January 12, 2017
As we walked about the ramparts of Zion in silence today, we reflected on our time here and were challenged to pray about how we will be a good steward of this experience. How will we impart and share of this land to our communities and to the next generation?
While walking I thought of how soon many of us will be asked, “How was your trip?” Or “What was the most impactful part of your time in Israel?” And I began to be overwhelmed at thinking of how I would answer either of those questions. How do you put this time in the land into a two minute answer? How do you fully communicate what it feels like to walk and pray and to see the places you have read about for years?
January 11, 2017
It is hard to believe we only have one day left on this amazing trip. I’ve been waiting for the moment of awe where everything in the Bible suddenly clicks and I see God in a totally new way. That hasn’t happened. What has happened over the last week or so is that I have developed a new appreciation for the land, a better sense of the geography of land much of the Biblical text is set in, and a fresh understanding of God’s involvement in human history.
January 10, 2017
This morning I woke up in Jerusalem. For many, this is the primary reason to plan a visit to Israel. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the city be completely modernized? Would it feel ancient? As you might expect, it turned out to be a bit of both. That is, until we reached the entrance to the Temple.
Walking up to the Temple Mount feels like being transported directly into your Bible. You aren’t just reading the Bible. You are seeing it! Wherever you look conjures an image and evokes an emotion. As you approach you think about Jesus entering this same sacred space. Look left and you can see steps that Jesus may have taught on. Keep walking and see where he was accused and tried.
However, one thing really stood out to me about this day. As we toured around we came to a large wall where many Jewish people were praying. This is the Western Wall. I was, of course, familiar with the Western Wall but what I did not know was why they prayed there.
January 9, 2017
Today we moved from the Dead Sea across to Jerusalem. On the way, we stopped at Beit She’An. What an amazing view – seeing Mt. Gilboa and the valley. There were 19 civilizations that built on Beit She’An over time. This area was the location where Saul took his life in battle and his body was brought and put on display at Beit She’An. Beside this Tel is the ruins of Scitopolis. The second largest city of the ancient decapolis. The size and beauty of the architecture is amazing. Politics, entertainment, commerce, education, philosophy all took place here. We moved to Mt. Carmel but, due to rain, we unable to go to the site. We then went to Caesarea. Learned about the ancient city and what Herods vision was to make this a great place of commerce.
January 8, 2017
Shalom friends and family from the shore of the Galilee. Today our fearless leader/tour guide Ronan took us to Golan heights to immerse us into the first century culture and then later on to learn about some modern Israeli history and current Israeli concerns.
We started our day in town called “Qasrin”. Is Qasrin a biblical town? No, but it is a town that very much resembles the what the first century life would be like! We were greeted and welcomed into the town by Rabbi Baboo, who gave us some appropriate garments to be wearing in a first century village. We made our way through the village and experienced what it would be like in a Bet Ahbahd (house of the the pole or an olive pressing room), we got to make some of our own pita Bread, and we learned lessons from a rebuilt first century stone house.
January 7, 2017
This morning, we awoke to gaze out on the Sea of Galilee. Today, we explored the northern bit of its shores, including Mt. Arbel, the Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha (the area where Jesus told Peter to “keep the sheep”), and old Capharnaum. We closed the day with a boat ride on the Sea and a dinner like the meals in Jesus’ time.
January 6, 2017
Today was day three of our trip. We started our day out with a trip to Ein Gedi, a place that is an oasis of fresh water in the middle of the desert. Many people have a picture in their mind of an oasis looking a certain way; being there in reality was very interesting. We have been learning so much about the desert region of Israel during the past few days; and have learned how crucial water is in this dry and barren environment. In addition, we’ve been learning about the different types of water in this region.
January 5, 2017
Today we hiked Masada, rode camels, and floated in the Dead Sea. We traveled from the lowest place on Earth to the height of Herod’s palace and back again.
Israel’s desert – the “Negev” as we’re calling it – felt hot like other deserts, dry like other deserts, and seemed like any other desert in most ways when I first saw it. I did not know that this land is essentially the intersection of three continents, and an area where the three main trading routes of these continents pass through. After learning that, it became clear why King Herod the Great would want a town and palace built on the highest, most defensible mountain along the Dead Sea with the clearest and most breathtaking view around.
January 4, 2017
Whenever I teach my middle schoolers I always say to them, “This is REAL; these people were real, these places are real, and this story is real.” I constantly remind them of that because our Bible can so easily become a fairytale.
I believe that the Bible and the stories in it are real, but that quote that I say to my middle schoolers on Sundays hit me in a whole new way today. This is real.
In the beginning… we started at a garden (see what I did there?). Straight off the bat we got an image of what an ancient town would be like. The ritual bath, the wine press, the olive press, the guard tower, and more. These images made the civilizations of the Bible come to life, I could picture their day-to-day and lifestyle patterns. A great place to start for the trip.
January 3, 2017
Just a quick update to let everyone know that we made it to Israel safe and sound. The Miami, Los Angles and Chicago groups met up in Istanbul caught a flight together to Tel Aviv Israel were we met up at the airport with the group from Dallas. What a long flight with a few delays but as they say, once you board an airliner to the Middle East your trip to the Holy Land begins. Too many stories to tell but let’s just say it was fun to experience so many cultures right from the start as well as drinking a lot of Turkish coffee.
January 2, 2017
We are excited to tell you that all the California crew have arrived at LAX airport and have finished the fun check in process on Turkish Airlines. We are all here, besides our friends flying out of Dallas, Miami and Chicago who will be meeting us in Israel. While our group is not all together we are having fun getting to know the West Coast crew for the first time. While we all might be strangers at this point we have a lot in common as everyone works in some form of vocational ministry. Truly this is going to be a trip of a lifetime and we look forward to seeing how God will use this group of men and women to help shape our time together. Keep following this blog as we will be updating often. Here is to the 12-hour flight ahead of us with a layover in Istanbul and then another two hour flight to the Holy Land.
December 31, 2016
Shalom friends and family,
I can hardly believe that the time has come for this trip to begin. We at Hume Lake and GTI Tours are very excited for the experience these men and women are about to partake in. Within their busy ministry schedules they have spent the last 4 months studying through a 9 lesson GTI curriculum that goes through everything from basic Hebrew to geography of the land as well as Biblical locations and concepts.
December 17, 2016
On January 2-13th of 2017 a group of 53 pastors, teachers, students and spouses (in association with GTI tours and Hume Lake Christian Camps) from different churches and schools throughout the United States will be traveling together on a once in a lifetime study tour of Israel.
We invite you; friends, family, coworkers and church congregations to follow this blog and journey together with us as we open the Bible and ask God to reveal himself to us through the context of the land in which it all took place. Our hope and prayer is that through the investment of this trip these men and women will come home with a deeper passion for God’s word and in return invest that back into you.
We ask that you would please keep us in your prayers as we begin this journey. Once the trip starts on the 2nd we will be updating daily so check in often or subscribe to the e mail feed to see updates on what we are experiencing and learning.