Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Walking where Jesus Walked

At the end of our last day in Jerusalem, my heart is bursting with thankfulness and contentment. This has truly been an amazing week.

What a privilege and delight to have shared it here with these amazing people, ones who deeply love the Lord and serve him with all their hearts back in Central and Eastern Europe.

Spending the week walking where Jesus walked brought such enrichment to our lives. We'll never read Scripture in the same way or think about Jesus without envisioning these places.

This morning gave us yet another important vantage point for thinking about Jesus after visiting the Garden Tomb, one of two possibilities thought to be the place of his crucifixion and burial.

The JV single men blessed the ladies on the bus, just before our arrival there. Expressing their appreciation and enjoyment of who these sisters are to them, they presented each with a beautiful lily which they carried into the Garden Tomb resulting in a beautiful photo of these wonderful ladies!

Though most scholars don't believe this is the correct site (they would argue it's where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is today), it's a much more beautiful and peaceful experience at the Garden Tomb, remembering the most important aspect of this site: Jesus is not here!

He is risen indeed!

After touring the garden, we shared a meaningful time of worship and communion together, remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

Just after we finished, and were heading towards the exit, I heard someone call out to me, "Connie, a friend of yours is here!"

I couldn't believe it when I heard that our Israeli friend, Orit, had come all the way from Tel Aviv to see us! What a special moment to share with these ladies, all of us connected to our home church, Grace Church of DuPage, in the Chicago area.

As we headed back onto the bus for one last ride to our final destination, I felt a little ache in my heart. I just didn't want this precious time to end!

But soon we found ourselves at the overlook of Jerusalem, listening to Andrej, our dear guide, for the last time.

Having walked much of the city, it was so satisfying to now be able to identify places and put into perspective the whole story of Jesus' last week in Jerusalem, as he headed towards the cross.

Sobering. Sad. Difficult. Emotional.

I'm so glad I know the rest of the story or it would stay dismally sad. What happened on the third day is the best news of all.

Triumph! Gladness! Joy! Resurrection!!

"Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!" "Hallelujah, what a Savior!"


With Jerusalem in the background, we took photos to our heart's content, enjoying the fact that Jesus is alive!

Those of us who live in the Czech Republic

It's been a joy to serve with these three all week...Mel, Amy and Dave. So thankful for teammates who know and love Jesus!

And so thankful for these single JV teammates, who are truly sacrificial in what they do for Jesus. It's a privilege to serve with and call them friends!

Our last stop on the official tour came just across the Kidron valley, on the outside of the walls that surround Jerusalem. These are the "Southern Steps".

This is believed to be the place where Jesus would often teach, as well as where the multitudes gathered in what is considered the beginning of the church when Peter addressed the crowd (Acts 2) and called people to repentance.

Dave gave his last talk of our tour here, challenging us to three things:

* To believe that God is moving
* To pray for boldness
* To ask God for more

As we sat on these historical steps where Jesus once walked and preached from, we ended our time in prayer asking Him to give us courage and boldness to bring the Gospel to the people and places where we live.

May we see more young people to put their faith in him, more young people to be raised up as leaders for this generations, more young "Josiahs" who will follow God wholeheartedly and proclaim the good news to their nations!

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