Our journey to ”Discovering Israel” began at the Newark, NJ International Airport on May 27, 2019, where 20 people met up to travel together. Our group consists of people from Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Twenty of us traveled together to Israel, where we met one more dear lady who came a day early- from Mexico. Many of us are meeting each other for the first time. I am reminded of how we meet so many new people in our lives. How will we impact and influence each other in the next 12 days?
Vernon gathers us around and gives us our first round of instruction, expressing to us some of the desires he has on his heart for this trip. We have a variety of people from various places and walks of beliefs, even speaking different languages. How will we love each other well? How can we care for each other on this trip?
After a 10.5 hour flight, we saw our first glimpse of Israel- Tel Aviv.
We observed the remarkable changing of the landscape from lots of green and pretty flowers to more barreness as we traveled south from Tel Aviv. “The wilderness is full of life, but most of it is out of sight,” says Stan, our Israeli guide.
It was a highlight to watch the sun set as we traveled to Mizpe Ramon. Stan informed us what they call the state bird of Israel, pictured above – the crane. The building crane. There. Now you have heard a national Israeli joke. ; ) On a more serious note, Stan also spoke to us about the history of Israel. He reminded us how the Text tells us that God has chosen this land as His Holy Land forever, and the Israelites were to live here and care for this Land, being His chosen nation, a kingdom of priests. We, as Gentiles, were grafted in. Many Christians believe that the Church has replaced Israel. What is the longing in the heart of God for those created in His image? Jesus prays it in John 17:22: Reading it in several different translations, I found there’s very little variation in translations. How can something that is so clearly stated be so misunderstood? “… that they may be one as we are one.”