Think the closest you’ll get to the Holy Land is the map in your scriptures? Think again! Equity Life Institute in Galilee offers explorations of the Middle East that will deepen travelers’ appreciation for the rich and sacred traditions of the places Christ Himself walked.
Dann Hone, EquityLife Institute in Galilee founder and managing director, brings a wealth of knowledge to each journey. He is an adjunct faculty member with Utah Valley University in the Department of History and Political Science as well as a BYU emeritus faculty member. Hone helped found the Jerusalem Center of Near Eastern Studies and has headed many trips in the Middle East and throughout the world.
Unlike traditional commercial tours, EquityLife offers curricula and cultural encounters that personalize the Middle East for travelers. Tours are supplemented with lectures and experiences that bring visitors face to face not only with historical sites, but with local people and culture.
Participants can experience the testimony of Elder Bruce R. McConkie at Christ’s Garden Tomb, sunrise hikes at Mt. Sinai, swims in the Dead Sea, and quiet moments at the Sea of Galilee and the Judean countryside.
Church members who tour the Middle East “find a temporal and divine witness of the great spiritual and historical realities recorded in scripture,” Hone says.
“For many,” he continues, “the Holy Land is a land of peaceful meditation and a calming balm in the midst of a turbulent world.” This view can run contrary to the narrative that many hold about the Middle East, that it is a dangerous place of conflict.
“I feel safer in the streets of every major city or small town in the Holy Land, more than I do in most larger cities in the USA,” Hone says.
In addition to their 3-week Intensive Exploration programs, EquityLife offers summer term programs for high school graduates and college students, and has added a humanitarian program and the Transcultural Humanitarian and Holistic Nursing Internship program. Each will allow participants to experience Middle Eastern culture, but also to serve and learn.
“Plans for this coming year include helping rebuild a playground for special needs children from throughout the West Bank, working in a reconstructed historic village, and construction projects in a Bethlehem school,” Hone says of the humanitarian program. “The nursing interns will be doing a variety of transcultural care while teaching principles of palliative and hospice care.”
While EquityLife prides itself on keeping costs reasonable, scholarships and grants are available to would-be participants in need. To that end, EquityLife seeks donations to help offset the expense of ELI programs in Galilee for middle- and low-income applicants.
Hone hopes more people will be able to take advantage of the ELI Galilee programs: “Every time we have the opportunity to return, our trips have opened up new insights.”
The 2018 Spring Intensive Explorations program faculty/director is Cal Andreasen, former ASU Institute of Religion teacher. Andreasen will be accompanied by his wife, Alice.
To learn more about ELI’s programs, visit http://www.equitylifeinstitute.org or call 844-866-8448, extension 5. Email [email protected] to receive ELI’s news and announcements.
Story by Merry Gordon, The Arizona Beehive