June 17, 2010
The City of Ariel was blessed with a very special visit from our young friends in San Diego. Danny Ramos led a group of teenagers from the Maranatha Chapel in San Diego to Israel. Thanks to Pastor Ray Bentley’s longstanding relationship with Mayor Ron Nachman, the Maranatha Chapel and the City of Ariel maintain a strong personal partnership. With annual youth delegations from Ariel to San Diego, and annual visits from Maranatha Chapel to Ariel, firm bonds have been forged between the communities. Yesterday’s trip was a special one. Our guests got a piece of everything, in just one day.
The day began with a visit to the Ariel Holocaust and Heroism Memorial. The group met with Irena and Kuba Vadislavsky, the Holocaust survivors who run the memorial site. The powerful exhibits and the personal accounts brought our teenage guests closer to the Holocaust than they’ve ever been before.
The Holocaust Memorial helped pave the way for our next stop – the Antenna Hill IDF military post. At Antenna Hill, the group understood what it means to have a Jewish State, dedicated to defending its most basic freedom – the freedom to defend itself. The group met with the commanding officer, who shared his personal experiences with them. He spoke of the heavy responsibility that he assumes, of the moral conflicts that he’s expected to resolve and of his personal dedication to his land and to his people.
The next stop was Shiloh, where the Tabernacle stood for almost 400 years. We traveled along the Path of the Forefathers from Ariel to arrive at one of Israel’s most significant sites. Israel’s rich biblical history came alive as we learned about the archeological revelation of the site.
After lunch, the group went to the new Ariel National Leadership Development Center (ANLDC). Pastor Ray Bentley and the Maranatha Chapel recently became active partners in the ANLDC by providing a generous gift to the park’s development. The youth of Maranatha were given the opportunity to benefit firsthand from the unique programming. At the ANLDC they met up with teenagers from Ariel who visited the Maranatha community last year. Together they experienced team building exercises and paired leadership training.
We closed the visit with a special performance from the Ariel Dancers of the Nations troupe. The young performers were greatly appreciated by our guests.
From there the Maranatha Chapel youth extended the evening with a stop at one of Ariel’s cafés. It was a wonderful day and a pleasant evening for all. We look forward to seeing our guests again, sometime in the not too distant future.