March 27, 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!
Below is a wrap up video that serves as a nice summary of the trip and a reminder of all that we did.
March 23, 2016
We cannot believe our time in Israel is coming to an end. What a gift it has been to be able to experience Israel with friends who now have become family. The community we have formed these past 10 days has blessed us in more ways than we can say. We have formed friendships that will extend beyond our time in Israel and friends that will continuously remind us of the lessons we learned and of our God who can and who cares.
Our morning began at the Mount of Olives as we started the Passion Week narrative. Sitting there we overlooked the Temple Mount and City of Jerusalem. We made the journey to the Garden of Gethsemane where we took communion to remind us of our cup that Jesus willingly took from us so that we could enjoy the cup of God’s blessing instead. Following the Via Dolorosa, which is the road Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion, we journeyed through the Muslim Quarter and took in the sights and the sounds of the city. Our next stop was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
March 22, 2016
When you wake up in Jerusalem, you know it’s going to be a BIG day! It may be day 9, but we are all feeling strong and expectant that the Lord has new things to teach us here each and every day. This entire trip has been jam-packed with new experiences and adventures, but the city has been packed with a different kind of newness for us. Jerusalem is a sensory overload in the best way possible. Between the buzz of car horns, church bells, and the conglomeration of Arabic and Hebrew spoken in the streets, Jerusalem is not short of new sights, smells, and sounds. It is an entirely different environment than what we have been in the last eight days. There were people in the streets of various cultures, religions, and ethnicities. Some were tourists and some have lived in Israel their entire life but all have found themselves in a city booming with life, stories, and tradition.
March 21, 2016
In the 1800s, arguably the greatest land purchase in all of history occurred as the United States doubled in size with the acquisition of Louisiana. Louis and Clark embarked on a long journey going from border to border of this young nation. Although there may be a few differences, this is essentially the story of our trip today even it only took a few hours to venture from the east to west in Israel. Again there may be a few differences in this metaphor. Today, a good portion of the day has been spent in a bus, yet we are still amazed at how real and relevant the land and text is in our lives.
We packed up our bags and left the quaint hotel in Galilee that housed us for the past five nights. Our first stop of the day was Nazareth, the town where the Son of God grew up. As we overlooked the city that has grown exponentially since Biblical times, we studied the passage in Luke 4 where Jesus made known that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah 61 which did not sit well with the very people he grew up with.
March 20, 2016
Some people may say that as the Fast and Furious movies have progressed in number, they have decreased in quality. However, this assessment is far from the truth as it pertains to the time we’ve spent here in Israel. As the number of days spent in Israel have come to pass and fatigue has set in, our spirits are still very high and our eyes and ears are still attentive to the lessons God wants us to see and hear. Each morning we wake up with the expectation that the new day cannot possibly be better than the previous but these expectations are quick to be shattered from location to location. As of today, we have come to close of our visitation to the region of Galilee. While we may look back at the vital lessons learned here in Galilee, we look forward to the new truths God will reveal to us as we approach the end of our trip.
March 19, 2016
Shalom! Or at least of the time that I’m writing this, Shabbat Shalom! We have had an awesome day visiting a few sites and enjoying a little extra sleep from the Sabbath. God is continuing to do big things in the lives of those here and continues to reveal what he wants each of us to know.
Rewind just a little bit: Sabbath started last night, so we enjoyed a Sabbath dinner together as family and had a blast singing together, everything from “Let it Go” to “Hey Jude”. After getting a little extra rest, we started our drive north towards Banias or, as we more often know it from Scriptures, Caesarea Philippi.
March 18, 2016
Shalom family and friends!
It’s been a very BIG day as we continue our tour of Israel. We have definitely seen the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness in the form of waking up to the Sea of Galilee another day, pita bread and hummus, and a Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner where we enjoyed lots of food and fellowship, which coincidently happens to be the theme of our day! So what better way to talk about community than co-writing a blog?
March 17, 2016
It’s not every day that you wake up next to the Sea of Galilee, and yet…here we are! This morning, our team awoke to the sound of waves from the body of water that Jesus actually walked on. It is absolutely surreal! We are absolutely loving our time here in Israel, and this is certainly no exception.
This morning, we started out on the shore of the Sea of Galilee for a devotion that established well the theme of the day, then headed out for our first site. Stopping in some rolling green hills, we followed Matt’s consistently mysterious and sunnily authoritative call of, “Let’s go!” to a place overlooking the Sea of Galilee, a place we shortly found out was the Mt. of Beatitudes. Both appropriately and poignantly, we then walked through the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven and life the way he intended for it to be lived. From the Mt. of Beatitudes, we rode to Tabgha, a site right on the shore near where Jesus called Simon Peter and Andrew to be disciples.
March 16, 2016
Day 3, y’all, was a BIG day! Although Matt says that about every day, it’s always true. We’re slowly overcoming jet lag, which is good because the hikes are quickly getting bigger, and I daresay the lessons are, too. I’m excited to share them with you!
We began the day beside the Salt Sea then hiked up the stronghold of Ein Gedi, one of the places David took refuge as he fled from Saul. There we walked through 1 Samuel 24 when David cut off the corner of Saul’s robe (tallit or prayer shawl), but then repented of taking things into his own hands and showed respect to Saul as God’s anointed. More hiking led us to the Spring of Ein Gedi, a vital source of fresh water (maim chaim or living water) for the region, just as Jesus is the only source of life for us.
March 15, 2016
Shalom friends and family! Thanks so much for following along with us on our adventure in Israel and for praying for us. Today was our second full day and we had a GREAT day today! We are still getting over some jet lag and sleeplessness, but for the most part we are feeling well!
Today we went into the wilderness to get a picture of the Exodus. We started our day at Makhtesh Ramon and had a long hike through the crater as we looked at all that God wanted to teach Israel (and us) through their time in the wilderness. We then made our way north to the fortress of Masada and learned about Herod the Great and the remarkable story of the Jewish zealots who made their last stand there against the Romans. We finished off our day with a one-of-a-kind and once in a lifetime experience: floating in the Salt Sea!
March 14, 2016
This is it, people: we’re actually in Israel. We were all very grateful for a chance to sleep horizontally and try out some of the Israeli fare for breakfast before we headed out for our first full day in the land. Being here feels… real. I am still astounded by how different reading about, hearing about, and packing for a place is from actually being there: seeing the landscape, walking the terrain, and feeling the culture. I am excited to discover how Biblical stories and imagery come to life as we see, hear, and touch the land God has poignantly used to show himself sustainer, protector, and deliverer.
February 23, 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!