In 1996, I had an opportunity to go on my first trip to Israel. I declined the offer and let that opportunity pass me by. Our Student Pastor at the time went in my place.
Do you know why I didn’t want to go? Sure I had 6 kids between the ages of 5 – 13 and life was crazy busy, but my parents lived down the street and they kept my kids anytime we went out of town.
I was scared…really scared. I had watched too many movies where Chuck Norris had to rush into Middle Eastern countries to rescue hostages. I had watched news reports and seen horrible terrorist attacks in “those countries.” Sadly the U.S. is now part of that list.
I allowed fear to rob me of an incredible trip to the land where Jesus walked, preached, taught, loved, ministered and lived His life.
Steve came back full of excitement as he shared story after story of all that he saw and did on the trip. I listened but like anything, if you are not there or if you do not participate, you do not really get it.
The next trip came around and I went. Still a little nervous but I had to go and see what he was talking about.
I remember stepping off the plane and feeling the difference in the air. It’s hard to describe and I am not trying to sound dramatic. You just know that He was there!
I fell in love immediately with the country and with the people…God’s people! The places we traveled were incredible. So much history and biblical application. It really is true that your Bible comes alive!
We took a boat out on the Sea of Galilee, dropped anchor and had a worship service. All of a sudden, fog began to rise and it was so thick that you could not see the person next to you. I kept thinking that is what is was like when Jesus came walking on the water and the disciples were so afraid that they thought He was a ghost. Just to be in the same place where Jesus and the disciples fished and gathered together so many times…
We visited the courtyard where Peter denied Jesus after He had been arrested. It was do convicting to stand and reflect on that story, comparing it to my own life and times of my own denial of Jesus.
I could go on all day. To kneel and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane and wonder, “is this where he knelt”?
To stand by the empty tomb and imagine what it felt like “that” Sunday.
To stand on the Road to Amaeus and imagine what it was like to talk to the risen Savior…
So much of this trip is a spiritual and emotional journey. You feel a special connection and a desire to learn more, love Him more and be more committed.
Israel is beautiful. You will see dry and dusty desert land, but you will also see lush, green areas and fruit trees weighed down with apples, lemons, oranges, grapes, figs, olives, etc…
We stay in very nice hotels and we eat delicious food. (nothing “weird”!)
I feel safe each time I am in Israel. Tourism is a major source of income so the Jewish people and the Palestinians do not want anything to happen to tourists. I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu goes to great lengths to protect his country and those who visit.
If you have been contemplating going to Israel, come with us in February! You will be so glad that you did.
Click this link to pay your deposit and register. Join us February 16-25, 2017!