Scared, nervous, excited, and a little fearful. Everything was so surreal and I couldn't wrap my head around it all. It was actually happening, I was finally going to Israel on my very first missions trip. I would be gone from my family for 14 days, the longest I have ever been away, and to top it all off it would be halfway around the world. I had been saving up for this trip for the past couple years, and by God's grace, guidance and provision He had led me to my heart's desire. I know what some people may be thinking, why Israel? Of all the other places in the world, why?
Israel, God's chosen people and nation. A country so lost and gone askew in a world that forgets it. A country that has been persecuted time and time again. A nation of people who have lost their hope in God because of all the pain and suffering they go through. The people. The mission field is not for a luxurious and wonderful vacation to go sightseeing, but is an opportunity to get to know the people and to serve. When we spent our 14 days we were constantly serving those whom our church has sent out. We went from Golan Heights way up in the north, to Tel Aviv adjacent to the Mediterranean, and then to Jerusalem the heart of Israel. Serving alongside those who serve the people and seeing the history firsthand was definitely and experience worth having.
Now don't misunderstand me. We served and we also did go to some tourist destinations. How could we not? We were in God's Holy Land! Each day we would get up, do group devotions, then start out our day with serving our Missionaries out there with anything they needed help with. When all was finished, we headed out on the road to wherever and whatever we could go and see. Reading the scriptures and seeing where all these events had taken place were definitely sermons worth experiencing. That was what it was at heart, an experience. To see where Jesus fed the 5,000 with a few loaves of bread and fish, or where David hid while he was fleeing from Saul, or the Sea of Galilee where Jesus calmed the storm. All experiences that God has made real in my life. With my storms, he calms the waves. When I hide, He sees me and and has not forsaken me. He has not forsaken His people, HIs people have forgotten HIs love.
This trip has shown me that there is more to a country than just what we see in the news, or pictures from the internet. The country has it's own unique culture and own unique people. Seeing the difference between there and here has opened my eyes. Though no two people are exact carbon copies and we are all unique in our own ways, we are still the same. We are all adults, young adults, kids, children, mothers, fathers, students, workers, and the list is endless. We all have our priorities, and our goals. Why persecute a nation of people who have always been the target?
Our mission for this trip was to show love. God's unfailing love for a nation who has forgotten this love. God tells us in Matthhew of the new testament to "love our neighbors as ourselves" (Matt.22;39). We chose to love those who have been looked down upon, who have been persectued, and have lost faith in the One who gave His life for us. Throughout the whole trip, that was my goal, to show love to people who have seen hate over and over again. I personally have to say I did what God intended for me to do. And I wouldn't change a thing.
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