Dear sweet readers, my husband and I have just returned from our two-week journey to Greece and the Holy Land in Israel. If you follow me on Instagram or on Facebook, you’ve had the opportunity to follow along on this adventure with us. (If you aren’t already a FB fan, look to the left and click LIKE.) I posted daily photos and a few videos of our most impactful moments. If you don’t already follow me and you missed out, here are some highlights of our trip in photos. I have so much to share with you and several blogs brewing, but this photo album will give you the first taste of what this trip has done for our faith, our love of Scripture and following Jesus.
Photo 1: Mars Hill in Athens. The Apostle Paul stood on this rock in front of a crowd of intelligent people and he shared the Gospel with them for the first time. Behind him stood the Acropolis, an ancient place where the Greek gods were worshipped. The Greeks even worshipped at the altar of an “unknown god” – just in case they missed one, and indeed they had! Acts 17:16-32
Photos 2 and 3: Ancient Ruins in Corinth, Greece. The Apostle Paul immediately went from Athens to Corinth, where he preached the Word. He lived there two years and wrote 2 books to the church of Thessaloniki (1st and 2nd Thessalonians). The church of Corinth became one of the first churches and Paul wrote two epistles to those believers as well, 1st and 2nd Corinthians. I was in heaven with the scent of Persian Lilacs (my all-time favorite) and the beauty of the green countryside.
Photos 4 and 5: Caesarea in Israel. Herod the Great had a vision for this massive port city, and it didn’t disappoint. Even more than 2,000 years later we were stunned by this place. The clear blue ripples of the Mediterranean took our breath away and the ruins gave us a great sense of location for the mention of this great Ancient city in Scripture.
Photo 6: Mt. Carmel. When we walked us the steps of the monastery to see the valley of Jezreel below us, we were overwhelmed. On this mountain the prophet Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal and our God (because He’s the only living God) won. Imagine that victory against this backdrop.
Photo 7: The House of Stories on the Sea of Galilee. The highlight of our trip to Israel was the Galilee region, covered with robust hills and mountains, greenery and red sands, and a view that envelopes your senses. We stayed with a friend in her stunning home; each room there was designed around Scripture, and we couldn’t have been more spoiled or inspired.
Photo 8: Worshipping on the Faith Boat on the Sea of Galilee. Of all the tourist boats on the Sea, there’s only one captain who is a believer, and lucky for us, Daniel squeezed us onto his boat for a worship experience. As the boat gently swayed on the water, our favorite praise songs filled our spirits and we experienced worship in a new, authentic way. Hands down, this was one of our favorite moments of our trip. I will share more about this on one of my future blogs – because it’s a part of our family’s testimony.
Photo 9: Peter’s Primacy. After Jesus’s death, his disciples were crushed. Peter called it quits and went back to the Galilee region to fish again. On a boat on the sea he and the other disciples saw Jesus along the rocky shore, and it was there that Jesus reinstated Peter as the rock and told him to take care of his sheep. There I sat on the sand and imagined this moment, where hurt and betrayal was redeemed and where we’re reminded that Jesus always gives us second, third and fourth chances.
Photos 10 and 11: Nazareth Village. One of the tricky parts of touring the Holy Land is trying to get an idea of what it was like in the First Century when Jesus lived. The Nazareth Village does exactly that. They’ve recreated a village to show what life would have been like. We learned about olive presses, wine making, carpentry and weaving. And we had an amazing lunch of hummus and lentil soup. Incredible! The painting in photo 11 shows us how we are called to be the light in a dark world, and we were honored to spend time one-on-one with the Rochelle, the painter!
Photo 12: Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. The city of Jerusalem was a bit of a stressful experience for us because I wasn’t appropriately dressed for the mix of cultures there, but we learned a lesson for sure. Our favorite part of Jerusalem was the Mount of Olives, which was just outside the city and up a massive hill (which Mike made me walk up in 100 degree temps). There, Jesus prayed often and was arrested on the night before his crucifixion. There are still eight trees that were likely there when Jesus asked his Father to take this cup of suffering from him.
Photos 13 and 14: Bethany Beyond the Jordan. For many believers, it’s a dream to be baptized in the Jordan Rover just like Jesus. It was for us too, and so we drove through the West Bank and through a military zone to get to the murky water and rededicate our lives to God. We baptized each other, so not only was it significant to our faith, but to our marriage as well.
Photo 15: Overlooking the Dead Sea. We traveled along the Dead Sea and marveled at the desert hills around us. It was a breathtaking expanse of earth that gave new perspective to the trials Jesus endured in the wilderness.
Mike and I are considering leading a group back to Israel in 2018. What would you like to experience the most? Leave a comment and let me know. Don’t worry, no registration necessary and no spam!