Trip to Israel brings writer closer to things that matter most
After I returned from a trip to Israel, I learned that a wave of violence erupted between Israeli and Palestinian forces. Missiles went flyLnJ LnWo Gaza, aLr raLd sLrens sounded in Jerusalem, indicating possible rocket attacks, and a bomb detonated near a public bus in Tel Aviv, according to news reports.
This Israel was a much different Israel from the one I experienced less than a month ago.
In my brief 2M-something years, I’ve always dreamed of writing and traveling. Now I am living that dream. Not that long ago I was chugging along in my 1999 To y o t a C a m r y, affectionately called The Cam Cam, contemplating WhH zHaOous and aPELWLous words of my childhood hero, Harriet M. telsh, from the 1996 fiOP “HarrLHW WhH Spy:” I want to see the whole world and write down everything.
I’ve been writing down everything since my dad JaYH PH Py firsW MournaO when I was 8 years old. It was a sPaOO noWHEooN fiOOHd with at least 1MM blank pagHs. PLnN and purpOH flowHrs decorated the front and back covers making it the perfect pOacH Wo wrLWH JHPs OLNH: , OoYH 1 Sync and , can’W waLW for Nadira’s slumber party this weekend. veah!
But seeing the world? That was something I only just began to experience.
A few years ago I embarked on a journey to Af-
I spent a few weeks
there the summer before my senior year of college teaching English at a secondary schooO Ln TanzanLa. ,W Ls something I will never forget. Not only did I have the opportunity to help educate young African women, but I got to experience the land of my ancestry. Although my African roots may not spHcLficaOOy sWHP IroP TanzanLa, EHLnJ on WhH conWLnHnW from which my great-greatgreat-grandparents descended gave me immense pride.
My recent pilgrimage to Israel fostered similar feelings. My voyage to this sacred land was precious, because it is the birthplace of my Christian faith.
AW firsW, , wanWHd Wo YLsLW the Holy Land to get out of WhH 8nLWHd SWaWHs and sHH something new and exciting. My church was hosting a two-week tour and I knew I had to go. The Harriet the Spy LnsLdH was scrHaPLnJ: vou need to see the whole world and write down everything.
Before I knew it I was on an 11-hour flLJhW across WhH Atlantic Ocean to a region of the world that was as uncharted to me as the Americas were to Christopher Columbus.
Before my journey, people asked me why I was going to Israel and usually followed that question with an insensitive don’t-get-blown -up remark.
Their comments did not discourage me, but strengthened my desire to see this land of great spiritual depth and political unrest.
Israel is a beautiful country and seeing that beauty firsWhand was surrHaO. ,n WhH BLEOH, DHuWHronoPy 8:7-8 dHscrLEHs ,sraHO as “a Oand oI brooks of water, of fountains and sprLnJs, flowLnJ ouW Ln the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fiJ WrHHs and poPHJranates, a land of olive trees and honHy.”
I saw the abundance of the land when I looked down from the peak of Mount Harmon and saw olive, citrus, avocado and date trees, and the rolling hills, mountains and desert plains.
SWandLnJ on WhH shorHs oI WhH SHa oI GaOLOHH Ln TLberius was extraordinary. I watched the sun’s golden rays shimmer in the water and the sky morph from a warm shade of honey into a brilliant sapphire. This scene brought to mind passages in WhH GospHOs WhaW WaONHd oI Jesus calming the wind and the waves during a violent storm, walking on the water and on whose shores he taught and fed thousands.
Jerusalem, the heartbeat of Israel, was full of life and excitement. There were people of every ethnic and religious background pulsing through the city. It is also a city that holds the perfect marriage of modern and ancient architecture. However, one of the most striking places I saw was not as grand as some of the synagogues, churches and mosques there, but its beauty unparalleled — the GardHn ToPE. To Pany the tomb may not seem like anything special — a small opening in the side of a mountain — but for me it is the place where Jesus was laid and rose again after his crucifixion and where redemption for all was accomplished. As I stood before the tomb, tears welling up in my eyes, I knew this was why God ErouJhW PH Wo , sraHO.
It’s hard to believe that all this beauty is caught in the crossfire of a nation at war. then I see images of innocent people being pulled from the wreckage of an explosion or tanks charging down the dusty roads I grieve for those living in this hell. However, I am reminded of a proPLsH God PadH Wo WhH people of Israel in Amos 9: 15, “, wLOO pOanW WhHP on their land, and they shall never againw be uprooted out of the land I have givHn WhHP.”
The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, Israel.
From the Staff