Photo by Tony Cece

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Scripture and Ministry Amplified for Study Abroad Students

By Dr. Mark Wilson
In February-March, 2012, thirteen students, alumni, and friends toured with me in Israel and Jordan. The purpose of the trip was threefold: 1) to understand better the geography and history of the Holy Land; 2) to visit sites associated with key biblical persons such as David and Jesus, and 3) to learn about the contemporary situation in Israel and Jordan by meeting local people.
During our fourteen days we traveled by bus from the length of Israel from Beersheba to Dan. We participated in an archaeological dig at Tel Maresha, viewed the Canaanite gate at Ashkelon, and walked in the clefts of En Gedi where David hid from Saul. Along the way the students gave devotional presentations about various biblical sites.
Jerusalem was a joy and challenge: fascinating sites but blustery, wet weather. One day it rained, then a rainbow followed by snow and hail. To visit Bethlehem we passed through the high security wall that separates Israel from the Palestinian Authority. The Holocaust museum at Yad Vashem was a sobering time of recalling this horrific period. One evening Chris Mitchell, CBN’s correspondent, shared his experiences about living in the Middle East. On another Dead Sea Scroll expert Stephen Pfann spoke to the group.
The crossing to Jordan brought everyone face to face with life in a developing Arab country. Snow had earlier closed the road to Petra so our bus was fortunate to get in. Everyone enjoyed seeing Petra’s magnificent stone monuments, which were featured in an Indiana Jones movie. After days of bad coffee the group was thrilled to stop at the large, two-story Starbucks in Amman.
The final week was spent in the Galilee region where the weather improved greatly. Each day was filled with memories: a boat trip on the lake, a drive along the Golan Heights with overlook of Syria, an unplanned visit to the ancient synagogue at Bet Alpha, and a presentation by the president of the Arab Christian seminary in Nazareth. Through these shared experiences the group bonded in a Spirit-led way. The students kept a journal of their experiences, and it was enlightening to read their recollections. Evident in each was that the trip had been life-changing and would affect how they read Scripture and do ministry in the future. The next Divinity School trip will visit the biblical sites in Turkey and Cyprus so please plan to join us in 2013.
Dr. Mark Wilson is a Visiting Professor in the School of Divinity. He was the trip leader for the Israel and Jordan Study Abroad trip and is a Regent University graduate. Are you interested in participating in a study abroad trip? Click here for upcoming trips and additional information.

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