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Israel Study Tour with The Church at Rocky Peak

March 12-23, 2023

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Day 09 - Jerusalem: Mount of Olives, Yad Vashem, St. Anne's Church, Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Farewell Dinner

Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. -Matthew 23:37


Well, friends, what a journey it’s been. My journey started with the stars and the word "completion". Looking out the window, and up at the sky, and seeing the stars as we descended to the land of Israel. I was reminded that God told Abraham to look up and count the stars, if he could. God made Abraham a promise that He would be given that many descendants. Then to be in a bus and in the midst of my fellow brothers and sisters from Rocky Peak, the Lord showed me that we were part of that promise. The Lord told Abraham to "go to a land I will show you", and he went. I can’t speak for everyone but I know for myself I was called by God to come to this land that He would show me; and He did just that.


I was asked to write a recount of our journey, and though given a choice which day, I was drawn to the last day, due to a vision of the Garden of Gethsemane I had received prior to this trip. Once I realized the full itinerary for this day, I immediately regretted choosing this day, as this is when we as a group were about to walk the steps of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How do you sum all that up? I guess you don’t, but here are the things that stuck out to me.


This day for me began with a dove. I know that sounds weird, but I had prayed in my morning time with the Lord for the Holy Spirit to come and be with me for I needed His strength, his focus, I was in desperate need to understand why I was on this trip. I was anxious, as I mentioned I had received the vision of Gethsemane, so this was the day to see this particular vision come to life, and so I asked for the Holy Spirit to come. Then as I waited, a dove flew over my head and landed on our bus. Remember the scripture where the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove after He was baptized. Now, It would make more sense if I had told you that this wasn't the first time a dove had shown up before with this similar prayer. So that was my sign that the Holy Spirit was here.

Anyways, our first stop was the Mount of Olives. What a beautiful sight, where you can see the great city of Jerusalem. This is where David went up to the Mount of Olives weeping. This is also where Jesus had made his triumphant entry into the city. Where the people cheered and yelled, "Save us, Hosanna! Hosanna!" Jesus’ focus was to do the will of His Father who sent him. He focused on pleasing the Father, and not on the crowd, because He knew the same crowd that once cheered, and begged Him to save them, would be the same crowd who would later beg the officials to crucify Him. We got to take that same road. Then it was time, to enter into the place I was so anxious to come to. The Garden of Gethsemane. To say I felt the Holy Spirit so strongly in that place, would not be accurate, and I had questioned, where are you, I had prayed, and got on my knees in surrender, that I am here. It wasnt as life changing for me as I expected it to be. I thought I would have tears that would fill the Kidron valley we had seen looking out from the mount of Olives, but there was nothing. However leaving, I know the Lord spoke and reminded me, that this garden was where Jesus came to surrender His will to the Father. The Father did not take away the burden but instead He empowered and gave Him the strength to do what  He was created to do. I felt like that was for us. We are all called by the Father, to do something, we may not understand, or it may seem impossible, but if we surrender our will to him, He will empower, and strengthen us to carry out all He has called and created us to do. I had been fighting a sinus cold, and was tired but after I had felt more strength come upon me as we left.


Next we went to Yad Vashem- called Memorial. Which to be honest I had wondered why on a biblical study tour, would we come to this holocaust museum, but it was actually there that I felt the most impact. Ronen our tour guide, shared this poem-

      •     They came for the communist, but I didn’t object because I wasnt a communist. They came for the socialist, but I didn’t object because I wasn't a socialist. They came for the Jew but I didn’t object because I wasnt a Jew. Until one day they came for me and no one was there to object.

This was so powerful to me because it shows a selfish kind of love. Going through the museum, we walked through the hardest part of it all, seeing the 1.5 million children who were killed. As you walk into that part of the memorial, there was 5 candles that had been lit, but it illuminated to look like millions of them. Ronen spoke about the Jews being lead by deception, they didn’t know, they were told to go somewhere and believing that it would be better than where they were. At the beginning I didn’t get it, but at the end, I realized that this is where we are as Christians and followers of Jesus Christ. The 1.5 million children who were killed, the sadness we felt about them, is exactly the sadness felt by God, about His creation. The world is being lead by deception, what they think is better, is what will end up killing them in the long run. The candle light is what we are. The light of the world, to share the good news of what Christ has done for all, yet where we find ourselves is in the place of the poem. A selfish kind of love. We don’t object. This got me, and really tied the whole trip together for me. Jesus didn’t care the opinions of others, He did the will of His Father, and did something. He died, for us. The world is being led, and as the light of the world, our commission is to love people enough to share that news. Sure we are going to be cheered one second and yelled at the next, but where we get our strength is by surrendering our will to the Father, so that He could empower us to continue on. With His strength and In His Love.


We carried on our journey, walking the streets of Old Jerusalem, walking the very path that Jesus walked. From the sheep gate, to the Saint Anne’s where we sang songs in this church, I tell you, the sound of the echo was so amazing to hear, you would almost think Rocky Peak could have a new worship team in their midst. Or, this could be a taste of the sounds we will hear in Heaven. I can’t describe it, it was just incredible. On to the Via Dolorosa, where Jesus beaten, whipped, bloodied, walked carrying the cross, for us. Again I had expected to cry so many tears, and for some reason there was none. I even walked with my arms out a few steps to experience what Jesus had to do. With swarms of people around him to maneuver through them, and yet I felt nothing. We came to the church of the Holy Sepulchre or the Holy Tomb, where Jesus breathed His last breath upon that cross. It was a lot to take in, and still no emotions had come. I am not sure if it was overwhelming, or because I knew that He was not here. Finally after we explored the church, we gathered for one last meal together as a group. We broke bread together, in an upper room. What I realized is this. Jesus in that church breathed out IT IS FINISHED.


The word I started this trip with was completion. Jerusalem is where it started, but Jesus is no longer here, for He has risen, and now He lives in each one of us. We are the light, He is carrying out to completion everything the The Father has created for us to do in and through us, but we must surrender our will to his so that we can be empowered and strengthened. To surrender the way we were taught to love others, through our backgrounds, and be transformed to love like Jesus. I was afraid of man’s opinion, and the hatred I have faced along my own journey, and yet the Lord has brought to completion that His love and heart for people, that as He loved them enough to do something, I too have experienced His love and His heart for others, bringing to completion the fear of man, and the empowerment of His spirit that descends upon all of us like a dove. To carry out His will, not mine, or our own, but His.


There is so much more to share what had happened on this journey, but I hope that all who read this, will have a desire to not only come on this tour, and experience it themselves but choose to to surrender their will, so they can carry out the Fathers. For friends, it is so much more life giving to love like Christ, than to love in our selfish ways. He said it was Finished but it’s a new beginning for us!


So grateful for this call to be on this trip! I look forward for the Lord to reveal more and more as time goes on, for there is so much more!


Thank you for reading!

-Shanon Carriere


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