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I just returned from an amazing week in Israel, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, visiting places we read about in the Bible. I’m sure the full scope and meaning of this trip will come into focus more clearly for me over time–like a picture that is right in front of my face and therefore blurry. For now, I’m so grateful to have had the privilege of…

-visiting Jesus’ birthplace (Bethlehem)
-sitting in silence in the Garden of Gethsemane
-floating in the Dead Sea
-being baptized in the Jordan River
-looking out over Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
-taking a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee
-hiking around Dan, Caesarea Philippi, & Golan Heights
-stuffing tiny, handwritten paper prayers into the wailing wall
-walking the ruins of Qumran
-contemplating the evil of the Holocaust
-standing on the Temple Mount
-visiting the site of the empty tomb

In addition to the wonder of walking where Jesus walked, my other highlight included spending time with my friend/mentor/colleague Vaun Swanson who traveled with me; we enjoyed some deep belly laughs, delicious hummus, and a fire hose of historical, political and spiritual learnings.

I remember returning from my first overseas experience at the age of 16, when I talked about my time in Bolivia so much that my friends starting teasing me, “Oh, one more story about the ‘B’word,” the “B-word” being Bolivia! I’m sure in a similar way there will be many stories, illustrations and lessons that I will want to share with you all in the months ahead. I hope I don’t go over board with my HL stories! Feel free to tease me if I do!