My friend, Jenny, shared this with me - it's so perfect for today:
"He . . . said to them, ’Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem . . " —Luke 18:31
Jerusalem, in the life of our Lord, represents the place where He reached the culmination of His Father’s will. Jesus said, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). Seeking to do “the will of the Father” was the one dominating concern throughout our Lord’s life. And whatever He encountered along the way, whether joy or sorrow, success or failure, He was never deterred from that purpose. “. . . He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem . . .” (Luke 9:51).
The greatest thing for us to remember is that we go up to Jerusalem to fulfill God’s purpose, not our own.
You can read more here.
Avi shared with us that we were ascending up to Jerusalem. In the Bible, they always say up to Jerusalem because it is the Holy City and is 2,500 feet above sea level.
We started the day by meeting some Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers on the Lebanon - Israel border.
Then we went rafting down the Jordan river. I chose to kayak with Vika, and we met a raft full of Israeli boys who were more than interested in bidding camels for Vika. She is a cute, blonde girl with a beautiful Russian accent.
Next, we visited a site where you can be baptized in the Jordan River, the same river that John the Baptist baptized Jesus. We all dressed in white robes, waded into the water, sang "Amazing Grace" and other spiritual songs as David Walker and John Winchester baptized each student who wanted to be baptized.
I started crying before I was even baptized. Seeing my friends get baptized and just watching God work before my eyes was surreal. I will never forget those moments in the Jordan River with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
As if the day wasn't already one of the most amazing days of my life, we started our ascension to Jerusalem. When we made it through a tunnel and entered into Jerusalem, I knew right away that this was the most beautiful city I've ever seen. We celebrated Shabbot with a modern orthodox Jewish family.
First, we went to the Western Wall. The most interesting part, was that on the other side of the wall, the Muslims were reciting their call to worship, just as the Jews started their celebration of Shabbot. We greeted people with "Shabbot Shalom" which means may your Sabbath have peace, and I prayed at the Wall after putting on a kippa.
Then we went to the house of the Jewish family and they opened their home to us. It was amazing. They led us through the way they celebrate Shabbot with prayers, songs, food, food, more singing and more food. It was quite the night!
Now it's 3a.m. Israeli time and I'm trying to gather my thoughts from the day. So, I should be probably get to sleep. Shalom.
I love the people I'm with, the country I'm in and the God I serve :)