Study Tour Wrap Up

May 19, 2016

Now that we’ve returned from our study tour you’ve hopefully be able to talk to one of us in person about what we saw, heard, learned, and experienced!

This post has a wrap up video that serves as a nice summary of the trip and a reminder of all that we did.

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Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here?

May 18, 2016

Today our last full day here in Israel has come to a close. To start out our day, we met down by the Sea of Galilee for our morning devotional. We discussed the two different words for love in the Greek language, and the exchange of the word from Simon Peter and Jesus in John 21. The two forms of the word love are Agape and Phileo. Agape means selfless love and Phileo means brotherly love. At first Peter addressed God as Agape, but changed to the word Phileo because he wanted to show a more affectionate kind of love. After our devotional, we boarded the bus to head to Mt. Carmel.

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When your legs don’t work like they used to before

May 17, 2016

Today we rejoice after [barely] surviving 3 days peaking at 118 degrees. As we walk outside into the cool 80 degree morning air, we all debate grabbing a sweatshirt. It’s funny how us Michiganders break out the bikinis and Chacos on the first day above 50 & here I am wearing a sweatshirt in Israel on the first day below 100. We started off on a great note: in high spirits as we recited the prayer Shema Israel. Over and over again “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Throughout the day, God revealed to each one of us what it looks like to make this our anthem here in Israel & as we return home.

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For we walk by faith, not by sight

May 16, 2016

The sun was shining brightly this morning as we all woke up pretty exhausted from the long day we experienced yesterday, and drained from the heat. With another 100-degree day ahead of us, we knew we needed to stay strong, look out for others around us, and be cautious of the ways our bodies were reacting. Nonetheless, we were ready to conquer the day and excited about the new places Ben and Stacie were taking us. We started off our day in Bethsaida, where we learned about how Jesus is calling us, ordinary people, to be his disciples. That even five of the disciples Jesus chose were so willing to drop everything they had and follow Him through life and death; and to show and prove to the world that they were witnesses to Jesus’ miracles. We then drove 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee to a place called Caesarea Philippi. Walking in, I was joyed to see the spring water flowing around us, and all the trees; it was almost as if I was walking through a trail back in Michigan. We discussed how Jesus wanted to build His church on these specific rocks, even though it was so far away from his home and said to be a gateway to Hell. After, we enjoyed a little piece of our home, as we were brought Israeli pizza for lunch.

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I Surrender All

May 15, 2016

Today reached a peak of 108 degrees; weather that us Grand Valley students never knew existed. We always expect it to be “a great day!” as Ben Post says every morning, but little did we know that God was about to blow our minds (again) before 9 a.m.! Ben set the mood for the day by teaching us a new Hebrew word, shema. This means to hear/listen and therefore to obey. He explained that Jews take this very seriously and keep a mini scroll of this message attached to their door frames for them to remember who they are and who they desire to be. He then introduced the question for us to consider of “What does this look like to us?” As we were walking away, Tanner and Josie began singing “Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain, that I can’t control. I want more of you God,” and this became my prayer for the day.

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It’s All About Perspective

May 14, 2016

We’re in Galilee! Our first full and 100-degree day here started off with a breathtaking view on the Cliff of Nazareth. Here, we learned about why Jesus took his disciples up to this ridge and why it’s so important to step back (or in this case, up) and gain a new perspective. But, more on this later. Next, we headed to the Nazareth Ridge where we learned about what Jesus’ life may have looked like before His ministry started and what it means to “avad,” or to work, to serve, or to worship in each of our different jobs.

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Journeying Jesus’s Last Days

May 13, 2016

As Ben started off the morning by telling us that “this is going to be a great day,” as he does every morning, he again told the absolute truth. Departing from our Jerusalem hotel one last time, we headed to an overlook on the Mt. of Olives where we had a view of the whole city that we have spent the last few days exploring, and we began to hear about Jesus weeping over the city because he knew what was to come, and to preface what was in store for Jesus’ final days. This is where we would begin our journey following the path Jesus is known to have taken before his death.

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And You Together Are That Temple

May 12, 2016

Day 6 has come to a close here in the Holy Land, and God is clearly not as tired as we are because He is moving here in this place. The day started with an overlook of David’s City, what Jerusalem would have looked like in the time of David. Here we talked about how the location and characteristics of the city played into some of the Psalms (121 and 122 to be specific). The city is located in a valley, which puts it at a disadvantage when it comes to war because it was very difficult to defend, making them rely fully on God for protection. From there we went to Hezekiah’s tunnel. This tunnel was built by King Hezekiah to protect the water source from the Assyrians who were trying to take over. He rerouted the water through this 1750 ft. long tunnel so that Jerusalem would have water when they came under siege (2 Chronicles 32). We got to walk through that tunnel today and it was amazing. Dark and wet and scary at times, but amazing nonetheless. From there we saw the excavation of the Pool of Siloam from John 9, another powerful place considering Jesus himself was there at one point.

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May All Who Come Behind Us Find Us Faithful

May 11, 2016

Today was another busy day! If you have not gotten the theme yet, Ben and Stacie keep us busy from our 6am wake-up calls to our 7pm (most of the time) dinners. We started off the day donned in our skirts/pants and long sleeve shirts and walked from our hotel to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It was a wonderful experience to be able to walk around the place where at one-time, God’s presence dwelled. We were able to take in the beauty of the Dome of the Rock, which is a holy place for Muslims.

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Down in the Valley

May 10, 2016

Today we started out our morning by heading to the Shephelah Region were we went to Beth-Shemesh in the Soreck Valley. There we learned that this was very fertile and lush land so there were lots of fights to take possession of this lands. This area was often a crossroads between two worldviews since the people were trying to conquer the land. We learned that here the story of Samson took place in this area, and the Philistines and Israelites were both fighting over the land. We looked into more depth how Sampson being a Nazarite and living in the Soreck Valley influenced his story and his choices and leading of the Israelite people during the time of the judges.

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Adonai Roi Lo Echsar (The Lord is My Shepherd)

May 9, 2016

It’s not everyday you start off climbing the caves that the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in. Our group started off the day in Qumran, which is home to the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Today a special guest joined us on our hike. Joel, a friend of Ben and Stacie’s came with us to share his wisdom of the Bible and the archaeological facts behind the Bible. Joel taught us that there is proof in the fact that God and the text both tell us about the ancient text and the unforeseeable future. One way the unforeseeable future was told in the way of Isaiah is recording all the prophecies of the Messiah and then Jesus fulfilling them.

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Mayim Chayim (Living Water)

May 8, 2016

Day two of exploring Israel was physically grueling for the whole group, but so worth every minute of it! We began our morning hiking Wadi Zohar, in the Judean wilderness. During the hike, we focused on how the Israelites were tested by God in the desert for 40 years. The number 40 denotes change. Change needed to happen in God’s people. God tested them to not only humble his people, but learn about what was in their hearts. The Israelites had nothing, yet lacked nothing because God always provides just enough. In the desert, it is just you and God. God wants our hearts, and he wants to know us personally.

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Go Forth, Believe and Obey

May 7, 2016

Our first hiking day has come to a close, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone has already been amazed by God’s power and majesty. Today we traveled to several different locations including, Beersheba, Nahal Zin, and Maktesh Rimon. In Beersheba, we talked about Abram and his faithfulness to God. Abram was asked to give up everything that was familiar to him; his family, his identity, his home, in order to follow God’s direction. And he did, without hesitation. In Nahal Zin and Maktesh Rimon, we talked about Moses and how his relationship with God compared to that of Abram’s. Moses was more hesitant to follow God’s direction, trying to get out of having to do anything he wasn’t comfortable with.

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We Have Arrived!

May 6, 2016

Israel bound: T-minus two long plane rides, two bus rides, a layover, and more general waiting.

The Israel-bound 2016 trip congregated at Grand Valley (minus two who met us in Chicago) with friends and family to see us off. A shout out to all of the parents, whether present or not, who maintained excellent composure and allowed everyone to get safely and happily onto the bus.

We arrived at the airport en mass, picked up our two missing companions, and maintained a loud and boisterous excitement from then on.

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A Long Flight Ahead

May 5, 2016

After many months of anticipation, our study tour is upon us! We’ll be departing tonight evening on our two-leg journey to Israel. If you want to follow along with our flights, check out the links in this post.

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Preparing for Israel

March 16, 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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