I first read the Bible from cover to cover when I was 12 years old.  Since then it has been a dream of mine to visit Israel to see where it all unfolded.  Last week my husband and I had the privilege of accompanying Pastor Jim Tolle, of the Church on the Way Spanish Congregation in Van Nuys, CA to the Holy Land.  We visited 48 places in 7 days and I share some of the photos below.  We experienced so much in such a short period of time that I struggled to choose my favorite but probably the most impactful to me was our visit to a small Christian church in Bethlehem.  Bethlehem is in the Palestinian controlled West Bank and is primarily Muslim.  The Christian Church there is greatly persecuted for proclaiming the Bible message to their fellow Palestinians to love their neighbor Israel as themselves. Palestinians who embrace the message are finding their lives transformed. The particular Church we visited has been bombed 14 times, the Pastor (himself a Palestinian) shot four times, and his brother killed and his body cut up into pieces by Muslim Extremist Groups, yet the church remains, having started four other churches along the West Bank, continuing to reach out to the community with the message of God’s love.  The thing that struck me was the service we attended was full of people all singing the same songs in three different languages, English, Arabic and Spanish, all at the same time.  As I sang along I was in such awe of the way God brought all of these different types of people together and of all the lives being changed by love right there in the midst of such conflict.  It was living proof that Love conquers all.

{Masada, where a remnant of Israel took their last stand against the Romans}

{view of the Dead Sea}

{Qumran, the site of the cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered}

{The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls were significant because the Scroll of Isaiah  is 100% identical  to the current book of Isaiah even after thousands of years.  Further evidence for the reliability of the Bible}

 {Israel Museum where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed today}

{The Dead Sea has a 33% concentration of Salt, making it much denser than regular water thus when you try to sit down in it or walk in it, you float because your body is less dense than the water.  It’s  an extremely weird feeling}

{Mount of the Beatitudes, where Jesus is thought to have given the famed “Sermon on the Mount”}

{Garden of Gethsamane}

{Bet She’an, Roman Ruins}

{Pools of Bethesda}

{Mural in the Hall of Independence that represents the prophecy which was fulfilled by the prophet Jeremiah in 1948 when Israel became the only Nation in the history of the world to become a nation once again after having lost a National identity and homeland}

{Valley of Meggido, prophesied to be the site of the Final Battle of Armageddon}

{We took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee}

{2,000 year old boat discovered in the Sea of Galilee, called the Jesus Boat}

{Israeli Countryside}

{The Empty Tomb}