The older I get the more I realise that the Lord does indeed move in mysterious ways. Marion and I celebrated our Golden Wedding in 2020 at the beginning of lockdown. Our Golden Wedding plans were put on hold, part of those plans was to have a holiday in the Shetland Islands.

The Shetland Islands are an archipelago of about 100 islands of which less than 20 are inhabited. They are situated 130 miles north of the Scottish mainland at the most northern extremity of the United Kingdom. The total population of the islands is around 23,000.

Our holiday was delayed until 2022 and on that holiday we wanted to get as much from it as possible and prayed about the holiday before we went and also prayed about the guide that we hired for two days of our trip. We met our Shetland guide, a lovely lady called Kitty Corbett. Within ten minutes of our meeting she said, “Are you guys Christians?”. Of course we said “Yes!”. Kitty replied, “So am I, born again and praying for revival.”

We had a wonderful two days with Kitty and were shown the amazing sites of Shetland. Of course during those two days the subject of Israel was discussed and Kitty expressed an interest in visiting the land. I promised to let her know when we were next leading a tour and subsequently did just that. 

Marion and I have led many tours to Israel and usually there is a slow and steady stream of people booking throughout the year leading up to the tour. You can imagine our surprise when in no time at all 19 folk from Shetland had booked for the tour. This was coupled with an unprecedented demand from England, not forgetting Julie and David from Wales! So much so that we had to close the bookings in March and the tour is only scheduled for November.

To appreciate the commitment from the folk in Shetland you have to understand the journey from Shetland to Luton Airport. For most it will be two planes, for those who take their car it will be a minimum of a 12 hour ferry crossing followed by a 500 mile drive.

We realised how big a commitment this is for the Shetland people. We try and meet the people who are coming on the tour in advance and decided we needed to get to Shetland. 

We drove from our home the 330 miles to Aberdeen and caught the Northlink ferry for a 14 and a half hour crossing to Lerwick. We were treated so very well and hosted generously by Dr David and Priscilla Malcolm in their home in Scalloway.

During our brief trip we met most of the people who are coming and enjoyed a supper on the Isle of Burra at the Baptist Church hall where we shared a little about the tour. Marion and I have decided that this is going to be the last Israel Tour that we lead and it seems that this will be a good way to finish what has been a wonderful time in our lives.”

The group outside the Baptist Church hall on the Isle of Burra

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Mike Kerry

Article by Mike Kerry ICEJ UK Director & ICEJ UK (Charity) Trustee. Mike is a former police superintendent and has been part of the Family Church at Billinge for more than 40 years. After he retired from Merseyside Police in 2001 he led the church for several years before stepping aside in 2013. Mike has been involved with ICEJ UK since 2007 and was instrumental in the establishment of the ICEJ UK (Charity) in 2020. He and his wife Marion have taken several groups to the Feast of Tabernacles and lead regular biblical tours of Israel. Mike and Marion have been married for 52 years and have three children, 8 grandchildren and 2 foster grandchildren.