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Church Group Takes in Wonder of Holy Land

By March 15, 2015March 17th, 2015No Comments

ToledoOH_inlineTOLEDO, Ohio—Emmanuel Baptist Church took in the wonder of the Holy Land on a 10-day trip. A group of 35 adults and one boy, led by Pastor Duke Crawford and Dr. Ernie Schmidt, interim president of Faith Baptist Bible Seminary, began the trip Feb. 28. Once in Israel, they met up with missionary friends Ron and Christine Self of Argentina and a tour guide, an Israeli Christian. The Bible became the group’s textbook and map, as their guides opened its pages and “brought the places where we stood to life again.”

The tour began at the picturesque Sea of Galilee. “The water was perfectly still as we got on a boat, just as Jesus would have done with His disciples, and sailed across the sea while we sang and Pastor Duke taught from the Scriptures,” says Julie Carey, a member of Emmanuel Baptist. “It was overwhelming to think those waters had witnessed many miracles and teachings of Jesus and now we were there as part of its history.”

From there the group journeyed to the Mount of Beatitudes, Caesarea Maritima, Nazareth, Tel Dan, Mount Carmel, Megiddo, Chorazin, and Capernaum, and stopped along the Jordan River at a place believed to be near where Jesus was baptized. Then a tour of the Holocaust Museum made everyone take pause and remember the atrocities of that time in history.

At their ultimate destination, Jerusalem, the group spent five days seeing historical and archeological sites. Walking along the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus took on His way to the cross, they imagined what the Savior endured for mankind. They had the delight of singing “Amazing Grace” impromptu with a tour group of Chinese Christians, visited the Temple Mount, and couldn’t miss out on floating in the Dead Sea. At a site that was possibly Jesus’ empty tomb, they celebrated with songs and testimonies. A walk to the Mount of Olives gave the group an amazing panoramic view of Jerusalem and the opportunity to ride camels.

“Israel is indeed a diverse land,” Carey says, pointing to its geography, weather, people groups, and religions. “In all of the religious ritual and tradition, it is sad to know most of them have missed the Messiah’s message. One night we were blessed to hear a testimony from a local Christian Jewish pastor being used of God to spread the light in that land. We met many brothers and sisters in Christ, like our guide, Avi, anticipating Christ’s triumphal return to ultimately rule and reign. During our 10-day journey, we never felt uneasy about our safety or well-being. We were able to travel to all of our sites without any delays, and our guide taught us so much about their history. Pray for and support the brothers and sisters in Israel and plan a life-changing tour for your church!”