Step into ancient, sacred places—but not just as a tourist. You’ll meet the people who call the Holy Land “home” today, joining them in daily life and ministry. Your team will stay near Bethlehem, working alongside families, local leaders, nonprofits and churches in the West Bank, meeting people with a heart for reconciliation.
Experience the Holy Land and all of its complexities, listening to stories and serving in meaningful ways. We invite you to see the Bible come alive in a new way and discover HOPE in the most unlikely places.
Are you between 21 and 30-years old? Check out our Holy Land IMMERSION program and spend 1-3 months living with host families and serving in Israel and Palestine!
We have the ability to extend most trip lengths for an additional cost of approximately $75 per person/per day. Let us know on your Interest Form if you are interested in doing this!
Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus, a quiet town in the midst of ongoing conflict. Located in the West Bank, it's a short drive from Jerusalem and many important religious sites. The Church of the Nativity was built in 339 A.D. over what is traditionally believed to be the cave or home where Jesus was born. As you walk down Star Street, you'll see old shops and homes where Mary & Joseph would have passed on their journey from Nazareth. Get a view of the Shepherds' Field where the angels appeared to frightened shepherds. Talk with local shop owners who sell wood carvings, fabrics and coffee and if you're lucky enough to visit during Christmas, see the large tree with lights and ornaments in the middle of Manger Square. Palestinian Christians are especially proud to call Bethlehem and the surrounding towns their home, welcoming people from around the world into their community to experience Christ's birth in a new way.
Population: 8 million (Israel) & 4.5 million (Palestine)
Capital: Jerusalem (contested between Palestine and Israel)
Area: 8,019 sq miles. About the size of New Jersey.
Major language: Hebrew & Arabic, although English is widely used
Major religions: Judaism (53%), Islam (45%), & Christianity (2%).
Israel was established in 1948 and its military still occupies the Palestinian Territories, which are comprised of the West Bank & The Gaza Strip. Palestinians live in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and also inside of Israel. Many familiar Biblical cities can be found in Palestine and Israel and the region contains significant religious sites for all 3 majors monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity & Islam.
We hear a lot about Israel and Palestine on the news. We read stories about these ancient places in our Bible. But very few American Christians get the opportunity to experience the Holy Land in a real and personal way. As you step into this complex region, we encourage you to come as a listener, eager to learn and serve.
Trips in the Holy Land are limited to people age 16 years of age and above. If bringing high school students an adult to student ratio of 1:3 is required.
Bethlehem Bible College and The Palestinian Museum of Natural History provide volunteer opportunities for groups. Whether you are working in the greenhouse, pulling weeds in the garden or helping with the latest special project, you'll have the chance to be part of the on-going vision to educate and empower local young people.
Another organization, Tent of Nations, invites international volunteers to hear the story of their family's farm and learn about how they are trying to live at peace with their neighbors. Their motto, "We refuse to be enemies" is a powerful example of pursuing reconciliation and justice in a very complicated region. Team members may have the opportunity to live and work on the farm or assist with special projects, as needed.
Depending on the season, there may also be opportunities to assist families with their olive harvest, working in the fields together and learning more about the people who live in the Holy Land today.
Due to the unique nature of this community, outreach is very relational and may include opportunities such as leading kids club, playing in an Ultimate Frisbee league, visiting disability centers, or participating in youth programs through Bethlehem Study Center.
* Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address authentic needs within the community. We ask that you come with a servant's heart and willingness to adapt to the unique qualities represented in each location. Opportunities can vary significantly from one week to the next. Your team may work at one location or serve at multiple locations each day. Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific activities until your team arrives.
Although the emphasis of this trip is to serve alongside local ministries in Palestine, there will be opportunities to explore Israel--specifically Jerusalem. Go to the top of the Mount of Olives, see the Garden of Gethsemane, enter through Damascus Gate and explore the four quarters of the Old City. You'll see iconic sites such as The Western Wall, Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Via Dolorosa.
Teams may also plan a visit to the Dead Sea. Mar Saba monastery, The Shepherds Field, and Church of the Nativity are all located nearby and easily accessible throughout the week.
Below is a basic schedule for the week, but we approach this with flexibility because our ultimate focus is on relationships.
Each morning, there is time set aside for devotions and quiet time. Experience Mission has devotionals/journals that are available for purchase or teams can supply their own. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage everyone to spend it with God journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold.
Our staff will lead a time of debriefing and a short devotional in the evening (what we call "Evening Gathering") and it is always a great addition to have musical worship. Our programming does not include musical worship as we can't guarantee that our our staff will have this ability. Please let us know if you have anyone who sings or plays guitar on your trip so that we can help to coordinate the musical aspect of worship when able. If teams aren't able to help in the area of music, it may not be a part of the trip.
Your team will be staying in a hotel or guest house near Bethlehem. We will typically divide rooms by gender, although married couples can be accommodated. Most rooms have A/C and wifi is accessible in the lobby. Showers and toilets are private and connected to individual rooms. Linens & towels are provided at the hotel.
Food will be provided by the hotel or guest house where your team is staying, but there will also be several days when you pack a lunch or eat out while sightseeing. EM staff will make all of the necessary arrangements and reservations, as needed. Water is safe to drink in both Israel & Palestine.
Destination Airport: Tel Aviv (TLV)
Roundtrip flights to Tel Aviv can vary based on your departure city in the U.S. Please be prepared to book your group's travel, but Experience Mission can make recommendations for airlines or travel agents, if needed. You will need to arrive before 5pm on the first day of your trip (Friday).
Each team member must carry a valid passport. If you do not have a valid passport, it is of the utmost importance that you apply as soon as possible. The processing time for a Passport can take several weeks once your application has been submitted. An expired Passport is not considered valid.
All team members under the age of 18 must carry a written, notarized letter from their parents giving them parental permission to leave the country. They must carry the original notarized copy of this letter. It cannot be a photo copy of the letter.
1) If the minor is traveling without parents, both parents must sign the letter.
2) If they are traveling with one parent, the parent that is not traveling with them must sign this letter.
3) If their parents are separated or divorced and both parents do not want to sign the same letter, they must have a notarized letter from each parent giving them permission to go.
Experience Mission can provide a sample copy of a permission letter or you can create your own letter that must include the following:
1) The full name of both parents and their formal signatures
2) The full name of the child
3) The full name of the Adult Chaperone serving as the Team Leader
4) The specific traveling dates for each country
5) The destination country
6) The reason for travel to the destination country (example- "youth group function")
7) The Airline itinerary (if applicable)
If you have further questions regarding required travel documents we advise you to contact the US State Department: www.travel.state.gov
Upon arrival to Tel Aviv, all transportation during your mission trip IS INCLUDED.
Emergency Response: Based on the severity of each emergency, EM has a plan for appropriate response.
- If a team member becomes seriously ill, they will be taken to a local doctor to receive appropriate medical attention and medications. If they are a minor, their Team Leader along with our staff will accompany them to the clinic. If needed, their parents will be contacted. Their recovery will be carefully monitored by our staff.
- If there is an accident that requires a doctor, but is not life threatening and does not have the potential to cause permanent damage, Experience Mission staff will locate the Team Leader, contact parents or guardians (providing the injured is a minor) and provide safe but quick transportation to a local clinic.
- In the event that an accident occurs which is life threatening or has the potential for permanent damage, emergency medical care will be secured and arraignments will be made if necessary, to transport the injured person to the United States as quickly as possible providing they are serving in one of our International locations. In our domestic locations, local 911 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted immediately to assist in guidance for an appropriate response.
All medical care is the sole responsibility of the team member. Experience Mission requires every team member to be covered by domestic medical insurance and recommends that team members traveling abroad carry additional international travel insurance to cover any medical needs their domestic medical insurance may not cover.
Immunizations: As with all mission trips, it is essential that volunteers are up to date on all childhood immunizations. Each volunteer must also have a tetanus shot.
For more information about health concerns and recommended immunizations, you can visit the CDC travelers guide to Israel and Palestine. You should consult your local doctor prior to receiving any immunizations.
Mission Trips involve many details, and we know you probably have a few questions about EM mission trips.
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.
All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least six (6) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EMís IMMERSION program.
If you still have questions about this community after reviewing Details & Logistics or you want to take the first step toward bringing your team on an EM mission trip, Fill out a Mission Trip Interest Form and someone from our staff will be in touch with you shortly!
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You must have a group size of at least 2 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 2 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.