ISRAEL: Part 2
There was so much excitement as the day approached when we would meet the rest of the school (about 45 people) in Jerusalem. When we arrived at our hotel, some teams were already there and our team got smashed with hugs when we walked in. Lets just say that there were so many screams and happy tears that day when everybody reunited.
In total, the entire school was there for 2 weeks, about 1 week of touring and 1 week of debriefing sessions). So touring wise was awesome. With the school we got to go to:
The Dead Sea (yes you do really float!)
Ein Gedi (the caves and waterfalls…etc where David hid from Saul)
Masada (the fortress of King Herod on the top of a mountain in the desert)
Mt of Beatitudes (where Jesus gave the sermon on the mount)
Sea of Galilee (lots of stuff happened here, read the New Testiment)
Bethlehem (where Jesus was born)
Capernaum (Jesus taught here a lot and preformed a lot of miracles)
Mt of Olives (Jesus commissioned his disciples here)
Ramparts Walk (you get to walk alongside the old city walls (not the original though))
Garden of Gethsemane (where Jesus prayed before being crucified)
The Garden Tombs/Church of the Holy Sepulchre (both are believed to be the place of the crucifixion and the resurrection)
The Western Wall aka the Wailing Wall aka the Kotel (one of the most sacred places for Jewish people as they believe this was the closest they could get to the Holy of Holies without going in, for fear of death upon entrance. Because that is where the temple used to be. Now hundreds of Jews go daily and pray up against the wall, cry out to it and stick pieces of paper in the wall, thinking that is the closest they could possibly get to God. That was hard to see and God really started giving me a heart for his people after seeing that for the first time.
The Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock (This is where the temple used to stand, now it’s just the platform that the temple used to stand on, before it was destroyed, and a giant mosque. That is the Dome of the Rock. It is a big mosque with a golden dome. It’s built over a big rock (which you can’t see because it’s in the mosque and only Muslims are allowed in), but the rock is believed to be where Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac on top of Mt Moriah. But the Muslims believe that he was going to sacrifice Ishmael there. There are also other beliefs as to what the rock is, but either way, you can’t even get near it if you’re not a Muslim.
Qumran (where the Dead Sea scrolls were found)
And we saw a few more things, but I can’t remember them all. I also saw many other things during my own time in Israel, which I will share about later. It was so amazing seeing all these things and being in all these places, it definitely made the Bible come alive for me. Now when I read about those places, I have a picture or a memory to go with it and make it all so much more real.
Besides the touring, the debrief sessions were really good as well. It’s hard to process a crazy six months on your own, so we had a packet of questions to answer and some time as the whole school and also time in small groups processing it. On top of that, we had many times of worship and prayer as the whole school. After 3 months of not seeing each other, those two weeks were amazing and seemed to go by so stinking quick! But it neared an end and before we knew it, it was time for graduation!
That day had a lot of mixed emotions: happy that I’m graduating, sad that this amazing season is coming to an end, also sad that everyone, my new family is splitting up after this, can’t believe I actually made it and I’m graduating on the MOUNT OF OLIVES! There were so many laughs, remembering all the amazing times the past half a year and lots of tears realizing that its over. But the one thing that I prayed that day was that God would help me transition between seasons as I knew that it would be hard for me to come out of a DTS and not sink into depression. Or still be stuck in the past, wishing I was back in DTS days…etc. So I really prayed that God would help me live in the now and in the new season that he has for me. Not forgetting to appreciate my past seasons and all that I learned there, but still being able to live in the here and now. And praise God, this is the best transition I have ever had between seasons and I know that was only because of God.
AND NOW I AM A DTS GRADUATE!!!! August 12th, 2010 I graduated from my DTS with a new joy, a new purpose and a new vision in my life. Many people left the day after or a couple days after graduation, but after praying about it, I felt led to stay in Israel longer. I knew that I didn’t have any money for that (Israel is the most expensive country in the Middle East) and so I prayed that if God wanted me to stay, then he was going to have to provide for it. SO the next entry is about the start of my faith journey which I have been on for 3 months now. DTS only has two phases: Lecture Phase and Outreach Phase. But after praying about it, I decided to take on phase 3: my faith journey. This basically consists of: God what do you want me to do? Where do you want me to go? How are you going to provide my needs today? ….etc This is my lifestyle from the end of my DTS (in aug) until I get home around Christmas time. So far, God has been providing in amazing ways, and I have sooooo many stories of how God has led me and provided for me countless times. But as for now, this is officially the last blog entry about my DTS days :) the next stories that you hear, I am all on my own, only me and God and all our crazy adventures!