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NEW!!! Click here to write your own testimonial!

Dearest Friends - Our trips with Heavenly International Tours have been a living experience in the Word. Both our children (who where baptized in the Jordan) are living and serving people as Jesus did. In our home, with their friends, at Bible camps, in our church, and in their schools of high school and now college. They both glow when they tell their friends about going to Israel. I can not think of a better way or finances more well spent in giving them the very best foundation of faith for all of eternity. They also tell of their memories even still of the places and the Biblical references. Make the trip.

I thoroughly enjoyed my recent trip to Israel with Pastor Don & Jan.  There are many groups that “visit” Israel.  However, if you with to “experience” Israel, I recommend you pray about going with these folks and Heavenly International Tours.

Winnebago, IL

Our trip to the Holy Land with Pastor Don and Jan was incredible.  What a thrill it was to walk where Jesus walked.  We will be able to study Scripture with a greater understanding.  All the accommodations were excellent and our safety was never an issue.

Mike & Laura
Clinton, WI

Dear Elisha and Merle,

Thank you for everything you did for our Israel tour and putting together such a wonderful trip. Kurt and I had an amazing time. We enjoyed the tour of the Kibbutz and felt honored when Elisha shared his song with the group. We are very thankful that God gave us the means to go on this trip.

Yours in Christ,
Kelly & Kurt Kramer


Thank you so much for all your hard work in putting this tour together. Words cannot express how grateful we are. The tour was amazing, life changing and beyond our expectations!! We cna hardly wait to travel again.

Thank you for your gift to us in Jerusalem, we love your prayer shawl! Your are so kind and generous... Thank you!!

God Bless,
Clark and Linda Branscombe
Eagles' Nest Church

Elisha & Merle,

We want to thank you once again for providing us with a memorable trip. Let us know when you plan your trip to Greece and Turkey - Letters of St Paul. After experiencing our trip to Israel, we want our next trip to be with yout tour company. It's the best.

We also want to thank you for inviting us into the VIP lounge. We are flattered that you invited us in.

We want to wish you a happy Hanukkah

Beth and Tom


First of all thank you for the beautiful stone necklace and Hebrew ring! I'm wearing them now in Rockford and showing them off to my parents! They've become some of my favorite jewelry and yes I will always remember you because of them!

Second of all thank you for the most memorable trip I've ever taken anywhere! The suites you provided in the Kibbutz were beautiful and Jordan gifts and lunches were so special. The entire tour was filled with wonderful places to see and things to eat, so much so that our people were giddy with delight from start to finish!

Third of all thanks for being a friend! You're a great person with a big heart and an ability to enlarge other peoples' hearts to love your people and your amazing land of Israel! I didn't know I could love it more but I do!

So yes, thanks for brightening my world, my chlidrens', my husband's and my church's with a rich and elightening tour of Israel!

Love and Shalom,

Our family was blessed to join Pastor Don and his wife, Jan, on a trip to Israel last month.  Over the course of a few short days, we came to love them.  Pastor Don’s passion for Jesus shows in all he does.  He makes the Bible come alive in his devotionals, and what a privilege it was to stand on holy ground as we listened to him.  We are especially grateful that he welcomed our 10 year old son, gave him his firsts communion , made him feel  wanted and special.  Our son, like the rest of us, will carry this trip with him the rest of his life.

Jan Christianson is an unsung hero.  She’s happy to work in the background and let her husband have the attention, but nothing he does would be possible without her quiet wisdom, support, and faithfulness to God.  We pray that we will be able to join Pastor Don and Jan again on a future trip to the Holy Land.

Peter & Michelle
Brooklyn, MN

Recently my wife and I, along with my family traveled to Israel with a great group of folks and had an absolutely wonderful, meaningful time with Pastor Don and Holy Land Tours.  I can’t say enough good things about our experience.  We saw so much, learned so many things and felt as though we were in safe and caring hands the whole way.  Pastor Don and our wise and very likeable guide, Danny, led us on truly a trip of a lifetime.  I really did not want it to end.  We made our way from Joppa to Galilee to Nazareth to Masada and on to Jerusalem, seeing things and places I have only ever dreamed about.  It profoundly impacted my faith, fed my love of history and is an experience I will carry in my heart and soul the rest of my life.  And the food, all the food – fabulous.

Menasha, WI

The trip was so meaningful and the worship and praise and studies brought the Bible to life in front of our eyes.  Jesus was with us every step of the way and I felt His presence like never before!  The group we had was just a blessing as well.  I met a wonderful group of believers and will pray for their continued growth and testimony as they return back to their schedules.”

Lisa and Chuck
Brown Deer, WI

Hi Elisha,

I wanted to thank you for the wonderful experience that I had with Heavenly Tours in Israel.  This trip was much more than a tour, it was an experience of a life-time!  My mother and I couldn't believe how beautiful Israel was and that includes the people! Our tour guide, Yuval went above and beyond to let us know the historical details of the land as well as current events. He brought enthusiasm, vitality, and humor to our group and we feel blessed to have had him throughout our tour. It was a privilege to have you join us, Elisha. It was so nice to be able to thank you in person for the beautiful hotel rooms, food, and wonderful experiences. You run your tour professionally and with great pride. Just when we didn't think we could be more blessed we got to hear your story and poems.  

We thank God for you and for the tour. I will definitely recommend your tour to anyone looking to go overseas!


I want to say THANK YOU Heavenly Tours for a great trip, for Yuval and Benny, and the experience of a lifetime.  It was awesome.  It brings the Bible alive in a new way for me.  I had the honor of being in Israel and I learned a lot more than I ever imagined. Thank you for a wonderful experience.  I look forward to seeing you again and sharing my thoughts with you. 

God bless, Pastor T.

As we approach Easter, the Biblical readings come to life so much more vividly after having been in Israel with you just over a year ago. Having walked upon the very spots, it all seems so real. Thus, upon further reflection, it still was the trip of a lifetime and you all did a fabulous job in preparing and presenting it. Again, thank you so much!!

Vince & Elyce Moschella


This was my first trip out of the country. I can not even begin to tell you what an awesome adventure this was. I read the Bible and can picture all of the places that we went to as I read. The Bible is more alive now than ever before. I am looking forward to going back again. Our tour guide was phenomenal. His knowledge was incredible. Everything from the hotels, the bus the bus driver, the tour, our flight, our guide was better than first class. We were very well taken care of. I still get excited thinking about this trip. I have spoken to many people and given them your tour information.

I just want to thank you for making this such a memorable experience for me. Your company is top notch. I am hoping Pastor Brooks is gong to be doing another tour with your company, because I am saving up for it.

Thank you so much
Have a very Blessed evening.

Jane Ryan

Dear Elisha,

Ever since I read the book O Jerusalem when I was 19 yrs old, I have yearned to go to Israel. Up until you came to Eagle's Nest Church with Yuval in Nov 2009 and invited us on Pastor Tim's tour, did I ever believe it could be a reality. Pastor Tim even prayed for me, that God would make a way for it to happen. I signed up for the trip and paid my deposit while I was unemployed. I had lost my job of 14 yrs just a few months before your November visit to our Church. It was a big risk for me to commit to going to Israel.

It still seems like a dream to me. And when I look at the pictures from our trip, it helps me to know that I REALLY WENT to ISRAEL!!!! Some people have said to me that it was a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity. I smile at them courteously, and think in my heart, NO WAY! I am going back... so hopefully this trip was the first of many.

It is so hard for me to answer the question "what was your favorite thing", because I LOVED everything. The sky, the rock, the plants, the people, the OLD and NEW, the young military recruits and the old ladies on the city bus, the food, the sounds-- everything. There was not one place, hotel or situation that i did not enjoy. I did need to adjust my expectations. For some reason I forgot that many of the significant places have churches, shrines and memorials. But even those were wonderful and enjoyable. I have been recommending your Tour Company to everyone who asks.

It was a sacrifice for Brian and I to go, but God did help us in many ways with funding. Your life story is beautiful. If you have not included in your book "Straight from the Heart" you need to add it when there is another printing.

Shalom, and God's Peace,
Dawn Whitney


We were on the Israel tour/Mount Calvary, Waukesha/Pastor Papenfuss. Just wanted you to know it was a Trip Of A Life Time!! We were impressed from the beginning to the end on how well organized the tour was. The accommodations were the best. The food was delicious. The sights were unbelievable. The guide was the best that Israel has to offer. We will recommend the trip to anyone who is interested. We are so glad we were on the tour. We had a wonderful trip. Memories will last a life time.

Fred & Ann Laack

March 19, 2011

Elisha & Merle,

Thank you so much for a such a great trip to Isreal with our church. Still adjusting to the time zone changes, but the trip was a life changing trip. It could not have been better planned and you went above an beyond in so many ways. The tour guide Moshe was amazing and our bus driver Adnan was equally amazing, including helping with natural remedies for health problems that worked wonders. Nothing could have been better about our trip and I look forward to going again soon.

Thank you,
Carrie Watkins
New Berlin, WI

I want to personally thank Elisha and Merle for a truly remarkable experience traveling in Israel with their AWESOME company. It was far more than I expected and their attention to detail and safety for us was unparalleled. Their choice of hotels and sits were outstanding and are among the best in the industry of travel & tours. I wish you continued success in your profession and may our LORD provide you with many blessings. THANK YOU!

Roman Tuler

Hi Elisha,

Just wanted to thank you for arranging a really wonderful tour. You were very modest about the accommodations you provided. They were great and the food was wonderful. We loved our guides. Yuval in Israel was a walking encyclopedia! He knew biblical and Israeli history backwards and forwards and was also well versed in world history! Eyad, in Jordan, was warm and entertaining as well as knowledgeable about everything relating to Petra. We enjoyed every minute of the trip and are so glad we went with Heavenly tours!

Kathryn, Glenn and Kate Struck

February 11, 2011

Dear Elisha,

Ever since I read the book O Jerusalem when I was 19 yrs old, I have yearned to go to Israel. Up until you came to Eagle's Nest Church with Yuval in Nov 2009 and invited us on Pastor Tim's tour, did I ever believe it could be a reality. Pastor Tim even prayed for me, that God would make a way for it to happen. I signed up for the trip and paid my deposit while I was unemployed. I had lost my job of 14 yrs just a few months before your November visit to our Church. It was a big risk for me to commit to going to Israel.

It still seems like a dream to me. And when I look at the pictures from our trip, it helps me to know that I REALLY WENT to ISRAEL!!!! Some people have said to me that it was a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity. I smile at them courteously, and think in my heart, NO WAY! I am going back... so hopefully this trip was the first of many.

It is so hard for me to answer the question "what was your favorite thing", because I LOVED everything. The sky, the rock, the plants, the people, the OLD and NEW, the young military recruits and the old ladies on the city bus, the food, the sounds-- everything. There was not one place, hotel or situation that i did not enjoy.

I did need to adjust my expectations. For some reason I forgot that many of the significant places have churches, shrines and memorials. But even those were wonderful and enjoyable.

I have been recommending your Tour Company to everyone who asks.

It was a sacrifice for Brian and I to go, but God did help us in many ways with funding. Your life story is beautiful. If you have not included in your book "Straight from the Heart" you need to add it when there is another printing.

Shalom, and God's Peace,
Dawn Whitney

March 20, 2010

Dear Don & Jan and Elisha & Merle:

We write shortly after the conclusion of "Walk Where Jesus Walked" to sing the praises of this tour. We have led many tours to other countries ourselves. In fact, this was the first tour we have taken where we were simply participants, rather than leaders. From this perspective, we can say conclusively that Heavenly International Tours and its team get the highest possible grade. Don and Jan, you are outstanding tour leaders. The biblical devotionals that you prepared were excellent. Reading the Bible can never be the same after hearing The Word in the actual locations. The pace of the tour was excellent, not too fast or too slow, not too strenuous or too easy. The hotels were great, as was the food. The sites that we visited were perfect; we can't think of anything that anyone seeking a Christian perspective would say you missed. Our in-country tour guide, Danny Levy (and Yuval for that first day substitution), were outstanding. Their knowledge of Christian theology, history, and archaeology in relation to the sites we visited truly added to the experience of being there. Our driver, David Shemtof, navigated us promptly and safely through all kinds of geography. He made sure we missed nothing as we drove. We understand that you will keep this wonderful team together for all future tours and we understand why. Finally, we would like to say that we have never felt safer on any tour. Israeli security sets the standard. We highly recommend your tour to anyone seeking a Christian experience of the Holy Land. This applies regardless of the Christian faith tradition from which one comes. Again, thank you all for a wonderful experience!

Vince & Elyce Moschella

"My Impressions of the 2009 South Africa Tour"

In recent years I had developed a dream to visit South Africa to see the impressive flora and fauna. With the increasing number of animals and plants on the endangered species list, many which will be gone in our lifetime, I felt drawn to see this area. I was pleased when Heavenly Tours was able to put together a custom made tour just for me. Since South Africa is incredibly huge, it was an enormous task to plan a tour enabling me to see and experience as much as possible. Juggling routes and plans for me to visit many areas required various hotel reservations, rental car reservations, and numerous flights within the South Africa.  Following is just a brief description of my many experiences: 

The wildlife at Kruger Park featured the “Big Five” - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and water buffalo, along with giraffes, zebras, hippos, wildebeest, warthogs, kudu, and a semi-infinite number of impala, along with many different kinds of birds.  There is no experience on earth that can compare to seeing wildlife in its natural setting, it was incredible.

The image of Table Mountain at Cape Town will always be imprinted on my mind. I was blessed with fabulous weather and a brilliant guide, David Smith, who led the tour along the coast to many points of interest, such as Cape Point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, and the famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The winding route to Stellenbosch took me through picturesque mountains and rolling vineyards to a leisurely wine tasting. The Eden of the Garden Route scenic drive is a paradise for a lover of nature. Its sweeping seascapes, views at each turn are outrageously photogenic. Cango Caves, ostrich farms, fresh oysters in Knysna ... and much more were included.
Nine days on an extraordinary tour was truly amazing on every level, and has made South Africa one of my favorite places in the world.  Thank you, Heavenly Tours, for making it possible.

The tour was far more than we ever anticipated.  The itinerary was large enough, but the depth of coverage of each location and event was way above and beyond the norm.  I took as many notes as I could, but could not begin to get it all down.  Pastor Don, you have a special gift/talent of uncovering the real meaning and reasons for the events and customs described in the scriptures.  But the way you make application of that knowledge to our lives today is the real key to these tours.  Certainly, not enough can be said about Danny Levy, our guide, and David, our driver.  Danny’s knowledge of Israel, her customs, her history, as well as the scriptures is second to none.  We were touched by so many things there.  We could sense God’s Holy Spirit in everything there; the devotions, the music, the friendships that were built, the things we saw and learned, the times of prayer, and even during the shedding of tears.  Each one of these fit beautifully into a special, once-in-a lifetime mosaic that we will revisit in our hearts often.  I cannot leave out Elisha Ben-Yitzak.  His attention to detail and the execution by others made this tour flow in all the right directions.  I would recommend this tour to anyone and everyone who desires a real understanding of God’s Word and Israel’s central place in our world, it history, and in prophecy. 

Walt and Vergie – Roscoe, Illinois

I could certainly say that safety when traveling in Israel with the Christiansons and their selected Jewish guide and bus driver was NOT an issue.  What is an issue is one’s faith.  It will be challenged, enriched, and empowered.  God’s Word came alive and its truth confirmed as we traveled in Israel with Pastor Don and Jan Christianson.   Every site visit, faith message and “God sighting” demonstrated God’s power and plan are invincible and deserve my complete devotion.   Many, many thanks to you, and Pastor Don and Jan.  This truly has been a most memorable experience beyond description.

Carl and Pat – Mendota, Illinois

No words can adequately express our thanks for Pastor Don and his guidance of our 10 day tour of Israel.  Not only was our journey truly “a trip of a lifetime” but Pastor Don made it a true spiritual experience of a lifetime with his knowledge and love of the Holy Land, the Bible and God.  We highly recommend the Heavenly International Tours “Walk Where Jesus Walked” experience with Pastor Don and his delightful wife, Jan.

Dave and Faye – Oshkosh, Wisconsin

We went with Don and Jan through Heavenly International Tours in March of 2009.  This is by far the most inspirational, informative, educational and fun trip we will ever experience.  Don, Jan, Heavenly Tours, Danny our guide and David our driver, made sure we were safe and that we not only saw where Jesus walked in the land of Israel, but we experienced Israel.  We were baptized in the River Jordan, we renewed our wedding vows in Cana, we swam in the Dead Sea, plus we had many, many more memorable experiences.  We recommend and  encourage everyone to take this trip to hear, see, learn and experience where “Jesus Walked”.

Jon and Carolyn – Rockton, Illinois

We have just concluded a fantastic trip to the Holy Land with Don and Jan Christianson as our spiritual leaders.  Because of the Christianson’s love for the Lord and their experience in leading several groups in years past, no details were overlooked or no anticipated problems left unresolved.  My wife and I felt secure and in touch with the Lord throughout the journey.  This was not a vacation but rather a spiritual adventure with cherished memories and spiritual insights that will be with us for a lifetime.  Thanks Don and Jan and God bless!

Lee and Mary – South Beloit, Illinois


Just a short note to thank Elisha Ben-Yitzhak for a most wonderful tour of Isreal in March.  My wife and I have never experienced a more meaningful and touching time of travel.

Elisha, you have a great staff of people working with you.  They are second to none, and your personal attention to details made the trip very smooth for all of us; even to include the extra hotel night for us so we would not have to put all of our luggage into storage.  Thank you!

My God richly bless you and your family and all that you do in the days ahead.

Love in Christ,

Walt and Vergie

Going to Israel the second time was even better than the first trip we made.  This is one of the most emotional experiences we have ever encountered.  I will and have recommended to everyone I know that if they have a chance to go to Israel they should.  They will come home with feelings of a deeper faith, understanding and closeness they didn't know could exist.  Once you have been there, you want to go back!

Roger and Mary

Dear Elisha and Merle,

Thank you for the MANY ways you expressed your professional and personal courtesies to us on our Israel trip.  The books, the Sea of Galilee rock and meal with you all made the trip a wonderful experience. My mother is telling people it was the greatest trip of her life!  Margie and I both believe the trip was even better than 9 years ago and we loved it then. Thank you for ALL you did to make it so special for us.

You and Merle are special to us.  If you ever need anything, please know you can always count on us to be there for you.  We look forward to seeing how God will lead us to another trip in the days ahead.


Pastor Chip

Here is a travel blog from one of our tour participants
Click on the link below to read it.
Journey back to the beginning of Christianity by touring the Holy Land. by abarnes

For a long time a great fascination of an ancient culture had drawn me to tour Egypt.  How can you come to terms with a people who seemed only to live to prepare to die and who worshiped gods with heads of animals, reptiles and even insects? Never was an impression more wrong.  The reality of life from tomb paintings made 4000 years ago showed a culture with such love of life, they didn’t want it to end.  Although intrigued  by its monuments, my memory of Egypt will be of its people and their way of life. I found Egypt to be a juxtaposition of ancient and modern: a camel jockey with a cell phone; Cairo’s heavy traffic slowed by donkey carts.

The tour by Elisha and Merle of Heavenly International Tours proved to be expertly planned.  The hotel rooms and the cabin on the Sonesta Nile Goddess were excellent. The planning with the Egyptian "Travel Plus" tour company made the connections to all the sight seeing locations flawless. Soha, our guide, displayed great knowledge and patience with my many questions on the history and culture of the Egyptian people.  Much more was included in this trip than was listed in the tour itinerary. Unforgettable are the sights of daily life, such as men puffing away on water pipes on the streets of Alexandria, or the timeless Nile River scenery from the deck of our vessel. Words cannot describe the staggering experience of my fingers tracing stone carved hieroglyphics in temples made thousands of years ago.

My trip to Egypt in 2008 brought not just fond vacation memories, but unbelievable experiences that left a powerful personal imprint.  A longtime dream was fulfilled, leaving only the desire to visit Egypt again.


Thank you SO much for the incredible experience your business provided! This tour through Israel was so much beyond our expectations!!!  My husband and I both have traveled quite extensively- but this has to be one of the most amazing trips we have ever been on! We saw and experienced so much! We are grateful for your business, and for the passion you have that allows your clients the most ultimate traveling experiences!

Winona (and Jeff) Hughes, Germantown, WI
Traveled with the Spring Creek Church
May 19 – 28, 2008

Dear Brother Elisha,

Boker Tov!

I must take this opportunity to thank you and Heavenly Tours for all you have done for our recent trip to the Holy Land and Egypt.  It was a wonderful trip.  Although I had been to the Holy Land in 1995, I'm glad I returned because I had forgotten some things, and other sites had changed somewhat.  The tour guide and bus driver were wonderful, the accommodations were great, and the food was wonderful!  We thank these gentlemen particularly for the love and kindness they extended to everyone, particularly the children on the tour. 

Every site was great; yet, there were two places that touched me more spiritually: the baptism in the Jordan River and the Holy Communion Service in the Garden.  The peace in those two places was amazing.  For all the media promotion of discord and death, this tour provided an entirely different experience for me and the other members of the tour.

The tour of Egypt was awesome as well.  Some of us were taken aback by the aggressive Egyptians trying to sell so many things.  Some merchants would not take "No" for an answer.  However, the sites were magnificent.  We all agreed that we needed to take more time in Egypt next time. 

Jan was a great asset to the trip.  We cannot thank her enough for her help and support.  We love her and miss her already. 

Thank you again for everything. 

God bless you richly! 
Pastor/Teacher Cheryl Mayes
Church of God - Amazing Grace Ministries

Dear Elisha and Merle,

Thanks once again for another great trip with your company, this time to Italy. As you both know, this was my third tour with Heavenly Tours. Wow, they seem to just get better and better. I can not begin to explain just how much I appreciate all you do for the people on your tours. To move that many people from one place to another and for it all to work so smoothly is a gift and you make it look so easy. The meals in Italy were five stars, the tour guides five stars and the sites five stars. Do I need to say more? One thing that always makes me sad is when the trips are over. I love all the people that helped to make my trip very special every time I go with you. Thank you so very much.

God Bless,
Bonnie Prince

What a joy and blessing it has been to walk with you two in the footsteps of Jesus these past few days.  I feel like I have been in a time warp with images, experiences and sounds all racing through my mind.

Barbara – Forest City, Iowa

This trip is a fantastic bargain – jam packed with experiences you could never have on your own.  What a privilege to travel with Pastor and Jan.  The study guide materials you are provided in advance were much appreciated.

Harvey – Forest City, Iowa

The “Walk Where Jesus Walked” Holy Land trip is a true journey that will enrich and strengthen your faith.  We highly recommend this journey of faith for everyone.  You will not be disappointed!

Lester and Faye – Rockton, Illinois

What a fantastic trip!  Pastor Don is an excellent pastor/teacher.  We gained many spiritual insights through his teachings at many biblical places.  Don and Jan are wonderful tour leaders as well, and our guide Danny Levy is knowledgeable, experienced and personable.  Scripture came to life for us and will never be the same again whenever we hear it.  As a result of our own experience, we are recommending this trip to many of our friends and family.

Rick and Cindy – Rockford, Illinois

Our trip to Israel was the experience of a lifetime which we will never forget.  It made the Bible come alive!  With the awesome spiritual leadership of Don and Jan Christianson and the knowledge, experience and professionalism of our guide, Danny Levy, it was more than we ever dreamed of.  There is no way to express how much it has deepened our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and increased our appreciation for all He has done for us.  We would recommend this trip to everyone.  We hope to return again in a few years.

Herb and Arva – McPherson, Kansas

For anyone planning a trip to the Holy Land, I highly recommend that they travel with Pastor Don and Jan Christianson.  Their experience, attention to detail and love for the Lord make it a truly inspirational and spiritual journey of faith.

Betty – Rockford, Illinois

Many thanks for a very special journey!  I enjoyed your meditations and music so much!  Because of this time together, I will have a more personal and closer walk with Jesus and the tools to understand more so that I can be more effective in my walk.

Maureen – Rockford, Illinois

Hi Elisha and Merle,

During this Thanksgving season, we would like to thank you for the wonderful trip to Italy. Everybody was friendly and we enjoyed eating and writing with them. Your organization and selection of restaurants and excursions was excellent. It superceded what we had expected.

We are very happy that we went on this tour and are expressing that to all of our friends.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day.

Carl and Kathy Reginfelder

Dear Elisha,

I do want to tell you how much I enjoyed our recent tour.  It did truly exceed my expectations and I appreciate how safe and perhaps overwhelmed I felt the entire time I was in Israel with you all.  My favorite part of the trip was being at Kibbutz Kfar Blum and seeing the battlefields in the Golan Heights that I have read so much about, and as Pastor Daryl suggested, to take off my historical and archeological glasses and think in spiritual terms.  I did try! Next year I'll try harder. 

Obviously I need more trips to Israel and what you are suggesting for May of 2008 does sound as though it would satisfy a problem I had with this one, in that there was no time to reflect on what I had just seen and heard.  No doubt a more disciplined woman could have done that on the bus on route to the next place, but I was always focused on the beautiful scenery outside the window, not wanting to miss a thing! 

I appreciate how knowledgeable was my guide, Yuval Harat, and at least he never lost me. Does this suggest the profit motive trumps brotherly love? Hummmm. And Moshe Malka is such a sweetheart! I love him! Certainly he and Yuval are opposites in personality and application, yet each interesting and contributed so much.

God Bless You, and my best wishes to Merle as well.

Claudia LeFevre-Lowry

Dear Elisha and Merle,

The tour of Israel will always be one of the highlights of my life.  You were absolutely right.  Our guide, Moshe, had to be one of the best. I learned so much.  I am blessed to have been in Israel.  Now I pick up my Bible, read  (I'm reading through starting Genesis this year and just finished Joshua to Ruth) and say to myself, "I know where that is.  I've been there!
Thanks again from a satisfied customer.

Sandy Kemp

Thanks for the unbelievable tour of The Holy Land.  I came back a different person, The Bible reading is much more meaningful, and I had so much fun!!  My husband is WITH JESUS, I had the opportunity to be where Jesus was born, lived, taught, was crucified and resurrected.  How great is that!!

In Christian love, with prayer,
Sylvia Muscavitch

Dear Elisha and Merle,

Priscilla and I surely enjoyed our Israel tour, though it took us a week to recover from jet lag! I enclose a resume’ of what I remember. We will consider another trip, but probably not in ’09. Priscilla is part Gypsy, I think, for she saves her Social Security money and periodically says to me “Let’s go!” We’ve been to Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, Bahamas, Alaska, and 37 of the 48 continental United States. In addition, Ken visited several foreign ports while a US Navy sailor in 1960-’64.

  My early childhood was somewhat like yours, Elisha. I was born and raised in a town of 20 families in New Hampshire. My Dad was a woolen mill worker in the 1940s and 50s. Working to support a wife and 8 children took so much of his time that I saw little of him. Then, when I was age 10, he was laid-off from the mill, which closed, and he became a “handyman” in the area, with his two eldest sons Rodney and Kenny (me) often “pitching in” to help. It was “tough-sledding” from then on. We became poor, but we children didn’t know it, for we had enough. We raised most of our food, and enjoyed games of marbles, baseball, ice skating, etc., so we were plenty busy. Summer Saturdays Rod and I would often walk five miles to town to enjoy Saturday afternoon movie matinee for 25 cents, then collect pop bottles beside the highway to sell at 2 cents each, so we could go again. I’m a Vietnam vet, so I know something about danger.

Thanks for being great hosts!  

Ken Barker

March 15, 2008

Elisha & Merle,

Thanks so much for once again organizing and providing us with another great trip to the Holy Land.  In addition, the Farewell Dinner was fabulous.  Thank you also for encouraging us to choose the Kfar Blum for our stay in Galilee.  It was great and, also, a privilege to see the place in which you grew up.

Our group was thrilled with the trip!  They had no complaints whatsoever.  They were extremely complimentary about everything and said it was "more than they expected".

Thank you again for your hard work on behalf of our group.  It is a pleasure working with you.


Pastor Don & Jan

Hi Elisha,

Shalom from an Israel/Petra traveler from Brown Deer United Methodist Church. We had an awesome trip!!!! It was fantastic and I would love to go back some day. I feel it was more of an overview of the country. I really want to go back and slow down and spend more time taking it all in. I know in a tour group it is necessary to go, go, go. I did like that, but I would like to go again and slow things down. My daughter and I just had the best time. I am so glad that we experienced it together. Petra was wonderful. I am SO glad that you made the arrangements for us to have another night there. It would have been a real disappointment not to have had the full time there. We were able to experience "Petra by Night". It was a walk by candle light through Petra. We had a small concert by Bedouin musicians. Excellent experience. THANK YOU THANK YOU.

I am also so unhappy about the recent violence in Jerusalem. I feel such a close association after only having been there for 12 days. There was not a moment when I felt unsafe or in harms way while I was in Israel. We were treated so kindly and felt so welcome. It is unimaginable that such violence and hatred can exist in such a warm and beautiful place.

Thank you for taking the time to plan such a meaningful and wonderful experience.

Carol Burgoyne

Shalom my friend. Thanks for the memorable time in Italia. I don't know how you do it. So much for the money! The restaurants, the entertainment, the great tour guides, etc. I got much more for the money than I paid. It surpassed what I have expected. I'll never forget you or the people I spent time with in Italia, the great restaurants, food and everything. You are the greatest my friend!

John Edwards

Elisha & Merle,

Corey and I wanted to express our gratitude to Heavenly Tours for a wonderful trip to Italy.  We had such a fabulous time, saw so many things, stayed in fantastic hotels and ate in the nicest restaurants.  Everyone on the tour was so friendly.  It was like we had known them all for years.

Elisha and Merle, the tour leaders, were kind enough to remarry us in a very special, Jewish wedding ceremony.  This truly made our whole trip.  Heavenly Tours did several special things for people traveling with this tour.  Everyone seemed to have such a wonderful time. We will definitely be traveling with Heavenly Tours in the future.  Thank you for such a special second honeymoon!

Dr. and Mrs. Corey Wesner

Hello friends at Heavenly Tours,

It has been a while. Wondering how you are all doing. I have been so supremely blessed on all my trips to Israel & by your professionalism that I just wanted to shout a real big THANK YOU!!!

Rev. Roger Dewar

November 19, 2007

Hi Elisha,

We had a tremendous time in Israel. Danny Levy was great and very patient. The accommodations were wonderful and all went well!  Thank you for all the arrangements. The weather was perfect. Bethlehem was tense, but we are glad we went there. Everyone seemed pleased and satisfied from the tour. Thanks again and God's blessings,

Sonja Hinderlie

Elisha and Merle,

Thank you for the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land with the two of you. It was awesome and very moving. I can't wait to go again. Also Elisha the chance to meet your sister Ruth and your daughter. You are all such beautiful people. Elisha, everything was so well taken care of. You do an awesome job taking care of your travelers. You have a way of personalizing a trip.

God Bless,
Deb Geiger

December 5, 2006

Dear Elisha:


It has been almost a month since we returned form our Israel tour, and we are still basking in the wonderful memories. There were 49 people in our group, and each one has had his life impacted in a profound way.

This was the fifth time that I traveled with a group from Heavenly Tours, and the fourth time being group leader. This trip was the best ever. Once again we enjoyed working with you and all the special touches you added to make the trip unique and menaningful. Your knowledge of the country is unsurpassed. The farewell dinner was delightful and impressive with Raphael Ben Hur from the Department of Tourism bringing greetings and sharing his insights.

With the excellent guides you choose and the Scriptures and other helps you provide, you make it easy to lead a group. I believe any pastor could do so and have a successful trip.

We look forward to traveling with you in the future!

Jerry Brooks

Dear Elisha and Merle,

I want to again thank you for the wonderful experiences you provided March 5 – 14, 2007 tour. Not only did I experience Israel, but I experienced the presence of God and my Mom in Israel. You see, on March 5, 2006 , my Mom passed away.  I never had any interest in going to Israel, but somehow I was lead to the Holy Land on Mom's spiritual life anniversary.  Yes I had some difficult days during the trip, but our Great God renewed my Faith,  by guiding me through the Holy Land with the awesome sights, prayers and new friends we've made.  Pastors Greg and Tim were so supportive.  We were blessed to have 5 pastors on the trip!My friend Dorothy and I have been telling everyone of our experiences and have had several requests for future trips. 

Please give Yuval my regards - he was incredible!  The best tour guide I have ever had. My friend Dorothy and I have been telling everyone of our experiences and have had several requests for future trips. 

God Bless you - Shalom,
Jeanne Bauer

North Shore Congregational Church

April 6, 2007

Dear and good friend Elisha,

You were wonderful at worship last evening!
There were many positive comments made as the people were leaving the meetinghouse. You made a very good impression on everyone and they appreciated all that you said.

May you have wonderful holidays. I will never forget you comparing Passover to our celebration of Thanksgiving which is my favorite holiday!



Thanks so much for the amazing tour... You and Merle are great hosts and gracious people. I will never forget the memories that have been made on this trip and I hope that you will continue to be successful in blessing people with your tours.

Thanks again!
Nathan Miller

March 20, 2007

I wanted to send you a note of appreciation for the well-planned tour to Israel that I was privileged to be a part of this month. Every detail was taken care of for us, and just the fact that the owners of Heavenly Tours International would accompany our group was such a blessing and honor!

One of the highlights of the tour was the time spent at Kfar Blum. What a truly peaceful place! Pastoral is the perfect name for it. Thank you, Elisha for allowing us a glimpse fo your childhood spent there. I think we all fell in love with the man that little boy grew up to be.

Our little group from Litchfield, Illinois will be whole-heartedly promoting your next tour. It truly is one-of-a-kind, and the best of the best!

My God richly bless you both as you contine to introduce many thousands more to the beauty and history and heritage of the Holy Land. It certainly has been of the biggest blessings of my life!

Shalom! ...and much love,
Charlotte Lowe

Yes, we went to the Holy Land with Heavenly Tours in November 2005. Wonderful trip!! We had also gone to Alaska with them and to Turkey right after 9/11/01, of all things!! Elisha & Merle Ben Yitzhak of Heavenly Tours run perfectly and marvelous group tours, and you can't go to The Holy Land without Elisha & Merle!! Elisha was born in a Kibbutz in Israel where we stayed for 3 nights on our tour!!



Dear Merle & Elisha,

Where do I begin to thank you both for a trip of a lifetime to Israel? Paul and I so enjoyed every moment and iw was all so well planned and executed. I have still been writing in my wonderful Holy Land book that you gave us - we share memories daily and I know we will continue to do so. If I forget what we did on a certain day, Paul remembers or visa versa! We loved the Kibbutz experience and our personal long walk along the Jordan River as the sun set; the food was superb as well as the service and I truly love the Spa experience. The highlight was the Sea of Galilee boat trip and the gospel hymns we sang as well as communion in the Garden - actually many highlights! So many to treasure. We are grateful we have seen Israel and walked where our savior walked - it was a privilege! Thank you both for making it so outstanding and special!

Holly and Paul


Dear Merle & Elisha,

Shalom -

What a wonderful time we all had together! Thank you for all of the caring effort you put into making our tour such a success. I want to sincerely thank you for the olive wood carving of the praying hands. It is right in front of me in my office where I will see it every day and remember our time together. It is a beautiful gift.

Until next time,
Sue L.

Dear Merle & Elisha,

Upon looking back on our recent tour that you provided, we are so blessed that we were able to take the trip. The tour was wonderful, and thank you for putting everything together for us. Also, thank you for the birthday cake. That was very special.

May God richly bless you and your business,
Tom & Betty Sabatino (Mama Mia)

Thank you both

For the wonderfully planned journey through Israel. The experience was a great opportunity and was deeply appreciated by me, and I am sure by all on the trip.



Dear Merle & Elisha,

I wanted to express my gratitude for everything you and Heavenly Tours did to make my recent trip to Israel so special. From the earliest pre-meetings and information packets to the arrival back in Milwaukee, everything was seamless, well organized and well managed. Your attention to detail allowed me to focus on the wonder of Israel without ever having to think about the logistics. (As an event marketing professional, not having to focus on the details & logistics made this a true vacation!)

As to the wonder of Israel - it is truly amazing. The mix of history, spirituality, scenery, culture, religion, politics and people make Israel a very unique and special place. Our guide, Yuval, was wonderful! His knowledge and ability to communicate brought all of the unique characteristics of Israel to light and helped me to better understand not only my spiritual roots but also some of the more recent history and turmoil in the country. He also did a great job of coralling our group and always with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. I am very glad that Yuval was our guide!

Once again, thank you very much for all your planning and attention to detail - this was a trip I will never forget and will treasure always.

Ann W. Janikowsky


My Testimonial of the Holy Land Tour
October 30 - November 8, 2006

Not only did I experienced Israel, but experienced the presence of God in Israel. The overwhelming sites and the biblical scenes revived me and renewed my faith.

How could I ever forget His sweet presence warming my heart while I sang praises to my King standing in the boat in the Sea of Galilee? The waters rocked the boat in silent praise and my soul found rest!

How can words describe walking into the waters of the Jordan River?  There, I experienced the most incredible feeling of intimacy with God.  In a moment I felt His touch and His love all at once and I just wanted to love Him back.  The words “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine” became my words.  The moment will be forever part of me…. profound…. sacred.  My beloved took my breath away! 

From this moment on my heart dictated my actions.  The indescribable feeling of wonder, the desire to worship and adore my Lord was not to be denied.  I am so grateful that the next stop provided me with the opportunity to do just that while I sang “How Great is My God”… for all will see how great is my God!  Peace covered and surrounded me like a blanket and I fell to my knees in adoration. 

The sights of Massada recount the magnificence and splendor of nature blended with history, the Dead Sea telling a story of its own….  Yet, nothing compares to the feeling of finally seeing Jerusalem.  My heart burned within me.  Seeing the streets of Jerusalem by night, bursting with the emotions of the Shabbat… people coming and going, families by the hand… children running…. The Wailing Wall surrounded by women of all ages chanting, praying, their bodies rocking back and forth.  I took it all in and I hurt for them and for those lost in the darkness.  As I receded from the Wall, walking backwards in reverence of the moment…, I prayed for peace and I was thankful for receiving the Messiah.

Walking into the Upper Room and feeling God’s power was one and the same.  God’s power and anointing shook my very being.  His Word given to us as we stood there reminded me of promises that will come to pass.  With tears running down my face, my lips spoke His language…just as He had promised… His power and manifestation are evident 2,000 years later.

Bethlehem made me sort of sad.  For in the little place of Bethlehem I smelled religiosity.  I know His humble birth and I am thankful for my heart is truly His manger.  Later, as I stood worshiping in St. Anne’s Church, my name took a new meaning, for according to tradition Ana was Mary’s mother.  Sitting in a rustic bench we sang Halleluyah! And once again my heart busted in gratitude.  As I remained seating there a prayer was born from deep within my heart for my friends and family back home… and I smiled as me and God shared a secret….

Walking the streets of Old Jerusalem, watching the people rushing by their ordinary day, made me part of their history.  Down the Via Dolorosa,  I was in awe as I walked through the city gates where my Lord walked 2,000 years ago.  Just as Psalm 125 says:  “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forever”.  His promise is mine!

Standing up in the Mount of Olives, overlooking the city of Jerusalem, I joined Him as I wept in a cry for mercy for His people.   The magnificent view clouded by my tears, a sob breaking deep within me.

How special and fitting was to end our tour at the Empty Tomb.  I wanted to laugh and dance of joy for the Tomb is empty. This time I had tears of joy and while I sat by myself outside the tomb I sang:  “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.  My God, my Savior has ransomed me.  And like a flood, His mercy reigns, unending love…. Amazing grace….” There I confessed once more my love for Him as I shared communion and remembered all He has done for me.  His sweet voice within my heart promising me a new beginning, He is my place of rest.  In what other way can I thank Him, but to lay my life at His feet in total surrender?

Annie Lopez


Dear Merle & Elisha,

This is the second opportunity we have had to tour with you and the second primo experience. 

The combination of Merle, Elisha, our two pastors, Karl and Sue and the extremely experienced guide, Yuval gave us a wonderful mix of culture, history and religion. Your knowledge, planning and organization skills were evident in how smoothly everything was handled. The Holy Land now has a more profound and special meaning to us.

Thank You for making this special experience possible.

Best Regards,
Linda & Doug Nie


I began looking into going back to the Holy land a year ago. I had made one trip with heavenly tours in 1998. It was perfect than and it was perfect now. I tried and tried to find a touring company that could offer me More for Less. It just was not out there. From start to finish, Elisha took care of everything and if you are like me , you need that.The airline's he works with is the safest in the industry, the tour guide was knowledgeable in Jewish history , Israel history and yet he even knew my Christian history. He was amazeing.The bus was so clean and comfortable. The bus driver never ever made us feel afraid and the places we went were totally safe and comfortable.The food and hotels were out of this world. Fabulous is all I can say about them. I could never get so much on one tour as I did with Elisha and his wife Merle. From the time I got off the plane in Israel until we began our trip back to the states I felt totally Safe,Pampered ,and my every need was taken care of .So please, book with Heavenly Tours, it is not just a travel company, it is a man and a wife who love serving people, giving value for the dollar spent and who will do everything possible to make your dream of going to the Holy Land a Dream come true, just as they have mine, TWICE. Thank you again, Elisha and Merle.

Bonnie Prince
Huntsville, Alabama


Dear Elisha and Merle:

Happy New Year! May God's blessings be yours in abundance in the coming year.

I was thinking about our years together, and realized how many times you have blessed me. So many extras. Like letting me stay in Jerusalem for extra days at the King Solomon (their staff was very kind to me). I have so many happy memories of our times together. Also of Israel. I get homesick for all the precious people I have known there.

I know there are many more examples of your love and consideration, but just wanted to mention a few, and let you both know I love you! Also it has been a blessing to get to know some of your families. I do hope they are all doing well - you too!

Shalom, and blessings,

Mary Bates


Dear Elisha & Merle -

Thank you so very much for planning such a wonderful trip to Greece for Spring Creek Church. We enjoyed every minute of this once-in-lifetime vacation. The special attention you give to all the details was quite evident to the both of us. Hopefully, we'll be able to join you again for some future date. Several people at Northwestern Mutual asked me for your address.

Gerrie & Doug Dunning

Dear Elisha and Merle,

What an absolutely wonderful vacation! It was so nice having everything taken care of for you. We didn't have to worry about a thing. You took care of everything from the wake up calls to the dinner reservations and everything in between. You did an outstanding job. It truly was a vacation. We had a great time. It was unbelievable to visit all the places we've read about in the Bible. We're looking forward to the trip to Israel next year. Thank you again for putting together such an excellent trip.

Gary & Cheryl Schellhaas


Dear Elisha and Merle,

A rather late but nevertheless the same huge thank you for putting together the wonderful trip to the Holy Land this past November. The trip was a dream come true for me and will have a lasting impact on me.

It must have been a tremendous project to put it all together, and everything seemed to happen without glitches.

The most sincere thanks to you both.

Mary Ann Sindilar


Dear Elisha & Merle,

I just want to thank you for the most wonderful tour of Israel and Jerusalem.

I am still relating my experiences to my co-workers and friends who are very interested in knowning what my trip was like.

The events that stand out in my mind include our trip on the Sea of Galilee and the fish lunch; the Mt. of Beatitudes when Michael Dudley read the Beatitudes to us followed by Yuval reading them in Hebrew. Closing my eyes I could imagine it was Jesus speaking. The children's memorial to Uziel was a very moving and touching experience.

Your testimony, Elisha, about your ancestors and the Holocaust touched my heart.

And Merle, your joy in wanting it to be a special party the last day - your efforts were appreciated.

The mini services conducted by Michael & Tim were very special no matter where they were held - including the Garden of Gethsemane.

Yuval was a fantastic guide. His knowledge of the sites and the Bible (Old & New Testmaent) was tremendous as was the fact that he lived in Israel and was a member of the service so that his information was first-hand and authentic.

Our bus driver DaVed was so very friendly & personable. Thank you for persuading him & Yuval for our trip.

Our group was so very cohesive too. That made a great difference.

Thank you for your efforts and planning for making this a very memorable tour of The Holy Land.

God Bless You,
Janet Warner

March 22, 2004

Dear Elisha & Merle:

I was just getting ready to send you an E-Mail when your E-mail arrived. We have been busy getting back to Wisconsin's speed and reminiscing about all of the things we did in Italy just a few short days ago.

Norma and I had a wonderful time, and enjoyed the company of everyone on the tour. They have all seemed to enjoy the itinerary and we didn't hear of any complaints from anyone. Thank you so much for including us in this tour. The 400 photos we took in Italy will no doubt serve as a reminder for this memorable tour.

Take Care,

Jim and Norma Frink.



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