Israel Study Tour with The Forge, Pine Cove

Mar 12-24, 2016

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A walk in the steps of Jesus

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. This site was marked during the 4th century as the traditional location of Jesus’ death and burial tomb. As we descended underground, we also went back in time. After having lamb kabobs for lunch, we walked the Ramparts Walk from David’s Citadel where we spent time praying for peace in Jerusalem and thanking God for bringing us to Israel. We ended our day with clear skies and happy hearts at the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount. How fitting to wrap up our time in the Holy Land at the spot where the church began. We meditated on Jesus’ resurrection and the 40 days he spent preparing the disciples for his ascension. In his stead, he left the Holy Spirit, which fulfilled God’s promise by writing the law on our hearts, not tablets of stone. Once back at the hotel for our final night, we spent the evening reflecting on the week and the people who made it possible.

Mount of Olives

Separated from the Eastern Hill (the Temple Mount and the City of David) by the Kidron Valley, the Mt. of Olives has always been an important feature in Jerusalem’s landscape. From the 3rd millennium B.C. until the present, this 2900-foot hill has served as one of the main burial grounds for the city. The two-mile long ridge has three summits each of which has a tower built on it.

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Sitting on the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount and overlooking the Mount of Olives, we were overwhelmed by all that God has done for us. In response to his sacrifice, we live our lives practicing faith and obedience. We can be encouraged when the fruit of the Spirit is made evident in our lives because it means we are learning to walk in submission to the Spirit and his leading. This is how we can accomplish God’s will, by being the body of Christ who does the work of Jesus on earth.

Southern Steps

An enormous flight of steps leads to the Southern Wall from the south. They were excavated after 1967 by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar and are the northernmost extension of the Jerusalem pilgrim road leading from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount via the Double Gate and the Triple Gate, collectively called the Huldah Gates. These are the steps that Jesus of Nazareth[2][3] and other Jews of his era walked up to approach the Temple, especially on the great pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. [2] The stairs that lead to the double gate are intact and "well-preserved."[4] The steps that lead to the triple gate were mostly destroyed.[4] / The risers are low, a mere 7 to 10 inches high, and each step is 12 to 35 inches deep, forcing the ascending pilgrims to walk with a stately, deliberate tread.[2] The pilgrims entered the temple precincts through the double and triple gates still visible in the Southern Wall.[5][2] Together, the double and triple gates are known as the Hulda Gates, after the prophetess Huldah.[2]

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We cannot thank you enough for following along with our time in Israel. We have appreciated your prayers and cannot wait to share what the Lord has done. Please continue praying for our safe travels home and that we will remember how God has changed us here. To everyone who made this trip possible, thank you - To say we are grateful is an understatement. Much love and see you soon!

By Melissa McNamara & Anne Maya Yalamanchili

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Camp in the City takes travel to a whole new level these past 10 days! Grateful to remember what the Lord has done as we walked through the Passion Week narrative today. Grateful that tomorrow, Texas will be home again and Chick-fil-A will be dinner again. #forgeisrael

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We have had an amazing time in Israel! We finished up our tour today and will begin the long journey home tomorrow! Prayers appreciated! #ForgeIsrael #4G16

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One year ago I was in the land that Jesus literally walked. How surreal is that? God has done and is doing mighty works all over but this place has a special place in my heart. Wish I was back with the crew this year but lessons learned are still fresh in my mind. #thankspinecove #forgeisrael

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