See below for the team’s blog updates!
See below for the team’s blog updates!
Today we woke up and realized that we were on our final day in the Holy Land. Where did the time go?
Early in the morning, we rushed up to the Temple Mount and were near the front of the line. Some of us were filled with excitement, while others stood still in reverence of these ancient Holy grounds.
Once inside, we saw the Islamic Dome of the Rock in the middle of the Temple Mount. We later prayed (secretly since you aren’t allowed to pray) and asked Jesus to open the eyes and hearts of the deceived/lost. When looking at the the Dome of the Rock, we saw a slab of marble with what appeared to be a picture of something (naturally designed in the stone). The picture was surely evil in nature and depicted what appears to be the devil. We all believed this was the devil trying to mark his spot on the Dome of the Rock. We were told that the Islamic people tried multiple times to paint over it, without success. It reminded us that there is a constant spiritual war raging all around us.
Jesus has stirred our hearts and brought forth such powerful emotions; where we will never be the same! The Holy Land trip is something everyone needs to do at least once in their life!!
Today is the beginning of our last day in the Holy Land. It is an odd mix of cannot wait to see my family and still wanting to explore more.
Our first stop was Temple Mount. We stood with our backs to the Eastern Gate and looked towards where the new temple will be built. How can I accurately describe the thoughts and feelings of this experience? Even though Temple Mount is a complicated area due to religious tension, there is no denying the Holy Spirit’s presence.
We did some shopping and had lunch by the Jaffa Gate. Shopping here is not for the weak. You must be aggressive and barter! The best part? Aroma Coffee. Sorry Starbucks…they have you beat!
My final thought: pray for the peace of Jerusalem. My heart for the people and land has been forever changed.
Our travels today took us on a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, the City of David, the steps to the City, Hezekiah’s tunnel, and the Garden Tomb. As the days past, these sites, and messages shared by Pastor Chuck, taught us more about what Jesus did and said while he walked this earth.
Worship music accompanied our boat trip. Music to me is both magical and powerful. It was a beautiful trip. Many miracles, along with Peter’s restoration occurred around these waters.
Jesus tells us to follow Him and he will make us fishers of men. We are to cast our net, and live the higher calling. Are we doing this?
Traveling through Hezekiah’s tunnel was an adventure of darkness and about three feet of cold water, about twenty minutes end to end. Such fun. 😃
The Garden Tomb, where we were able to see Golgotha, walk into the empty tomb and take communion in the midst of the garden, evoked many emotions.
Jesus conquered death, with all its agony and humiliation.
This morning we took a boat trip on the the Sea of Galilee. Calm and clear. We discussed the long journey Christ and the disciples would have taken from the North end of the Sea to Jerusalem. We discussed the life that Peter would have had before becoming a deciple of Christ.
We then traveled back to Jerusalem. We walked Hezekiah’s tunnel which was both intriguing and challenging. The thought of the tunnel being carved out of solid rock was mind boggling.
We then toured the Garden tomb and Golgotha the Skull of stone. This place has some has very real possibilities of being the actual place where Jesus was crucified and buried. The physical location and the area has some compelling factors points to being the place of the Crucifixion, burial and resurrection. It was here that we took communion after hearing Pastor Chuck speak. A great way to end the day.
What a day. We traveled the upper third of Israel today. This part of the country is beautiful
We experienced a new place this year, Banias Falls. Banias Springs run through what is known as The Gates of Hell due to the sinful activity that took place there. The falls show the power of the water cutting through giant rock walls. All of this leading into the calm Jordan River where Jesus and many believers were baptized.
My thoughts and feelings of the day: God’s power is strong enough to cut a path from sin and distinction through mountains and He will surely provide calm waters in me with His great love.
Tuesday was a full day in an area where about 75% of Jesus’ miracles took place.
On our first stop we took a group picture at Banias Falls. This is one of the three rivers that flow into the Jordan River.
Caesarea Philippi was a dark place in Jesus’ time where any bad thing you could think of happened there. Jesus revealed to the disciples that even this place could not stand against His church.
In the area of Capernaum, at the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus spoke to large crowds and many miracles happened.
The Beattitudes Church.
The synagogue near Peter’s home.
By the shore and after His resurrection, Jesus revealed himself to the disciples and had great fellowship with them where they enjoyed a meal together.
We are so blessed to have Pastor Chuck and Pam here with us. His teachings have made everything so clear to understand. He has talked to us on over 25 different topics and has spoken over 4 hours during his times of teaching.
So much to take in and we are all in awe to be able to walk where Jesus walked, taught and performed miracles.
Monday was a very busy day. We left our hotel in Tiberius and went straight to Mount Tabor. Here is where Jesus, with Peter, James and John met with Moses and Elijah.
From Mount Tabor we went to Nazareth and saw an authentic 1st century village as it was in the time of Jesus. There we saw an olive press, wine press, cloth making and enjoyed a lunch typical for that time. This was the area where Jesus grew up and launched his ministry.
About 1/2 mile away was the church of the Annunciation. It is over the place which is traditionally believed to be the home of Mary, the mother of Jesus and where Gabriel told her that she was with child.
To the north of Nazareth is the town of Cana where Jesus’ first recorded miracle, turning the water into wine at the wedding feast.
At the urging of Jesus’ mother, 6 vessels (like this one) were filled with water and Jesus turned the water into wine.
I know that God is a God of miracles. We need to constantly pray and have faith that God will answer our prayers. Because of the unbelief of the people of Nazareth, Jesus could not do very many miracles there.
My prayer is that my faith will be strengthened and that I will believe unconditionally that God STILL is a God of miracles. I can relate to Mark 9:23-24.
‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!””
Mark 9:23-24 NIV
Word of the day: Life Change
Morning from the Sea of Galilee – 8 miles wide/60 miles long
In my opinion , If you didn’t know better you would think you are in rural Ventura County headed up the 101 – trees (Eucalyptus) and open areas.
Mount Tabor: We got off our bus to get into a 12 passenger van ride to the top, about 10 minutes.
We need to listen to Jesus
Asah Shama “ do it with all your might, then we will understand”. Keep in mind after we commit to Jesus there will be trials to test us, but stay the course.
We are all guilty of speaking before listening. Maybe ask yourself in those situations what would Jesus do, then answer. Then we will also be transformed.
The word of the day was “ Evangelistic” today..
After saying good bye to Sister Pasquel, we left the Rosary Sisters Convent (where we have stayed) for a 2 hour bus ride to Tiberius.
Mount Carmel; The road looks like we are going to Big Bear. Small town feel, with some custom homes with surrounding land. The view from the top is breathtaking.
This is where Elijah defeated 850 followers of Baal and Asherah by being totally committed to God.
We also need to be 100 percent committed, don’t give up , be persistent God loves to hear from us asking for our prayers to be answered. No matter the duration. To quote “ build it and they will come “
“That is why I am eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believe, first to Jews, then to the Gentiles. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteousness will live by Faith.”
I started my morning in the garden of the Convent in Israel, embracing the beauty all around me that God has placed before me. The olive trees, beautiful flowers and the sun bursting through the trees was just breath taking to know that God is preparing my day. Thank you Sister Pasqual and everyone who made our stay so pleasant.
Our lst stop today was Mt. Carmel. I saw a complete scenic view of, Megiddo, Caesarea, Jerusalem, Mt. Taber, Tel-Viv and so much more — it was absolutely stunning to see and it went on for miles. I could even see the Mediterranean sea. It was an AWE moment where you did not want to leave.
Our 2nd stop was at Megiddo where Elijah took a stand to his faith and made a commitment to God without any hesitation. Pastor Chuck’s teaching put things in perspective. I must put my armor of faith and be ready for His coming. Thank you Pastor Chuck for your awesomeness.
The 3rd stop was at Caesarea Maritime where Paul went to Caesarea fleeing for his life because he became a Christian and the Jews wanted him dead.
Being here I can sense the passion, love and strong faith that Paul had for Jesus. Once again, God showing me to be strong in my faith and continue to follow His word so I may one day reach the Kingdom of Heaven.
This entire day was so amazing feeling His presence, comfort and protection in my heart. Lord, I thank you everyday.
Today stirred so many emotions for us. We started off getting baptized in the Jordan River. This is the same river that John the Baptist did his ministry and baptized our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many were overpowered by emotions; ranging from peace in its purest form, to awe that was breath taking and exhilarating! A dove and butterflies flew over us as we were in the river; as if the Lord was saying “I’m right here with you!” Our God is amazing!
Next we moved on to En Gedi, the area that King David fled to from Saul. The Bible really came to life here.
We made a stop for lunch in Jericho; the city where the Lord took the walls down for his people as they marched around it. It’s mind blowing to stand on the ground where this miraculous event took place!
Finally, we finished up our epic day at the Dead Sea. While en route to the sea, we made a quick stop to view the cave where the majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The cave was high up in the mountain side, where they were well hidden and protected. The Dead Sea Scrolls proved the Bible’s authenticity and the fact it has remained unchanged. Once down at the Dead Sea, we got to float (you have no choice, you’re so buoyant in the salty water). Some of us also partook in the Dead Sea mud and did the traditional mud bath. What an experience!!
I believe each one of us is being touched by the Holy Spirit, in a way that only He can do!!
All week long the Lord has been whispering Ein Gedi to me as I drifted off to sleep. I was confused as to why He was, but of course I trusted in Him. The thing is, I injured my knee before I left for Israel, and it was extremely swollen. The hike up to the caves where David and his men hid from Saul and his army is way up the mountain. I thought about turning back, but the Lord said “Go”.
I ended up falling three times slipping on moss, but continued on. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13 is my life verse, and I clung to it like the stones around me. I got to the cave and the waterfalls and thanked the Lord! He then whispered, “You will always get back up because I am holding you.” I will never forget this day and I know that He is holding me now and forever.
What an incredible day in the Holy Land. Our group started the day walking the Stations of the Cross. All parts of this walk were meaningful, but we were especially blessed to be all alone on a portion of the actual street where Jesus carried His cross. After Pastor Chuck gave a mini-sermon, he invited us to sit down on that street and pray. Wow – I’m so glad he did because I think we all felt God’s presence and I won’t forget that time with the Lord. That old hymn “He walks with me and He talks with me” popped in my head and for some reason I ended up making a note in my phone about that song. Then I couldn’t stop humming it in my head.
Later, we stood on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. That is one of the best views I have ever seen. To look down from where Jesus was and will be and to see those city walls and to see all the places Jesus walked was incredible. On our walk down the Mount of Olives, we visited the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed on the night He was betrayed. On our way out of the Garden, a man started playing his violin and some of us stopped to listen to his moving version of that same old hymn and I found myself singing along in my head – “He walks with me and He talks with me…” Sometimes God surprises me with how clearly He hears us.
There is still so much to do and see on this Holy Land trip and I’m praying that God continues to keep us safe and that we can be His hands and feet wherever He needs us to be.
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’”
Isaiah 6:8 ESV
Amen and Amen.
Day Seven was a busy day of touring. We started off with a very close up view of the Eastern Gate that opens into Temple Mount. However, the gate is completely sealed up because it is known that the Messiah is going to enter from that gate upon His return. But whom or what can keep our God from fulfilling His plan and purpose…not a sealed up gate, that’s for sure!!!
The more I read the scriptures, study the historical proofs, and learn of the geological evidence, I am confident in this…God is the Lord of all, full of love, mercy, and grace. We are His children and He longs for us to seek Him and live-out His purpose for our lives. “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’” ~Acts 2:28 NIV
After walking the Via Delarosa, we went up to the Mount of Olives, walked down to the Garden of Gethsemane, and spent some quiet moments in the garden. We were given 30 mins. to find a quiet place to pray. This was a wonderful time as I prayed for my kids and grandkids (named everyone of them in chronological order, and without notes!!!). I prayed for my support team of women…the staff, learners, and parents at Crossroads Christian School. And as I prayed, I could only imagine that Jesus was in this same garden praying for all of His creation. “Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.”
~Psalm 86:4-7 NIV
I am blessed to be in Israel and that my Lord and Savior is very much alive today more than ever before. He is the triumphant one and only true God…and one day soon, He’s going to bursts through those Eastern Gates!
“For those who exalt themselves will be humble and those who humble themselves will be exalted”
This is my 3rd day being surrounded with God’s little children at RCO. They bring their big smiles and ready to start each morning to learn about God and sing His praises. I am so grateful and blessed. The Lord continues to bless me with each passing day. We went to Jerusalem/Bethlehem and it was breath taking . We visited the Shepard’s Field and The Church of Nativity. I saw the fields where the Shepherds tended to their sheep with care and protected them in the caves at night from any danger. I imagined the shepherds seeing the star of David and hearing the angelic announcement of our Jesus Christ. What a miraculous moment. When we arrived at The Church of Nativity I reflected upon His birth and death and how truly I am blessed that our God brought His only son into this earth to dwell amongst us to teach us His Word so we may one day enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Our God is an awesome wonder.
Today was a great day starting with the children we did VBS for. Working with the young tykes and doing sports with older kids was fun. Later we had a bubble fest with the littlest ones. The middle aged ones had fun when we played with the parachute.
Later in the day we traveled to Shepherds field. I was amazed at the conditions these men, the shepherds, endured. Sleeping in caves to protect their sheep. And it was these common men that the Angels brought forth the news that the King of Kings was born to both serve and to lead them all to hope ever lasting.
Today was the last day of VBS. What a day and week. Relationships were built and memories were made that will last a lifetime. My heart is singing, joyful, and full of love for the kids, RCO staff, and the Crossroads team. Lives have been changed by our great God this week.
Thank you Crossroads for sending a part of our church family to Israel, allowing this teem to represent you in a part of the world that does not know Jesus and now get to see Jesus love. You are giving hope to those that desperately need it.
Today is our last day at RCO.The time went by so quickly. The children have been completely the sweetest, loving, and very respectful to our Crossroad Team.
My heart jumped with excitement as the children came into the craft room ready to be creative today and as always, within minutes the children were engulfed with their craft. As they completed their master piece they were very eager to show it to me.
Their faces beamed with self-confidence as I expressed to them what a great job they had done with a high-five.
I have four young teen girls that I have grown very fond of in such a short time. Every morning as I would walk into RCO they would be waiting for me with excitement and lots of hugs.
My heart is sad and happy at the same time. The sad part is that I’m going to miss interacting with these four young girls.The Amazing part is that these girls blessed me more than they could have ever imagined.
Sharing with these girls that God is a loving God and only he can give them His inner peace as they go through their lives as teenagers. I will always remember them and keep them in my prayers.
Later that afternoon, our team visited the Israel Museum. There, I was able to reflect upon the finding of the Dead Sea scrolls. As I closed my eyes I could envision Samuel sitting on a wooden desk with an oil lamp burning taking his ink writing on the parchment about his walk with our Lord.
God is so awesome. What a blessing it has been working alongside brothers and sisters serving Christ together. Today is bittersweet. We finished our last day at VBS and I will miss the children and staff immensely. Our entire team along with 13 puppets sang “Praise Ye the Lord” for the finale. Hugs were exchanged and a few tears of sadness shed because we were leaving. The staff and children have touched our lives and we are forever changed.
Now we look forward to experiencing God in mighty ways as we tour the Holy Land.
Following VBS we loaded our bus and drove to Joppa which is located on the Mediterranean Sea. We walked through the historic city and learned about its Biblical history (Jonah, Peter’s time spent there, Simon the Tanner’s house). After a coffee break, we attended a worship service at the Ramla church. The church consists mostly of young, vibrant Arab Christians living in Israel. They love God with all their heart. We sang songs of praise and listened to a wonderful sermon. The evening ended with a time of fellowship. God’s presence was surely felt. Participating in the worship service reminded me that we are all one body and together we praise and serve an all powerful and loving God.
What an amazing day in the Holy Land! Within the last 24 hours we have: prayed at the Wailing Wall, slept for a few hours, worshipped at church, played soccer and played with the children of Ramallah, walked along the Mediterranean Sea, visited Joppa where Jonah started his journey running away from God landing him in the belly of a great big fish, saw Simon the Tanner’s House, and had the best shawarma sandwiches! We have done so much already and it is all with the best group of people!
For me, praying at the Wailing Wall was very impactful. Walking along the Mediterranean Sea and seeing all of the different colors in that ocean was such a joy and privilege I won’t forget. But.. what really stood out to me today was the love I saw with the children of Ramallah. Yes – they are fantastic soccer players and can pop bubbles faster than you can imagine, but they also have hearts full of love. They want to love and be loved. They bring light and joy into one area of the world that could really use more. Jesus is the light and joy we all need most and I can see Him working through these children. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 ESV
Today was our first day of VBS at RCO. We welcomed over 100 kids and staff for a four hour VBS. The team I work with is simply an amazing team of puppeteers. We have 3 rounds at 30 mins. each to teach the kids of God’s creation and deep love for all of us.
Tomorrow we will tell how God created each one of us so uniquely. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” ~Psalm 139:14 NIV. Then we will teach them of God’s great plan for all of us and how He created us to love Him, love others, and how to live-out His purpose. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
On our last day, we want the kids to know that God fulfills His promises for us as we are daily committed to Him. “Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.” ~2 Samuel 7:28 NIV.
The children of Ramallah are excited to come and hear God’s word. Please pray for our Crossroads Team as we strive to show God’s love in fun and creative ways.
6/10/19 Puppets with Heart ❤️
Today was day one of puppeteering for Jesus; bringing Him and His Word to the sweet children of Ramallah. The puppets were a tool to teach the children about Creation and all that it includes. Having the puppets “speak” to the children allows us more freedom to put the gospel out there for them, and to do it in a fun way.
Puppeteering takes practice, so practice we did! We practiced our lines, our motions, and our delivery of Scripture to our young audience. What an honor this has been! I look forward to the blessings still to come for the rest of the week. It is a gift to be here in the Holy Land, and I pray that the Lord is smiling at our puppets and their antics. They are just puppets, but they are bringing His Word to those who may not know Him. And that is what matters most.
We are 30 hours into our trip. The one thing that caught my eye was to see so many Jewish families walking the streets of Jerusalem late at night bringing in the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
They were dressed in their traditional black suits & hats. The younger male generations were wearing white button up dress shirts, the girls were wearing ivory lace dresses. It was a beautiful sight to see.
Jerusalem came to light that evening for me.
The day after I made the commitment to join the Holy land team the Lord gave me John 4:38NLT
“I have sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to reap the harvest.”
I did not understand the complete picture of what he was tell me until I landed in Jerusalem.