We’ve just returned from a trip that I’m sure God will use to transform the lives of the 70 plus folks who joined us on our spring tour to the Land. The sights, sounds and smells of the Land do not compare to the experience of meeting Jesus in the place that He called home. Thanks to our good friend, Jonathan Allen from Grace Chapel, we were able to not only walk through the Land but also to worship Jesus in His Land each day!
This trip began with a drive through the ancient seaport of Jaffa, the place where both Jonah and Peter had major decisions to make: one chose wisely while the other needed some more convincing, but in the end, both followed the way that God had in mind. This was one of the themes of the trip-making the decision to follow Jesus into the places He would have us go and living our lives in ways that would bring Him glory and to provide light into this ever-increasing darkness that we are entering into.
One of the many highlights has always been our time at the IDF 605 Battalion. This was the seventh time for me, and each time our reception grows warmer and warmer! This year was special as Tom and Terry White brought a group of 17 to refurbish the Officers’ Bathroom and Barracks. Our group was privileged to spend a partial day working with them! Once again as we loaded up the bus, we gathered the soldiers who were on the base and sang the Hatikvah together-a memory not easily forgotten. (The Hatikvah is the Israeli National Anthem.)
While in the Galilee, my second home, we took in the Golan Heights, Caesarea Philippi, overlooks into both Syria and Lebanon, as well our favorite sites along the northern shores of the Galilee. Our good friend, Daniel Carmel, took us out on his boat, FAITH, and rocked the Galilee with worship and praise! We concluded our time up north with our traditional baptism in the Sea of Galilee.
Our next stop was Gideon Springs, where the call to radical discipleship continued with a challenge to be one of the 300. From here we made our way down to the Dead Sea for a time of rest and relaxation. The next morning we had Masada, En Gedi and Qumran on our schedule before our emotional entrance into Jerusalem (not a dry eye on the bus!) when we emerged from the tunnel close to Mount Scopus.
And then there was Jerusalem. Our stops included the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Temple Mount (including the Temple Institute and Rabbinical Tunnels), the Southern Steps, Ecche Homo and, of course, we concluded with communion at the Garden Tomb.
Pictures will have to speak concerning the rest of the tour because I sort of feel like John when he was trying to finish his gospel; so, as John put it:
And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
About half the group extended their stay and visited some sites in Jordan. We stopped off at Mount Nebo for an eerie view-the one that God gave Moses. Some of us hunted for that elusive tomb, but came up dry. The next day we spent the entire day in Petra, most likely the place of refuge for the Jewish people during the Great Tribulation.
On the last day, the good news is that we made it back across the Jordanian border, after our bus broke down (always exciting!) and we got everybody back home safe and sound!
And, yes, I received news that our first grandson, Jackson Levi Stolebarger, was born on my way into Jordan! This will be a trip that I will NEVER forget. Signing off and hoping you can join us next time, Jackson’s Saba, Dan.
P.S. There are only a few spaces available on our fall “Issachar” Tour to Israel, so please call or email immediately if you feel led. (Sharon@khouse.org)