A Travellerspoint blog


Day 3

Today was absolutely incredible! After an early start we departed for the Mount of Beatitudes. This is considered to be the site where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. The first thing we did there was gather in a beautiful garden like setting of the site to talk about the Scripture passage. After talking about the Jewish nature of Jesus’ teaching and His magnificent claim of deity, I turned everyone’s attention over to Terry for a few comments. He added his own enlightening perspective in talking about how Jesus was challenging the status quo and religious emptiness of His day. Terry then asked the group to gather around me to pray for me as I am going through some very personal difficulty. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was to be surrounded by people who absolutely love the Lord like that. They prayed for God to strengthen and bless me to continue to persevere in the face of persecution. They encouraged me to remain unwavering and committed to teaching and relying upon God’s Word. It was a special time for all us. The group then took some time to walk the garden and reflect upon their own lives asking the question, “What does Jesus say to me?” (“But I say to you…).
From there we went up to the Golan Heights. The first stop was the ancient city of Dan. I think everyone was really surprised at how much Biblical context this place had. We saw the altar that Jeroboam built to provide a “substitute” for true worship, the city walls and gate from the time of King Ahab, an actual judgment seat at the city gate from the Northern Kingdom, and a 4000 year old Canaanite gate that Abraham surely walked through. This gate was definitely the highlight for everyone. You could hear the gasping in awe as people pondered this place and what happened here. Scott was absolutely amazed to see the actual size of an exact replica of the altar that Jeroboam built. Ron was able to sit at the city gate where the “elders” would sit and govern. And of course, we got ice cream.
The next site was Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do others say that I am?” We saw how when Jesus said that the “Gates of Hades shall not prevail” against His church, He was talking about an actual place of pagan Pan Worship called the Gates of Hades.
After a nice authentic Middle Eastern lunch, we headed up for a nice view of the Golan Heights and into Syria. Mike was so taken by the view and an Israeli tank that we almost left without him (well, actually we started to leave to freak him out). You should have seen his face. The whole bus was laughing.
The day ended with the Crossover group going down into the Jordan River to get 12 memorial stones. This was an unplanned excursion that really tested the driving skills of Aaron our driver. He got us down close to the river where buses don’t usually go. You will more about those stones when everyone gets back.Thursday_035.jpgThursday_045.jpg

Posted by Budwenzel 12:21 Archived in Israel Comments (0)


Day 2

Today began with a wonderfully peaceful boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Our tour guide (Gilla) told us that it was one of the clearest days you can have on the Lake. It was amazing! We worshipped while listening to Chris Tomlin and then had a small devotional about following Jesus with complete abandonment while floating in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Everyone was so thrilled to experience this. We landed further up-lake where we saw a 2000 year old fishing boat that was recently discovered in buried in the mud of the shore. It was a fishing boat from Jesus’ time. The place that housed the display of this boat also had a delightful shop with lots of souvenirs and trinkets. Perhaps the most serious and meaningful time was when some of my brothers joined me in having some of the world famous strawberry ice cream! It was truly a spiritual experience. I am still trying to convince them that this ice cream is made with real “manna” (not so sure they are buying it…their wives surely aren’t).
After that we moved to site where Peter was restored by Jesus after the resurrection. We had some time for Pastor Mike Erickson to read John 21 while we all meditated on God’s true forgiveness and restoration. The whole group took this opportunity to get their feet wet in the lake. Many of them pulled out rocks to take home as mementos to help them remember this meaningful experience.
Our next stop was at the city of Capernaum. This is the city of Jesus’ home base for his ministry in the Galilee (which was about 80% of His ministry). We saw Peter’s Mother-in-law’s house, the ruins of the city, its commerce section, the synagogue where Jesus was sure teach at. Everyone was so awestruck that we could hardly get them back to the bus. I think it was only the promise of lunch that got them all moving. What an awesome place! I kept hearing people say, “just think, Jesus was right here teaching God’s Word and healing people”.
Our lunch was very special today as we had “St. Peter’s Fish. It is a fish that is indigenous to the Sea of Galilee that is cooked whole…fins, eyes, and all! The only brave souls were Ron Pearson and Scott Liddell. Most of the other fish eaters stuck with the plain old filet (I am told that was just as good).
Our last stop of the day was at the Jordan River where Pastor Terry re-baptized Greg, Rhonda, and Larry. Ok, I have to admit I played a little trick on my dear friend Terry. You see the Jordan River has an abundance of fish that come up and nibble on your legs while you stand there baptizing people. It is truly a creepy feeling (almost downright hurts). Anyway, Terry came out of that water after the last person was baptized yelling, “Those fish kept biting my legs!!” Everyone died laughing…especially me because I sent him in there without telling him about it. He eventually figured it out and threatened to do very bad things to me!
We had a great day. Tonight will be spent eating dinner, a nice refreshing swim in the pool (Kelleen has been waiting to get into that water), and a good night’s sleep.

Posted by Budwenzel 09:36 Archived in Israel Comments (4)


Day 1

Today was the first full day, and boy was it full. The group was overwhelmed with the amount of incredible sites and information they were exposed to today. It started with a short drive up the Mediterranean and some very practical information on Israel, the land, the people, and the culture. We even got some birding talk in for Pastor Terry.
The first stop was Caesarea Maritime where the group walked through the remains of Herod’s temple. They were all overwhelmed with the awesome sites. We spent some time in the judgment hall where Paul faced Felix and Agrippa. This was a perfect time to stop and reflect upon our own lives asking the Lord, “Am I really bound to your will like Paul was in saying that I will go wherever you want in my life even if it means chains?”
The next stop was the top of Mt. Carmel. Everyone was gasping at the incredible view of so many Biblical landmarks. It was also very moving to talk about Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal. Again, some practical evaluation of our own lives…”Do we have any dependence upon false gods for our wellbeing?”
Just when they thought it couldn’t get any better, we stopped to walk all around Tel Megiddo where 25 separate civilizations built on top of one another throughout three thousand years of history. It was here that we took advantage of our best view of the valley of Jezreel where the battle of Armageddon will take place. We walked on stones and entrance walkways that Joshua, King Solomon, and King Ahab surely walked on. Robin finally got her chance to take a good look at some 1000 BC horse stables that kept 450 horses of King Solomon.
The day’s journey ended with a drive through Nazareth and our triumphant arrival at the Sea of Galilee where we will stay for the next 3 nights. The dinner table was filled with discussion of the day and much laughter. I think the whole group was a bit punchy from being so tired. I even saw Larry Twitchell get a little silly. What a fantastic group of people. They clearly love the Lord, and everyone is determined to study the Scriptures.
I am so sorry that I am unable to upload any pictures from the day. The internet seems extremely slow tonight so my computer keeps locking up. I will try again later. Trust me when I say they are all very good.

Posted by Budwenzel 10:42 Archived in Israel Comments (3)


Arrival Day

Well we made it…22 hours later we arrived in Tel Aviv. God has been gracious to us in many ways already. First of all, both of our flights arrived early. That is incredibly rare in international travel with connections. We had no trouble with our flights and everyone received their luggage. Also, as we were getting off the plane here in Tel Aviv we noticed that there was a British Airways plane offloading onto the same ramp. As it turns out it was Deana’s plane. We literally ran into her about 50 feet from the plane. This was so unexpected because we were supposed to arrive at different times.
Everyone was quite tired when we arrived to the hotel. But, no one was too tired to eat that wonderful food. Our dining room sat on the edge of the beach overlooking the Mediterranean where we were able to watch the sunset while eating. What a perfect and beautiful end to this day. I believe that is how tomorrow will start…with God surprising His people with the beauty and wonder of this incredible land.
We were delighted to meet our tour guide for the next 8 days. She is a dear sweet lady named Gilla, and it appears as if she has really connected with some of our folks already. They gathered and sat with her after dinner discussing the nature of Jews living in the land.
Tomorrow is a huge day beginning with a hotel departure of 8:30AM. I can’t wait to see there faces as they meet with new and exciting adventures in the Land.

Posted by Budwenzel 10:54 Archived in Israel Comments (2)

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