You have brought me to the places I had thought I’d never see You have done astounding wonders Those I thought might never be
You have answered earnest prayers Those I thought You might not hear You have let me see such beauty Views so stunning, sights so dear
You have given my desires Formed my dreams, then made them true You gave back what I surrendered That which I gave up to You
You have given hope so constant Peace the world can’t take away You are far beyond all praising You are why I’m here today
You did miracles so awesome Why? Because You cherish me Could these wonders truly happen? Yes, and greater things shall be!
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and inaccessible things, which you do not know.” -Jeremiah 33:3
Yeshua answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” -John 1:50
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Messiah Yeshua to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. -Ephesians 3:20+21
This past March, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Israel for the first time. Yehovah made my greatest, far-out dreams come to life as I was in His land.
Today I have a special guest, Maggie, who was my roommate/sister for three weeks while we experienced the land together. She kindly agreed to join me today and talk about our trip. Together we will answer seven questions about the trip. Thank you so much, Maggie, for joining!
Question 1: What was your favorite place?
Maggie: Caesarea. It was cool to see the Roman architecture–the tiles, buildings, and arches–still intact where they were laid two thousand years ago.
Faith: My favorite place was Jerusalem.
Maggie: (gasps, pretending to be surprised) Oh, really?
Faith: (laughs) And other than Jerusalem, my second favorite place was Gilgal.
Maggie: Oh, that was really cool. I think that it was my second favorite too.
Faith: Yes! With the stone fence there that the Israelites built and the place where the Tabernacle would have been!
Maggie: Well, I’m not really sure if that’s the real place where the Israelites were, but it was cool to be in the “West Bank” and see another side of civilization where it was more deserted and wasn’t touristy at all.
Question 2: What surprised you the most?
Maggie: Probably how “under-whelming” some of the places were, like when we were in Jerusalem. You expect things to be more awing, based on what others who have visited said. But really, sometimes when you visit places like the Garden Tomb, or the Western Wall, you realize they are only locations. Significant locations, but still just ‘places’. What is really awing is God Himself, and the fact that we are His children and nothing can ever change that.
Faith: Amen! I thought the same thing when we were at the Garden Tomb. Seeing the empty grave doesn’t compare to knowing the risen Messiah personally. The thing that surprised me the most would probably be either the “under-whelming” thing that you were talking about or the fact that the Israeli shopkeepers would literally step out of their shops to talk to you. You were there with me, Maggie. (laughing) “Come in! Half-price!”
Question 3: What is a time when the Bible came alive?
Maggie: There are so many times when the Bible came alive. There was one time when we were driving and we saw an old grave on the side of the road that looked sort of like what Yeshua’s grave would have looked like.
Faith: Yes, the old family grave! That was so cool! For me it would probably be either at Gilgal or at the Shahak factory. At Gilgal, you literally can touch the ancient fence and see where the Israelites would have camped and where the Tabernacle would have been. At Shahak, you are at the very edge of the “West Bank” (Samaria). The people in this region are brave settlers, and you feel so close to prophecy there in Samaria.
Question 4: What is an inspiring or special memory from this trip?
Maggie: I think it was inspiring how close-knit the people are–how they work together towards one goal, and it’s just really united and cohesive.
Faith: Are you talking about the Beth El community (where we stayed the whole time) or about the Jewish people in general?
Maggie: Both. I also thought it was inspiring how (at least the Israeli Jews) all have to serve in the military once they become adults, and the sacrifices that they individually make for the entire country. Many of the Beth El youth also serve/served, but if I remember right, they aren’t required to like the Israeli Jews.
Faith: My inspiring or special memories include speaking Hebrew with native Israelis, walking through the Old City of Jerusalem, standing on Mount Carmel, seeing so much history, and, most of all, hearing the voice of Yehovah. It was also really special to celebrate the Biblical new year in Israel!
Maggie: Ha. I remember you and the Williams dragged me outside with y’all at nine o’clock to look for the new moon!
Question 5: What was it like being a part of a group?
Maggie: It was really great to get to know everyone, their stories, and where they came from.
Faith: It was a big learning experience for me, because it’s the first time I’d traveled without my family. Also, I’ve never worked in the public, so it was a big experience working with people. There were some personality challenges, but our group had a strong bond of unity. And you know how they all babied me.
Maggie: (laughing) Oh, yes, you were their golden child.
Faith: Yes, I was babied. I love them all. They are very special people.
Question 6: What are some differences between Israel and America?
Maggie: In Israel the weekend is Friday and Saturday, instead of Sunday.
Faith: And in Israel there are bomb shelters or bunkers with air filtration systems nearly anywhere you go. In Israel, the roads are bumpier and the drivers are scarier.
Maggie: Yep. I remember we got rear-ended once while in the little bus, and our driver got out to make sure the other driver was okay, talked for just a minute, then climbed back in and we just kept going. Small collisions like that are just the norm there, apparently.
Question 7: What would you want to tell a first-time traveler?
Maggie: Get off the beaten path. Go to the less touristy areas. Visit the little boutique shops on the side-roads, talk to the owners, and notice little things like kids playing on the sidewalk while their mothers sip espresso and chat in Hebrew. Also, in the rougher market areas, expect people to scam you— you are a tourist, and they know it, and they will try to get as much money from you as they can. It’s just how it’s done there. Bargain whenever you can, but don’t get frustrated if you still get scammed. It’s part of the experience, to be honest.
Faith: Be expecting things to be dirtier than America. Be expecting different weather, different culture, and a desert climate. Most of all, be expecting amazing things from Yehovah. His eyes are always watching that land. He loves to change lives and meet people there in His land.
Now, dear readers, I want to invite you to comment below with any questions for Maggie and me! “Next year in Jerusalem.” –Faith