We love sharing stories of love on tour—and Group Coordinator Patricia M.’s vow renewal in Israel was such a beautiful moment on tour we just had to feature her story. Here, she tells it in her own words.
My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this past January. Since we knew that we would be traveling to Israel, the Holy Land, we decided to renew our vows on the trip. We chose to do it at the Wedding Church in Cana because we knew that it has a great religious and spiritual significance. We wanted to renew our vows at the same place where Jesus had attended a wedding and had blessed the couple by turning the water into wine.
In order to ensure that this could be possible, I called my Tour Consultant, Jenny (who, by the way, has been the best Tour Consultant ever and I have been traveling with EF and Go Ahead for 12 years). She confirmed that the Tour Director knew about the request and that the church had agreed to allow us to do it there.
I was especially excited for this because my mother and many dear friends were traveling with us on the trip. Plus, my sister, her husband and their friends traveled all the way from Italy to meet us in Cana. I asked everyone to wear white for the ceremony.
My sister, her husband and friends arrived an hour prior to our arrival in Cana. She was able to speak to the person in charge and arrange a priest and a private chapel for the ceremony. She gave him a brief memo about us, our children, our anniversary and who was sharing this moment with us.
When we arrived at the Wedding Church in Cana, we toured the church before entering the chapel along with the whole Go Ahead tour group. The priest started by explaining the reason we were all gathered and read the scripture of the miracle at the Wedding Church. He gave a sermon on the importance of marriage, blessed our wedding rings and we renewed our vows. The priest was so spiritual and spoke so nicely. It was truly a magical moment.
We then proceeded to take pictures at the church with everyone and celebrated with wine during the included dinner that night with the rest of the Go Ahead group. I was very touched by all the participants on the tour who not only congratulated us, but also stated how moved and honored they were for having been able to share the beautiful moment with us. After our ceremony, one young couple was so inspired that they decided to get engaged during the trip!
The tour all in all was amazing. Even though I have traveled to over 30 countries worldwide and know that every country has its enchantment, this trip was special. The beautiful places we visited and this spiritual moment we shared as a group was greater than any other tour I had ever been on. For example, we bathed in the river where Jesus was baptized, we floated in the Dead Sea, we knelt on the manger where Jesus was born, we touched the very spot where Jesus had been crucified, we left out intentions on a paper at the Wailing Wall and we rode camels in the desert.
We were also very blessed to have a great Tour Director. He was highly educated in history and biblical scriptures. He gave us very detailed historical and biblical facts about each place we visited, but most of all, he was very nice, patient and fun to be with. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to do a pilgrimage to the Holy Land or for anyone just wanting to have a historical experience.
Have you ever had a really meaningful experience on tour? Tell us in the comments!