“It was exhaustingly life-giving,” says John Hart, Garden Spot Village resident since December 2016, describing the trip he and his wife, Sherry, took to Israel in June 2018.
The tour, which they booked through Chosen People Ministries, was an 11-day learning journey that included 10 hours of sightseeing each day coupled with several hours of teaching and worship each evening.
Six hundred people from 17 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Costa Rica, participated in the tour.
The Harts spent the majority of their time in Jerusalem, visiting holy sites.
Throughout the trip, their tour guide David, a Messianic Christian, used scripture to tie the landscape to the Biblical history that surrounded them.
Highlights included visiting the Temple Mount, taking a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, sharing communion at the Garden Tomb, seeing the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and worshipping each evening with the 600 people who were taking the tour with them.
John and Sherry first visited Israel in 2012 as part of a cruise through the region. They had a quick 3-day stop in Israel and visited many of the Greek Orthodox shrines. It piqued their interest and they longed to return. Knowing this, friends invited them to go with them on this more intense learning journey.
Their tour guide worked to debunk popular biblical myths by taking them to the places where Jesus lived and taught. While they were in the historical places he added the cultural background behind much of the Old and New Testament. “While historians may not know the exact location where some of the events in Jesus’ life happened,” John says, “our tour guide made it very clear that Jesus was here. We were in the same place Jesus walked.”
“Visiting all of these places really opens your mind when you read the Bible,” Sherry says. “God has given both John and me opportunities where we are teaching from the Bible. The trip taught us so much that we can apply to our teaching.”