I’ve been a believer in Jesus Christ since my first breath at Roper Hospital, or at least as soon as my mom and dad could get me to repeat, “Now I lay me down to sleep..,” so going to the Holy Land with Behold The Man wasn’t going to open my eyes to the reality of Christ! No, way.
My dad went over in 1967 before Israeli tourism was “jacuzzi” ready, so to speak. The Six Day War had been over a few months and Dad hired his own driver and car. A young man who’d been a reservist called up for the IDF armor division as an auxiliary tank driver, served as his driver all over Israel. Needless to say, Dad and his new friend, Ephraim, had a fabulous look behind the scenes in developing Israel, just then a few decades old as a nation.
Dad went back a second time to a medical convention in Tel Aviv a few years later and made lifelong friends who visited here in our home.
When Jay Crouse offered the 2017 trip for Behold The Man I was the first to sign up and put down a deposit. By then my dad was in an elder care facility here. He encouraged me, prayed over me, and gave me a thumbs up on the day of my departure.
Jay does things first class. Yet the cost of my trip was less than truly first-class trips I’ve taken to Europe. He arranged for us to reflect in the Negev desert for two days and nights at an oasis, possibly the one that was a refuge for Sarah and Abraham when they were childless. I did deep soul-searching sitting upon a rock in that ancient place.
Convenient buses with wonderful Palestinian Christians took us everywhere we went in air-conditioned comfort, and they provided us plenty of bottles of water. Nazareth, Bethlehem, Masada, the Dead Sea, the Mount of Olives, and Jericho are just a few of the great sites we toured. And the most wonderful Bible scholar in the English language (my definite opinion), Dr. Peter Walker, an Oxford don and Anglican priest, gave us deep background on every place. We read from one of the books he authored as we rode or hiked along.
Speaking of hiking, we did a good and vigorous hike up and along the ridge of Mount Arbell overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The hikes were optional, but truly they were added value! Sailing on the Sea of Galilee and floating in the Dead Sea are memorable moments for this Charlestonian!
However, we worked our way up to Jerusalem going closely along the route Jesus took on his momentous journey there that led to His crucifixion. Words do not adequately describe the feeling a believer gets when standing upon either of the traditional sites thought to be Calvary and Golgotha. I get tingles down my spine still recalling those moments.
The meals were Mediterranean delicious and very nutritional! I miss that food over here actually. The bonding of my new brothers, the men who went on our trip, will endure a lifetime. Much spiritual development occurs in small and large group discussions that are led by highly competent Bible discussion leaders.
Sleep was welcomed after full and fun days and the accommodations were excellent! Jay’s coordinators leave nothing to chance. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, has been pre -thought and checked out prior to arrival! This trip to the Holy Land in 2017 was the best trip I’ve ever been on! It was like I took my soul on an uplifting journey to get closer to God!
By Tom Horton, The Cathedral, Charleston and Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island