tourists to Antioch, headquarters of Paul’s missionary journeys, and the port of Seleucia Peria, from which Paul and Barnabas sailed on their first journey. Visits include the Temple of Zeus and the Titus water tunnel. The tour continues to Tarsus, Paul’s birthplace, and then to Cappadocia and its rock formations called “Fairy Chimneys” before visiting Iconium and Lystra.

Participants will then travel to Demre, one of the six great cities of the Lycian civilization, and its rock tombs, theater and Church of Saint Nicholas, on whom the tradition of Christmas giving is based. Also featured is Hierapolis, Pamukkale, Aphrodisias, Kusadasi, the Greco-Roman city of Priene, the Miletus theater and the Apollo Temple in Didyma. The tour then travels to Laodicea, Ephesus, cradle of the early churches and home to the Basilica of St. John and other sites, before heading to Sardia, Philadelphia and Izmir, then to Pergamum, Thyatira and Bursa before stopping in Iznik (ancient Nicaea), home to two ecumenical councils. The day also includes a trip to the mosaics at the Church of St. Savior in Chora.

The next stop is Istanbul and a boat trip through the Bosporus Strait to view the landscape and historic landmarks on the Asian and European shorelines. A full day in Istanbul will give tourists time to catch the Roman Hippodrome, St. Sophia Church, the Istanbul Archeological Museum and the Grand Bazaar before the trip’s farewell dinner.

The Turkey trip costs $3,490 per person based on double occupancy, with singles paying a $690 supplement. This includes roundtrip airfare from DFW, transfers and transportation while on the trip, 13 nights lodging, sightseeing, daily breakfast and 13 dinners, tour guides, tolls and ferry tickets as well as taxes. Not included are lunches, a Turkish Visa fee ($20), tips, souvenirs and personal expenses. A $100 deposit is due by Nov. 13, with the balance paid in full by January 5, 2010.

Students may receive credit for a three-hour course in religion for attending the Turkey tour with Givens, with registration through the Virtual Campus spring term and payment of tuition. Contact Givens for specifics on course enrollment or for more information on this trip at (580) 481-5243 or jgivens@wbu.edu.

Both trips are open to anyone wishing to make the journey, regardless of relationship to Wayland.