Last July, Neal and I made a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Israel. We soaked in every minute of it because we knew it was our one shot to experience the very places we read about in the Bible. Little did we know that eight months later we’d be back. Thanks to the surprising offer and generosity of someone, here we are soaking it all in again. Somebody pinch me!
This trip is different, though. 39 of us (mostly from the Bear Valley Bible Institute) are traveling together. These are the people I work with. Now I am traipsing around a foreign country with them and that always changes things. It can either strengthen or strain relationships. Due to the expert diligence of our leaders, John and Carla Moore, this trip has been stress free. They’re taking care of all the details, so all we have to worry about is how to capture all these impressions in our hearts. Without the hassle or confusion that can sometimes happen overseas, no one is wigging out over anything. We’re all relaxed, happy, and well-cared for. Therefore, no strained relationships. Yay!
Experiencing Israel with fellow Christians adds a whole new special layer. I am loving every minute of it. We are praying together when touched by a particular location. We are singing together, and that may end up being my favorite thing about this trip. We’ve sung in the Nazareth church building, on top of Mt. Carmel, on the bus, on Mt. Precipice, etc. Singing always gets me, but to sing with dear ones in the land where Jesus walked….oh man. We’ve had all kinds of conversations together about Bible passages as we pass through the very places where they took place. We’re using all of our senses; we’re seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and tasting Israel. We’re experiencing this together, and I know these will be priceless memories that we will forever share.
Yesterday, on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, I looked around at the 38 other Christians who are with me. I couldn’t help but pray, “God, I love these people. They are my FAMILY, thanks to the One who walked on this water.”