June 13, 2017
Today was so impacting and overwhelming for our group as we literally walked in the footsteps of Jesus! We have grown closer as a community in so many ways over the course of our time spent together exploring Israel and hearing from the Lord! It is now time to head back to our families, churches, and communities, and take what we have learned to the world!
June 12, 2017
Today, we visited many interesting and well-known sites around Jerusalem and Bethlehem. For our first experience this morning, we visited the Temple Mount, on top of Mount Moriah. This was the site of the temple of the God and is now a centerpiece of many world religions. Now it is controlled by Muslims, but was still a neat place to visit and see this morning. We also saw the famous Western Wall, which is an original wall of Herod’s expansion surrounding the Temple Mount and a prominent point of prayer for the Jewish people.
June 11, 2017
Today was a big day and we covered a lot of ground! We said goodbye to the Sea of Galilee and headed to the coastal plains which is the western geographical region in Israel bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
Our first stop was Tel-Megiddo, which is named after a word that means “Hill of the Troops” and by which we commonly get the word Armageddon. We discussed the end judgment by God and the reality of the spiritual battle that we live in today. A prominent example in biblical times of idol worship was baal worship, of which we saw an altar that had been discovered in this location. The enemy uses lies and sin to ruin the things that God has designed, and this couldn’t be more relevant today.
June 10, 2017
Today is Shabbat, or the day of sabbath celebration. Something that we can learn from the culture here is the intentionality of celebrating the sabbath day of rest! We too should make a weekly effort in our lives to set aside time to rest and worship God with our families and community.
This morning’s experience was very eye-opening. We visited Beth She’an and the ruins of the old Roman city of Scythopolis. From history, we find that this place is not far from the culture that we live in even today. This was a beautifully structured place with magnificent ruins dating back even to the first century! The streets at that time would have been filled with entertainment, education, shopping, sports, worship of other gods, and a self-centered way of life.
June 9, 2017
We are over the halfway point of our time here in Israel. The days are long and full of incredible experiences, but the week feels like it has flown by! Thank you all for continuing to think about us and pray for our group this week.
We began our morning on a lookout spot overlooking the northern region of Galilee. We start every morning by reciting what is called the “Sh’ma” which means listen and obey in Hebrew. Before doing anything or going anywhere, we first fix our heart, soul, and strength on God and remind ourselves to love others as ourselves. We came to our first site of the day at Gamla, most known for a Zealot hideout northeast of the Sea of Galilee.
June 8, 2017
As disciples of Jesus, it is important to follow in His footsteps and obey His commands. Today we literally got the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and His disciples around the land of Galilee. After our usual morning routine of breakfast and devotion, we headed to the west side of the Sea of Galilee to the base of Mt. Arbel, an example of a desolate place that Jesus would go to be alone and pray. A long, difficult hike awaited us as we looked up this mountain ready to follow our leader.
June 7, 2017
Keep drinking! This is a phrase that we have heard a thousand times so far on this trip to remind us to stay hydrated, but this morning it took on a deeper meaning for our group. We woke up this morning and opened up our window to see a beautiful sunrise coming over the mountains of Moab across the Salt Sea. It is still surreal to be here and it gets more amazing each day as we discover new sites and hear from God.
June 6, 2017
This morning, we woke up at our hotel in Mitzpe Ramon and headed out into the wilderness. We were certain we had a full, amazing day ahead of us and were expecting to meet with God in clear ways as we put ourselves in the context of His Word.
We filled up our packs with water, as always, and headed down the trail into the canyon desert of Makhtesh. It was empty, quiet, and still, and went on as far as our eyes could see. Along the way, we stopped several times to read Scripture and make observations about the geography of where we were. Throughout the morning, our discussions covered the long journey that the Israelites made as they left slavery in Egypt to go into the wilderness, pressing closer and closer to the promised land flowing with milk and honey (which by the way sounds amazing hiking in the desert even only for a short time).
June 5, 2017
After night one, we were up and ready for another day of experiencing the land of the Israel. Striving to make the most of every minute we are here, we woke up at 6, had breakfast and a devotion, then headed to our second experience in the Shephelah. We were anticipating a long and exciting day of exploring some very meaningful places in the Bible.
June 4, 2017
We made it! After a long 24 hours of traveling, our group finally arrived in Tel-Aviv all together and began our journey throughout the land of Israel. It didn’t take long after we walked off the plane before we were on our way to our first experience of the trip. Many in our group were tired from traveling, but since we landed about 4:00 PM, we still had a few hours before dinner to see and experience something amazing!