February 26, 2016
Now that we’ve returned from our study tour you’ll hopefully be able to talk to one of us in person about what we saw, heard, learned, and experienced!
Below is a wrap up video that serves as a nice summary of the trip and a reminder of all that we did.
February 24, 2016
We spent our final day of the trip in the beautiful city of Jerusalem. It was a full day, starting at the Garden of Gethseteme to the Mount of Olives, singing in St. Anne’s, the Pool of Bethesda, church of the Holy Sephulcur, communion at the Garden Tomb, exploring the Old City, walking the ramparts of David’s Tower, and finishing off at the Israel museum.
These past 10 days have been a life changing experience and will forever alter the way we read our bibles. But this trip has also opened our eyes to the tension that Israel lives in on a daily basis between the Jews and the Palestinians. Our prayer is that there will one day be peace throughout this land that we have grown to love so dearly.
February 23, 2016
We are finally in Jerusalem! As we are in the final stages of our trip, it was amazing to get to explore the old city. We began today by going into the Lower City, also known as the City of David. It was fascinating to hear about the story of David from small shepherd boy, all the way through his anointment as king. Although David is frequently referred to as “the man after God’s own heart” he had plenty of downfalls himself. Throughout our trip, Brad and our tour guide Ronan have frequently emphasized the idea of eyes as the gateway to sin. We often “hear” God, but “see” the things we desire and covet. Brad emphasized today that the issues of the flesh are not something that happen overnight.
February 22, 2016
Today we woke up on the Sea of Galilee and packed up our bags to head towards Jerusalem! Our first site of the day was Nazareth. We went to the top of the hill [in the midst of a heavy rainstorm] and read the story of Luke 4.
After Nazareth we headed for Megiddo… It was such an amazing moment to look out across the plains from the top of the Tell and know that one day Armageddon would begin right there. While most of our sites have been about looking at the past and learning about history, this site was more about looking at what is to come in the future when our King returns!
February 21, 2016
We had an unforgettable day. Started at Beth She’an, later known as Scythopolis, followed by Tel Jezreel and the spring at Harod. There have been multiple moments when I have been overwhelmed by my unworthiness, yet reminded of His grace. Mike reminded us at Harod that God chooses the nobodies for his glory, “let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” We then made our way to the Galilee and boarded a boat. Minutes into our ride, a storm hit. We were given a perfect picture of waves swamping the boat. We read Matthew 8 and 14 before the storm was too much for Chuck to teach through. And then we danced. God simply tells us to come. Abide. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Felt like we were dancing in celebration of what God has done for us. The evening ended with 6 baptisms in the Galilee. Got the privilege of hearing 6 amazing testimonies. Then got the privilege to pray with my mom and watch her accept the Lord as her savior. So surreal. I have been praying for my mom for years and of course was hoping she would have her moment on this trip. To see her pray with Brad was unbelievable. To Him be the glory!!!
February 20, 2016
Today was another opportunity to experience insightful teaching and put many more Biblical stories into historic context. From the compromised lives that led to all sorts of truly twisted living at Dan and Caesarea Philippi to learning about family life in “insula”, the structure of family and community in Jesus’ day, these places bring new pictures, many pictures, into our minds. We have been challenged to not only understand the lives of those we read about but to examine our own lives also. Where are the areas of compromise in our lives and what might that, however small, lead to in the future? How are you living and interacting with your family and community and what is the impact?
February 19, 2016
This trip has been absolutely incredible so far. After enjoying Residency so much, especially Old Testament, seeing the places we talked about makes everything different. Today, we hiked Mt. Arbel as well as checked out Chorazin, Capernaum, Mt. of Beatitudes, and Taghbar. But hiking Arbel was definitely my favorite. Every hike has been a highlight for me, not only do to the fun I have during the hike but the reward of finishing the hike and seeing the point of the site makes everything worth it. Arbel is the tallest mountain around the Galilee, about 900 feet in elevation, and for that reason remains the only standing piece of land and rock that would logically be the mountain when Jesus talked about escaping to the mountainside. We took time to pray up there, to have a moment of silence to ask God what he wanted to show us in our lives that needs working on. Taking time to do that was refreshing, and made me immediately refer back to the small waterfall at Ein Gedi, which has thus far been my favorite part of the trip. Is my life refreshing like those living waters? When I am with someone, do they feel energized and refreshed by my interaction with them like Jesus would have been refreshed and rejuvenated by his time away? Questions like these have helped me grow and process, and so I latch onto things like that when we are studying those.
February 18, 2016
Today’s sites were fascinating historical sites set in the times of the patriarchs. We left our lovely resort at the Dead Sea and set out to the ancient fortress of Masada. Some of our intrepid climbed the Snake Path up the mountain while most of us rode the gondola [sweet!] up to this fortified city overlooking the Dead Sea. There we learned about King Herod’s background, how he came to power and expanded the Masada fortress, which was a key location on the trade road of the day. The Jewish Zealot group eventually took the fortress, but fell to the Romans after a long siege. There was a distinct contrast in the opulence and show of power that Herod so desired and treasured to the attitudes of the Jews. As our guide Ronen said today, the Jews have a word …”Dianu” (sp?), which means …Just Enough. The Jews still embrace the concept of just enough today. I had to ponder as an American, what is just enough? Is God just enough?
February 17, 2016
Our morning began with a beautiful view of the Dead Sea. We arrived to this area last night so we were not able to get a good view until today. We hopped on the bus in the morning and traveled to the Wilderness of Zin. On the way, our tour guide, Ronen, showed us the different types of deserts. One of the types is tzeeya (like ‘see ya’, that’s my attempt to spell it). We saw this in the Wilderness of Zin and this type is one in which a water source can be found within a day’s journey (considered to be 22-26 miles).
February 16, 2016
Hello from The Dead Sea! Our first full day was busy to say the least. We are all well…some a bit bruised but not beaten! We have made our way through the Coastal plains and the Shephelah valley all the way to the south, in the Negev. One of my most memorable and challenging moments was hearing Rabbi Bell teach about the “standing stones” or pillars in Gezer put there by the Canaanites.
July 2, 2015
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!