New Covenant 2017 Journey to Israel by Rev. Leanora Colley

In March of this year, our church embarked on a spiritual journey to Israel, led by our Bishop. We departed on March 14th at 10:30pm from Newark Liberty Airport in the aftermath of a winter storm, for a seven night, eight day life changing journey to the Holy Land. The group was filled with excitement and great anticipation on what was to be experienced.

After a ten and a half hour flight we arrived in Tel Aviv the next morning and was greeted by our tour guide, Meair, an experienced Israeli historian. With very little delay, we were on our tour bus and on our way to experience and witness the very places that our Savior walked.

In spite of the long fight we were still able to stop at two significant areas before going to our hotel. Our first stop was at Caesarea, where we viewed the rich historic site of King Herods’ amphitheater, at the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. We took in the breath taking view of ruined fortresses and heard from our guide about the reign of King Herod.

On our second day, after a good night’s rest we were on our way from Tel Aviv to Northern Israel. We had a two hour drive to Galilee. While in Galilee we sailed on the Sea of Galilee also known as Lake Gennesaret or the Sea of Tiberias. We visited the town of Nazareth and learned about how they produced wine and cloth in the days of Jesus. A church dedicated to the mother of Jesus were also very interesting to see with its intricate artwork and elegance.

The highlight of our stay in the Galilee area was the baptismal service in the River Jordan. On the Saturday we were all anticipating this spiritual experience, that of being baptized in the river where Jesus was baptized in. There were people from all walks of life conducting baptisms as well. I believe the Lord handpicked a special place by the River Jordan for us. It was a private area where we sang hymns and choruses while Bishop did the baptism. Oh what an awesome anointing and presence of God! Those being baptized were filled with God’s Spirit in a fresh new way. The temperature of the water was not a deterrent as the anointing flowed and hearts were filled with awe and wonder.

After the glorious baptism experience we visited a Kibbutz farm shop where we were privileged to buy a wide variety of locally grown seasonings and other produce grown by the people of Israel. We then embarked on our to Jerusalem. Everyone was excited to arrive in Jerusalem to see more of the sites where our Savior walked.

In Jerusalem we visited the garden tomb and had communion, reflecting on the sacrifice that our Savior paid for our redemption. We walked the Via Dolorosa and walked in the steps of Jesus as He journeyed to the cross. We visited the garden of Gethsemane and had a soul stirring prayer meeting in the garden where our Savior bled and prayed.

We travelled to Bethlehem to the spot where it is believed Jesus was born. Another highlight of our journey was time spent at the Dead Sea. The afternoon was cool and ideal for our visit there. We spent time floating and relaxing an reflecting on the greatness of our God. We also visited Masada, a fortress in the Judaean Desert, last stronghold of the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Legion.

Our trip was coming to a close and we were both sad and glad. Sad to leave a place that changed our lives spiritually, but glad to go back home. Everyone who travelled cannot wait to return to the land of the Bible, rich in vegetation, history, spirituality and most of all rich in the stories of our blessed Savior.

You can be a part of this journey as we travel in 2019. Stay tune for more information.

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