Mission Trip: Israel -Day 2: May 18, 2007

Jerusalem!  Today was the day to go see the sights.  We were still getting our bearings, both physically and spiritually, so our leaders took us to the heart of it all, Jerusalem, to continue to teach us.  I believe there were 14 of us, and we piled into 3 cars and zipped all around this small country.  We had planned to go onto the Temple Mount, but this was the first day of the Jewish month, so it was closed.

Our first day in Jerusalem

We prayed at the Western Wall.  We went to the Garden Tomb which some believe is the place of the burial and resurrection of Jesus and enjoyed a beautiful communion there.  We were in the Old City Souq or Market when all of a sudden their Mosque let out.  It was Friday which is their Holy Day, and out of nowhere we were surrounded by trampling people.  We had to push and hold onto each other in order to not be separated by the crazy crowds.  These old roads are very small and windy and there was nothing to do but slowly try to stay in the stream out of the Souq.

Seeing the Western Wall, which today is just a wall made of huge rock bricks, was amazing. It used to be the actual wall of God’s Temple.  It was interesting to learn what the Jews are doing when they rock their torsos back and forth as they stand in prayer (doveling).  They are bowing their hearts towards God.  It’s a beautiful thing to continually and consciously submit your heart towards God in this way and I have taken up this form of worship from time to time.

But the thing that most stood out to me was the Palestinian man who owned the schawarma shop that we went into that day.  He worked very hard to serve us a nice meal and when we complemented him on it, he lit up like a rose!

It was as if he had never received a complement before and in receiving it, he was validated.  The Jews and the Muslims both believe that God must be pleased through living right and doing good deeds.

They are both under this tremendous burden to please a God in a way that they will never be able to accomplish.  Man can never be perfect.  It was rewarding to be able to please this man in such a simple way, and yet sad to get a glimpse into the burdens that he carries.  I am grateful to know that God has it in His plans to bring all of these people to Him.  God said…

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” (Genesis 17:20-21)

What do you believe?  I’d like to know.

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