We love to go on mission trips! It helps us get away from the busyness of life and just focus on God. When the team first met at OMS to discuss the trip, we were told this wasn’t a ‘vacation’. However, not being a missionary, this trip was definitely a vacation in the very best sense of the word. We were able to get away from work and travel to another country, where we could truly rest and relax in the presence of the Lord and fellow believers, and where we had the honor and blessing of praying for the people of Israel.
This was our first trip with OMS and it was interesting meeting the team – the people God hand-chose and who were called to Israel. Upon meeting the team and then Moshe and Batel, it was evident that Jesus would be with us during our visit. What a very special group of disciples.
Meeting Beit Avi congregation was so inspiring, as they are a minority as believers in Israel. We realized that we often take the privilege of worshiping Jesus for granted. In the U.S., we don’t have to step out or stand up, which is what believers in Israel are required to do. It’s not ‘convenient’ to actively seek Jesus in Israel. How far would we go to step out or stand up in order to know Jesus and worship Him?
During a conversation with the Beit Avi congregation Friday night, one of them said, “You stole our God.” This was not said in anger but in sorrow. That statement completely changed my perspective and broke open my heart for the people of Israel.
The Pool of Siloam caused me to reflect on my own blindness - that I, too, was once blind but now I see. Jesus could’ve healed the blind man instantly but instead opted to make mud and put it on his eyes. The blind man simply obeyed Jesus and washed off the mud. Many of us walk around with mud in our eyes, when we could simply obey, wash off the mud, and receive God’s amazing grace.
The Garden Tomb gave me time to just rest in the peace of Jesus, and it reminded me that Jesus did it all for us. Just to be present in the moment, not thinking of future or past. I’m so thankful for the unconditional love of Jesus, without performance.
The Dead Sea gave me a unique look at how Jesus must feel about me. I was helping one of my teammates float in the Dead Sea. She had past experiences in her life which made it difficult to just lay back and trust that she could float. I wanted her to just totally surrender and easily float. I thought, “God must feel the same way about me.” Though I believe that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I say that I totally trust Him, I still struggle with completely surrendering my entire life to Him. He continues to be patient with me, saying, “I’ve got you.” I need to let go and let God.
Israel showed me the love of the Father in a very special way. Signs were everywhere: Beit Avi (father’s house); Dick baptized his daughter Julie; and Moshe’s love for his four children and one grandchild. These were not a coincidence, but they pointed to the ultimate love of the Father.
Israel gave me time to evaluate where I am on my journey with Christ, self-evaluation time where I could clearly see areas in my own life where I need to give the authority to Jesus and stop trying to take control. It also grew my faith because I saw the evidence –– not just the historical evidence –– of Jesus Christ. The ‘real-life’ heaviness of biblical history was played out right before our eyes. We returned from Israel with more of Jesus and less of ourselves. We made memories that will last a lifetime!