The Week In A Nutshell

Sorry for the delay guys! Had a few computer problems, but here’s our week in Israel in a nutshell :)

Day Three: Mount of Beattitudes, Nazareth, & The Jordan River.

The best thing about today at least in my opinion was that I got baptized! Tiberius Rata baptized me (Jaimie Ove) in the Jordan River.  The same river that Jesus was baptized in 2,000 years. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad to have wonderful group of people there to support me in my outward dedication of my faith. And the rainbow afterwards just topped it off :)

Day Four: Beit Shean, Qumran Caves, & The Dead Sea.

It was so neat to see the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found! How perfectly formed is God’s plan? A shepard boy had lost his goat and he went searching for it by throwing rocks into caves to see if he could hear it. One cave that he threw into made a strange sound and when he went to investigate he found jars and jars of scrolls. These scrolls contained the books and pieces of Bible all except for Esther.  So cool to be in the spot of one of the greatest archelogical finds ever!

You havent seen joy, until you have seen John Sloat’s face floating in the Dead Sea. What a surreal experience to be floating in the salty water. We all just bobbed along, doing silly things, trying to figure out this strange feeling. 

Day Five: Masada, Ein Gedi, Jericho & Abraham’s Tent.

Masada – The Jewish 300. Wow, I couldn’t believe that I had never heard the story of this Jewish Rebellion in 70 A.D. The Romans had conquored Israel and had nothing left to stop them except a small group of Jews numbering under a thousand. They had fled to the top of a mountain where Herod had built a fortress and had managed to live as free men.  The Romans quickly surrounded them and for months the Jews held them off. Eventually, the Romans built a ramp of earth that lead up to the mountain. The night before they stormed the city, the leader of the Jews made a compelling speech in which he said ‘let no man be another man’s slave’. When the Romans stormed the city the next morning – all the Jews had committed suicide. A hollow victory to be sure.

Not many people can say they saw their professors ride a camel. Well I’ve seen three of mine ride camels. What a blast!

Day Six: Temple Mount, The Upper Room, The Holocaust Museum, & The Israeli Museum.

Today we had devotions lead by Adam on the same temple stairs that Jesus walked many years ago.  It was amazing to sit there and reflect.  The stairs were actually built for a time of reflection as they were uneven and staggered. That was purposeful so that people had to watch where they were going and to give them time to contemplate on the reasons for going to the temple.

The Holocaust Museum was an incredibly emotional experience. I had studied and learned alot about World War 2 before but I had always missed one important fact: There is no difference between the a Jew and myself.  Meaning, it could have very well happened to Christians.  These people were just like you and me; young, old, students, professionals, mothers, fathers, children, left-handed, right-handed, short or tall. This day was a time of overwhelming emotions of sadness as well as thankfulness.

Day Seven: Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Western Wall Tunnels, House of Caiphas & Pool of Bethsaida.

Today we had time to ourself in the place where Jesus had cried out, “My Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Being in the garden, where Christ I believe showed perfectly how He truely was 100% man and 100% God, was a surreal experience.  Knowing that Jesus had been there and been afraid but nevertheless completely willing to give His life up for me, made the time there emotional and moving. I think we all felt a sense of complete gratitude and thankfulness that we are worshipping a being completely made of love.

Day Eight: Dome of the Rock, Wailing Western Wall, City of David, & Bethlehem.

It’s hard to describe the feeling that one gets when they see that the Dome of the Rock (one of the Holiest places for Muslims) and the Wailing Wall (one of the Holiest places for Jews) are mere feet away from each other. Not only that, but the church of the Holy Sepulchre (the supposed place of the cruxification and grave) is within a mile of both of them.  It’s overwhelming to see two religions completely different from each other and yet completely distant from the truth.  Seeing those woman cry, touch, and stuff their prayers into the wall where they believe that they can get close to God filled me with a sense of overwhelming gratitude that I can call upon my God whenever I choose.

Day Nine: Garden Tomb & Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Garden Tomb was a place that we all agreed we wished was the true place where Christ had been buried. It looked like what we had always imagined it. The setting was a quiet garden with a tomb inlaid in a wall of rock, a beautiful area. When we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is more likely the place of burial, it was overdone with gold and silver and jewels and art and candles, even though it was beautiful.  I was thinking how sad this place had been turned into a holy mess of people and junk and not much else. But Dave Ferrier made the point of saying that maybe it was a good thing that it was overdone because it helped keep our perspective focused on what had happened rather than where it had happened. It made us focus on the Savior and what He had done for us, rather than the actual place.  What a good reminder as we sometimes get caught up in the mundane details rather than focus on the true purpose!

Overall this trip made the Bible come alive for all those who went on the trip.  We now understand so much more about the age where Christ came to die for each and every one of us. Thank you all for your support. I’ll leave you with one last thing.

SHALOM!

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