Gethsemane was Wednesday night. After that, we had just a few days left to finish in Jerusalem. Just to add to the challenge-level, we discovered that the streets would be blocked Thursday night Friday because of an international bike race on Friday. We laid our plans carefully – all the scenes with significant driving would have to be done on Thursday, so we could film the rest on foot. However, just to make things more complicated, Thursday afternoon, all the news helicopters started practicing their aerial photography flights. Recording audio was suddenly impossible, and we were leaving the city on Sabbath morning.

Resourceful Aran found an olive orchard far away from the racetrack in Ein Karem, which was supposedly the place where John the Baptist was born. Here, we filmed Carl talking among the Olive Trees and even though it wasn’t actually Gethsemane, it looked just as nice. Some of the Olive trees in Ein Karem were the oldest ones we saw on our trip, and had to be supported with stone walls built inside their giant hollow trunks. They looked incredibly cool on camera.

Friday morning, race day, dawned with eerie silence – most of the traffic was stopped in anticipation of the event. Gary, Oswaldo, and I hiked out to an open road to meet the others in the van, and we drove to Gethsemane for a few last early-morning scenes before the city woke up. We wanted these scenes to be shot in the shade, and so, as we filmed, we moved across the valley, the sunrise line chasing us after every shot. We finished our last scene in the nick of time by holding up a reflector to shade Carl from the first rays of approaching light as he finished.

After that, “just in time” became the theme of our day. We dodged helicopter noise, and an angry merchant who didn’t like our subject material, we walked miles and miles to find the right places and, over and over, we got what we needed just in time.

Finally, as our long final day in Jerusalem ended, we filmed our very last scene in the dark, holding up our light wands to illuminate the stone wall behind Carl as he shared the story of Jesus, in Jerusalem. Gary who'd kept track said we had walked ten miles in that one day, loaded with our equipment. Aran told us that, at least when it came to the second temple sites, we all had walked old Jerusalem so much that we could have given a tour. It felt like a special accomplishment to know the old city that well.

Somehow, with the help of many miracles, we’d finished our Jerusalem scenes. We were caught up at last, and starting fresh on our Sabbath trip to Galilee. Sabbath morning, after a much-needed full night of sleep, we crowded in to the car, beaming with excitement over what had just happened. We’d caught up – we were going to make it. Grabbing my phone I pointed it back over my shoulder at the van, crowded with the luggage and people and snapped my favorite photo from the trip. The entire crew with enormous smiles on our faces. Celebrating the moment. We were caught up, we were going to Galilee, we were ready for anything. And for us, the story was just getting started.

Love always,

-Rachel

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