Archive for Travel

Heifer Farm Visit

Saturday October 3rd turned out to be a cold and drizzly day but a hardy group bundled up and grabbed their umbrellas and headed off to Rutland to visit the Heifer Farm to attend the Global Harvest Festival.  We spent the morning learning more about Heifer International and the way that they help impoverished families.  In their Global village we saw how people from other countries live.


Heifer digging potatoes

Justin and Ethan digging potatoes in the rain

Allison, Paige and Lauren making prayer flags

Allison, Paige and Lauren making prayer flags


We met llamas and alpacas, goats and rabbits, cows and sheep and yaks!  The children were able to participate in various hands on activities at each country’s site to help them learn about the culture.

Hannah and Ethan help with the apple press

Hannah and Ethan help with the apple press

We were then able to see and help make apple cider with a hand crank press!  For some of us the best part was the delicious warm cider that they had for us to sample; it was a real treat since we were pretty cold by then!

We ate our bag lunches in the community room of the barn and then finished up our visit watching a team of bareback riders who were giving a demonstration and of course a visit to the gift shop.

Abbie and Emily hamming it up!

Abbie and Emily hamming it up!

We are hoping to head back to the farm for another visit in the late winter when they have a pancake breakfast (or lunch).  We will be able to see the maple syrup being made and hopefully there will be lots of newborn sheep and goats.

The gang

The gang

Holy Land photos

Here is just a taste of some of the places that our Holy Land travelers saw.  The group is planning to have an evening slide show on March 31st so that they can tell us all about their wonderful trip!


Holy Land Pilgrims

After several flight cancellations and reschedulings, our group of Holy Land pilgrims, Pastor Aida, Cyndy, Dawn and Lois, boarded a plane late Wednesday evening.

We received a message from them on Friday letting us know that they had arrived in Israel and were already having a wonderful time.  Cyndy’s message is as follows:

“We have arrived in Israel….my message sent from Istanbul did not go through, sorry…

Enjoyed our day today…went to the Sea of Galilee for the boat ride with a worship service in Galilee.

The Jesus boatWe went to see the ancient boat!  The Jesus boat….over two thousand years old…

Moved on to Mount of Beatitudes before lunch.Mount of Beatitudes

From there we went to Tabgha…for the Church of Multiplication…loaves and fishes…where Jesus fed the Peter's Primacy5,000…and Church of the Primacy where Jesus had breakfast with the disciples…

Talk soon…moving on to Bethlehem tomorrow!”





February 2nd update:

The travelers report that they have been baptized in the Jordan river, have gone to see Herod’s tomb and spent time in Jerusalem. Cyndy commented on the many stray cats they saw in Jerusalem.  No one keeps a cat as a pet but they all feed the strays as the take care of the mouse and snake population.  They are tired buy having a wonderful trip.

Lois Jordan River copy

Lois being baptized in the Jordan River

Cats in Jerusalem copy

Some of the many stray cats in Jerusalem











February 4th update:

On their last day in Israel the pilgrims enjoyed lunch overlooking Jerusalem, a Palestinian dish, maqluba, an upside down chicken and rice dinner.

Dinner with friends

Dinner with friends


Lois sent the following message:

“Today is our last day in Israel. It is so sad to say good bye. I have laughed till I danced, but I have cried until I could find no tears left. One steady, I will never have the faith I had before…that would be impossible. This experience humbles faith until you realize there is a deeper space within, and on some levels, you never knew faith could bore a deeper space in you soul. 
But within the intensity, there was the let your hair down time…like swimming in the Dead Sea and the wonderful picnic we had today in a small area overlooking Jerusalem.” 


Julie and Rick’s Mission in Liberia

Julie and I at the Ball

We are so excited that our own Julie Jonassen and Rick Rabe will be traveling to Liberia this month with a team of UMass Medical School faculty.  They will be helping to install a computer system at the University of Liberia that will be used for the training of desperately needed doctors.  Julie and Rick will also be making contact with a United Methodist church in Liberia and bring them our greetings and a prayer quilt that was made as a gift for them.

Please take a few minutes to read the press release from UMass Medical School that gives some interesting information about the trip and what Julie and Rick will be doing.

Holy Land Trip 2015

Come join Hope United Methodist Church in their second spiritual journey to the Holy Land leaving in January, 2015.  Pastor Aida and Cyndy Hardaker are the hosts for this wonderful pilgrimage.  We will have the opportunity to experience the land that we have been learning about in our Bible studies, Sunday School classes and Worship.  Come, change your life with this spiritual journey to the birth place of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and renew your baptism at the Jordan River.  We will have the unique opportunity to experience the Holy Land in preparation for Lent.  From the Holy Land, we would like to invite you to travel with us to Cairo and The Route of the Exodus, a 4 day extension.


Pastor Aida and Cyndy

If you have any interest in this trip, Pastor Aida and Cyndy invite you to attend an orientation meeting at the church on Tuesday, May 27th at 7:00 p.m.

The brochure for the trip can be viewed here.  Holy Land Trip 2015

The Cross in Barre, MA


On Saturday, April 12th, a few of us took a ride to The Cross in Barre.   This is such a peaceful and uplifting place.  Soon after arriving we made our way to the Lord’s table that is fashioned out of a large rock.  There, we 04celebrated communion, read scripture and sang together.  What a wonderful way to center ourselves and begin the spiritual journey of Holy Week.

After Mr Harty, The Cross’ creator showed us some video clips about the how and why of this special place, we spent some time wandering the grounds in awe of what Mr. Harty and his “helpers” have made there.  Knowing that it has all been created for the glory of God, many have been willing to donate materials and their time for the construction and upkeep of the site.  If you have not been there, we urge 10you to take some time to make the trip.  It will draw you in and bring you a sense of peace.

This was originally going to be a motorcycle ride for missions but it became evident that it was too early in the season for that.  We hope to reschedule that ride for this summer.  In the meantime, if you have the opportunity to go, The Cross can be found at 33 Harty Road, Barre, MA, a pleasant, 45 minute drive through the country from Belchertown.