In a world that quickly assigns worth and value based on intelligence or physical ability, Under the Fig Tree Ministries (UTFT), is both delighted and honored to offer a unique journey to the Lands of the Bible which we are calling: The Heart of God Tour. The Heart of God Tour seeks to express God’s generous and loving heart to persons our culture too quickly dismisses (those with moderate intellectual disabilities and or an autism spectrum disorder) and sadly passes by, by providing an awe-inspiring experience of the land of God’s people, Israel. This trip is specifically designed so that every day will be an adventure, new sights, sounds, smells, tastes, experiences with the goal of both blessing the lives of participants and deepening their already rich witness. Enjoy the highlights of our tour!

Our 2019 tour will take place March 14-23, 2019!

Travel provided by GTI Tours.

 
Preparing for your Study Tour

Under the Fig Tree Ministries is delighted and honored to be used of God to offer this once in a lifetime experience. Every day will be an adventure, new sights, sounds, smells, tastes, experiences and demands. Please review carefully our criteria so that all participants will receive maximum benefit and God smiles.

Physical Criteria

  • Individuals must train to the point of being able to climb up and down 4-7 flights of stairs
  • The individual must be able to tolerate temperature up to 115 degrees for one hour. (busses and hotels will be air conditioned)
  • Individuals must be able to endure 9 – 11 hour trans-Atlantic flight.
  • Individuals must be able to have medical issues addressed by buddy (every trip will have either a doctor or registered nurse).
  • Individuals must be medically stable.
  • Individuals should not have food allergies that would be difficult to accommodate in a foreign country, (we are able to accommodate those with gluten free diets).

Intellectual Criteria

  • Individuals may have a mild to moderate level of intellectual disability and/or an autism spectrum disorder.
  • Individuals can demonstrate good receptive language skills.
  • Individuals can understand and internalize the process on this study tour and apply their learning upon return.

Emotional Criteria

  • With preparation, individuals must be able to adjust to significant changes in routine.
  • Individuals must be able to adjust to sensory input change.
  • Individuals must be able to separate from family and home.
  • Individuals must be able to advocate for their own physical and emotional needs.

Spiritual

  • Individuals will have a Christian commitment and be a regular local church attendee.
  • Individuals will have an active prayer life.
  • Individuals will have a level of familiarity with Biblical stories.

A Typical Day

Usually the day begins with a wake up call at 6:00 am, breakfast at 6:30, devotions at 7:00 am and by 7:15 we’re on our way. In order to accomplish what God sets out for us to experience, the majority of our days involve some kind of hiking. We travel to our various sites by bus where our hikes begin. It is at these locations where God’s word is studied in its context through onsite faith lessons. Lunch tends to fall between 2:00-3:00pm and will be served on location. At the end of the day, we will arrive at our hotel in the late evening for a wonderful dinner and welcomed sleep.  

Hiking Boots!

You will need a good, sturdy pair of boots which provide good ankle support. Obtain them well in advance and break them in thoroughly before your departure. Having a high quality, well broken in pair of boots is essential in benefiting the most from this experience.  

Physical Preparations

Without question, the best way to prepare for this trip is to walk and climb stairs as much as possible. You will profit greatly by training long before departure for these physical fitness requirements. The trip will be more meaningful, educational and fun if you prepare in advance for the activity level you will experience. Helpful tips of training:
  • Hiking stairs as much as possible (with your boots) is most beneficial
  • Daily walking/running 1-3 miles
You should consult your physician concerning these requirements and any medications or conditions which may have an impact on your ability to participate fully. Prescription drugs you anticipate using during the trip should be packed with some in your suitcase and some in your carry on. We suggest you bring along a written prescription as well, it can be filled if needed. Please contact your health provider to check your coverage when traveling outside the United States. Traveling to the lands of the Bible requires no immunizations though you’ll want to be sure your tetanus shot is current.  

Clothing & Modesty Kits

Casual dress is recommended such as lightweight pants/shorts and t-shirts (shoulders must be covered at all times – men and women). Dry-wicking material is recommended. A lightweight hat is a must, preferably one that covers the neck and ears. If you prefer to dress up somewhat for dinner, that is certainly appropriate but not necessary. Many times we will eat in our hiking attire. At several sites Modesty Kits are required. A Modesty Kit for women includes either long pants or long skirts or Capri and shirts that cover the shoulder. For men this includes long pants, t-shirts/golf shirts covering the shoulders. Don’t forget to bring a quality pair of sun glasses and sun screen.  

Weather - it will be hot!

The rainy season is November through April. May through October temperatures will be warm and dry ranging from the 90’s up to 115 degrees. Lows are usually in the 60’s.  

Gadgets & Gear

The modern age has its blessings and its curses. With all the great toys out there, it is tempting to want the best, fastest and most sophisticated. I know – I’m one of them. Please think about bringing minimal electronic gear and gadgets (I know this will be hard for some). I am not saying forget the camera and all the rest – I’m just saying be careful. I will ask that NO cell phones (unless used as a camera) or IPods be brought with us during the day. Sometimes people experience an entire trip through their modern gear and not with their God-given five senses. Please don’t miss out. Sorry, no electronic recording of faith lessons.  

First Aid

Bring first-aid supplies, including anti-diarrhea medication, sleeping aids, pain relievers, mole skin, foot powder, alcohol rubs. And anything else you might think appropriate.

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