Last year, I went to Israel.

This is still a sentence that shocks me to say.

That place in the Bible? You just got on a plane and went there? Did you feel safe? What was it like? Was it amazing?

It seems like the questions are still coming in, and as for “was it amazing?” my answer will always feel inadequate. A trip like the one I took last year is difficult to put into words, and the words never really stay the same. My favorite places and lessons learned from my time in Israel seem to change on a weekly basis, almost in the same way that my heart seems to be frequently changing and growing thanks to a living, creative God that I am so in love with. Israel stole my heart. It is a living breathing place marked with God’s stories from thousands of years of Biblical history but also with the stories of children and incredible adults that call it home today.  It is so evident why God chose this land to walk on and tell the story of true love.

This trip is a part of our Heartland Cornerstone Program, a year-long internship to discern a call in camp, youth or retreat ministry. I will be leading our three interns: Erin, Lauren and Tyler. Over the year we have been able to share in our anticipation and stresses leading up to this life-changing trip. They have spent this year preparing by holding weekly Israel Bible studies, completing an online historical study course, and finding partners in ministry to fundraise for half the cost. It will be very beautiful to see how different this experience is for each of them and myself a second time around.

So, we are eager to keep you all updated as we go on this adventure. We plan to post blogs every few days along the way to describe what we’ve experienced, show off photos and simply share in our joys! To give you a little insight into our trip, we will arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel this Sunday night. Over the following twelve days we will travel from there to the Dead Sea, the Galilee and end our trip in Jerusalem. We will be traveling along with a group from Joshua Wilderness Institute at Hume Lake in Hume, California. It will be very exciting to see our stories intertwine these upcoming weeks.

Thank you for all who have supported us this year. We ask that as we travel and explore that you continue to support us in prayer. We ask for prayers of safety, awe, understanding, growth, encouragement and presence throughout the trip.

Below I am including some pictures from the trip last year, new ones to come soon! 

Written by: Shelby Voigt

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