Holy Land Travel / Bright Stars Trips

Come and See with Bright Stars of Bethlehem Trips

Bethlehem and Holy Land Tour

June 9, 2017 – June 20, 2017

Trip cost: $3035.00

Spend time in the birthplace of Jesus, explore sites such as Manger Square, Church of the Nativity, the Shepherds Fields, Solomon’s Wells, the Herodian and so much more. Exclusively for travelers on this trip, we will have opportunity to sing in several cathedrals throughout the Holy Land.

Join your hosts Dr. Les Schmidt and Rev. Mark Schulz for this amazing journey. Encounter the land of the Bible in multiple ways with several opportunities of planned and spontaneous singing:

Visits to traditional sites associated with the Bible.

Learn more of what it means to be a Christian in a multi-faith context while living in occupation.

Learn more about the unique and exciting ministries of Bright Stars of Bethlehem.

Tenative Itinerary

Friday, June 9 – Depart Kansas City for Tel Aviv

Saturday, June 10 – Arrive Tel Aviv, bus to Bethlehem, Dinner and rest.

Sunday , June 11 – Worship at Christmas Lutheran Church, lunch, tour Manger Square, Church of the Nativity, Milk Grotto and shopping.

Monday , June 12 –Solomon’s Wells, Herodian, Shepherd’s Fields, lunch at the Grotto, Separation Wall, Refugee camp, free time, dinner with Ajyal (retired group), worship in the Cave.

Tuesday, June 13 – Presentation of Diyar Program, Tour school, University, Wellness Center, etc.  Depart for Jerusalem, Bethany and Lazarus’ Tomb, Mt. of Olives, Gethsemane, Dinner and overnight inside old city walls of Jerusalem

Wednesday, June 14 – Inside old City Walls, Bethesda, Ecce Homo, Via Doloroso, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Golgatha, Garden Tomb, Museum, and Western Wall. Overnight inside the old city Walls.

Thursday, June 15– Early AM departure for Masada, Qumron, Dead Sea, Ceaserea.  Overnight near Ceaserea.

Friday, June 16 –  Mt. Carmel, Carmelite Monestary, Nazareth, Cana. Overnight in Tiberias

Saturday, June 17 – Mt. of Beatitudes, Fishes and Loaves, Primacy of Peter,  Caparnaum.  Museum, and boat on the Sea of Galilee – Worship onboard boat, Dinner and stay in Tiberias

Sunday, June 18 – Cross over to Jordan, Madeba (Church of the Map),  Baptismal Site, Macherus (John the Baptist), Mt. Nebo, Petra overnight

Monday, June 19 – Petra all day.  Return to Aman for late night departure home

Tuesday, June 20 – Return Home


Tour Expense:

The anticipated cost for this trip is $3035.00 for a single and $2595.00 for a double. This does not include airfare of approximately $1500-$1800. For best airline rates, please contact Dr. Les Schmidt as soon as you have reserved your spot. He will assist you in the purchase of the tickets. The cost for reserving your spot on this exciting trip is $250 (non-refundable).


* As there may be some meals and incidentals along the way, you may want to budget an additional $400 to cover these costs. Tips for tour guides and other group leaders are included in the ground fees.

Download the brochure here

2017 Leadership Program in the Holy Land

October 16-29, 2017

Trip cost: $3999 (including airfare)

Host: The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb and the Diyar Consortium
Leaders: Mike Abel, John Lindner, and Susan Wilder

This program offers new and creative ways to understand and respond to the context of the Israel/Palestine conflict. It raises the possibility of different strategies for resisting the power of empire and supporting those who both struggle against it and suffer its daily injustices and violence. This is an in-depth program during which new insights, experiences and strategies will be explored.

We invite pastors, church leaders, educators, and other professionals also committed to the struggle for a just peace in Israel/Palestine to participate in this leadership experience. The aim of this program is to gain a deeper understanding of the current realities in Israel/Palestine as well as to view the Holy Land through a new, biblical/theological lens. This opportunity is open for people already interested in the region, who are committed to making a difference and investing in hope.

The study tour will explore the question: Where do we go from here on the journey toward peace, human rights and building bridges of understanding? The program will highlight the experience of courageous Palestinians attempting to build a future even in the face of occupation.

The Palestinian Christian community in the 2009 Kairos document sent out a cry to the Christian community abroad saying “Come and See.” This invitation is even more urgent in 2017, fifty years after the 1967 war. Come and see the facts on the ground, listen to diverse narratives, be inspired by ministries of hope, and consider future directions for advocacy and support. We hope you will join us for this ecumenical program of faith and learning.

—Mike Abel, John Lindner, and Susan Wilder

Day by Day Program

Monday, October 16 – Depart Washington Dulles on your transatlantic overnight flight via Turkish Airlines. (Meals in-flight)

Tuesday, October 17 – Arrive Tel Aviv, meet the bus and guide for transfer to Bethlehem. Abu Gubran Lutheran Guesthouse (Meals in-flight)

Wednesday, October 18 – Briefing and tour of Bethlehem followed by a meeting with the Mayor of Bethlehem.  Afternoon presentation by Dr. Jad Isaac, environmental expert and Executive Director of the Applied Research Institute. Late Afternoon, Our Story: The Palestinian Narrative, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, President of the Diyar Consortium.  Welcome dinner with Mitri Raheb.  (B, D)

Thursday, October 19 –Morning transfer to Hebron with briefing on the situation in Hebron. Meeting with the Mayor of Hebron. Visit Ibrahimi Mosque, followed by lunch and touring the old city of Hebron. Meet with settler at Cave of Machpelah. Dinner at Illiyeh Restaurant followed by an evening meeting with veterans of the Israeli military. (B, L, D)

Friday, October 20 – Leave to Jericho and the Jordan Valley: briefing on water and environmental issues. Lunch on own and free time in Jericho. Visit to the village of Zochrot. Dinner at Illiyeh Restaurant. (B, D)

Saturday, October 21 – Morning hiking in Battir, a world heritage site. Lunch at the Battir Heritage Kitchen. Afternoon program on Cremisan Valley and Home Demolitions including visits with families. Dinner with representative of the Carter Center office in the West Bank. (B, L, D)

Sunday, October 22– Morning Worship at Christmas Lutheran Church. Lunch at Il Illiyeh Restaurant. Tour of Solomon’s Pools and the new museum in Artas Village. Special tour of Church of the Nativity restoration. Dinner at The Grotto Restaurant. (B, L, D)

Monday, October 23 – This is the day when we meet with Israelis. We begin with a tour of Jerusalem and conversation with settlement expert and human rights advocate Daniel Seidemann. Meeting with “Arab Joint List” member(s) of Knesset. Dinner with Dr. Alon Liel, former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and an International Relations lecturer at Tel Aviv University & the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. (B, D)

Tuesday, October 24 – Visit Al-Aqsa Mosque plus meeting with Prof. Mustafa Abu Sway. Lunch at student café and program with political science faculty at Al Quds University. Free time in Jerusalem Old City with free evening. (B, L)

Wednesday, October 25 – Diyar Ministries tour. Day at Dar Al-Kalima University College and meet with students and staff. Lunch prepared by culinary program at the university. Meeting with Ambassador Hind Khoury, Gen. Secretary of Kairos Palestine and former PLO Ambassador to France. Dinner at Illiyeh Restaurant. (B, L, D)

Thursday, October 26 – Visit Rawabi, a new Palestinian City. Meet with Dr. Michael Sabbah, the former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem for lunch in Taybeh. Tour Taybeh village and Taybeh Beer Brewing Company and Taybeh Winery. Conversation & Dinner about business and economics in Palestine with Zahi Khoury and Sam Bahour in Ramallah. Return to Bethlehem. (B, L, D)

Friday, October 27 – Visit Ramallah. Meeting with PLO Negotiations Office. Lunch with leading Palestinian women. Visit Arafat Tomb and Darwash Museum. Return to Bethlehem. Dinner at Illiyeh Restaurant. (B, L, D)

Saturday, October 28 – Free morning and early afternoon in Bethlehem. Group debriefing and discussion. Farewell dinner with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb at Illiyeh Restaurant. (B, D)

Sunday, October 29 – Return to USA Early departure with box breakfast for transfer to Ben Gurion for flight check in and departure at 8:50A. (B, meals inflight)

Code: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Itinerary subject to change. Speakers subject to availability.


Program Expense:

The $3999USD price includes airfare departure from Washington Dulles airport. It includes Program gratuities; Airport departure taxes and is based on per person double occupancy. Optional single room supplement is available for an additional $329.

For additional information, please download the brochure.