UPDATED: Alumni on Israel tour share their journey

May 20, 2013, 3:32 pm
Rev. Dr. mark Maddix and Rev. Randy Craker affirming the baptism of Bea Shafer

NNU alumni left from Seattle for a ten-day tour of Israel, with some alumni taking a three-day trip extension to Jordan. Over the next several days they will walk where Jesus walked, taught, and suffered, from Galilee to Jerusalem and the empty tomb. They will reminisce the life of the Patriarchs, visit the fortress at Masada and have the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River.

Alumni on the tour are Dick and Joyce Etulain (Clackamas, OR), Dan Etulain (Bellingham, WA), Randy and Robbi Craker (Spokane, WA), Donald and Barbara Edwards (Salem, OR), Pamela Pacheco (Surprise, AZ), Mark and Priscilla Anderson (Eagle ID), David and Sandy Alexander (Nampa, ID), Joel Pearsall (Nampa, ID), Chadwick Pearsall (Nampa, ID), Alexa Murphy-Sweet (Parma, ID), Mark and Debbie Goodwin (Portland, OR), Clifford Martin (Keiser, OR), Dale and Beatrice Shafer (Spokane, WA) and Mark Maddix (Nampa, ID).

Please pray for these 21 individuals and look for future updates, journal entries and photos from some of the alumni; check this post to see more updates.

5/26/13: Debbie Goodwin

“We visited the synagogue in Capernaum and saw how the uneven entrance steps required a worshiper to step sideways, always looking down in humility and careful focus. The ancient Jews went in reverence to worship. It is fascinating how everything they built had meaning and purpose, not just design.

We also visited the temple to Dionysious. There were some 200 stair steps up to the top. I climbed them, panting the whole way, baking in the oppressive heat. While the view was breathtaking, the Romans didn’t come for the view; they climbed to worship.

The Jewish synagogue was simple but specific; the Roman temple, high and hard to get to. I’m thinking about what these different approaches mean for my worship today.”

5/25/13: Mark Maddix

“The imagery of water came to life today as Pastors Randy Craker and Mark Goodwin and I were honored to baptize and affirm baptisms in the Jordan River. It was a powerful experience to be in the same river that Jesus was baptized, by John the Baptist.

It is interesting how much Scripture talks about water. This became most evident when seeing the dessert climate and experiencing temperatures over 100 degrees. Water is especially valuable when it is rare.

The power of water was evident today as the source of life—life that comes from God. As the Psalmist says, “As the dear pants for the water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2).”

5/25/13: Robbie Craker

“As I sit in my chair in my hotel bedroom on the Sea of Galilee I am able to see in my mind’s eye all the places we visited yesterday. Jesus isn’t more real to me, but I understand the scope of his life a little better. Our guide said that without the Sea of Galilee there would be no Christianity. He didn’t mean the sea itself but the location–the area. It gave life to Jesus’ world and the vast majority of Jesus’ life was spent in this environment.”

5/25/13: Debbie Goodwin

“If it was as hot on the day Jesus taught the Beatitudes as it was the day we visited the Mount of Beatitudes, I applaud the desire to stay and listen to Jesus. They may have listened in their discomfort, hunger  and thirst, but they listened.”

5/23/13: Mark Maddix

“I have experienced the narrative of Scripture unfolding before my eyes during our beginning days in Israel.

During our second day we traveled to Caesarea to visit the ancient city built by King Herod. It was here where Peter visited the house of Cornelius and opened the gate to gentiles or “god fearers” to become part of the Church (Acts 10). We then visited Mount Carmel where we the epic battle of Elijah and the god’s of Baal took place (I Kings 18:16ff). Looking out from the mount we viewed the beautiful Jezreel Valley. We could see the next mountain range that included the city of Nazareth, Mount Tabor, and Gilboa.

Our last stop was in Nazareth, the home of Jesus. It was in Nazareth that Gabriel came to Mary announcing that she will give birth to God’s son (Luke 1:26ff). We visited a Nazarene village that replicated the daily life during the time of Jesus. The village included an ancient tomb where families were buried, a grinding well to grind olives to make oil, and a local synagogue where Jesus would have read the scroll of Isaiah as a young boy (Luke 4:16-20).

Our day ended in Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee. I look forward to another day of experiencing the narrative of Scripture as I encounter the place where God’s story unfolded. Tomorrow we explore the city of Capernaum—the home of Jesus’ Galilean ministry.”

5/23/13: Debbie Salter Goodwin

I will never forget the words of our tour guide as we stood at the top of Mt. Carmel and overlooked the Jezreel Valley, he said, “Here, I serve you the Bible on a platter.” The land became the pages we have read over and over. He pointed to Mt. Tabor, where Deborah and Barak strategized a military offensive and where Jesus met with transfigured Elijah and Moses. Then, he moved his point to Mt. Gilboa where King Saul was killed, then down the mountain to the spring where Gideon chose his warriors. The land does not allow an easy chronological retelling, for this is layered land. The stories are built one upon another, here, on this land. On this first touring day, we know we are pilgrims on a long journey to this sacred place where God began a story we are still living.”

5/21/13: Robbie Craker

I’ve “walked where Jesus walked” in many places around the world – the hot, red sands of Mozambique, Africa; the rubble-filled streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Tiananmen Square in Beijing; the subways of Moscow, Russia; a pastor’s home high in the Venezuelan Andes; the aisles of a small church in a small town in Eastern Washington. So will I be disappointed and underwhelmed with the Holy Land?

I hope not. I hope I can meld the experience of “walking where Jesus walks” today with where the historical Jesus walked 2,000 years ago.”

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