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Allison Althoff
Allison Althoff
Natalie Lederhouse
Natalie Lederhouse

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« My Trip to Israel | Main | Israel: Day 2 »

March 8, 2010

Israel: Day 1

The first day of our tour of Israel has been overwhelming. Everything has been dazzling—from the gorgeous weather and blazing sunshine, to the colorful land, the historical and cultural depth, and the wonderful food (if you’re a burger & fries type, it might feel like a cultural experience; as a vegetarian who never met a vegetable, fruit, or whole grain I didn’t like, I feel as if my tongue has come home). And the biblical sites have left my head spinning. In Caesarea, I gained a whole new understanding of the significance of the Roman occupation of this land. In Nazareth, I was surprised to see a city sprawling along the mountainside, much larger than the small village of Jesus’ day, but still boasting a small reproduction of what life may have been like during his time there. And everywhere in between, I was fascinated by large ruins dating back thousands of years.

At each site, we were greeted by warm, friendly people—Jews, Muslims, and Christians—who understand and acknowledge the depth to which faith has shaped the history of this place.

As we interacted with Israelis, I found myself contrasting life in modern-day Israel with my life in suburban Chicago. I find it amusing that in the U.S., we get excited about our historical artifacts, some of which date back three or four hundred years. Seriously? I thought. What would it be like to live in a place surrounded by evidence of thousands of years of history, by deeply holy sites, by reminders of great things God has done, by the markings of generations of God’s faithfulness and power?

Then I realized I do. We all do. My life and my home are filled with daily experiences with God’s faithfulness and power. So is my family tree. The world around us bears constant testimony to who God is. And his people—the church worldwide—is a living, breathing, baffling, always changing, and inspiring artifact. I’m so glad I’ve come to Israel, and I look forward to experiencing what God will do in my life this week. But I pray that a fascination with God’s work in this place will not cause me to lose sight of his ongoing work in my own life.


Amy, I look forward to following your journey. Thank you for the timely reminder to ponder and appreciate the rich "artifacts"of our own personal faith journey God is providing for us each day.

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