Always a joy to read your ITS newsletter. Your personal comments were so spot-on and uplifting, as well as resonating with my own experiences with ITS. You are right about the pilgrims bonding. Almost 20 years after my last pilgrimage with you, people still contact me to remind me what a memorable, uplifting experience their pilgrimage was. Recently someone even asked me when I was planning my next pilgrimage! Planning and caring for over 30 folk again would delight me greatly, but ‘anno domini’ has taken over! Even Sheila is over 80 now.
But I’ll keep reading your news avidly. Keep up the good work. Your success (with Hilary) is so well deserved.
Blessings from us both this Christmas, and very fond memories.
Sheila and Malcolm
I’ve just read your newsletter and it brought back so many memories also for me personally. Going with you on several occasions completely changed my life also. The change was in my faith, I thought having being a practicing catholic all my life that I understood the gospels and had my own thoughts and imagination of the biblical sites, were Jesus lived and travelled. It was only through going to the Holy Land and Israel with ITS that I really understood the gospels, and the life of Jesus.
I’ve spoken too so many people about my experience, plus the fact that when I went on my own in one of your groups, I had no need to have worried that no one would speak to me. Adrian both you and the staff you brought with you, made everyone feel at ease and most welcome. So Adrian can I congratulate you and your ITS staff, for being so professional and caring.
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.
A year of good health, with lots of happiness.
“Dear Hilary and team,
Chris and I just wanted to thank you for setting up a fabulous trip for us. All the arrangements went very smoothly. We really enjoyed the places you arranged for us to stay.
The Jesus Trail worked out really well. We spent much of the route with Mark, the Jesus Trail Manager who was repainting the waymarks.
Little House in Bakaa was great, on a good bus route both into the city and out to Bethlehem. We were able to catch the local bus to Bethlehem, very straightforward.
Once again, many thanks for arranging a most memorable trip for us. We will have no hesitation in recommending others to come to you.”
Lis & Chris Hayes
As leaders, once again we have appreciated all the care you have taken to secure the best of arrangements for our pilgrimage. It was good to know that the continuation of support was in place throughout our time in Israel too. None of the group felt afraid or insecure – the views expressed have been entirely positive and we will look back with wonderful memories and lasting friendships.”
Rev’d Geoffrey & Mrs Pat Peddie
“Greetings to everyone at ITS. I am leading a group from South Africa but very much remembering my introduction to Israel from Adrian, Filis, Hilary and the dear departed David over 20 years ago. Thank you ITS for the amazing opportunity you have given to your tour leaders over the years.”
Rev Simon Aiken
“I have just returned from speaking at a conference in Jerusalem and the tour connected with it afterwards.
I must say that I have NEVER been on another tour to Israel except on ITS. The difference was amazing! I can now see the added extras and professionalism and expertise which ITS offers with your years of experience and care about your visitors to this wonderful land. The difference was like night and day!! Thank you for putting so much into your marvellous tours. This was my 8th time in Israel and is no match for he other 7 that I have been on with ITS”
Rev David Sullivan
“We are extremely grateful to the staff of ITS particularly, Hilary & Ruth for all the excellent service rendered to the group. You were very efficient and provided us with all the information we needed. The guide you gave us, Yehuda, was excellent, very knowledgeable and affable and understanding. Thank you so much also for the arrangements you made for us to be met and escorted at the airport”
Rev. Dr. Hayford Ofori-Attah
“To Customer Services,
Thank you for arranging such a wonderful trip to Israel, it has changed my conception of the Bible, it has helped me understand the journey of the life of Jesus.Our guide was excellent and a very approachable Man. He was very patient and strong in his knowledge of the Bible.
The Hotels were fine and our driver was very good at going to all the stops and picking us up, very good rapport with our guide.
Thank you for the certificate of our Pilgrimage to The Holy Land.”
Congratulations on your special 50th anniversary award for tourism to Israel! Very well deserved.
You always dealt with me so personally and genially that it was a pleasure to work with you. Although the years have sped by and anno domini has caught up with me somewhat, several people still keep reminding me of very happy times spent on our group holidays – much of which is due to you and your unfailing enthusiasm and help in planning the trips/pilgrimages.
Enjoy a blessed and healthy New Year and my kindest regards to the staff.”
Malcolm ( Rev’d Malcolm Carter -January 2016 )
“I would like to let you know what a wonderful time I had in Israel,which was definitely an experience I will never forget.
The whole week was so enhanced by having Nicola Simmonds as our guide. I cannot stress too strongly how very good she was at explaining historic events and also what a lovely personality she has which made it all such fun!
Thank you Nicola!”
Patricia Wren ( with Bill Day’s group )
“We wish to thank & commend Nicola Simmonds our guide from 9-16 February. Nicola is a professional, friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide who presents pilgrimage, historical, cultural and political information with great sensitivity. She is a great ambassador for your company and her country.”
“Thank you so much for making our pilgrimage to Israel the most humbling and unforgettable experience of my life. We were treated so well from the beginning to the very end, which, was down to your fantastic team.
Best wishes for 2015!”
Diane Corbin London
“Have a great respect for your company.
ITS need to be commended.”
Canon Michael Rees
“Brilliant, fantastic, breathtaking, the trip of a lifetime, awesome, excellent value. Words are insufficient to describe my feelings on the recent Israel trip.
We had wanted to visit Israel for decades and now the time was right. Mike & Marion went out of their way to make the trip as memorable, comfortable and as comprehensive as possible.
What we did not expect was the emotional aspect. Walking where Jesus walked, the calm of the Sea of Galilee, worship on Mount Carmel the ride up to Jerusalem all added to a tremendous spiritual and emotional experience.
I must mention two personal points.
I asked Mike for an unusual request. To play a pipe organ in Jerusalem. Mike worked tirelessly (as he always does) to fulfil this request and of course succeeded – thank you.
Secondly Mike and Marion’s patience in accommodating my disabilities. They were brilliant and made the trip one which we will remember for the rest of our lives.
With love, Colin” Colin Dickson – Billinge
“Had a wonderful time and feel really blessed that at long last i have visited Israel. So many memories…… Joppa (was that Dorcas over there, or maybe Jonah legging it away from Gods will). Worshipping on Mount Carmel with a multinational congregation, bet Elijah was smiling. The quiet joyfulness of Galilee, where you feel the presence of Jesus everywhere, especially on the silence of the lake. Capernaum where the ancient stones of the original synagogue are exposed “these stones have heard the voice of Jesus”… The dramatic approach to Jerusalem, the tears of joy? The Old city and the Western wall, the feeling of walking through history, Bethlehem a source of christian joy but now so sadly divided and yet with a sense of dramatic events. Then Gethsemane, Caiaphas house and the path Jesus was dragged along, how He suffered for us. Skull hill, who could forget that, and the beautiful garden with the garden tomb full of christian groups weeping, praying and singing. The Garden tomb, the sadness of Jesus death but “he is not here he is risen” so joy comes out of the sadness. I could go on, the hill where Goliath stood, the pool of Siloam. The sun shining on Jerusalem glinting on the gold streaks in the limestone, little jewish children off to school and little arab children off to their school.
What a wonderful visit.
Thank you so very much, Paulene” Paulene Dickson – Billinge
“Dear Mike and Marion,
Thank you both so much for your loving pastoral care while we were in Israel. I really appreciated it especially as I didn’t know anyone!! Our group really was great, wasn’t it! I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that they need to go and see the land with a guide like Yehuda. I’ve also been urging people, believers and non alike, to check out the Yad Vashem website, or go see Yad Vashem. Israel has suffered more than any nation has ever suffered, but PRAISE GOD, they are still Israel, they are back in the land and Jerusalem, the city which the Lord loves, is standing!
The hotels were fantastic! The staff were lovely! The food was wonderful! One of my best memories of the hotels is the hotel at Tiberias, eating breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Sea of Galilee! It was like eating breakfast where Jesus did!
Being on the Sea of Galilee was also an amazing experience. The thought that we were seeing what Jesus would have seen was mind blowing! All the Gospel records of things to do with the Sea of Galilee were brought to life there.
Jerusalem – what can I say!! I was totally unprepared for how Jerusalem would make me feel! What a magnificent city! So old, so full of history, so loved by God! And that’s what I felt – not only His great love for Jerusalem, but His great love for the land of Israel and its people
I hope you are both well and that the Lord is blessing you in all matters! You have certainly been a blessing to me!! Marion, your knowledge of the Word is awesome and you’re an inspiration and role model to such as me!!! May you continue to be enriched by his Word!!
Very much love and thanks to you both, Wendy xxx” Wendy Foot – Dorset
“Thanks Mike and Marion for all your hard work organising such a wonderful trip to Israel. We appreciate all that you did for each of us; even the homework was good in helping us to focus and draw out the importance of the Biblical sites that we visited.
God was very much evident in the way the group jelled together with praise and laughter and fun.
Gea and I found Yehuda so helpful and caring. It was hard to leave him at the airport; we just didn’t want to go home!
Big thanks! Love from Rob and Gea” Rob and Gea Soulsby – Billinge
“As I kept saying whilst we were away Mike, the tour far exceeded our expectations and we enjoyed every part of it. The hotels were excellent, the food was good, the way in which the daily tours were organised was perfect and Jehuda was just an amazing man and a very knowledgable guide.
The group mixed together well and the times of Christian fellowship were enjoyable.
One of the highlights for both June and I was the short teachings which Marion did at various points on the tours. Marion clearly has a love and passion for the Old Testament and was able to convey this, as well as Holy Spirit insight into the passages, in a clear and concise way.
I thought before we went away, that the tour would be a “one off” but I have to say now that it has just whet my appetite for more of Israel. June and I have always had a love for the people of Israel and where ever we have worshipped, support and prayer for Israel has been really important to us. Being there has just made us more passionate for the ‘ apple of God’s eye’.
We are so grateful to you and Marion for organising and leading the tour Mike and we pray God’s blessing for you in your joint ministry.
Thanks for everything, Peter and June.” Peter and June Mavers – Knowsley Village
“Can it be that a week has passed already since we returned from Israel. I have waited until now before replying to your ‘Welcome Home’ e-mail because I wanted to see what life was like a week on. Life immediately after our return was so strongly ‘touched’ by the whole Israel experience that people kept asking ~ “Have you come back to earth yet?” I had hoped (and prayed) that the visit would in some way be ‘life-changing’ but its so easy as time goes by for memories to fade. Being back home with my family and friends has been special. Being back worshipping at St.John’s on Sunday (wearing my Israeli T shirt) was wonderful. So still ~ a week on ~ the blessings of our time away still echo in each day.Its hard to put into words except to say ~ GOD IS GOOD! Peter Smith” Peter Smith –Widnes
“Hi Mike and Marion thanks for your E.mail back to normal now ha but have enjoyed looking over our photos and thinking of the special places we’ve seen. Re feedback Hotels were fab, coach trips really comfortable. Regarding places visited high percentage were great but we felt on reflection we would have liked one or two days were we didnt go to as many places but spend longer in just a couple of places thats it really so thankyou for being so relaxed with us it made it really enjoyable love Jim and Sue x x” Jim and Sue Marklove – Great Sankey
“Israel was really good and we both enjoyed it very much. For myself it was good to see the holyland sights and put it into context so that when you read the Bible you can picture what it is really like (which was completely different to what I had in my imagination when studied at Bible College).
The best highlights of the tour for me were going through Ahab’s water tunnel, sailing across Galilee to Capernaum and having that moment as we went across to really feel close to Jesus and spend a few moments with Him. Would have liked a little longer to paddle in the shores of Galilee but do understand there lots to see!
Also enjoyed seeing Wendy get baptised in the traditional baptismal site in the river Jordan and am reassured by herself that it was a very special moment for her!
The day where we went to the Nazareth Village is also a definitely MUST on the tour as it was really nice to see and hear about the lifestyle they live and enjoy in a wonderful lunch there with them.
Also as we drove ‘Up to Jerusalem’ and entered Jerusalem through the tunnel it was made very special by entering Jerusalem with the song ‘Jerusalem’ playing in the background on the coach and made the moment very real… I would also recommend that people should try and go to Ben Yehuda Street in the evening to see what it is like at night down there and see the street entertainment and dancing and just enjoy the streets in all of its activity at night.
In Jerusalem there were many wonderful sights but the ones I enjoyed the most was being at the top of the Mount of Olives and look across Jerusalem and going through the Warren Shaft system to the tunnels and seeing the Shrine of the Book which is the home to the Dead Sea Scrolls.
It was an amazing experience to float in the Dead Sea and would recommend anyone needing abdomen exercises to get free physio there… Finally the tour was topped off by seeing the amazing stain glass windows in the hospital chapel of the twelve tribes of Judah…
On a more serious note ‘Israel is a wonderful place that has a lot of history, (water systems, tunnels and bathing rituals… oh and of course trees now… ) but has a very special place both in Jewish history, Christianity today and what will happen there in years to come… so with this in mind would definitely recommend everyone sharing this unique and wonderful experience of seeing the Holy Land and bring the Bible to life and change your understanding of Israel and become an ambassador for them instead.
Thank you both for being great leaders with our group and for making this tour an amazing experience. You were both great! Helen and Joe Grimes – Garswood
“Dear Mike and Marion,
I just wanted to say a b ig thank you to you both for organising the tour. Your attention to detail and concern for all showed Christian love at its very best.
I know much prayer goes in before and during the tour and we certainly knew God’s presence every step of the way.
The Bible to me will never be the same. While loving God’s Word since my teens you have opened it up in a new way for me and given me an appetite to learn more – so bless you both.
As for the group it was obvious that the Lord had put together a special fellowship of people to make the times of sharing and caring an example of what he wants for us.
I trust you are both able to get some rest and refreshment to recover from the many hours of effort put in over the last weeks and months.
God bless you both, Irene” Irene Jones – Ashton-in-Makerfield
Dear Adrian just to let u know the feedback from my group visit in May 2012.
100 percent GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY and a wonderful trip enjoyed by all.
ITS is the best in the business.
Thanks to all
Caroline and Jeffery.
Arrived back from Israel yesterday morning to rain rather than snow on a delayed flight but didn’t surprised me. Manic getting through passport control!
Just want to give a BIG Thank You for organising my Trip to the Holy Land which was amazing and will not be forgotten. No problems, mishaps or drama🤗
Transfers, Accommodation (especially the Kibbutz- my favourite), pickups was well organised & prompt, Thanks to you.
The tour group were lovely people from all round the world & was just the right size (11),( did you organise me joining or was that random
?(perfect), saw some large groups & glad not part of them. The Tour Guide (Enrique) was a star & very professional & funny. Learnt so much.
Had a bit of a wait after checkout on return so an earlier flight home would have been better, trying to sleep on an EasyJet night flight wasn’t easy!
Really appreciate your assistance in making the trip a success. All my fears was allayed.