Photos and commentary from Israel
Well we made it back safely, Praise God. I gave Jim the rest of the memory sticks from the camera and he has already sent out a few pictures from Israel to family and friends. Here are a few that caught his eye. I want you to know, except for the dome of the rock (where my Bible was confiscated and held at the entrance by the Muslims) and Petra (where we walked on very rough terrain), I have carried my Bible around Jerusalem, it is as traveled as I was. It is going to take a lot of time to process the trip to Israel, but I have been abundantly blessed by God, it truly was a pilgrimage.
I am eager to get to your sites, have already slept 7 hours and need more sleep to get my body back on target.
Here are a few pictures:
These are Israeli soldiers getting ready to be sworn in for their three year tour of duty. Boys have to serve three years, girls two. It actually felt safe to have them around as we walked through Israel. There was a big celebration going on at this site where the soldiers were waiting to be sworn in. We were near the temple walls (you can see them to the right of the truck), it was a world peace day. They had children singing and dancing and tons of people had gathered to celebrate.
Our second day was spent around the Sea of Galilee, and we rode out on a boat that looked like this one, singing hymns, dancing and seeing what the Sea of Galilee would have looked like in Jesus’ time. Pastor Don pointed out that it looks so much like our area’s reservoir. In fact on our drive home to the church from the airport, we took a glance at our reservoir and it does look like what we saw from this boat.
There were 12 of us who chose to be baptized on this trip, I am here with Pastor Don and Mrs. Moore just a few seconds before being baptized, I was sharing what I needed to with Pastor Don. I came out of the water so changed, sobbing with joy. God had given me the text of Haggai 2 the night before, I had been praying hard that this baptism would cleanse me from any strongholds that prevented me from doing His will completely. And what was contained in Haggai 2 seemed to follow me all through Jerusalem, and still impacts me. I was rather out of it after the baptism, the Holy Spirit was really cleansing me.
Pastor Don said that this site had changed so much since he was last here. This is the Garden of the Beatitudes, and Pastor Don said that he had previously been able to walk down the hillside and sit on the grass. The church has made nice paths, but the paths prevented us from wandering at will, we had gathered in this corner to hear a Bible study from Pastor Don. He pointed out that the last time he was here, he noticed the acoustics were so good that, when Jesus spoke to the multitude, they would have heard Him very well – Jesus picked the spots He used so that all could hear.
This is my friend Julie, she was getting ready to speak at the Garden Tomb, We took communion here and by far, our time spent here was the most important time for us as a group – for the tomb really is empty! We were so blessed and God showed up in a powerful way during our communion service. It seems that for us, as a group, the places that were most profound were the more natural sites, not built over by tons of edifices.
This is one of the stones found near the site of the Garden Tomb, it would have been rolled in front of a tomb entrance, in a channel that was carved out for it. I had my picture taken in front of it because I wanted you to see how big and heavy it was.
By the way you now see the Bible I use when I share my studies and next to the Bible is a small notebook held by my fingertips, I almost filled it up with notes from Israel that I will share over time.
These are just a few of the pictures, but I wanted to share what I could right away with you. I thought about you daily while I was in Israel, wanting you to see all possible. After some rest I will slowly start visiting you to see what has been going on in the ten days I have been gone.
Have a blessed night.
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