Monday, December 25, 2017

The announcement made on December 06, 2017 by Donald Trump - President of the United States of America - to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and his intention to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has caused significant amounts of protests throughout the Middle East.

​  Twins Tours managers have been monitoring the reactions to this announcement on various news sources - International, Arabic, Israeli, and American media outlets.  Twins Tours tour guides - Andre Moubarak and Tony Mubarak - have been guiding tour groups in both Israel and the West Bank every day for the past week.

  We have noticed a discrepancy between the international media's reports and what is actually happening on the ground in Israel and the West Bank.  So far, the demonstrations & protests in the Jerusalem region have only taken place in small pockets of the city, mostly in Muslim neighborhoods.  

These demonstrations have been small in size, dispersed easily & quickly by the Israeli police & Israeli army, and they have not resulted in injuries or violence beyond rock throwing. 
The demonstrations in Bethlehem (West Bank) have been stronger, but only resulted in violence in the area around Rachel's Tomb, and have been decreasing, and things are getting more quite every day.

Hopefully this is helpful 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Rochelle Van Ryn Tour 2017

Dear Twins Tours,

  Dan and I want to thank you for giving our team such an amazing experience. Every detail exceeded any expectations we may have had. We were able to completely immerse ourselves in the trip as we were not in charge of the details you so fantastically arranged. We know there is a lot that goes into providing transportation, accommodations and meals. It takes a lot of people to do that. Also, all of the sites you arranged for us to see was truly remarkable. Especially how many we were able to experience with just our little group of 9. We rarely fought the hoards and it is because you all orchestrated that for us.

  The length of time, locations and variety of the places we stayed were so wonderful. Food p
henomenal. Jaffa was a total bonus surprise. Although the team is still bitter about our big beautiful room, wine and chocolates. We have gotten together several times to download both our time in Jordan with the refugees and Israel. It seems we always end up in an overwhelming sense of gratitude for our Israel from a Palestinian perspective adventure.
We pray the Lord will richly bless all of you. Tony and Andre-you were phenomenal guides. We know you,  but not the others who were involved. So thank you to all of you.

God bless you. Peace in Jerusalem.
Love from Rochelle

Monday, November 6, 2017

Finding Peace amid War

Finding Peace amid War
My first and second years at university, when I was in my late teens, were marred by constant riots and clashes between stone- throwing students and Israeli soldiers. These were the days of
the First Intifada, which lasted nearly seven years until Israel and the Palestinians signed the peace agreement known as the Oslo Accords in 1993. 
During the worst episode, on a day when riots broke out all over the West Bank, Israeli armed forces parked a huge tank outside the main gate and fired tear gas cylinders through the windows into the classrooms of Bethlehem University. Everywhere you turned, people were passed out on the floor or struggling for breath. At one point I had to jump from a high window and run to safety with a friend, who got shot in the leg by a sniper standing on top of a telephone box. We hid until all was quiet and the army, deciding it had made its point, retreated. 

Such violent conflicts were the norm during my studies. I hated university life. I couldn’t see a future, I felt depressed, and I won- dered if any of it was worth the effort. And then one day . . . 

Alive for the First Time
The riots had started again as usual when I entered the university cafeteria and spotted a group of students holding hands and pray- ing. I was shocked. “What are you doing?” I said. “Run away. No one is here.” But they just closed their eyes and continued to pray. 

I decided to leave those crazy people by themselves. They were clearly praying in the wrong circumstances.
Yet day after day, whenever I entered the cafeteria, I saw these same students gathering at the same spot. And the amazing thing was, they were happy. Their eyes were full of joy. I had never seen students like them before. “These people are weird,” I thought. “Chaos and danger are all around, stress is high, exams are tough— and still they are happy.” Their attitude was so different from the anger and depression that was all around me. 

So one day, out of curiosity, I gathered my courage and asked if I could join them. They welcomed me immediately. There were six of them, boys and girls, and the girls were so beautiful. They were from Gaza, they said. That surprised me. Gaza had become the symbol for the First Intifada, and students from Gaza were the most active in the riots. 
“I’ve been watching you for several months now,” I said. “You’re always so happy. What’s the secret?”
One of the girls replied, “We’re Christians.” She had the most beautiful blue eyes; I couldn’t help staring at them. “I am a Chris- tian too,” I said, “but I am never happy like you. If there is some- thing more than what I know, please tell me.” 

“You have to accept the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart, and the Holy Spirit will enter your life. He will change the past and renew your life. You will become a new person, washed in the blood of Jesus.”
“I want that for my life,” I said. 

They called over one of the guys, who just happened to be a neighbor of mine in the Christian Quarter. He took me to an empty room and we sat down. He said, “Repeat these simple words after me: Jesus Christ, I invite you to enter my life. I surrender everything to you. Forgive me for my sins and come and wash me with Your blood. Holy Spirit, I invite You to live inside me.” 

It was the shortest prayer I had ever made, but when I had fin- ished I felt complete peace and love in my soul. I felt so safe and happy! It was the Holy Spirit living inside me, but I did not realize it at the time.
I had to tell my twin brother, Tony. Jesus had changed my life! I was joyful and shining, and he needed to have this too. 

Tony was skeptical. He said I had become a born-again Chris- tian and figured I’d been brainwashed. In the Middle East, Amer- ican churches try to influence traditional Christians to turn from their faith to new religions, even cults. So he refused to talk to me.
But I was so full of joy that I did not care. I joined my new fellow Christians almost every day, hanging out with them. And I asked my neighbor to speak to Tony as he had spoken to me. He did—and my twin brother also became a different person in the Lord Jesus Christ and immediately began to change. 


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Tales From My Life - Blessings at the Bus Stop

Blessing at the Bus Stop 
For the apostle Peter, the miracle coin came out of a fish’s mouth (Matt. 17:24–27). For me, it lay on the sidewalk.
After graduating from high school, I took a job as a waiter at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem. Three months later, observing my drive and work ethic, the management made me a barman. During my six months in this position, I enrolled to study business administration at Bethlehem University.
Often I would finish work as late as 3:00 a.m., go home to the Old City to sleep for a couple of hours, and then wake up and head to Bethlehem for my university lectures. I was sleepy most of the time, but I had to work hard to pay for my education. 

One morning I was completely broke—no money even for fare to ride the special blue bus that took students from the Damascus Gate to Bethlehem. The ticket cost three shekels, just under a dol- lar, but I did not want to request even this small amount from my dad; he was not working, and our family had no money to spare. But I had to get to the university because I had an important exam. 

I left my house and walked through the Christian Quarter toward the bus stop, moved by faith but consumed with worry. I couldn’t miss that exam. As I walked, I kept praying, “Lord, help me!”
The students were getting on the bus as I arrived. It would pull out shortly. I said, “Lord, I do not want to miss my exam!” I was at the point of tears.

And that’s when I saw it—something shiny lying on the ground. I picked it up, cleaned it, and saw that I held a ten-shekel coin!
I was ecstatic! Wiping the tears from my eyes with my dirty hand, I ran to catch the moving bus. Not only could I make it to the university and take my exam, but I could also return to Jerusalem and go to work, and I could even buy a falafel sandwich for three shekels for lunch. Ten shekels was plenty of money for the day. 

Thank you, Lord! 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Tales Ftom My Life - A Shocking Revelation

In the Catholic school of my boyhood, I was taught that the Jews were my enemies and that they had crucified my Jesus. They never told us that Jesus Himself was Jewish. I thought Jesus was Catholic and spoke only Aramaic! Only later did I learn that, although most of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem wanted Jesus killed (multitudes of the Jewish common people loved Him), Pilate also had a central role in Jesus’s death.
One day as I was walking to school, a friend mentioned that Jesus was Jewish. What! I demanded that he say it again. He repeated confidently that Jesus was Jewish.
I almost hit my friend. Surely he had blasphemed! The Jews had crucified Jesus, so there could be no way that Jesus Himself was a Jew. Besides, Jews in general were the enemies of us Palestinians, so how could the Jesus I loved have been Jewish?
Confused, I spent the next week repeatedly asking my teacher, my father, and others the same question: Was Jesus Jewish? Was He? Was Jesus Jewish?
They all answered yes.
So it was that, at age eight, I received my first revelation about Jesus’s identity—and it changed my understanding of my own identity.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

One Friday in Jerusalem

One Friday in Jerusalem is the most refreshing glimpse I have ever had into a Palestinian Maronite Christian’s deep personal experiences and spiritual insights. Having lived in Jerusalem, I appreciate Andre’s accurate and vivid descriptions of the Via Dolorosa, and I was riveted to the book as I walked each step, gleaning valuable insights. Andre neither defends nor undermines the traditional stations of the cross; rather, he shares an insider’s spiritual pilgrimage. His knowledge of his- tory and its importance in understanding Jerusalem’s modern conflicts makes this book a must-read.

Donald L. Brake Sr., PhD, Dean Emeritus, Multnomah Biblical Seminary, and Author of Jesus, A Visual History: The Dramatic Story of the Messiah in the Holy Land.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Via Dolorosa 
A True Story 
by Andre Moubarak  


 Introduction I am Andre Yousef Antone Moubarak, a Palestinian Maronite Arab Christian from the lesser-known Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. I was born on August 17, 1975. I grew up around the holy sites and places of this ancient city. The Via Dolorosa was my playground, and over the years, my life as a “living stone” has become a testimony of the pages of the Bible. I am a tour guide by profession, taking people to holy sites around Israel and along the path Jesus may have taken on His way to Calvary. I have guided many people from all over the world. Almost every group I have had the privilege to lead has advised me to write down the valuable information that I shared with them. This dream has now become a book, a journey to reality, confirmed by the Holy Spirit. On September 11, 2009, while I was praying alone in my Jerusalem apartment, I was immersed in the presence of the Holy Spirit and enjoying the Lord. Suddenly, I felt the Spirit surrounding me strongly and a great measure of peace and love fell upon me. I was experiencing God’s rest, and during that time, a startling thought penetrated deeply into my soul, spirit and mind: “The Stations of the Cross.” That thought developed into a book about my neighborhood—the Via Dolorosa.

This “Way of Grief,” “Way of Sorrows,” or simply “Painful Way”, is a street within the Old City of Jerusalem believed to be the route along which Jesus, carrying His Cross, walked on the way to his crucifixion. I have carried my own cross as part of a despised minority in the Holy Land and the Middle East. We Palestinian Christians are the successors of several Christian heritages in the Middle East.

My ancestors were Maronite Christians—a Lebanese blend of the Eastern Assyriac Church and the Latin Roman Catholic influence, with some French undertones. The Maronite Christians guided the Crusaders when they first entered the Holy Land, and we still protect the western Christians visiting the Middle East, roles that have helped to shape our faith in modern times. Our history dates back to the early church. Our earliest ancestors were the Jewish disciples of Jesus and those Phoenician Gentiles who joined the followers of Christ during and after the 1st century. What makes the Maronites special is that we still pray in the ancient Aramaic language. This means that our prayers are offered to God in the same language that Jesus and His disciples spoke every day (only in the synagogues were the Scriptures (the Tanach) read and prayers said in Hebrew). While the Disciples spoke a Galilean dialect of Aramaic, we speak a Syrian dialect reflecting the origins of the Maronite church in the countryside near Damascus, Syria before it spread to the mountains of Lebanon. The Aramaic language is similar to Hebrew and Arabic. For example, my family name in Aramaic is MEBORAK . In Hebrew it is almost the same: MEVORAKH ך ר ו מ ב, which means blessed. In Arabic, it is MOUBARAK مبارك.

My vision and heart for this book is to take the depression and sadness of the streets of the Via Dolorosa and of the Christians living there and to convert it to hope, victory, and abundance of life. This is the heart of God the Father. This can happen when you arrive in Israel. We can connect your ministry or church to meet with the living stones of Jerusalem. As a sweet-natured young boy, I ran around in the dark, filthy streets and alleyways bisecting the Via Dolorosa. My parents’ home was near the Eighth Station of the Cross, close to the intersection that leads from the Muslim market road to the Christian neighborhood. I used to play hide and seek with my twin brother, Tony, by my parent’s house. I loved the ancient round pillars near the Ethiopian Church, and I especially remember one particular limestone bench that Tony and I would jump on in an effort to climb to the top of the pillars.

Although they were just outside my house, I did not know anything about their history or significance. To me, like to any kid, they were just a pile of old pillars that nobody cared about, that had stood for thousands of years in the same place, abandoned and half-destroyed. But, of course, they were so much part of a special history that only became known to me as I grew up. While we were playing – hide and seek when I was little and then soccer when I as older – I would always meet tourists, and they would always need my help. “Where is the Holy Sepulcher?” they would ask me. “Can you take me to Jaffa Gate? Where is Damascus Gate?” I would guide them and lead them to their destinations. I’ll be honest, though, it was tiring helping them, and the frequent noise and clamor of the many tourists passing by often made it hard to even rest in my own house. Even when I was coming home from school, my services would be required.

I went to a private French Catholic school located just inside New Gate on the northern side of the Old City, and not far from Jaffa Gate on the western side. Many Christian pilgrims enter the Old City through these gates, which both lead to the Holy Sepulcher (Calvary). The school yard was located just inside the Old City walls, so we often saw tourists on the Ramparts Walk, which runs along the top of the walls. As cheeky kids, we were always shouting in broken English “Hi! Where you from? Do you want a tour guide?” When I was in class, the window of my classroom was just two meters from the Ramparts. During my boring math class, I preferred to sit near the window and watch the stream of visitors constantly passing by rather than focusing on my work. Eventually, I realized that the tourists who were all around me, everywhere I looked, where a part of my being. I have come to understand that I did not choose to become a tour guide, guiding chose me and it soon became a way of life, my vocation and destiny; one from which I could not escape. The path of Via Dolorosa, which was developed by the wonderful Catholic tradition into 14 Stations as a way to prayerfully remember what Jesus has done for all of us, speaks of the hard, but very real moments of Jesus’ life as He carried the burden of humanity from condemnation to the Cross.

The Via Dolorosa is a testimony of human brutality, inflicted upon the only sinless man to have ever lived, but it is also about how God’s love conquered and cleared away the darkness, obtaining salvation from the bondage of sin. My own life was saved from the bondage of sin through Jesus Christ, and I have lived this path of redemption from my childhood to this day. My heart’s desire is to help bring peace, reconciliation and hope, through the gospel, to this land of conflict and war. This is the same message Jesus delivered to the Jews living under Roman occupation two thousand years ago, a message that is still fresh and alive today. I wish to present the Via Dolorosa as a real story, one that I live every day in the streets of the Christian Quarter.

It is this story that increases my faith and gives me hope when life is difficult. My committed Christian walk of faith has matured into deeper levels because I have lived and grown up here. I feel deeply connected with Jesus Christ, and I find my faith growing stronger every day. The way of the Cross is so much a part of my identity and life. In a way, I feel that I am living in continuity with Biblical heroes. As a tour guide, I feel that I share nearly the same culture, customs and context as Jesus, with a mindset that sees Jesus differently to the way in which He is viewed by the western world. This is what I teach to the groups I take on tour—to see Jesus as a Jew. He was born as a Jew in Bethlehem, He lived his childhood learning the Torah as any other religious, Jewish child did in Nazareth, He had His ministry as a rabbi in Galilee, He was sacrificed as the Lamb during Passover in Jerusalem, and He will come back as a Jew, the Lion of Judah. The Holy Land is the source, the place of origin, where the events of the Old and New Testament Scriptures took place.

This is why the Old City of Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa, and the land in which I live are so valuable and important to me. Together they have shaped my heart, my identity, and my Faith. For those of us who come from the Middle East, our land and place of birth are important in many ways. We are intrinsically connected and they are very significant to our well-being. This is different from the thinking in most western cultures, where people often travel and migrate from one country to another and the land of their birth has much less value to them. One of the goals in this book is to explain the Bible stories that took place here from a Middle Eastern way of thinking. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the three monotheistic religions originated in ancient Middle East, so to really understand the meanings of the stories that took place here, we need to learn about the way of life as it was, to begin to see it all from an Eastern mindset.

When the culture, customs and context of the Middle East are viewed from the Hebraic traditions rather than western interpretations, the scriptures become alive. Most of the Bible translations we have today came from a western mentality, one heavily influenced by the Greco-Roman theology that has pervaded the church since the early centuries. The western church today is an inheritor of the early church’s anti-Semitic teachings, from Emperor Constantine onwards. As a tour guide, my purpose is to reawaken the 1st century way of thinking, to return to the origins and beginnings of the early church. I believe we have to go back to these Jewish roots to understand our Christian faith. By looking at Scripture from a Middle Eastern point of view, three things will happen to you. First, what you already know will be Confirmed and more details will be added. There will be confirmation of what you already believe took place in Scripture.

Secondly, what you already know will be Clarified and expanded, as yet more details are added to the story, and as a person you will understand the story much more clearly. Thirdly, there will be times when the Middle Eastern point of view Corrects what you thought you knew from Scripture, revealing that your perspective may be biased or incomplete. The Hebraic point of view can challenge those erroneous impressions. When you look at the Bible from this perspective, the result will always serve to add more confidence about Jesus’s dominion and divinity, on earth as in heaven. Where was Jesus born? Where did He grow up and play? Where did He die? Let’s adjust and develop our spiritual eyes and ears to 1st century sight and hearing.

I have much in common with Jesus through the culture, geography, landscape and archeology that we share. After all, the exact locations in which Jesus’ story took place is where I was born, grew up and played. To learn more about Jesus and the Via Dolorosa, we can study the land and also the culture, the customs and the context of that time. By coming here, by visiting the land in person, we gain a deeper understanding. This is my specific theme – it drives every tour and is the foundation stone of my teachings. So let us step together on to the path that Jesus walked. Perhaps you will find, as I did, your own Stations of life and become transformed by Jesus and the Holy Spirit. About Us: Managed and operated by Andre and Marie Moubarak, Twins Tours & Travel specializes in building customized tour packages to the Holy Land, allowing travelers to explore the land where Jesus once walked and to experience the Bible’s living history first hand.

 By retracing the path of the patriarchs and walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we hope that every traveler gains greater insight into the Scriptures and a new understanding of the land where Judaism and Christianity were born. Andre and Marie have over 25 years combined experience in the tourism industry. Married for nine years, their relationship blends the Middle Eastern and the western cultures together. Andre is a licensed tour guide, tour operator, and a gifted Bible teacher. His teachings strengthen the faith of tour participants by offering new revelation into Scripture and causing the stories of the Bible to come alive. As an indigenous Christian from the Old City of Jerusalem, Andre’s passion is to connect visitors with both the ancient and the modern, while focusing on what God is doing today throughout the Holy Land and within the local believing community.

While Andre has guided countless groups, all of whom are special and meaningful, the group with which he connected the most was from the Living Faith Christian Center led by Bishop Raymond W. Johnson, whom he first met and guided in October 2013. The Lord opened the way for Andre to visit Bishop Johnson’s church in Baton Rouge Louisiana two years in a row, which further strengthened his genuine connection with this church. The Living Faith Christian Center visited Israel again in October 2015, and at the conclusion of their tour, Andre was ordained as “Minister of the Gospel” by Bishop W. Johnson. Marie is the Director of Program & Partnership Development. She has a heart to see visitors and pilgrims encounter the land and the people of Israel and Palestine in a meaningful, integrity-filled way. She is skilled at listening to a group’s goals and vision and translating that into a customized tour that will meet and exceed their expectations.

Born in America, Marie first came to Israel as a tourist before returning as a volunteer Tour Co-coordinator at Christ Church Jerusalem, where she met Andre. Through their work, Marie and Andre endeavor to cultivate long-term relationships and partnerships for the Kingdom of Heaven. All groups hosted by Twins Tours contribute to the local communities and churches through different service projects, prayer meetings and leadership development with the Living Stones. Twins Tours & Travel’s extraordinary customer retention rate is a testimony to both Marie and Andre’s expertise, commitment to excellence, customer service, and prayerful care for each tour participant. Next Step. If you are a church leader, pastor, or a lay person and you have on your heart to bring a group to Israel, please connect with us and we will send you an organizer guide to get you started. Marie and I appreciate you so much, and we will be praying for you.

We believe the best for you, and that you will see your dream of visiting the Holy Land come true. We would like to be part of your journey here and to help you at every step.

We would love to hear from you!
Contact us
Skype: twinstours

Twins Tours and Travel Ltd.
Clal Building Jaffa Rd. 97,
Floor C2,
Office #201
P.O. Box 28314 J
erusalem 91283
Tel: +972 25798159
Fax: +972 25798158 Mobile: +972 545231145
USA: +1 512 222 3160

 Check out my YouTube Channel for updates about my project and sample teachings from biblical sites all over the Holy Land. To make a donation towards the editing and publishing costs for My Via Dolorosa, please visit