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It’s still hard to process everything we saw and experienced. I find it hard to put into words the emotions I felt and how much of an impact the trip had on me. To be honest, I wasn’t really that excited about the trip. I was nervous and not really sure what to expect, but goodness gracious would I have missed out on a life changing two weeks if I had let fear overtake me and not let the Lord open my eyes to the beauty and majesty and splendor of Israel. I have been blessed to be able to travel to multiple countries throughout college with study abroad, but never have I not been ready to leave an area. I could have stayed another two weeks, another two months, heck, I’m ready to move to Israel! Every day was an adventure and I woke up beyond ready to soak in every word and fact and detail I could (if you couldn’t tell by me being right beside Arie on every excursion). Knowing I saw the places my savior was born in a lowly and humbled state, was beaten, mocked and humiliated and hung on a cross in shame, and seeing the likely spot of the Garden Tomb where He conquered death and rose again, all to save undeserving me from my sins and allow me an eternity spent with Him, is an overwhelming treasure I will carry with me forever. Not only seeing things that have already happened, but seeing sights and places that prophecy is still yet to be fulfilled, has brought upon me so much pride and awe.
I was prepared to be spiritually impacted in faith strengthening ways by walking the streets Christ walked, and seeing all of these miraculous sights you read about in the Bible. What I was not prepared for, was to completely fall in love with a country, it’s people, and its persevering history. My heart now holds a special place for Israel and its culture. I’m over here ordering every book I can get my hands on about the history of Israel and the Jewish culture. Knowing that Jews were “landless” for so long, but here they are always two steps ahead of the rest of the world and protecting a land that is considered holy, I have the highest view for these people. It’s also heartbreaking knowing that the gospel was put directly in front of them and presented so clear, but yet they disregard Jesus as the Messiah. The country and their history has brought upon me such childlike wonder and fascination, I wish I could go back to college and major in Hebrew! The Lord used this trip to strengthen my relationship with Him and remind me just how miraculous it is that I can call myself part of the redeemed. It’s hard to go on about the everyday tasks and mundane routines with my heart so completely changed.
So from the bottom and most-sincerest part of my heart, thank you. Thank you for this opportunity of a life time. Thank you for having a company that excels at providing the most flawless experience abroad one can have.
Hannah Stephens