Grace Ministries USA took a trip to Israel in January of 2017.
On January 17, 2017, I (Bob Gallagher) joined Bert Woodburn and Reverend Ken Steigler for a trip to the Holy Land of Israel for 8 days with 23 additional passengers. We referred to ourselves as Pilgrims on a Pilgrimage to “Walk where Jesus walked and will walk again.”
The “Pilgrims” spent time visiting the major sites of Israel such as the Western Wall, the Via Dolorosa, the city of Jericho, The Garden Tomb, and much more. We also had our fair share of indulgences: breakfasts,
lunches and dinners with plenty of good Mediterranean cuisine and
learned about camel rides in the desert.
The main focus of the Holy Land trip was to create an intimate memory
through the experience and knowledge that our Lord Jesus Christ once
walked these lands as well as kings and prophets. The Bible comes alive
having been in the lands where all this happened. For example, when
we visit the hometown of a close friend for the first time, we connect the
stories we heard about people and places where the stories took place.
We literally “step into their story.” Now, imagine having the same experience with the Gospel stories and the life of Our Lord! Visiting the Holy Land allows us to connect the stories we have heard about Jesus with
the sites we see.
Those stories ‘enter’ us in a way that change our hearts.
Ask anyone who has been!
Why do we go to the Holy Land?
The Holy Land is an experience of the people we support. Who among our pilgrims will ever forget the visit to the Church of the Nativity to kneel, see and touch the place of Jesus’s birth or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and place your hands the “Stone of Annunciation” where Jesus’s body was taken from the cross and prepared for the tomb.
By traveling to the Holy Land, we meet the Jewish people we support, and we see and hear how our support changes lives for the better. The Holy Land is an experience of the community and fellowship of Christian brothers and sisters and the opportunity to make new friends. A lifelong memory for every member of this journey was sharing in a service with Holy Communion at the Garden Tomb. Our journey to the Land of Our Lord, marking us as a Pilgrim, forever changed our hearts and drew us closer to Christ. We cherish our connection with the people of this land and our deepened connection with each other.
We visited the following sites:
At the end of our pilgrimage, we walked away with a treasure of memories that will remain with us forever to share with others and the possibility that we will return one day to see and learn more.
The impact of a Holy Land Pilgrimage
I want to share two powerful comments from other Pilgrims.
“I will never read the Gospel the same again!”
“As I entered the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, in the Solemn Entry procession, I could not hold back the tears. To visit the Empty Tomb, the stillness and peace I felt in that Tomb stays with me till today.”
Invitation for Next Trip I hope you will join us on our next spiritual pilgrimage and an additional quest for the best and latest exciting archaeological discoveries in the Holy Land in Jan/Feb 2019.