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Maranatha Chapel

May 9, 2011

On Monday, May 9th, our friends from Maranantha Chapel in San Diego came for a special visit to the City of Ariel. Pastor Ray and Vicki Bentley, accompanied by Dr. Robert Mawire, led three busloads of Israel-loving Christians to see and experience the Land of Israel. The group came straight from Ben-Gurion Airport to Ariel, where they begin their journey.

The first stop of the day was the Ariel National Leadership Development Center where the group was introduced to the common thread that runs through Biblical and modern day Samaria, and its ties to the cultivation of Israel’s leaders of tomorrow. The group then proceeded to the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts where they were greeted by Mayor Ron Nachman who shared Ariel’s history and its foundational significance to Israel’s future. The encounter was cut short, however, as this special visit took place on Israel’s Memorial Day. Mayor Ron Nachman excused himself to attend a Memorial Day service at one of the local schools. Shortly thereafter our guests were called by the air-raid siren to stand for a moment of silence in memory of Israel’s heroes.

After the Center for the Performing Arts, each of the three buses was led through the city by a resident of Ariel. The guides took the group to see the Ariel Sheltered Workshop, the Ariel University Center, Ariel’s Sports and Recreation Complex and the Ariel Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Museum. At the museum the groups were greeted by their hosts, Irena and Kuba Vadislavsky, and by Dorith Nachman – Ariel’s first lady – who is an active member of the Museum’s not-for-profit organization. Needless to say, the personal encounter with the Vadislavskys left a powerful and lasting impression.

Following a filling lunch, where many of our guests enjoyed falafel and shwarma for the first time, the group boarded the buses on their way to their next destination. Many were confused; “You mean we’re not staying in Ariel? But we were having such a nice time!”. We trust that our friends from Maranantha Chapel will be back soon.