Pilgrim Report from Israel-Palestine: First Church of Christ (Burlington, Kentucky)
Threepeats are special.
Summer 2019 marked the third year that Whitewater Crossing Christian Church of Cleves, Ohio, sent a crew to the Heartland via JCBS. It was special.
Thirteen folk from the midwest packed their bags and came to the mideast for twelve days of personal study, prayer, and fun. It was a small and tidy group. What we lacked in numbers was offset by raw enthusiasm.
The boulders on the trail at Tel Dan were slippery, but teamwork got everyone through.
The heat was cranked up in the Dead Sea basin, but the secrets of Masada and Ein Gedi were revealed.
The darkness of Hezekiah’s Tunnel was intimating, but headlamps (and a little hand holding!) did the trick.
Between that tunnel, the swimming pool, the Dead Sea, and and (of course) the Jordan River, everyone ended up in the water at some point.
With two physicians and two nurses in the group, I never felt so confident in my life. Fact is, I was almost embarrassed to be carrying a medical kit. Fortunately, there was no need for my kit or their knowledge.
Part of that success was due to the professionalism of our driver. We borrowed Louis for two weeks from the British Embassy. His knowledge of the roads and skills in navigating them was uncanny. While we did not splash like Tony Blair, I am certain we received the same attention from this wheelman as did the Prime Minister.
The extra cover to the experience, of course, was drawn from deeper sources. We prayed in the morning and evening. We sang in the churches. We climbed to the top of many tells, and despite wobbly knees, stood on the top of these vistas and read from the Bible.
One of our travelers, Nancy, returned home after these 12 days and wrote a quick note. She described the trip as more than a sightseeing excursion. She believed God communicated to her in these words:
“Child, you have heard my Word in new ways. You have seen with your own eyes places I designed. You have heard with new understanding historical events I orchestrated with purpose. You were led back in time to be taught and inspired by people I created and directed according to my will. You saw places of great importance and remembrance that have been uncovered under my supervision. In all of this . . . remember me, remember me, remember me.”
That kind of experience never gets old, no matter how often one returns to this part of the world.
Plans for a fourth trip with Whitewater Crossing Christian Church are already in the works.
If you are thinking about visiting the Heartland yourself, consider joining us next year. We have open seats for several trips in 2020 and 2021. If you represent a church or school group and are interested in exploring this kind of travel ministry, know that we are booking custom experiences for 2022. Chat with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or see our full list of study-travel opportunities at the link here.
I must confess that it took me a long time to recover from the jump between film and digital photography. Shutter speeds and F-stops made sense. But these new gadgets and all their buttons seem so irregular and complicated.
I was just beginning to feel good about my digital Lumix when this college kid shows up with a drone and a phone.
The drone was not much bigger than a deck of cards (with rotors retracted). The phone, was, well, a phone . . . but it had an app that controlled the drone!
It blew up my world.
Cody was a crazy-good pilot. He could fly that little whirlybird in and out of the palm of his hand. He buzzed the treetops, circled the moon, chased the cows, and we watched the whole thing happen in real-time on his phone.
Cody was one of our Bible Land Explorers who walked the Jesus Trail in January of 2019. He sent me this edited clip of the experience.
It looks like another technological curve is ahead of this old dog.
And the next time we do the Jesus Trail, you really should join our merry band.
Note: all the clips featured here were taken along the Jesus Trail except the last. The view to Jerusalem was taken from the Haas Promenade just south of the city.
We have seats available on a couple of trips scheduled for summer of 2019. Registration will be closing soon on our May 25-June 4 excursion as well as our June 4-15 trip. These are similarly paced and priced. If you are interested in either please contact me immediately at email@example.com.
For a complete list of travel opportunities in 2019, see our schedule here.
The story of the end of James the Great is described in the New Testament. Outside the New Testament, however, his story lives on. Part of that story is dedicated to a epic journey that the Bible is mum about, and part of that story is dedicated to a post-death appearance. Both of these accounts teeter wildly into the area of myth, but never say that to a Spaniard. It may cost you an eye.
The bus was nearly at capacity with 47 persons when we rolled into the airport. In a similar way, our hearts and minds were full. Old friendships had been enriched and new friendships had been forged over the course of the past two weeks. We hugged and shared goodbyes, knowing that as we returned home, we did so as changed people.