Dear Friends and Relatives,
The trip to Israel has come and gone but the memories and photos will continue to be mine. This truly was a trip of a lifetime with many deeply moving sites and experiences. I will try to highlight just a few of those.
Early on in the tour we went to where it is believed that Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea. Divers have actually found coral-encrusted chariot wheels buried deep under the water there in the Gulf of Aqaba.
My favorite places were the places Jesus walked. In Nazareth there is a village depicting what His life would have been like, a wonderful recreation with costumed guides. It was especially moving to go into the synagogue and to be reminded of Jesus entering. Picking up the scrolls He read from Isa. 61, “the Spirit of the Lord is on me; he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.” We saw a typical wine press and olive press as well as a home and carpenter shop and the tools that would have been handled by Jesus Himself.
I loved sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane among the 2000-year-old olive trees and wondering if Jesus sat under this very tree? Then remembering the crucial decision Jesus made there—”Not My will, but Thine be done”, and feeling ashamed at how I struggle over not getting my way in simple things. And then Golgotha and the Empty Tomb. This is me at the Tomb.
Another favorite spot was Ein Gedi where David hid in caves from King Saul. In the middle of the most barren wilderness is this gorgeous oasis with a waterfall and lush vegetation. Many ibex, small deer, roam the hills nearby and I thought of David’s psalm, “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after Thee Oh God.” It was well worth the seemingly hundreds of stone steps up to the waterfall and imagining David encouraging himself in the Lord at this place.
And lastly in the way of highlights for me was the Sea of Galilee where we had a boat ride to Tiberias. The guide read passages from the Gospels that pertained to Jesus and the Sea and we sang praise songs. It was a wonderful worship service to the One Who continues to calm our storms.
This only touches on a few things but I hope you get the idea of what a tremendous blessing it was for me to be able to go. Many of you were eager for me to have this privilege, and I am deeply grateful. Others care for us month by month, year by year, and for that I hope you know we are thankful.
Greg and Kathy