This is day one of my AIEF (American Israeli Education Foundation) trip. I’m typing this from the plane (no internet yet on this Boeing 777 – only four craft in their 777 fleet have wifi…seriously) and we haven’t yet landed. It’s 9:45am eastern and we didn’t take off right away as scheduled due to a problem with the plane not wanting to accept fuel – obviously that wasn’t very obliging of their aircraft…So we switched planes. The result was a relaxing 2+ hour delay in Newark’s very nice airport. Now that we are on the way and somewhat rested, the anticipation for the day is beginning to build.
Most of this first day will be spent traveling and getting settled in. So not much to report. But the group of folks in traveling with (13 of us I believe) is a great and diverse group of men and (1) women. Mostly people from the Midwest who grew up with cold winters, fall football, and Christian faith backgrounds.
The several pastors who came with us include Tim Throckmorton, a fellow Ohioan, who has been my seating companion on each leg of our trip this far. Tim is from the Circleville area and pastors a church of about 500 folks.
There are also several politicos along for the adventure. My good friend Gregg Keller is on the trip. Gregg is a Missouri boy, and got his big break in politics working for former U.S. Senator Jim Talent.
I’m hoping to be able to share some of the journey here as we go. All my posts will come after events or the day following, for security reasons. Some will simply be pictures and others a mix (so long as the app I’m using doesn’t flake out on me!).
UPDATE: 30 min until Tel Aviv (from the journal, transposed)
The sense from all the men I’ve talked to on our trip is that this is a once in a lifetime/bucket list type of trip. A real privilege.
Of course the accommodations and hospitality are all first class, so in a superficial sense that is what is meant. But in a deeper sense, everyone knows that soon they will be walking on ground walked on by their Savior. And what that may feel like is yet unknown.
All Christians long for the Day He returns, and we feel and sense this desire from within us from God’s Spirit. So I wonder if there is some of this sense coming alive in our small party. As if setting foot in Jerusalem and Galilee were going to bring His Day and His presence nearer. The sense perhaps can be likened to that great joy one feels when a friend is born again. A touch of eternity is nearby…
Humans are designed for more than the temporal. We are beings created for an eternal God. When one comes alive from the dead it is a reminder of the eternal, the weightiness of these realities is more tangible to us in those moments.
So also, perhaps, we glimpse what the Spirit is reminding us of as we contemplate Israel, and that is namely this: we are here for a purpose, on a mission, grounded in what happens on that Hill outside the city.
And though seeing it will be wonderful, the reality is that the it is the Spirit that is the guarantee, and setting foot in Israel doesn’t change that. All a Christian need do is open the Pages and read.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…and we have seen His glory…
Until the next post…
Soli Deo Gloria