Final Days

March 9, 2017

Shalom! We miss you all dearly and, ready or not, we are coming home!

As is our custom, we packed this final day to the brim, so much so that I doubt my words will communicate much depth of what the Lord did in these 24 hours. Our day began on the Mount of Olives, ended on the Southern Steps, and found us tracing Jesus’ last moments during the Passion week narrative. It truly was a remarkable experience to gain new perspective on what it would have been like for our Savior to follow his Father’s will unto death.

All I can say is – please ask us about our time here? Ask your student or friend or child what the Lord has shown them during their time in Israel. I imagine each answer will be a little bit different, as we are such a varied bunch. Today brought clarity, however, on a single answer we might corporately respond in truth: For whatever the reason He brought us here, we are all returning being sent.

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By Grace Through Faith

March 8, 2017

Today was our first day to spend in Jerusalem, and all I have to say is wow. What. A. Day. While working at camp during the summer, we always say that the days are long and the weeks are short, and that statement holds very true here in Israel. It’s hard to believe that we have just one full day left before coming home, but nevertheless, it’s true. However, the Lord provided us with an incredible day here in the Holy City, so here are some highlights!

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All My Nothing

March 7, 2017

Six am came early this morning. We packed clothes into our suitcases, food into our bellies, and made our way to the first stop, Nazareth, the hometown of Christ. This small town of around two hundred people, where everyone knows the people in their town, would have seen the fathers work, the mothers do motherly things and their children grow up. They saw Jesus grow up! Yet in Luke 4 they try to stone him, the Son of Man, who just a few verses earlier refused to turn stones to bread. The things that caught my mind here were my mistake.

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Hello from Galilee

March 6, 2017

While the morning began a little stormy, with strong winds, and hazily ominous skies, our day concluded with sunburnt noses, the most refreshing gifted-ice cream bars, and a peaceful sunset on our last night at the Sea of Galilee. We miss you all but are still enjoying our adventures.

We began the morning on a boat that brought us to the middle of the Sea of Galilee. There we learned that our fear informs our faith – and found ourselves country western dancing to George Strait. Because, you can take the people out of Texas – you can’t take the Texas out of the people.

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Our Intentional Father

March 5, 2017

Hey blog world! We live to tell about another day in the beautiful land of Israel. Today we visited the District of Caesarea Philippi, Omrit, and Tel Hazor and it was wonderful!

One thing I love about being in Israel is that it allows me to get to know Jesus in a new way. It’s like when your parents tell you stories of life before you and then finally take you there to see it…their favorite restaurant, the parking lot their friends would hang out in after a game, moments on their front lawn, all that good stuff. Israel feels this way…but with Jesus.

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Shabbat Shalom

March 4, 2017

Thank you so much for your prayer and support to get us here to Israel safe and sound so we may experience this holy land in a way that really makes the text come alive.

To start the day off we headed out for Mount Arbel. From there we made our way down to the city of Magdala. After that we ventured on over to Bethsaida, which is Old Testament Gezer. Finally, to end the day off right, we went to the Jordan River to witness some of our friends get baptized!

As we set out for the day, I had no idea what was in store for us. I knew we hadn’t hiked in a while so I assumed that today was going to be a day for hiking. I was right!

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Colors

March 3, 2017

Hello all the readers out there! We have done another long day in Israel, filled with the normal day-to-day scrambling to find the “porcelain,” to walking in the same places that Jesus walked. Its casual.

Today we started out waking up on the Sea of Galilee, reflecting on the jammed pack 3 days (feels more like years) we have spent in Israel so far. We drove a short distance to Capernaum, up the coast to where Jesus had moved the headquarters of his ministry for a time. We then moved to Qatzrin, a site where we got to learn about the normal day-to-day life of a Jew in the first century, from exploring a house they would have lived in to learning about the synagogue and how they educate the next generation with the Scriptures.

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Hydrate or Die

March 2, 2017

Shalom shalom. We’re doing it people. Our thighs are sore, but our eyes are eager to see what the Lord has in store for us in this land.

Donned in layers of dry-fit clothing, we started our morning on the Dead Sea. After a quick bus ride to Ein Gedi, we followed Matt into the wilderness (again…), where we eventually found ourselves splashing in streams of living water. Our second destination for the day was Qumran, a site made up of 12 caves that once contained the Dead Sea Scrolls. As I type, the land outside the bus window is transforming from barren rock to fields of lush greenery. Unreal.

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Desert Flowers

March 1, 2017

Hello Everyone! It is only day two and we have learned so much. All of us are still riding the excitement of finally being in Israel. Throughout the day I have little moments where I stop and think, “Wow, I really am here!”

Today we started our day off hiking through the wilderness of Zin where we learned about faith and obedience. Afterwards we hopped over to Masada where we hiked to the top, and finally ended our day floating in the Dead Sea.

As we sat overlooking the Zin Desert it began to rain. We ended the Sh’ma with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might, and love your neighbor as yourself,” and my spirit was moved. I knew that this day was for me.

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Israel Day One: Lessons in Faith and Sight

February 28, 2017

Hello, from the Holy Land!

After a full day of long but very smooth travel, last night’s sleep was very much welcomed! We are all bright eyed and bushy tailed, thrilled to finally be in Israel, and have taken enough collective cat naps on the bus to render us capable of much learning to come.

This morning started bright and early with a lesson in sight pictures. Our tour guide, Ronen, walked us through what elements of Hebrew culture might be found consistently in most cities or villages. His help in understanding things like Israeli agriculture, wine presses, threshing floors, and burial sites laid a solid foundation for what we will see in the coming days.

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We’ve Arrived!

February 27, 2017

Just a quick note to let you know that we’ve arrived. By the time you hit the sack tonight in the States, we’ll be getting up to begin our first full day on the ground!

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On our way

February 26, 2017

Shalom friends!
Thanks for tuning in to follow along with our trip to Israel. Today we begin our tour and our 24 hours of travel to get to our hotel in Israel. Here are a few pictures of our travels and we’ll do our best to post something on our social media channels (@pinecoveforge) when we arrive. Stay tuned for more blog posts once we get going!

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Preparing for Israel

January 6, 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!

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