As of this writing, I am on the plane returning home from the most life changing trip of my life. You’re probably wondering what made it so life changing? Honestly, I’m still processing it myself! Our trip included seeing Netanya, Haifa, Golan Heights, Tiberius by the Sea of Galilee, Masada and the Dead Sea and then finally Jerusalem and Bethlehem and lots of places in between. First of all, I didn’t go on a regular tour, but rather a tour mixed with some Christian ministry. Beginning in Netanya, we got time to visit with Holocaust victims and helped to clean up their front yards of litter and weeds. Most of them spoke Russian, as they emigrated from Russia, and with the help of translators, they were able to tell us a bit of their story and we got to encourage and love on them.
In Nazareth, we got to see all the big sights and then we got to visit the children’s ward in the hospital to deliver gifts and, with their permission, to pray over the parents and their sick kids. There were many Muslim children and families who were grateful and open to prayer! In the Golan Heights, we explored a military war bunker that overlooked Syria and Lebanon where we prayed over both of those countries asking God for peace and neighborly love between Israel and her neighbors. We got to take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, where we had a time of worship and also got to learn a traditional Jewish dance. So much fun! That was one of my favorite things we did! The area of the Sea of Galilee was so peaceful and beautiful! That is the area where Jesus centered His ministry here on Earth. There was such a wonderful sense of God’s presence there! In Jerusalem, we saw all the important sights like the Wailing Wall and the Temple Mount, which is where Solomon’s Temple once stood and has been occupied by the Muslims for hundreds of years.
The Old City of Jerusalem is split into four quarters: Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Armenian. It is a fascinating city that I so wish I’d have had more time to explore!
Our guide had a wonderful friend who had a small apartment and rooftop patio right on the Via Dolorosa (the street where Jesus walked carrying His cross) overlooking the Temple Mount where we got to hear her story. Though we were surrounded by a city of strife, it was amazingly peaceful! At the end of our tour, our group had bonded in amazing God-blessed ways and we were all sad to depart.
My travel friend and I then went off on our own to Jordan for a couple days to see Petra. What an adventure! We both were a bit fearful to go, but we looked fear in the face and said “NO!! We will not bow down to you!” We saw so many amazing things and never felt any fear. Our guide was warm and hospitable and we fell in love with her. She taught us so many things about her country and the many Biblical sights that are located there. Mount Nebo, which is in the ancient land of Moab (modern day Jordon), is where Moses ascended right before he died to see the Promised Land.
The next day we saw Petra, which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! We experienced a major dust storm and then due to a blizzard coming in, had to change our plans last minute, taking a four-hour drive to Ammon, the ancient city of the Ammonites.
When I open my Bible now, it comes to life in a whole new way! You can read about all of these places in the Bible. What an experience! There is so much more to say, but I haven’t room for it.
Overall, my trip to Israel and Jordan were excellent adventures for me and not once did I feel fearful for my life in any way. It is a life changing experience that I believe everyone needs to have at least once in their lifetime.