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Attorney, son visit Holy Land
Bettis to blog about travels
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Forsyth County News
Phill Bettis’ yearning for historical and spiritual exploration has taken him about 6,500 miles from his Forsyth County home.

Bettis, a county native and local real estate attorney, landed in Israel last week with his son, Spenser, and a group from Shorter College.

The five-week trip is part of his son’s studies.

While there, they will participate in archaeological digs, attend lectures and see as much as they can of the Holy Land.

“I have never been away from home that long, or out of the country, so this is a first for me,” Bettis said.

He has agreed to share his travel experiences with readers in a blog on

In an interview with the FCN before leaving for Israel, Bettis said he was excited about the adventure.

The group will stay three weeks in Nazareth and two weeks in Jerusalem.

Their itinerary includes traveling to various historically and culturally significant locations, such as a stop in Caesarea where Herod the Great built a harbor that could accommodate 300 ships and a Roman theater that seated 3,500 people.

They will also travel to Jericho and view the Mount of Temptation, where Christians believe Jesus spent his 40-day fast.

From Jericho they will go to Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world, believed to mark the site where Jesus was born.

They will see the remains of Herod’s Palace in Masada and the Dead Sea. The itinerary also includes plans to spend an afternoon visiting with residents of an Israeli settlement in the West Bank and a stop at a Palestinian refugee camp for a briefing from a Palestinian official.

Eventually, they will make their way to Mount Zion to visit the site of the Last Supper and Dormition Abbey, which is possibly where Jesus’ mother, Mary, was buried. They also will visit the tomb of King David and St. Peter’s Church.

While in Jerusalem the group will walk to Mount Moriah and later visit the Wailing Wall. They will also walk through the bazaar to the Holy Sepulchre Church, built over the site of Jesus’ execution, burial and resurrection.

Bettis said he feels drawn to Jerusalem.

“I almost feel like there’s a bit of home there and I need to figure out why,” he said. “I think it’s because I’ve heard about it since I could understand, 2 or 3 years old. I just want to see and touch those places.”

Bettis, who teaches Sunday School and occasionally Bible study at his church, said he hopes the trip will take his understanding of his Christian faith “to another level.”

“I love to travel ... this is another dimension to it and I think there are a lot of reasons a lot of doors opened up to go that I didn’t have two or three, or even a year ago,” he said. “You can’t look at it as not being a spiritual journey.”

E-mail Julie Arrington at