Gerd and I believe in God, and our impression was that an invisible third party walked with us on our hike and helped us not to miss our goal. We have not met this party in a spectacular way; our old Baptist faith is not expectant enough for that. We saw no sudden flash of the presence of Jesus, had no encounter with his disciples or the patriarchs from Abraham to Moses. Once the image of the crown of thorns briefly shone up, in a thorny bush. I photographed it – and the impression was gone.
But, and this is more important, the feeling stayed with us that the trip stood under a lucky star and that someone watched over us and sheltered us. And sometimes he would even subtly flip a switch in the sky when we needed a taxi and - whoosh! - it was already there. Everyone knows the trips where nothing works together, and we all are afraid of that – delayed flights, lost baggage, harassing customs officers and gastrointestinal diseases in times when they are not needed.
On our trip, it was just the opposite. Everything went as if on rails. Now is, as they say, luck with the able, and we were able in the sense that we extensively used all the modern possibilities offered by the Internet. The people we were going to visit, had carefully been detected using various Internet sites, there were e-mails that went back and forth, many phone numbers were stored in the iPhone, so that for example you only had to enter "Ned" to get to Nedal Sawalmeh, our (next to God) main protector and guide and speak with him or send him a text message. And Facebook! Three people were known before on Facebook, 14 more were added over the course of the trip, and especially using this medium was often the easiest way to exchange messages and fix meetings.
But above all floated the American Global Positioning System (GPS). It looks down from heaven, and let his eyes run to and fro the whole earth, just as God is described in 2nd Chronicles 16, 9. In Palestine it always knew where we were, and after being so smart to download a number of trail maps before the trip I was, even without internet connection always in full knowledge where I just was, through GPS. For technically less savvy people: GPS is a network of satellites and is receiving data whether you are online via the Internet or not.
With a little more knowledge I could have even calculated the daily routes and track segments and let them be written into the map. I'll do better next time.
In any case, this trip was an enterprise that gave many occasions to give thanks into the direction of a benevolent sky. Whether up there was God or the satellites of the Global Positioning System to monitor us on our ways may play a minor role. Perhaps even the idea that in God's nature there are features of the GPS does not lead completely into the wrong direction. We thank heavens.