Testimonies from Maranatha Tours Passengers
My husband and I recently joined a group visiting the Holyland with Maranatha Tours. The entire trip, from the time we stepped onto the airplane to returning seven days later was expertly organized. I must say we had reservations upon learning that our Transatlantic flight would on a Turkish airline. We needn’t have been concerned as the airline’s staff was very friendly and accommodating, the comfy seats provided ample room, and the cusine was more than one would expect. In fact, Turkish Air had received the award for the best food fare on any international airline for the past five years. Each meal was appetizingly plated (or should I say, trayed?), delicious, over-abundant, and accompanied by a selection of beverages that complemented them.
The hotels in which we stayed in Tiberias and Jerusalem, Israel, were finely appointed, roomy and comfortable, affording us fine respite from our busily intense days of touring. The buffet meals awaiting us at breakfast and dinner were bountiful and delicious with a wide variety of choices. Local grown produce was fresh and especially enjoyed.
A boat ride on the Sea of Galilee was a great choice for our first day. After a long, grueling day of air travel, it was relaxing and inspiring to think this was where Jesus calmed the storm. Visiting the Mount of the Beatitudes, Capernaum and Beit Shean were but some of the exciting places we saw this first day. It was soul-renching to be able to renew our baptismal vows in the Jordan River. Everything was nicely organized by the company at this venue, making our rededication meaningful.
There were so many special sights and rites too numerous to relate, and I’m sure each person experienced their own certain emotion in whatever was most meaningful to them. Partaking of communion on the hilltop of Mt. Scopis overlooking Jerusalem on our first entrance to the city, observing the site where the Dead Sea scrolls were found, the Mount of Olives, and the Garden of Gethsemane were among them. Perhaps most inspiring and emotional for me was seeing the cave where Jesus was born, walking the Via Dolorosa, and visiting the Garden Tomb. Walking through the rooms of the high priest, Caiphas’s palace, I discovered tears trickling down my cheeks imagining the agony and torture experienced here by Jesus. But the highlight for me was visiting the Garden Tomb where Jesus lay for three days just before His resurrection. Being served communion in the garden there was stirring to my soul and unforgettable.
This tour’s success was due in large part to our extraordinary guide. Malcolm’s biblical knowledge of the history of this area was astronomical. He brought the Bible stories to life in his captivating and descriptive telling of them. His reading of the scripture that accompanied each place we visited gave the tour a surreal effect and one could almost feel he was right there during the days of Jesus. His stories were interspersed with humor keeping all attentive and engaged. Even other guides consider Malcolm “the best” for such a tour. He had planned special “niceties” for the group such as giving each a remembrance of the “widow’s mite”, and his lengthy and complete writing of “A Word About the Holyland” booklet presented to each of us.
I can’t end this review without mentioning what a thrill it was to visit the American Embassy 6 days after its move to Jerusalem. This was not a planned part of the tour, but when all of us expressed an interest in seeing it, Malcolm arranged for it.
Returning home with innumerable, inspiring experiences we will find ourselves taking pause as we frequently think back to having walked where Jesus walked, visiting many of the places where he lived, preached, performed miracles, and finally died on the cross to save all believers.
Thank you, Maranatha, for the unmatchable experience you gave us.
Dale and Marianne Thoen
June 12, 2019
We recently returned home from the tour to Israel. My wife and I took the tour in 2016 to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Best choice ever, even beats out all cruises. We signed up our pastor and his wife to go with another 12 people. We were just going to be coordinating hosts to send our friends on the experience we had already taken. Well, it turns out that we joined them in hopes that they would not only enjoy the trip but renew their views on the biblical history at hand. They were not disappointed.
The trip started off with the flights on Turkish Air. The planes were clean and the food was good. No complaints there. We had the best bus(es) and best and cautious driver(s). The hotel accommodations were great choices and they had wonderful buffets with new choices that most were not used to. We all took advantage of trying new things.
Malcolm Cartier, the supreme guide of Maranatha Tours could not be better. So much detail. At each stop he would read the pertinent scripture and give us a history lesson of each site. The days were filled with much more than one could absorb. Still, without his lessons and knowledge we would be just looking at a site with nothing to compare it with. I can’t go into detail of each day without doing Malcolm’s job. You need to find out yourself. As each day is planned as per the brochure, you can look up each site yourself before going or just discover each day one at a time.
A boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, a cable car ride to Masada, floating in the Dead Sea, visiting the Western Wall, seeing King David’s Tomb, entering the Garden Tomb, walk the Via Dolorosa. Just a smidgen of what is in store for you.
Shay is my go to person who can not be beat on coordinating everything from stepping on the first flight to stepping of the final flight home. She helped me so much in hosting from my home church to signing up the new travelers. Can’t say enough about her as she goes the extra mile register even late comers before the cut-off date. If I get the chance to host a group again someday Shay will always be my go to girl. I can’t forget the extended help from Terri and Nancy who helped get things started and to help fill in the blanks when questions arise from new travelers.
To sum it up, if you’re going to take any Holy Land Tour, Maranatha is the way to go.
David & Sue Corrasa May 2016 & May 2018
“I really gained insight from our your last March. The related scriptures became vivid, and, as our host said, I’ll never see the Bible the same way again!
April 24, 2018
Jennifer and Maranatha tours
We had an absolutely wonderful trip I think the best so far. Weather was great and we missed the flood. Ruby did a great job our people loved her. I wanted to personally thank you and Maranatha tours for the thoughtful gesture of the Olive wood presented by Malcom Cartier. He did a wonderful job and our people loved him. Thanks so much I was surprised and touched by this truly unexpected but very much appreciated gift. I have worked with you for years and have appreciated all you do . Please convey to Greg and Mike how much I appreciate you all. It all started in 1984 when I prayed who should I use to partner in travel with in taking a group to Israel. I got a card in the mail later that week and called and talked to a sweet lady named Ann Reilly who practically held my hand as I had a million questions and she was so kind and patient. Then I once got a group of pastors together and I met Richard Reilly who put a program for pastors that I arranged in Des Moines, Iowa. Then started taking groups. Also about 5 years ago had Greg on the tour with me so I have met Richard, Mike and Greg, It has been an absolute joy. Jennifer I was so glad to meet you in Istanbul when you were bringing in a huge group from Houston Baptist Church on their family tour of Israel. Thanks again and a special thanks to Maranatha Tours. I already have a group booked for next year and looking forward to working with you all.
My verse for all of you is Ruth 2:12
April 30, 2018
“I really gained insight from our your last March. The related scriptures became vivid, and, as our host said, I’ll never see the Bible the same way again!
April 24, 2018
My name is Wendy Moses and I took my first trip to Israel in February with Maranatha Tours. These are my favorite pictures. What an incredible experience! Malcolm was our tour guide and he was amazing! Every day he astounded us with his knowledge of the Scriptures and Israel’s history and we were left thirsting for more. I can honestly say that this was a life-changing trip and I recommend it for everyone. My Bible reading has become incredibly personal and moving as I have a deeper understanding of the passages now. I am planning another trip for 2019 and I couldn’t be more excited!
March 20, 2018
Wendy Moses & Malcolm Cartier
I just watched the Gethsemane video clip and relived my March 2013 experience. I remember the old gnarled olive trees. If they could only speak! My trip to Israel was a life-changing experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I learned so much. I’d do it again as soon as it becomes possible. As I continue to read my Bible I feel the need to revisit and heighten my appreciation for the land where my Lord lived while on earth. The Bible really comes alive after visiting Israel. Just one simple way is to recollect the large shrub covered with yellow flowers produced from the tiny mustard seed. When we crossed the Adam bridge, our host mentioned the Jericho crossing. I had never before noticed the name Adam in the book of Joshua! Now I never miss it! Sailing on the Sea of Galilee was unforgettable. Walking on the Via Dolorosa was a pensive journey and the Empty Tomb brought a feeling of exhilaration. There were so many places that brought my Bible alive – too many to mention. Even as I write memories are flooding my mind. As I said, I would go again.
July 27, 2017
Dear Jennifer, Greg and Shay,
I just want to take a moment and extend my appreciation to you, staff of Maranatha Tours, our tour guide in Israel, Malcom and driver, Mohammed. As exhausted as our group was coming back home to U.S they expressed a great appreciation for what they learned and experienced in Israel. As one of our group members shared with me in his email, “I never imagined we could cover so much of Israel, see and visit so many sites and Holy places, see the archeological sites under Jerusalem and get the background on the region and the history of Judaism. Again it was the “trip of a lifetime” and a blessing.”
Thank you for your professionalism and hard work, making our trip and experience one to remember!
God bless you all!
Pastor Farzad Nourian
June 12, 2017
My friend Duane and I weren’t quite sure what to do for a trip to Israel. We knew that Maranatha had a good name and did a lot of tours so we figured that was the way to go. I was very impressed with the trip we took to Israel a few weeks ago. Everything was done well. Our driver Walied was a great guy and amazing driver. I’d never try to put a bus into places he did. I cannot say enough good things about our tour guide Roman. He did such an excellent job. After coming home and talking with other people who have gone on previous tours I have grown to appreciate Roman even more. His faith and personality and knowledge of the land were all top notch.
May 20, 2017
Jennifer, Shay and Terri,
I want to thanks you so much for planning our Israel tour and putting everything together for me. I know there was a lot of work you had to put in with itinerary changes, people dropping out, and constant tweaks. I appreciate your patience and willingness to serve…I have never worked with an organization/group that has a heart like you guys. I could never thank you enough for what you did. This last trip was by far the best experience I had in Israel, which speaks volumes about your commitment to Maranatha Tours.
CONGRATULATIONS to the best Christian tour company in the USA (& world)! You have blessed me by sponsoring most of my 21 great tours with the best tour Guide, Malcolm. Hundreds of people will carry their experience of “Walking where Jesus and the Prophets walked, taught, lived and died”, throughout the rest of their lives (not to mention Jordan, Egypt, and Greece. You offered me, my family and my groups the opportunity to have God’s word and the Early Church come “alive”. I will always be grateful to Maranatha Tours and the excellent staff which offered me my life’s dreams of travel, especially to the Most Holy Land.
The Rev. Joseph J Gasper,
Tour Coordinator (1980-2010)
I pray every night that God’s blessings will continue with Maranatha, until “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Maranatha Tours 3/6/17
Dear Maranatha Tours,
I would like to Thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime as the Israel tour we just returned from was Excellent in so many ways.
After we signed up and we received our Itinerary, we gathered a group of ladies from our church, split up the sites and did an in depth study through the bible on each one. We came together every 2 weeks for 5 months to complete each location we were to visit. The study included videos from all over, including Joel Kramer, Previous Maranatha tours and much more. We also attended the 4 (missed one due to a change in weather) classes Eric held and two of the evenings with Joel when he was in SLC, and at our churches. We also purchased Jodi Magness’ Great Course series. I believed we were Over Studied and wouldn’t get much out of the trip. Boy, were we wrong. The sites we saw, the history, current events, language, politics, religions, archeology, our Jewish speaker… so much more information we couldn’t have gotten any other way. We were a happy, well informed group.
The Prep work, the 50 day Prayer and study guide we also did, and, seriously, praying for each person and all of our circumstances each day was a blessing, I believe that every day was blessed because of our prayers.
The concern of both Eric and Bill for each of us, at each site, gathering as much information as possible, the concern of the knowledge from our tour guide, Andre and the expert handling of the bus by Azam was beyond all expectations. I have gone on tours like this previously. I have also put tours together for our private travels, our Harley travelers, and many people coming to stay in our home from around the country, and the world. Being seasoned, I understand the behind the scenes work it takes.
The professionalism of each person during the trip, the individual and corporate care was obvious and unlike any other trip I have experienced. Just, WOW.
We thank you for the opportunity to pray, to worship, to do devotionals, to have baptisms, to eat good food, sleep in nice beds and for overall taking care of a large group with love and In His Name.
Sue and Craig Stahle
(The Bridge Community Church)
We just returned from our Mediterranean cruise and Rome pre and post cruise tour. This cruise was originally planned by Bob Anderson from Master’s Tours. The cruise was wonderful. I also want to let you know how much we appreciated our Rome tour guide Simona Polidori. She met us at the Rome (FCO) airport, accompanied us to the hotel, and stayed with us until we boarded ship in Civitavecchia Italy.
When we returned from the cruise, she met us at the port in Civitgavecchia and again stayed with us to the hotel in Rome and to the airport when we departed. She stayed to help us with boarding, especially helpful with those in wheelchairs who needed special assistance. She was absolutely wonderful and in my experience she is the best tour guide I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. I would be happy to recommend her to anyone.
Dean and Rachel King
We want to thank Maranatha Tours for the trip we took in May. It was both exciting and eye opening. We never thought it would, as you say, “See the bible in living color”. The awesomeness of the pyramids and the grandeur of Petra were amazing. But living the bible in Israel was the most exiting of all. So many sights to see that are mentioned in the scriptures brings the truth that Jesus was there and that the Jews own their God given land. Even though Israel has been having their own problems with the so called Palestinians, we were simple safe at every turn and every day of our adventure. The first night in Tiberias had a street celebration with bands, singers, dancers, and even fireworks. It was a tremendous show of unity amongst the people there. Safety was not an issue, just celebrate.
With Malcolm as our guide, one who has guided Christians for 45 years, we were filled with moment by moment of scripture pertaining to where we were standing and a lesson from a Godly man. His knowledge of the bible and interpretation gave us new insight of what we have been reading for years. To actually be there was beyond comprehension. We took over 700 pictures on this trip and I was able to take nearly 10 hours of video which I have put on DVDs. I share them with other Christians so they can get a glimpse of the land of God’s chosen people. Malcolm was gracious to let me record many times of his short sermons as we traversed throughout Israel. This was a special trip as we were early celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.
Though we may not be able to go to Israel again, it is the most memorable trip we have ever taken, even out does all our cruises in so many other parts of the world. My only disappointments are few. I wish the trip was a few days longer and were able to see the holocaust museum and the 9/11 memorial that Israel had built in honor of those who lost their lives during those tragedies. All in all, Maranatha Tours did an excellent job in preparation and execution of our day to day schedule including hotels, meals, busses and drivers with Malcolm keeping all 16 of us glued to his every word.
David & Sue Corrasa May 6 through May 17, 2016
P.S. For those reading this and are thinking about going, either go or you pay for us to take the trip again for you. YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPOINTED, I GUARANTY IT.
Don’t just take our word for it, see what Maranatha Tours Passengers are saying about their experience with the #1 Christian Tour Operator. Below is just a sampling of the what we receive on a daily basis. If you haven’t let Maranatha Tours know how your experience was, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we would love to hear from you!
I was a member of the group of 39 from Robinson/Effingham organized by Jeff Michael.
What a wonderful trip!
The weather was perfect, food different, but good, accommodations nice, and we all traveled as a family that blended well together.
The itinerary was hectic, but so meaningful. My head is spinning with all of the information and experiences given to us by our guide.
There is so much history there that it made us realize how young and fortunate our country really is. To be in the land where Jesus lived and died is a once in a lifetime experience.
The guide’s name was Heidi (I don’t the last name) and the information and experiences she gave us were incredible. She showed no prejudices as she presented the different cultures, religions, and politics, which to me is the sign of a good guide who represents her country well.
She is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was pleased to have a Midwestern American group. It was good to hear her speaking Hebrew when needed. She also speaks German and Italian so guides many different groups. I recommend that Heidi will be a guide that Maranatha Tours continues to use.
Our bus driver was also phenomenal! The traffic in Israel/Palestine is nothing like here. The constant sounds of horns is expected. Our driver managed to get us safely through some very interesting situations.
I just wanted to thank Maranatha Tours for providing such a rewarding experience .I would strongly recommend this trip to anyone
I trust you are doing well, and that you and your loved ones are enjoying this holiday season. I wanted to take a moment to write you and the Maranatha Tours team a note, on behalf of myself and my mother, to say THANK YOU!
Thank you so very much allowing us the incredible privilege of taking this trip to Israel; it was absolutely life changing. There were so many great memories and moments that edified our faith in Christ that it would take me a book to write them all down. Again, thank you.
I also want to say that you have an amazing staff, both states side and in Israel. From the initial contact and trip reservation, to the time we arrived back home. We felt safe, cared for, and always well tended to with incredible excellence and professionalism. I already have, and will continue to recommend Maranatha Tours to anybody who ever wants to take a trip to the Holy Land. And at some point in the future, I look forward to going back with a group of friends so they can also have this amazing experience.
So once again, and from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! May the Lord continue to bless you, your team, and your entire company in multiplied ways!
Edgar Gomez & Esperanza Reilly
Just wanted to send praises and thanks to you. Were your ears burning while we were in Israel? Lots of people on this trip—and I do mean LOTS—were bragging on you, saying how wonderful you were to work with. You are very good at your job, and help many souls enjoy the trip of a lifetime.
Thanks for being who you are, little darling! We feel like we know you. Some day—in the not too distant future—we hope to meet you personally, and give you a hug!
Shelley (and JD)
Shelley J. Quinn
Thanks to all of you for making my trip back to Israel the best one ever. Your many kind deeds like helping me with walking up & down & all around the sights!
I made new travel Saints!
May Jesus bless you daily in you work,
Health & spreading the Gospel around the world in this generation!
Dee, you & our friend from down under kept me walking … Thanks.
Merry Christmas & a Healthy New Year!
Hi Jennifer and Greg,
Just want to take a moment to thank you, Greg and your entire staff for making our Israel trip a beautiful experience. This is my second trip with Maranatha and I have to say that you all have exceeded my expectations compared to other tour companies. Your pleasant communication with me and our group, administrative support and professionalism made this trip one to remember. Our entire time in Israel was not only safe, but impressive with the care we received by our guide, driver and other staff. Please extend my appreciation to Ruby and Samir for making our time memorable, filled with love and meaning for our group. We had 13 baptisms, one marriage proposal on the boat in the Sea of Galilee, many tears of love for simply experiencing Jesus in the Holy Land and people that touched our hearts.
Blessings to you and your Maranatha family for making such a beautiful difference.
I have just returned from a long awaited trip to Israel.. and was delighted that the leader was Dr R. Bryan Widbin. He shared so much knowledge (biblical, archeological and historical) with us from his life long experiences, teachings and devotion to honoring God. Our travels to see important biblical sites were foundational for a deeply moving understanding of how God has provided and lead people over the centuries. This trip expanded my understanding of daily life in Jesus’ time and opened my heart to receive more of God’s love in my own daily life. Dr Widbin gives so much of himself with a clear desire to share his passion for Israel, its people of today and of 2000 years ago. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to travel and learn from Dr Bryan Widbin
We just returned from the subject tour to Israel; without any reservations, we both agree that this visit to Israel was a very worthwhile and rewarding learning experience. The tour schedule, the tour program directors (Eric & Bill), and the two tour guides were all very professional and personable. The addition of Joel Kramer as a lecturer was exceptional. We look forward to going with Maranatha Tours on another tour(s) in the future. Thanks to you and all those personnel that were involved in organizing this tour for us, it will prove to be a once in a lifetime experience for us.
Edward A. Decker
Josephine A. Otero-Decker
Dear Maranatha Tours:
My husband and I just returned last week from our Holy Land Tour with Malcom Cartier.
It was our first trip to the Holy Land and we are happy to report the trip was awesome!
I don’t know when you give out your “gold stars” but I do hope all involved with our trip, receives a bunch.
Thank you for all the extras too. That was very kind.
William & Katherine Murdock
Dave and I just arrived home last night from our extension to London after the Holy Land Trip with Pastor Randy Williams. I just wanted to let you know we had a fabulous time. The people on the trip were amazing and made us feel very welcome. Our tour guide Malcolm Cartier was the best and gave us an A+ educational experience. We saw incredible sights and our open air classroom was the best place to learn about Jesus. Thank you for all your help and answering all my pre-trip questions. You must have the patience of Job. May God Bless You!
Sharon and Dave Kiesel
Hello, Maranatha Tours – I just returned from my 2nd trip to the Holy Land with Global Celebration (led by Georgian & Winnie Banov) arranged through Maranatha Tours & wanted to let you know how happy we were with our wonderful tour guides, Yehuda Zabari & Olga Smoldyreva. Yehuda led our tour last year, and was extremely attentive to all our needs – from tracking down luggage lost by my airline to all the practical needs of 35 people moving from place to place with great understanding of sites & relevant information, as well as inspiring personal testimony and excellent knowledge of the scriptures. This year, as our group was twice the size, we were delighted to experience Olga’s abilities as well – she, too, brings great knowledge of the sites and scriptures as well as kind & professional attentiveness to every detail of the tour. In addition, many of us noticed how well Olga and Yehuda worked together as a team – needless to say, managing a group as large & energetic as ours (72 people, 2 busloads) is no small feat, and these two guides coordinated every detail with great professionalism, ability & personal attention which contributed greatly to our joy in the Holy Land.
I wanted to let you know that, based on my experiences the past two years with Holy Land tours led by Yehuda & Olga, I would recommend them highly to any company or tour group.
Thanks for everything your staff has done to make these wonderful experiences possible for us as well!
Georgina (Gina) White
Jenni, (and Mike)
I am SO tardy in saying, “thank you,” again, for your patience in helping me tag-on to the Jordan-Israel tour with pastors Dan and Gregg and the rest of the great Palmcroft group!! I had a tremendous time and I am just blessed that I could make that trip one more time.
I wanted to also add a couple of things: I think this was my 4th trip to the Holy Land with Maranatha and I have always appreciated the good tour guides that you provided while we were in Israel or Jordan or Egypt, etc. I especially remember Malcolm; and Abed (by the way, I asked at the usual Jericho stop—gift shop and fruit/vegetable market–about Abed and was told that he is seriously ill. I guess at his home in Ramallah (?); Johnny from Nazareth; and a very nice man, a teacher, in Cairo (can’t remember his name). The two we had this time (Jordan, then Israel) were outstanding: Fadi Haddad was low key, but so knowledgeable, courteous, kind—he will remain in my memory. And George Horesh was the best I have ever heard at not only giving information but putting it in historical context. He has a broad perspective that adds so much to each place in Israel that we visited. Outstanding tour guide.
Best wishes for continued blessings for the work you do that spreads good will for all of us.
Testimonies from Maranatha Tours Passengers
Jennie, we are all home safely except the Stutheit’s who remained in Italy for another week. Thank you and your staff for the excellent support in planning and supporting the recent trip to Israel and Rome. Once again, kudos goes to Malcolm. I do not believe any guide could surpass him in skills and knowledge. He was exceptional! One needs a recorder to help remember the wealth of knowledge he shared at each site.
I was glad we added the Herodian to the trip. Malcolm also made it possible to spend time at both the Dead Sea and En Gedi so everybody was pleased. He adjusted the schedule from time to time due to circumstances occurring in the Jerusalem area.
The escort in Rome was also excellent and deserves high praise. Gada went above and beyond the call of duty to serve our group. She even escorted four of our group to the Vatican while the rest of us took advantage of the free half day to enter the Colesium. She was friendly and even shared meals with us in Rome. Everybody loved and appreciated her. Because there was no porterageor guide at the airport in Rome I added that part of the tip to Gada who deserved it.
If ever I take another trip, I would definitely go with Maranatha again and would again request Malcolm. But, my body may not be up to another trip. Already, I believe some of the people who backed out of the trip now have regrets when they have heard about the trip from our members.
Thank you again.
pressing for the mark,