A 61-person group from the Great Plains Conference, led by Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. and his wife, Maye, are in the Holy Land this week for a spiritual and educational journey.
Clergy, laity and Great Plains staff are among those on the tour. Along with these posts are videos, that I could not link to on this post. Please like or follow the Great Plains Conference page to view these excellent and informative videos. You may even find a face or two you recognize.
Wednesday’s itinerary included the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum and Bethesda.
We finally have good WiFi, so at last here is a video from our Great Plains Conference group visiting the Holy Land with Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. We had a packed first day! We visited Capernaum, which was Jesus’ home base for ministry for much of his three years of teaching and preaching. We took a boat excursion onto the Sea of Galilee. We visited the ruins of Bethsaida and Magdala. And we visited the region where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Our pastors on the trip teamed up to read the scripture from Matthew. We’ll post more video as time and Internet connections allow. Stay warm back in Kansas and Nebraska! #GPinIsrael
Thursday will include Megiddo, Nazareth, Sepphoris, Mount Carmel and Caesarea.
In this video, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. shares some of our trip for the day. On day 2, our group visited the ruins of Sepphoris, where it’s believed Jesus and Joseph may have worked; Miggido, the site of Armaggedon from Revelation; the Church of Annunciation, built over where it’s believed Mary lived when she was told by the angel that she wiuld give birth to Jesus; Mount Carmel, where Elijah struck down the 450 prophets of the false god Baal; and Caeseria by the Mediterannean, a town Herod the Great built in only 12 years. #GPinIsrael
Friday includes stops in Bethlehem, the Jordan River, Jericho and Qumran.
Today, our group visited the traditional location of Jesus’ birth, covered today by the Church of the Nativity. We also visited the traditional location of where the shepherds became the first to hear the good news of the Savior’s birth. We visited Jericho, the second oldest city in existence. But perhaps the most moving experience was Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. leading a remembrance of baptism in the Jordan River. #GPtoIsrael
Saturday is devoted to Jerusalem, with stops at the Wailing Wall, Mount of Olives and Palm Sunday Road.
The group started the day with a visit to the Mount of Olives and a chance for devotions and singing in the Garden of Gethsemane before walking Jesus’ possible route on Palm Sunday and seeing the suspected location of the Last Supper and the location where Peter denied Christ three times. #GPtoIsrael
The group spent the entire day in the Old City of Jerusalem, starting with lessons on how the Temple Mount came to be controlled by Muslims and then seeing the ruins of the pools at Bethesda, where Jesus healed a lame man. The group then walked the Via Dolorosa — or stations of the cross. The walk commemorates the various stages of Christ’s journey toward the cross, culminating at what used to be Mount Calvary, now home to the enormous Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Great Plains group then visited the Wailing Wall and culminated the day by seeing a stone that Jesus most likely used to step into and out of the old city. #GPtoIsrael
On Sunday, the group continues its tour of Jerusalem and the Old City, with the Church of St. Anne, Herod’s Antonia Fortress and Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Jerusalem tour continues on Monday, with stops at the Shrine of the Book and Emmaus.
The tour concludes on Tuesday, with the Dead Sea and Masada.
On our final day in the Holy Land, the group first toured the ruins of Masada, a fortress and palace from Herod the Great’s era that was the last Jewish outpost to fall to the Romans in 73 AD. We then looked over the caves of Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. Finally, some of us floated in the Dead Sea before heading to the airport to return home.
Bishop Saenz is logging video from the trip on his Facebook page, and others on the trip have been asked to tag photos and posts with #GPtoIsrael.
Watch a video from the first morning on tour from communications director Todd Seifert.