Follow Christ, Lead the Way

Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government traveled to Israel May 23 through June 3, 2018.   

Thirteen students toured the Holy Land with Passages Israel, a program sponsored by Philos Project and the Museum of the Bible Foundation.  Passages specialize in providing Christian college students with leadership potential a fresh and innovative approach to experiencing the Holy Land.

The OCU students encountered the historic landscape of their Christian faith and modern-day Israel.  Significant sites visited were Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, Nazareth, Capernaum, Tebgha, Tiberias, and Tel Aviv.  Expert guides brought Israel’s story to life, strengthening students’ faith and facilitating impactful experiences that will inform their futures.

The itinerary accomplished two goals: 1) it pointed participants to the roots of their Biblical faith, and 2) it introduced them to Israel’s complex landscape, with the goal of building bridges of understanding and friendship between our two countries.  The program included visits to foundational Biblical sites and locations relevant to the history of the modern Jewish state.  Participants heard from diverse expert speakers and locals throughout the trip who helped the students understand Israeli culture, government and economy, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and geopolitical and security issues surrounding Israel.

These students now can build on their trip experience further by engaging in leadership training, aiming to become informed voices for their faith and for Israel, as their impressions below attest:

The journey was an experience of a lifetime.  My life is changed, and I will forever passionately tell the story of Israel and how beautiful the culture, sites, relationships, food, families, and love is there. This is not the end, but the beginning of something new.  – Daniel Santoj 

There have been years of my life that didn't change me as much as my trip to Israel did in ten days.  Before leaving for Israel, I prayed, as in Psalm 51:10, that God would create in me a new clean heart and that He would renew a loyal spirit within me. I knew our trip would answer that prayer, and I would not come back the same person. I was counting on this change, but I never anticipated how God would work in my heart and where He would meet me.  A few days into our trip we were in Jerusalem.  I realized an intense bittersweet feeling. I didn’t understand it, and I felt guilty because I thought I would feel nothing but overwhelming joy during the trip. On the last day, that feeling I was experiencing hit me.  It was nostalgia.  At every incredible place and amazing sight we saw, I felt longing to see Jesus while He was walking through the land.  At each historical site, I felt that I had deep-rooted memories there with Him. Those sites are not empty places but beautiful memories of Him. We all have the opportunity, by reading the Bible, to discover Israel and share those memories with Him. I am so grateful He loves me enough to meet me where I am and never leave me there as the same person He found. - Alyson Gritter

In Israel I was amazed at how the Bible came to life for me.  I was humbled walking the path of the Cross, comforted sailing on the Sea of Galilee, and touched sitting on the Mt. of Olives.  No matter the location, my faith was inspired. I am thankful to be taking my new-found passion and knowledge home with me to Ohio.Samantha Roberts

Israel was truly a life changing experience! Walking where Jesus walked and learning about Israel’ culture and history was amazing!  Everyone should visit the Holy Land if they have the opportunity! I will never forget the trip.Joshua Barr

Israel is so different from what we perceive in the U.S.  What we think of as old sand dunes is actually an ancient civilization underneath a thriving community, lush forests and vineyards, and mountains that surround it all. The landscape, though, is simply the setting in which an entirely new perspective can be realized, one that is impossible to perceive without stepping into the land and culture itself, and the transition from tourism to personal faith while on the journey will surprise even the well-seasoned traveler. The Bible engulfed me, and I was reminded first of where Jesus had walked, but importantly of how He walks with me now.Samuel Church

To me, Israel meant the Bible coming alive. I got to see the places I learned about as a Bible quizzer in person. I got to see the paths that I am studying and learning. It made the path that Jesus took come alive.Stephen Coakley

Trip meant the world to me. It was this college trip abroad that I had always wanted. Israel didn't disappoint.  What an amazing place!Charles Winkler

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