April 6, 2017
Can you believe it’s already our last day in Israel?! Today’s blog entry is being hijacked by yours truly, the Spicy Redhead. This is a very special blog for me because not only is it the students’ last day in Israel, it is my last day as well. I have had the privilege to be on staff for the last six years and to return to Israel year after year. Today marks the end of an era for me. Writing the final blog felt like a fitting way to say goodbye to the tour guides and bus drivers that have become my friends over the years.
April 5, 2017
It’s not every day that you can travel through secret tunnels, let alone King Hezekiah’s tunnel! The day began with a quick lesson from Rich about David and Bathsheba’s promiscuous occurrence, and the attempted cover-up by David. We learned the importance of being where you’re supposed to be and doing what you’re supposed to do. Immediately, we descended into a tunnel originally dug to access the only fresh water source near Jerusalem as the Israelites were preparing for the Assyrian army to attack. We went into the wet tunnel which, at its deepest, was mid-thigh to waist-high depending on how tall someone would be. The tunnels were about an average of 5’9’ tall and 2’ wide with the water at ankle height for most of the exploration. Voices, screams and songs echoed throughout the tunnel while flashlights would flash, hide and shine again coming around corners as sixty people walked through the tunnel for 500 yards.
April 3, 2017
Caffeinated and full of gluten, we load onto the bus and leave the Sea of Galilee, excited to move onto new adventures. With Jerusalem as the final destination, we make our first stop in the city of Nazareth. It is windy and a bit chilly as we take a small hike to the top of Mount Precipice, overlooking the city of Jesus’ upbringing. Middle Eastern pop music plays from a school below, audible when we aren’t listening to Rich’s teaching on the Jewish tradition of Torah reading, something in which Jesus would have partaken. Hearing about the close Jewish community that Jesus was a part of helps us see the tension between Jesus and the Pharisees that was prevalent in Jesus’ later years.
April 2, 2017
Andrew and Ben here. We just wanted to take a minute and tell you about all the awesome stuff that happened today in Israel. We got to go to a few different sites, hear some incredible teaching, and experience some really cool things.
To start the day off, we all grouped up near the shores of the Sea of Galilee and had our devo time. Kelsey shared some questions that she has been thinking about throughout the course of our time in the holy land so far and then encouraged us to constantly be thinking through questions of our own that we may have and constantly push to improve ourselves.
April 1, 2017
Shabbat Shalom! Michael (Georgia) and Marisa here! Today we traveled to Susita, Bet She’an, Harod Spring, and floated on the Sea of Galilee.
Seeing the size of Susita and Beit She’an helped clarify our understanding of the geographical aspect of the Bible. To be able to imagine everyday life in both the Old and New Testament helped us to realize it was not too different from our own. Ronen, our tour guide, made the imagination aspect a little easier by role playing a Roman citizen who led us around his city showing off all the new innovations such as their bath houses, theatres, and places of worship. Seeing the ruins and hearing Ronen speak to us helped us to realize how easy it could have been for any one of these people we see in the Bible to be sucked into this life of sin and to worship the pagan gods. We like to separate our sin from the sin of the people in the Bible but don’t we do the very same thing? We worship false gods such as music, sports, movies, etc. Of course, these idols take different forms than the pagan gods the Roman citizens worshiped back then, but it is important to remember that sin is sin no matter the manifestation.
March 31, 2017
Shalom!! It’s Kaitlynn x2!!! (Caitlynn Callan/ Kaitlyn Farris). Currently we are writing this sitting next to the Sea of Galilee. Today we started out at Capernaum along the sea of Galilee. All I could keep thinking about was my savior walked along these shores. We learned that was where Jesus called home.
We were able climb Mount Arbel, and oh what a climb it was. We learned about how much war and blood that mountain has seen. From Herod the Great to the Crusaders, it has seen it all. But looking around and seeing how beautiful it was covered in wildflowers. It’s a lot like the gospel. Hurt, pain, and brokenness but in the end covered by beauty. There Rachel taught on pursuing Christ and how we should be climbing mountains for him, and how Jesus specifically set time aside and literally climbed a mountain to have time with the Lord. This was extremely convicting, because we generally don’t do that even when we know we should.
March 29, 2017
Shalom! Shalom! Cass and Court here! Today was a BIG day! Starting off the morning bright and early, we tackled Masada. This is something we have been working towards since September by walking up the Joshua hill, so we were well prepared to “conquer the land!” Masada was a fortress that was perfect for defense. It was used for protection from Roman soldiers and was also the site for a city constructed by Herod. We had watched a movie about Masada earlier in the year so it was surreal to hike it. When we reached the top, I think we all were picturing the movie in our heads as we tried to imagine what Masada would have been like back then. The hike up Masada made the Joshua hill look like nothing.
March 28, 2017
Day one in Israel and it is definitely the start of a grand adventure! We began our day at Yad Hashmona, which means ‘Memorial of the Eight.’ It is a kibbutz built in the region of Kiriath Jearim. In the story recorded in I Samuel 4-7:1-2, we saw how in this place God was forgotten. We learned from Rich Ferreira that it can be just as easy for us to forget about God as it was for the Israelites. You know, way back when… anywho. Rich laid out two points that really stuck out: 1) Just because we mess up does not mean God does not succeed; 2) Don’t forget God!
March 27, 2017
Wow what a long trip but we have finally arrived in Israel. You wouldn’t believe the amazing conversations and adventures we have already experienced. Istanbul was great but we really only had enough time to run through the airport to catch our flight to Israel. A few of us had the opportunity to try some real Turkish delight. While it was tasty we all agreed that the Turkish delight from the story in the “Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” must have been magical for Edmond to turn in his own family for it. Sorry lack of sleep has made this blog a little strange. Anyway we have left the airport and are settling down for the night in our hotel. A shower and a good nights sleep is just what we need as we have a full day tomorrow with a 6 am wake up call. We will do a full blog post tomorrow so keep following our adventure.
March 26, 2017
The time has finally come at last. Today we all met at 3 pm at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX to begin the check in process with Turkish Airlines for our trip to Israel. Everyone is really excited and we can’t wait to begin our study tour through the Holy Land. Once we board our flight at 6 pm we will travel for 13 hours before we land in Istanbul and then transfer to our connecting flight to Tel Aviv Israel.
March 10, 2017
Shalom friends and family
It’s hard to believe that over 7 months of Joshua has already passed and we are closing in on the last months of the program. I think that I can speak for everyone in that we are all really excited about our trip to Israel that is coming up in just a few days. The students have been studying for months and just finished their Israel final last week (click here to download a Israel practice final and see how you do. If you want to save the test you will need to right click on the link and choose save as). I know that all of their hard work and studying will pay off as they will never read the Bible the same way again. My hope is that you will be blessed when you hear the stories of what they have learned and that through the blog you will be able to journey along with us as we walk the land of the Bible. Through the blog we will post daily photos, recorded audio teachings, daily video wrap-ups and a lot more.
March 7, 2017
Our trip to Israel will be here before you know it!
Once we’re on the ground in Israel, we’ll post periodic updates and photos. Check back often or get update notifications using the subscribe options on this page.
We’ll be sharing our travel experiences online with you, our friends and family, to not only bring you along on the journey with us, but to also solicit your ongoing prayer and support. Most of us on this trip have been preparing mentally and spiritually for what will be a life-changing experience in the land. We’re also preparing physically as we train our bodies to handle all the time we’ll spend on our feet walking. So please pray that we would be diligent in our preparations and we would all be ready to learn what God has to teach us!