Day Ten: Via Dolorosa and the Shrine of the Book

April 20, 2016

Today we walked the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Suffering. Essentially we traced the path Jesus took from the Mount of Olives where he was arrested all the way to the place where he was crucified and buried. We had a couple really awesome teachings from Rich and Jeff as we made made our way through the city. However, the thing that left the biggest impression on me came from an off-hand remark from our Israeli guide Ronen at the Church of the Holy Sepluchre. The church is split between three major denominations—Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Roman Catholic—and three “lesser” denominations—Egyptian Copts, Syriacs and Ethiopians—and they don’t always get along.

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Above, Below and Through the Old City

April 19, 2016

Day nine of our ten-day tour of the Holy land! “What did we do today?” you might ask, and let me tell you, it was a crazy full day. Energy is running low as the Joshua students get more and more tired from all the crazy things that we have seen and done during our trip so far. However, that doesn’t stop us from being excited about the things that are ahead and the things that we still have to see here.

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Tunnels, Palaces and Churches

April 18, 2016

What another great day in the Promised Land! Today was our first day in Jerusalem and it was amazing. The day started out with us going to David’s City. It’s been incredible to see throughout this whole trip the thousands of years of history through architecture. Jen gave us an incredible teaching on the story of David and Bathsheba. As she was reading the passage to us it was incredible to see the story come alive before my eyes. Jen brought everything back to the necessity of good community. She touched on how David had no one to call him out on what he was doing until it was too late. It was a great reminder to not hide sin but to bring it to light so that your community and God can work through you.

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Going Up to “the House”

April 17, 2016

Howdy! Emily, Mimi, and Alexa here. Adventure is around every corner here in the Holy Land. It has been so much fun getting a chance to watch our Bible come alive and to hear again all those stories we learned about growing up in Sunday school while actually sitting in those very same spots they happened.

Today we started off the morning by packing our bags back onto our cozy buses. From there we enjoyed the yummy breakfast then went out to a grassy spot overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Jen spoke some really encouraging words into us that I feel like many of us needed.

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From Sea to Shining Sea

April 16, 2016

Shabbat Shalom! Today has been a great day in the land of the bible. It was a slower day than what we’ve had, which was really nice since we’ve all been in need of a little down time.

The morning started out with a beautiful boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. We were blessed with an amazing time of devos while sitting right in the middle of the sea that Jesus walked on. Alyssa, one of our staff, read the story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter stepping out of the boat in bold faith. She challenged us and asked us if we are asking God for bold things as Peter asked Jesus to call him to Himself, and if we are asking for bold things, do we believe Jesus can do it?

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From Galilee to Golan

April 15, 2016

Hello! This blog is brought to you by Matthew Gross, Mikayla Miller, and Emma Tucker. You’re welcome in advance.

Today we started out the day by going to Qatzrim. While we were there we learned about insula, which is a small community that shares with each other. At the end of our tour of the insula we crammed all sixty of us into a small room of a rebuilt Jewish home while we listened and watched as the story of the paralytic from Mark 2 came alive. After that, we split up. Bus 2 (the cooler bus) embarked on a pita making excursion. We started our creations by flattenening out some premade dough, and then tossed them on to a giant metal dish covering a fire. A docent dressed as a first-century woman cooked them and demonstrated what a perfect wife of that time looks like. After making all that deliciousness, we were told that we couldn’t eat it yet and went to a very old synagogue and listened to a talk on simplicity and community . Once we were done with that, both buses met together and ate that tasty bread. It was worth the wait because we were given goat cheese and jelly to put on the bread. It was heavenly!

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Galilee (Day 1)

April 14, 2016

To be able to sit on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the water that Jesus walked on, and write a blog about a day filled with the Bible hard beneath our feet is such a blessing and a privilege. This trip is only on its fourth day and it feels like we’ve been here for weeks. We’re literally in a land where you can’t even build a shopping mall without unearthing an ancient synagogue. Around each corner is another place where God acted, or led His people, or even walked.

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The Rift Valley (with some slight detours)

April 13, 2016

Shalom from a bus on the way from Jericho to Galilee. We have seen quite a bit today: Ein Gedi, Qumran, the Jordan River, and Jericho.

The first place we visited today was Ein Gedi. It is a large oasis with a natural spring, so it has a lot of vegetation, which is rare in the dry desert. Jeff Lilley talked about 1 Samuel 23-24 when David fled from Saul into the wadi of Ein Gedi. Jeff used that story to illustrate the concept of the righteous and the wicked. He explained that it is not simply those who do good and those who do evil, but a righteous man puts himself at a disadvantage for the advantage of others, and a wicked man puts others at a disadvantage for the advantage of himself. I really liked how this was paired with the story about David and Saul at Ein Gedi because it shows David’s righteousness.

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Day Two in the Judah Mountains

April 12, 2016

The hearts of the history nerds rejoiced in excitement over our first stop today: the Jewish monument MASADA! We first hiked the trek of the entire steep incline as a group. We have been training for that hike this whole year by walking the hill to the Joshua building at Hume everyday, and so this hike was a piece of cake! There was so much to see up there. We learned so many things about Masada as we were able to walk through and look at the things we were discussing. We learned the use of the structure during the Herodian period of history as a metropolitan center of big business.

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Day One in the Shephelah!

April 11, 2016

Our first day of touring Israel has gone swimmingly. Now some of these things we once thought of as mere stories, in the form of flannelgraphs and Veggie Tales, feel a little more real.

Today, we started in the memorial of Yad Hashmona just a stone’s throw from the mountain, Kiriath Jearim, where the Ark of the Covenant sat for about 20 years. We then took a tour of a garden comprised of many herbs and fruits—mint, rosemary, lavander, fig, date, olive, grape, etc.—as well as a winepress, olive press, tomb, and a ritual bath, called a mikveh in Hebrew.

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We Made it to Israel

April 10, 2016

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.

טוב לילה

Laila Tov, which means good night in Hebrew

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Leaving on a Jet plane

April 9, 2016

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. It’s going to be a long day as we leave on a Tuesday and arrive Wednesday evening around 8:30 pm Israeli time. We are ready for the adventure of a lifetime, so keep the 70 of us in your prayers and continue to follow us on the blog. We will make sure to do a short update when we arrive so you will know that we made it to Israel safe and sound. To quote Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” So here is to that first step……

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Israel in a few days

April 1, 2016

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. I know that all of their hard work and studying will pay off as they will never read the Bible the same way again.

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Preparing for Israel

March 10, 2016

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!

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