In October 28 Iowa pastors, their spouses, friends and family traveled to Israel for a life changing experience. During the trip we visited places in Israel related to many passages in both the Old and New testaments. It was an amazing experience to be in the same region where so many of the bible stories took place. At times we were walking on the same streets and steps that Jesus and the disciples had walked.
The trip was a whirlwind of sights, sounds and information as we hurried around Israel trying to take it all in. There was much more walking involved than most participants expected, however the food was so delicious and plentiful that we probably needed the extra exercise.
In the midst of the hustle of the trip we did take time to reflect on where we where and what these places mean to us as Christians. Several of the pastors on the trip delivered a message at some of our stops, including Mt. Carmel, Mt. Precipice, Gideon Springs, Bethlehem and others. We also enjoyed singing hymns and worshiping at places such as the Mount of Olives and the Garden Tomb.
In Nazareth, the group visited a recreation of a first century Jewish village that operates at a Christian ministry that presents the life, times and teachings of Jesus to all visitors. We were so impressed by Nazareth Village, that we took up a collection among our group to purchase a “Builder’s Walk” brick” to support their ministry. If you ever travel to Israel, be sure to visit Nazareth Village and look for the brick commemorating our trip.
Highlights of the trip included:
- Visiting Mount Carmel where the biblical story of the confrontation between Prophet Elijah and the Ba’al prophets took place.
- A day in the region of Galilee where we sailed on the waters of the Sea of Galilee, visited Capernaum, visited the Church of Multiplication in Tabgha where Jesus preformed the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, and visited the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus taught “The Sermon on the Mount.”
- A morning at the Jordan River where Sherry Patrick and Judy Arthur were baptized by pastor Ken Kraft, then pastor Eugene Guthrie baptized Jill Olsen and 25 believers from India.
- A visit to Nazareth for lunch and to see Nazareth Village, a recreation of a first century Judean community that operates as a Christian ministry.
- In Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding celebration Pastors Tom Law and Eugene Guthrie performed a vow renewal service for Jon & Jill Olsen, Ken & Jolene Livingston, Tom & Pat Rittscher, and Terry & Joni Wilkinson.
- At Caesarea Maritime we enjoyed the Mediterranean Sea and examined some Roman and Crusader ruins.
- Sunday morning we had a service on the top of the Mount of Olives, and then we walked down to the Garden of Gethsemane which was a very moving experience.
- Sunday afternoon we visited Bethlehem, including the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherds Fields.
- We spent an entire day exploring the old city of Jerusalem from the archaeological digs at the City of David and the Western Wall to the Via Doloroso. We were walking on the very streets ans steps that Jesus walked 2000 years ago.
- On our last morning in Israel, we shared communion and sang hymns at the Garden Tomb.
- We swam in the Dead Sea, rode camels and enjoyed dinner in a Bedouin village.
If you are interested in going to Israel or putting together a group from your church to go to Israel, contact former BCI Executive Director Tom Law at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance and more information.