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Ancient Paths - Austin group

March 11-23, 2022

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Day 02 - Shephelah region

First day of actual touring done! There was no rest for us after spending close to 18 hours safely traveling from Chicago. We had a “night” of sleep before heading out early from our hotel just outside of Jerusalem. Not knowing where we were going or what we were doing today, we were asked to trust our trip guide Rod, who will be like a Rabbi for us this week. Similar to the way the disciples followed their Rabbi, Jesus, not knowing what was happening or not always knowing why they were following.

Our community of 29 - comprised of those from Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, and Michigan - started our morning off with prayer and Psalms as we stood in the Shephelah region with the Coastal Plains on our right and Judah Mountains at our left. We were challenged by our Rabbi (Rod) to ask ourselves the questions of “Who are we?” and “What are we doing here?” as we experienced the Land that God chose for His people.

As we hiked on top of the ancient Tel of Gezer - a city that had been built, destroyed, and rebuilt 26 times throughout history - we saw a panoramic view of the unique and beautiful place God promised to Abram. With the Fertile Cresent to the north and Egypt to the south, God intentionally placed His people in a place that rubbed shoulders with the mighty powers of the ancient world. This small and unimportant people were called not to rule the world with power, but to be in a place that could influence the world and bring the King of Heaven to earth and Shalom out of the chaos.

In the afternoon, we trekked to Sha’aram -  the place where Israel likely looked down into Valley of Elah, where God brought his anointed one David to defeat the Philistine champion, Goliath. Again putting on display, God choosing what was least expected to show his strength amongst the nations.

Leaving the Shephelah, we drove through the Judah Mountains and to the desert where we will stay for the night, overlooking the Dead Sea and the Kingdom of Jordan on the other side. Unfortunately the much needed rest also brought the news that one from our community would have to be transported to Tel Aviv due to testing positive for COVID-19. We’d ask that you would join us in praying for our brother, and his wife, as he is now required to spend the next five days in quarantine before returning to the group. Pray that God would comfort them in this disappointing event and encourage their hearts as they are away from the group.

We look forward to tommorow and the opportunity to continue to see this beautiful Land and learn how God ochrestrated the building of His kingdom and Church out of this unassuming place.

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