Friday, March 30, 2012

Serials and Scenario's Walk the Land ...

My thoughts:

I love biographies and meaty accounts of lesson-filled journeys. I am also fascinated with cultural differences and physical challenge accounts.

That said, the journey taken by the Pex’s is a fascinating idea, miles and miles of hiking through the heart and sometimes, soul, of Israel.  The trek through all sorts of obstacles that made them physically stronger makes for a rich source of information and ideas. And Pex shared some fascinating bits of history and cultural richness throughout her account. There was spiritual application and ideas to contemplate as well.

However, I may have misunderstood Pex’s sense of humor or personality. She’d begin to share details about the rugged terrain and the physical challenges, but then lapse into sharing about her physical discomfort, or frustration about her husband’s more laid back style of hiking. Encounters with others on the trail were snippets of random conversations as they very likely happened.  Her lessons jotted in her journal that she shared within her chapters were very basic, symplistic lessons that she learned on the trail, about life, about herself.

I think this book might be valuable to someone who is considering taking on a journey along these lines. There wasn’t a blow by blow of what they did to prepare completely, but many details are covered as are details about the trail itself. Those who love insider’s insights about different countries and a taste of culture may enjoy this book as well. Literary biography lovers would find themselves frustrated. Those looking for heavy Biblical truths may also be disappointed. However, this could be a nice companion piece/reference if studying ancient Israel, the life of David, Moses or the Life of Christ, Paul or Peter and their missionary journeys.  

NOTE: If you have a Kindle you can get a free down load through April 2nd. 

Book Description:

Come with John and Judy Pex as they hike the 600-mile Israel National Trail from the Egyptian to the Lebanese borders. During 42 days of trekking through spectacular scenery, Arab towns and villages, past Jewish, Muslim, Druze, and Christian holy sites, they discover: + Sights seldom seen by tourists + Physical challenges and spiritual tests + Cultural encounters and historical insights + Lessons about peace, faith, and endurance. This book will appeal to: 1) Students of the Bible 2) Middle-agers who want vigorous role models and new challenges 3) Christian believers seeking creative ways to test and share their faith 4) Young adults pursuing the great hiking trails of the world 5) Readers interested in Israel. Illustrated with (color) photos of scenes and people from the Trail.

Ordering Info :

176 pages

Price: $14.99

Available through and other online retailers, or through bookstores anywhere.

The Amazon Kindle version is FREE March 29 - April 2 here .

Review Quotes:

"I wholeheartedly recommend this book for its glimpses of the people, history, and beauty of the land, and for the author's spiritual insights." - Jeremiah Greenberg, The Messianic Times, Jan/Feb 2008

"For thirty years I have had the incredible experience of traveling the land given to Israel by God -- from Dan to Beersheba to Eilat. However, 'walking the land' with my friends Judy and John [by reading this book] has brought a whole new dimension and depth to my understanding of Israel and its people. I know you'll be enriched spiritually through Judy's story of the insights given her by her God on this journey of a lifetime." - Kay Arthur, Precept Ministries International

About the Author:

In their fifties, Judith and John Pex, who run a hostel in Israel, felt the need for renewal and decided to walk the 600-mile Israel National Trail. In WALK THE LAND, Judith shares what they discovered about God, themselves, and the history and people of Israel, and how their love for the land opened doors to share their faith in Yeshuah (Jesus).

Author Photo:

Author Video:

Interview with Judith Galblum Pex:

You have traveled much of the world. What are your favorite cities/places to visit?

Usually the latest place I've been becomes my favorite, though I prefer the more remote locations over large cities. One incredible experience was going with Galit, who is like an adopted daughter for us, back to the village in Gondar, Ethiopia where she was born. She had left there with her mother twenty years previously as a young girl and walked to Sudan from where they were air-lifted to Israel with Operation Moses.

For people who have not yet read your book: What drew you to Israel?

I was traveling around the world, searching for a purpose in life. After hitchhiking alone through Europe for a year, my goal was to reach India, where I thought I would find a guru. I decided to stop in Israel on the way. I'm Jewish and have relatives here, so I thought it would be a comfortable place to rest before the big trip East. I never dreamed that Israel would become my home.

What were the biggest challenges and rewards in raising four children in Israel?

Our oldest son was born our first year in this country, and I had no family and no fellowship of believers in Eilat. I think that raising children in a different culture than the one you grew up in is always a challenge. But, on the other hand, raising children anywhere isn't easy. All four of our children served in the Israeli Defense Forces which also presented challenges. I am thankful to have raised them in an international, multi-cultural environment. They feel very Israeli, but have three passports and are citizens of the world. The best part is seeing them develop into independent adults whom I enjoy being with.

How did you and John get started running a hostel?

There are several reasons. Both of us had traveled a lot and felt that we understood what kind of place backpackers were looking for. At the time, no such hostel existed in Eilat. When we started the Shelter we had three children and couldn't travel as we used to, so a hostel enabled us to keep meeting people without leaving home. Furthermore, we have always opened up our home to guests and we really needed a hostel just to accomodate all the folks who were staying with us!

Did you know you wanted to write a book about your journey on the Israel Trail before you hiked it, or was it a decision you made afterward?

Before we walked the Israel Trail I had started a book about our experience in running the Shelter Hostel. So writing a book was on my mind. I thought that our journey on the Trail would be a good subject for a book, so I kept a diary of our walk for that purpose.

You find many parallels between your walk on the Shvil Israel (the Israel Trail) and your spiritual walk.

I love maps and when I'm hiking I enjoy checking the map often. That way, even if I get off the path, I can't stray too far. I make sure I read my Bible every day also to keep me on the right path for my life. Another lesson I thought of is that sometimes on a hike we come to a crossroads and have to make a decision about which way to go. Once we've chosen a particular trail, I try to be satisfied and appreciate it. Even if it isn't what I'd thought, I can always enjoy and learn something from it.

Which languages do you speak?

Besides English, I speak Hebrew and Dutch (John is from Holland), fluently, and some French, which I studied in school.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

I have many favorites, but there's one special chapter -- Isaiah 53. In verse 6 is the key: "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." It is amazing how clearly Isaiah speaks about the Messiah here, 700 years before Yeshua, Jesus, was born. Many Israelis, when they read this chapter for the first time, think they are reading a portion of the New Testament.

What would readers be surprised to know about you?

When people meet me today they are often surprised to hear I was a hippy/traveler and that I lived for three years in Alaska in an Eskimo village above the Arctic Circle.