Journey to Israel inspiring, educational for CBU group

Published Feb 02, 2017

Riverside – A group from California Baptist University traveled to Israel for an opportunity to see the Bible come to life and to learn more about the various geopolitical factors facing the land.

The trip was part of a traveling package offered through Passages, an organization aimed at providing an innovative experience of the Holy Land for Christian college students with leadership potential. The group’s trip spanned Dec. 31-Jan. 11.

Anthony Chute, professor of church history, organized the trip and was one of three faculty members who participated. He said the journey was inspirational and educational.

“As a group we read passages from the Bible that were directly related to the places we visited, and we heard from various people whose everyday lives are affected by events in the Middle East,” Chute said.

The itinerary included biblical sites as the Mount of Beatitudes, where students took turns reading the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). They also experienced a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, prayed together in the Garden of Gethsemane and shared in communion at the Garden Tomb.

John Lee, one of 34 students that attended the trip, said reading scripture in the locations where the biblical events occurred gave him a deeper understanding of the surrounding environment.

“It’s made the mission of God more tangible,” said Lee, an applied theology junior. “I got a broader perspective of how the gospel spread. I have more vigor coming back for ministry, [knowing] that God has worked thus far and He’ll continue to work.”

With regard to modern Israel, the group traveled to Tel Aviv and the site where Israel officially declared statehood. They visited the Israeli Supreme Court and Parliament buildings and prayed at the Western Wall. They also listened to perspectives from Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders on the issues that face the land. Additionally, they interacted with people living near Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.

Jamie Perlee, a junior majoring in communications and business administration, said she feels more attuned to the various issues in Israel.

“I know names to pray for, faces to pray for now,” Perlee said.

The trip benefited the students in two ways, said Natalie Winter, associate professor of marketing, after returning from the trip.

“I think it brings the Bible to life in a way that is hard to really appreciate unless you have been to Israel,” Winter said. “Also, it deepened their understanding of modern-day Israel and the geopolitical dynamics that are unique to that country.”