Holy Land Day 1

Today was our first day of sightseeing and exploring. I am still in great disbelief that I am even here! God is so amazing. As we traveled into the Church of Nativity and touched the spot where Jesus was born, it all became so real for me. People of all ethnicities, religions, and cultures cramming and pushing to see such a significant monument. As we continued on our journey and made it to the Shepherd’s field, it was so amazing to just look out and witness where Jesus’ birth was first proclaimed. My excitement was unimaginable. I can’t even begin to understand how the Shepherds must have felt after the Angel appeared to them.
Seeing Mount of Olives was overwhelming. There is so much to see and comprehend. I have so many questions! I couldn’t wait to see the Western Wall. There I placed my prayers along with my mom’s and sister’s, and felt such peace. Watching the Jewish people cry, laugh, and engage while the children play is so incredible, you just don’t know who to look at first. Everyone is just so unique.
Nothing was what I expected it to be, and there are no words or pictures to describe how beautiful it is.


It is such an honor and blessing to be in Israel and tour the Holy Land with Crossroads. For a number of years I have dreamt of walking in the footsteps of Christ. To be physically present on the very ground where Jesus was born, raised, went into ministry, performed miracles, and then paid the ultimate sacrifice on the cross…for all of us.  My heart is full of awe and amazement as we walked from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, to sit in Shepherd’s Field imagining the bright light to announce His birth, and then to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, witnessing the actual walls Jesus walked through into the city.

As I traveled on foot through the city, I prayed for numerous people of different faiths, asking God to reveal Himself in such a real way that there would be no denying the One and Only True God. A God of LOVE and GRACE.

I am anxious to meet the people of RCO tomorrow and then serve the children for the next four days of VBS Camp. To share the LOVE of Christ through our stories, songs, crafts, and activities are part of our mission and purpose for this trip.

It is a blessing to see God’s word come to life while touring this land. There has been so much in just one day…that I get excited for tomorrow, the next day, and the next…expectant to learn more, with a real sense of the life and presence of Christ.



Holy Land Day 2

I came here to the Holy land with a heart for Muslims, especially after going through our training videos and books. Today being at a church in an Arab community singing praise songs, worshipping, and speaking with Arab believers gave me a heart not only for Muslim people, but for Arab people in particular. I  feel like I was being reminded that politics has no place in Christianity. If Jesus hadn’t showed us his heart for all people and told us to go out into all nations with the word/ the Good news, there would be no hope for us today. Arab people are very sweet people if they are given a chance. Today reminded me this is exactly why we are here on this trip.



Today we had the privilege of attending church in Ramallah at the location where we will be conducting the VBS over the next 4 days.  It was a privilege and an honor to join together with the local people in worship.  As I sat in service, much of which was conducted in Arabic, I was in awe of the beauty of strangers joining together as brothers and sisters in Christ to worship our amazing Savior.  It did not matter which language was being spoken, the congregation was a symbolic representation of different nations and cultures joining together with a common love for Christ, each other, and a mission to further God’s Kingdom.  In the doorway of the church there was a cross that hung in between the church’s theme verse for the year (John 15:7) and a sign displaying the words “I love you.”  This display captured the heart of this church and all who gathered in it today, in that God sent His son to die on a cross because of His love for us and, as stated in John 15:11 (ESV) “Great is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you”


Holy Land Day 3

Today is the first day of VBS and you can feel the excitement of the team in the air. After breakfast we made our way outside of the Jerusalem Tower Hotel to wait for our bus, to take us on the 45 minute drive to the city of Ramallah in Palestine.

The street in front of the hotel is narrow and difficult for buses to travel down, so it is imperative that we are ready when it arrives. Once in front of us, the bus will stop and block all traffic until we are onboard.

After entering the bus, it really hit me that this adventure we were embarking on has started; a mission that The Holy Spirit had for us to help a Christian church in a Muslim territory.

Such an awesome feeling it is knowing that we will be bring the word of our Lord Jesus Christ to a part of the world that is primarily taught Muslim teachings.

At the RCO, the team has been split up into three categories:
1 Crafts
2 Puppet show (Jesus is The Truth)
3 Games
My favorite category is Games because that is the location I will be in. We have set up a variety of Games (Corn hole toss, Ring toss, Ladder toss along with a Frisbee game which was a total failure). The kids enjoyed the games but it was the youngest kids that made the game area the best of all activities for the day. For the little ones we brought out bubbles. All the little ones wanted to catch the bubbles instead of playing the other games. They took turns with the wand to make bubbles which meant Don and I were extremely soapy and wet at the end of the day.

God does so much for all who reach for Him; and today I reached up for Him and He filled my heart with Love and Joy by being with these children.

Gene L.

Today was the first day of VBS, with the theme of Superheroes, just like here at Crossroads. When the children arrived at 10am, there was so much excitement from them and their parents. The children were all given a t-shirt and put into three groups according to their age. We had three different activities for the kids. One group went to outdoor sports, another went to a puppet show and the third group went to crafts. I worked in the craft group. The kids all received a backpack with a picture of Superheroes stenciled on the bag. We had fabric markers for the kids to color the picture on their backpacks. It was such a wonderful feeling watching how excited and happy the kids were to be able to be at VBS. I feel very blessed to be able to be here and help.

Marilyn L.

Holy Land Day 4

This was our 2nd day to help with VBS. I have to say I can’t wait to hear the laughter each day!
Yesterday I was able to work with the puppet story. It was amazingly fun to play the part of the little boy whose role it is to share the truth. We taught the kids English and they taught me Arabic.

Today I was in the games group, and we taught the kids about loving and helping each other.

It’s wonderful how the children protect their siblings and stay very close to them to make sure that they’re OK.
They are so thankful for the smallest little plastic ring or a balloon, a sticker, a hug, a smile. To be content with something so easily accessible for any of us to share with them. This entire trip has proven to be very humbling.

A few of us talked over coffee yesterday about being aware of our surroundings and every word we say. I realize how many things I said or heard one of us say out of pure observation that may hurt the feelings of someone who lives here.

For example…we may casually mention observations such as…why do they have food out on the streets, or trash on the sides of the road, or look–how they hang clothes out of their windows, or why are their rules for eating or drinking during the time of Ramadan.I’ve never been more aware of how powerful our words are.

I’m surrounded by very humble servants doing God’s work with so few supplies and so few amenities. These people are an example to us all.

Each day I’m praying for the gift to listen more. Please Lord help me see these people as you would, and enjoy every moment. Help me embrace the change coming over who I am.
God is showing me how to be more like Him and how far away from that I can be without even knowing it.

I can’t wait to see the rest of what God does with us all.

I’m missing my husband because he also went on an international missions trip during the same time that I came here, and we are in different parts of the world serving God. I know we are both experiencing God’s power like never before!

Thank you Lord for giving us both the ability to serve you and experience the Holy Spirit in a way we never imagined. Amen.

Gala R.

Holy Land Day 5

I was able to come to Israel last year on the 2016 team and I am very blessed to be able to return this year.  Children came up to me with big smiles and excitement as they blurted out, “You were here last year!”  I remember many of them and am so glad to work with them again.

Day three of VBS is over.  The time is going so fast.  So far, in the craft rotation, we have made backpacks and posters, and today we made Superhero masks.  The children loved creating colorful and unique masks.  Many of them wore their mask for the rest of the day!

The best part of today for me was the moment when one of the boys was leaving. He turned around, ran back to me and gave me a big hug.  He melted my heart.  What a blessing.

Sharon C.

Ramla church is a small church made up of Arab-Israelis. It is lead by local leaders mentored and disciplined by RCO, and is a church on fire. This tiny church praised God with such loud and beautiful praise that I was sure the walls of the building were vibrating, making music so that the people outside passing by heard them.  I got chills as the spirit was truly at work in this place.

The love of God also showed as every attendee personally greeted and thanked all the Crossroads team.  God’s love lives in here. This church will and is impacting Israel.

Kerry C.

June 6
Our Team is so excited and ready to return to bless the children of RCO.  There will be puppets, games and crafts.  Above all there will be Jesus.  Yesterday, when we were setting up, the missionary’s own children were watching us and were so excited to see the little puppet that we were practicing with. They were playing, singing, and dancing with us. I just can’t wait to see what the children of RCO Church do when they experience them today.
The Scripture of the day for our VBS: John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

June 7
Day 3 of VBS Scripture: Ephesians 4:32 ” be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Looking forward to another day of VBS at RCO with the children. I am in the process of building bonds, watching our team just love on these kids.  They are so excited that we’re here and able to show them the love of Jesus in action.

1 John  3:18–  “Little children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.”  I have watched this amazing team do just that.  There have been personal struggles but you would never know, because they came here to serve.  And that is what they’ve done.   They love on the kids of RCO and each other. They play with them and tell them about Jesus, His love, and what He can do in all of our lives.

I am blessed beyond words and am grateful God gave me the opportunity to be here.
Thanks to my family, friends and Bible study group,co workers and husband who loved me enough to send me out with love on this  journey

Denise J.

Here is what’s happening through the puppet team members’ eyes:

Being able to play the part of David was my favorite. I got to learn the value of forgiveness and making new friends. Plus, best of all, I got to be the puppet that gave his heart to Jesus. Now Jesus is my new Super Hero. Oh yes, playing David was the best puppet of all for me.

Telling the gospel story through the voice of a puppet causes children to be attentive to the message. This is such a fun way to bring about the simple truth that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is FULL of love, FORGIVES us, and is always FAITHFUL.

At first I was very hesitant to do puppets… Now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It’s so exciting seeing the kids light up and interact with the puppets. Being able to bring Jesus into our skits, and for the children to understand it even with the language barrier, is truly a blessing.

Being a part of the puppet team has been a blessing.  It is completely out of my comfort zone, but I love watching how God has equipped each team member with what we need each day in order to get his message across.  It has been a great reminder that God is in control, and if we truly give it all up to Him He will use everything in mighty ways.

Holy Land Day 6

It has been a real privilege for me to be on this trip. Today is my 79th birthday and I was sung to by the team as we left the hotel. There were even some that were “on key.” As someone said to me, this is a birthday that I will truly remember. At VBS, I was one of the team members that worked the sports, and two of the older boys, in the middle of a game, came up to me and said “how old are you really?” I could not read their reaction when I said 79 but I like to think it was surprise.

Since we have been here, I have had the honor to share twice a short message on the humbleness of Christ as he washed the disciples feet. The first time it was last Sunday and then again on Tuesday evening at a different church.

The contrast that we have seen as we drive from Jerusalem to RCO for the VBS is very obvious and stark:  environment well-developed and green, versus some devastation and dry-dusty streets and areas. Interestingly, on the wall on one side is a graffiti sign that says: one wall – two prisons. As you think about that, it is also true about our personal relationships. If you put up a wall between yourself and anyone else, there are restrictions that are now imposed on both parties. Need to question if it is worth putting up the wall.

We are anxious to start the tour portion of our trip but sad to leave the kids of RCO behind.

Mike U.

What a week we have had!  New experiences, meeting new friends, and enjoying about 90 beautiful children at VBS.  Each day has brought different joys, excitement, and laughter.  The children are divided into 3 age groups.  I have been helping in the crafts section, and each age group handles the crafts a little differently.  The little ones need more help of course, but they all enjoy what they are making. It’s bittersweet to have to say goodbye to those little faces that I have come to love.

This is also a wonderful way to celebrate Mike’s birthday over here in RCO Church.  A birthday he will never forget.  We are embarking on a new adventure tomorrow morning, to be able to see where Jesus lived while here on earth.  I am sad about leaving RCO, but at the same time I can hardly wait to be walking where Jesus walked.  I am so blessed to be able to be here, and I wish to thank each and every one of you who made the ” impossible ” … possible.

Diane U.

Holy Land Day 7

It’s really interesting going on a missions trip to the Holy Land with Global Outreach.
The first week is always dedicated to VBS and the second week is more of a tour.  I honestly didn’t know this when Don and I signed up and found out we were going to VBS at RCO Church before touring the Holy Land.  Gulp!

But the Lord knows each and every one of us. He establishes the perfect team each and every time.

Day 1-  I saw this little boy with cute blue glasses. I fell in love with him and his sisters even though they didn’t speak one word of English. I complimented their parents when they picked them up and found out after they left that they only go to camp but do not attend church.  It was also shared with me that the husband attended the same camp at RCO when he was a child.
There was going to be a special service our last night at camp where the parents were invited to attend and hear Pastor Chuck speak.  It became my mission to get this family to church.

Day 2- the mom came for lunch and when I told her about the event, she said she wasn’t coming. She also got in trouble for coming to camp during the day so she was asked to leave and I wasn’t sure if I would see her again. (I prayed)

Day 3- I looked for them during pick up but never saw them.  (I prayed)

Day 4 – I saw the mom at pick up and invited her again that evening telling her how much I thought of her children.  She smiled with no reply.
That night we were in church and my new friend McKenzie leaned over and suggested we pray for the family. My husband nodded during service – the mom came!
I ran up to “Y” and gave her a hug. She probably thinks I’m a freak. I could only say, “I hope you feel the love and peace here.”  She smiled and said yes.
In a dream world, she accepted Christ on the spot and her life is changed forever.  I’ll  most likely never know what happened with “Y” but I will continue to pray for her and the family.

The bottom line is I’m having fun with this latest adventure with Jesus.  Different country, different cultures but still the same mission wherever we go. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”  Romans 1:16)

-Lisa Mo.

Like Mike Underwood yesterday, I have the pleasure of spending my birthday in the Holy Land. We traveled to Caesarea Maritime and  the highest point on Mt Carmel. Pastor Chuck preached the word of God in areas where the Apostle Paul led the first gentiles to Christianity and the prophet Elijah prayed and called down fire from heaven to show the prophets of Baal they worshiped a false god. It truly made the Bible come alive for each of us.

However, I’m still dealing with yesterday. The last day of the VBS at RCO took place yesterday. It included Pastor Chuck and Pam joining us. They flew all night but wanted to be there after a brief sleep. They saw the joy of all who served and the beauty of each child at the camp. Later that day, Pastor Chuck spoke the word of God to at least 200 people gathered at RCO. Afterward, the church put out delicious food and we shared stories of the camp time with the parents who joined us. What a fantastic experience this has been. Our service time at RCO has concluded, but the people there have a big part of my heart.

Each night the leaders of this trip hold a debriefing to help us process what we experienced during the day. I purposely refrained from sharing my feelings because I knew it would just lead to tears.  There were several people who made such an impact on me emotionally, so I was not really ready to move to the touring portion of the Holy Land. “D”, “N1”, “N2”, “F”, “S”, “Y” and others were part of an experience that I will never forget and will hopefully repeat, God willing. I was missing them already. Some are Christian and some are Muslim but that didn’t matter. We connected because of the type of love that Jesus provides through the Holy Spirit. (names abbreviated for privacy and safety)

Don M.

Holy Land Day 8

Today is our ninth day visiting Israel, and the second day on our sojourn experiencing the life of Christ and His teachings.

Our team has been challenged by Pastor Chuck’s teaching and asked to discover incredible moments of God for our lives as we travel through the Holy Land together. For a number of days, I’ve been looking forward to our visit in Nazareth, as Jesus was raised from a child to a man there, was educated, played and worked there, and proclaimed His Lordship in the synagogue to those in His hometown.

As we sat in the replica synagogue in the Nazareth Village, I could just imagine His strength and resolve as He read the scroll with the prophetic words from Isaiah announcing the coming of the Messiah and then proclaiming that it was Him. We don’t have to look any further…Jesus Christ is right here, ready to become Lord of our lives, to allow us to live the life He created us for…right here, right now!

What a joy it was to hear one of our tour guides, Daniel, tell us of his realization of Jesus the Messiah, and his conversion when he claimed him as his Lord. My amazement of his conversation came as he started off telling us he is Jewish. His story truly blessed me and I was filled with emotion because so many aspects of my life with high school students seemed so parallel.

Daniel came from a large Jewish family. As a child, he expressed his curiosity of the New Testament. His family told him to stay away from reading the New Testament as it was was true and would hinder his Jewish faith. Like many 14 year olds, he heard his family’s warnings but did not heed and started reading everyday.

The Lord Jesus revealed Himself in a mighty way, and Daniel accepted Him as his Savior and is living for him by sharing his beautiful conversion story with the many visitors who frequent the village.

So, what is the parallel connection with Daniel’ conversion and Crossroads Christian High School? At CCHS we strive to be a God-First environment and present knowledge and information so that our students can live out God’s purpose in their lives. We believe that all knowledge is based in the word of God, and use it as our foundation when seeking truth and understanding. Our staff works tirelessly to present life-experience with content, and we challenge our students to critically think and connect knowledge and information to develop a God perspective to guide their purpose.

Just as God revealed the truth to Daniel in his teen years, God reveals the truth when we diligently seek a deeper relationship through His word and prayer. Daniel is one of three Christians in his large Jewish family. He asked us to pray for them…and we all agreed that we would.

I believe in the POWER of God’s word and in prayer…and the more I travel in this land where Jesus Christ lived, taught, performed amazing miracles, and paid the price for our sins, the more my faith is solidified and I’m confident in my resolve to live for Him!!!

Joleen S.

Today it was awesome standing at the top of Mount Tabor, the sight of Jesus’s Transfiguration. Then in Cana of Galilee was my time of feeling God’s presence. We listened to Daniel who told us he is a Jewish believer. Then he showed us how Jesus, after being handed a scroll of Isaiah, looked through it until He came to the place that predicted His coming and purpose.

His coming. Just watching Daniel teaching us with a Jewish accent was so “real.” Then when Chuck began to teach us more about this event, I could feel Jesus right there among us. Today is truly why I came on this trip.

Joe W.

Holy Land Day 9

Today we went up to where Jesus preached the Sermon on The Mount near the sea of Galilee . Pastor Chuck preached on Matt. 5.1-12,  The Beatitudes. Here is where Jesus would go up to the mountains to pray .
I had a beautiful moment with the Lord tenderly encouraging me and loving me as I’m sure he does to everyone who draws near to him.  James 4.8
I was filled with the presence of the Lord, and tears came  running down my cheeks.  I found myself weeping not only for my sins, but sins of the world, all nations. Why do we come up against each other instead of loving one another ?  I prayed and he answered.  Isaiah 65.24-25 “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs,I will go ahead and answer their prayers.”
The wolf and the lamb will feed together.  The lion will eat like the ox. Poisonous snakes will strike no more. In those days, no one will be hurt or destroyed  in my holy mountain.   I The LORD have spoken!”
Thank you Lord for your faithful promises.

This day has been an experience of a lifetime.  We visited so many places where Jesus walked, taught, and performed the great miracles of love over and over.
Matt. 5.25.  The women with the issue for over 12 years had the faith to believe that with just one touch by Jesus she would be well.  I’m sure that each of us, sometimes, forget that Jesus came so that he could heal.

Today is just another reminder of how God has so much love and compassion for all of us . We have redemption from our sins. All we need is Jesus and he will touch us and heal us right where we are: Holyland, Corona, Norco, Brea ,HB, LaMirada or wherever you meet him today.    Love you bunches!

Denise J.

What stands out to me today is one thing… LOVE
Jesus loved us all so much and we were created to love Him and love each other the way He loves us … unconditionally.

Today I stood in Caesarea Philippi, at one time so dark and evil where they worshiped their god pan, but Jesus came and brought His light because He loves the unlovable.
This is where He asked his disciples “who do you say I am?”

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 16:15-19 KJV   http://bible.com/1/mat.16.15-19.kjv

I’m so grateful I know the answer when someone asks me who Jesus is.
I’m so grateful He brought unconditional love and light into my life.

I also stood In Capernaum, listening to the story of the woman who touched Jesus’ garments. In the huge crowd with so many people, He still saw her need and felt her touch.
“But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”
Mark 5:33-34 KJV   http://bible.com/1/mrk.5.33-34.kjv

I’m so grateful that when I reach out to Jesus, He sees me in the huge crowd and He recognizes what I need.

6 years ago today, I was blessed by God to marry my soulmate John Romano, and my life was changed forever.
As I sit here thinking of my amazing Husband, I realize God always knows what I need, and He saves the very best for us if we wait.
I also know He never wants us to be alone. We were all meant to be together and comfort each other.

Only God could send 16 people all the way to Israel, and two of us are celebrating our anniversaries on the very same day far away from the ones we love.

Love you boyfriend
Happy anniversary Joe and Sherri

Gala R.

Holy Land Day 10 & 11

It has been 5 days since I first blogged for the team, and we have gone through so many experiences it will be hard to summarize them, so I am going to hit only a few of the highlights as I see them.

We spent several days around the Sea of Galilee, and I was surprised to learn that about 70% of Jesus’ teaching happened in this area:  Nazareth (his home town), Capernaum (his “headquarters”), the place on the shore where (after His resurrection) he cooked fish for His Apostles. We even had the opportunity to view a semi-restored fishing boat that has been dated back to Jesus’ time. On our last evening in Tiberius (where we were staying), we went out on the lake in a fishing boat that was the same size as they would have used. We had a luxury of power – but they only had ‘arm’ power. Just as we pulled out from the dock, the crew raised the Stars and Stripes and played our National Anthem. The rest of the hour the Star of David and the Stars and Stripes flew together. There is meaning there.

Yesterday we left Tiberius and followed the Jordan River to two amazing places in my opinion. The first was Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We learned about the Essenes Scribes who had lived there and their meticulous work in copying the Old Testament on the scrolls. Each stroke had to be examined by 7 separate people to ensure everything was accurately copied. They had ritual bathing before and after writing. They worked together — meticulously working on the scrolls. If there was 1 error – the scroll was destroyed and they started from the beginning again. The book of Isaiah took 7 scrolls. In terms of today’s dollars, a scroll would cost about $20,000. But their meticulous work paid off because we have proof that the Old Testament that we use today is the same as it was 1000s of years ago.

The second one was the place on the Jordan River where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Diane and I were both baptized (again) there, and our emotions were easily seen by all. It was also interesting that at this point in the Jordan River, it is quite narrow and there was a group of people on the Jordan side of the river also being baptized. Sort of interesting what can happen when we get the politics out of the way.

This morning we started in the Garden of Gethsemane. The garden was set aside as a historical area in the 1600s, and there is a small chapel built around the rock on the location where it is believed that Jesus prayed. We spent almost an hour in the garden in personal and individual reflections. Again, emotions right on the surface.

The middle of the day we spent looking at the excavations that have been done around the Eastern side of Jerusalem. They believe that they have found a corner of King Solomon’s palace. We did have a strange occurrence. Our group of 16 ended up getting divided into two sections – quite unintentionally. We were supposedly headed to view the base stones for the wall around Jerusalem that dates back to the time of Christ. We were descending a circular construction staircase while a large group was trying to use the same staircase to go up. Our first 8 people made it down before the group came up. The remainder of our group (with me in the lead) had to wait for a break. The first group turned right—however no one in the second group knew about the turn so we kept going. The tunnel was very narrow, slippery in some areas, poorly lit, and a challenge in nature. About 600 meters later we are at the pool of Siloam. That took us about 45 minutes to negotiate. The first group had arrived at their destination in 5 minutes. As it turns out, we were the first tourists ever to go down that particular tunnel that they are excavating. It was a real adventure to say the least!

We closed the day listening to Pastor Chuck’s teaching as we sat on the very steps that led up to the Temple in Jesus’ time. In fact, he may have stood where I was siting while he was teaching. Talk about a humbling experience!
God Bless,
Mike U.

The last two days have been phenomenal. Yesterday we drove from Tiberius to Qumran where, in the 1950’s, preserved scrolls were found in the mountain caves near the Dead Sea. Excavation near the caves has also uncovered the living area of the Essenes who copied the Old Testament scrolls and put them in pots to be stored and preserved to prove the Bible has not changed since its original writings. God preserved His word as He stated He would.

The next stop was En Gedi which is an oasis area next to the Dead Sea. This area has natural springs in the mountains that create waterfalls and pools. It also has many natural caves. So many, in fact, David and his men hid from King Saul in them. It’s easy to see why David went there to hide and live temporarily.

Lunch and celebrating Missy Robbin’s birthday in Jericho was followed by baptisms in the Jordan river just north of the Dead Sea. This was a wonderful experience. Pastor Chuck baptized my wife Lisa, me and most of the others in our group. We were literally just a few feet from the country of Jordan in the vicinity near where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. We were all blown away by the moving of The Holy Spirit.

Next up was mud bathing in the Dead Sea.  So we got covered with mud and then floated around in the water. Our skin was super sausage from the heavy salt content.

Today was just as exciting. We started by going to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus would come to this very area to pray. We also went to the adjacent garden where the Apostles fell asleep instead of praying with Him. We had this garden to ourselves for 45 minutes. Pastor Chuck taught and we spent 30 minutes quietly seeking God in prayer and listening. It was a beautiful time dedicated to God’s glory and Will for our lives.

We then went to the City of David which is buried beneath the current city. Our guide Judah shared his humor and knowledge of what archeologists have found and how it backs up the very Word of God in the Bible. You have to want pretty desperately to be atheist to hear and see this and still not believe in the God of the Bible.

We took a twenty minute walk thru King Hezekiah’s tunnel which brought water from outside the walls of Jerusalem to the people inside. The entire walk was in the water as it still flows today. It was exhilarating. This walk ended at the Pools of Siloam where ritual bathing was done before going to the temple. This is also the place where Jesus healed the blind man on the sabbath.

We then continued underground to the base of the western wall. Well, at least some of us made it there. Others made a wrong turn and ended up at the Pools of Siloam again. I guess they needed extra cleaning of their sin!

We ended the day with more Bible study in the Psalms of the Ascent. They are psalms 120-134. We walked the steps that Jesus walked to enter Jerusalem. He forgave the adulteress woman here also.

Needless to say we are all in awe of what we have learned and how it is changing our lives.

Don M.

Holy Land Day 12

I cannot believe that we have to leave The Holy Land in the morning.  This has been an incredible experience for me in so many ways.  They were asking tonight what my high and low was for the trip, and I have had so many highs that I wasn’t able to express them all.  The low was leaving the children who I fell in love with at RCO and some of the mothers too.  It was a joy to be there and work with the kids and meet some of the parents.  To meet Michael and his lovely wife Jackie along with his parents.  What a wonderful, Godly family they are.  I am so glad I was able to meet them.

Touching the stone that was there where Jesus was nailed to the cross was another emotional experience for me.  All I could think of was…”thank you God, for sending your only Son down here to this cruel world to take all that abuse and die…just for us.”  I am personally so thankful that God planned it all so perfectly that when we looked inside that tomb…it was empty.

I do wish to thank each and every one of you on our team for always being there for me.  Helping me up and down stairs, patiently waiting for me to climb the hill, helping me over the slippery rocks in the dark caves…you all helped me and I am grateful.  It’s been such a pleasure to be traveling with such a great team.  I love you all. Lisa and Missy you have done a super job keeping all of us in line, making sure we drank our water, making us be on time for the bus every day, and making sure we didn’t leave anyone behind.  We did pretty well until some of us made that wrong turn…but it was actually something that the rest of you missed out on…being the first tourists to go down that long, long, long, tunnel!!!  I am praising God that Mike and I were able to make this trip together and with all of you.  Love you all dearly.

Diane U.

On day twelve of our trip on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane, Pastor Chuck explained how Jesus asked His disciples in Luke 22:40 to Pray that they would not enter into temptation. In Matthew 26:36-45, Jesus was disappointed that they could not stay awake to pray with Him. I started to think how much I am like the disciples. At night I start with good, sincere intentions, but I too fall asleep. When Pastor Chuck gave us time to pray in the Garden, I felt Jesus spoke these words to me…”If Peter had prayed for just one hour to resist falling into temptation, would Peter have been able to resist the temptation to deny he knew Jesus three times? Would Peter have had enough Faith to overcome his fear? Would Judas have had second thoughts about betraying Jesus that very day?” Wow, What could I do better tomorrow if I spent more time with the Lord in prayer today? Think about it. Jesus has good reasons for asking us to pray. If only we obeyed and took the time to pray, what could we do better?

Joe W.

Holy Land final posts

Today is our last day in The Holy Land.  I’m still processing so much that it’s hard to decide what to write about.   As I reflect on the last 2 weeks, I keep thinking about the extremes we are seeing in people’s faith here. 

The only word I can think of to describe this part of the world and what I have experienced is “exhausting.”  There are laws and rituals being done at almost all times.   One sector has gone from the Ten Commandments to now 618 Laws.  To give you an example, the elevators in a hotel we stayed at had one that stops on every floor on Sabbath because pressing buttons for the floors would require them to “work” that day.  

It happened to be Ramadan here, so another sector is fasting from all food and drink (even water) during daylight.  Five times a day we heard the “call to prayer” coming out loud from speakers in the mosque minarets.  People are supposed to stop what they are doing and pray.   This itself isn’t bad but the blaring loud voice coming from the towers all around was strange.  On Fridays this goes on for a few hours. 

All in all we have seen some amazing sights here with the Crossroads Global Outreach team, and my life has changed forever because of this trip.  What I do know coming home is how much I appreciate the freedom I have in Jesus Christ that I cannot take for granted. 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;”  Ephesians 2:8 NASB

Thank you Jesus!
Lisa Mo.


Here is a blog with highlights that Pam Booher would like to share of her experience on this trip:
What an AMAZING Holy Land trip we have had this year! As I think back to the 12 days I have been here with our team, I am so very thankful to RCO church for allowing us to serve alongside with them!! The Kakish’s and church leaders are a family, and they are true examples of Jesus in the ways they love on our teams!! We just LOVE them!!

Last night in our last group meeting together we had the opportunity to share our highs and lows. So many of the group shared that their highs were being with the kids at the VBS or Summer Camp as they call it! I understand why too… Chuck and I got there on the last day and I saw them love on the CUTE kids as they served them. PLUS, I got to see the kids LOVE on our team in so many FUN ways as they interacted with them!

I just LOVE our Crossroads team! Their hearts to serve and LOVE on the kids AND the staff at the RCO church!

Once we left RCO we headed north on the bus together. For me, I LOVE the bus rides! I got to know some of our team because we had long stretches of time to talk. It made me realize I need to make time for the people I love at home… to have long stretches of time to talk… 🙂

As we went to see the Holy sites… we got to hear from Chuck as he shared the significance of each site. I LOVED it! He gave us “one thing” to focus on each day. I know God was working on my heart the whole trip! PRAY FERVENTLY is what kept coming to mind EVERY DAY!  I heard God LOUD and clear as we were in the Garden of Gethsemane… 🙂

Being here… where Jesus walked and taught is truly a blessing! My heart is changed!
Pam B.