God is very gracious and kind. We all have several highlights from this journey to the Holy Land. Pilgrims have been coming here for centuries, seeking to experience the sights and sounds of the land of the Bible. We came with our own expectations and ideas of what would unfold. Like many pilgrims, we were challenged, strengthened, moved, and surprised. We were especially blessed to experience the love of Christ not only through viewing the landscapes and sights, but more importantly through his people. Spending time with our Arab/Palestinian brothers and sisters was particularly meaningful.
The chief focus of the trip was to serve Arab/Palestinian youth in a camp near Bethlehem. There we experienced the love of God as we participated in the community of believers. It was an honor to serve alongside Christians from throughout the land.
Our friends from Proem International of Poland joined us in this effort. The fellowship was truly eclectic. There was a collection of people from Europe, the United States, Israel, and the West Bank. This was a small reflection of the diversity of God’s kingdom. Many of us in the church can appreciate the importance of God’s extended invitation of new life to non-Jewish communities.
We were reminded on the last day of our pilgrimage of God’s inclusion of Gentiles into the community of believers as we visited Caesarea on the coast of Israel. God sent Peter to Cornelius’ house to spread the Good News (Acts 10) there. We, then, are the products of that early encounter, just a few thousand years removed. Acts 10:35 (ESV) says, “but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Cornelius reflected these concepts and it led to his eventual entrance into the kingdom.
There is much to report from the trip and we are hopeful of long-term fruit for the kingdom. For now, we can simply summarize the trip as one of pilgrimage and service.
We are thankful for God’s blessings over the last days. Thank you to all who supported this endeavor through prayers and other means.