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I could barely contain my excitement. We were going to Israel! For years my husband, Denny, and I had wanted to go, but it just hadn’t worked out. Where else but in Israel can you walk the very streets that Jesus walked? Where else can you view the tomb where Jesus’ body may have been placed? Of course there is no proof because His body is not still there!

The Sea of Galilee depicted such serenity that even though we were there in February when tensions escalated between Israel and Syria and we could hear air strikes in the distance, we could easily imagine Jesus calming the storm. Hezekiah’s tunnel, an engineering marvel, and the temple, an architectural wonder, left us in awe. Looking out over the expansive plain of the Valley of Megiddo, we could easily imagine all the kings of the world and their armies assembled together to make their final stand.

Part of the path Jesus walked before His trial.

Part of the path Jesus walked before His trial.

In Israel, biblical illustrations, written from a Hebrew mind-set, jump off the written page into real life. Our lack of connection to those stories isn’t so much due to their age as to their cultural and environmental settings. With rocks of all sizes and shapes strewn over the landscape, it was easy to see why stoning was a common form of punishment. Since approximately 61 percent of the land is considered to be desert, the importance of access to a source of “living water” as opposed to murky water stored in cisterns, or even worse, the poisonous water of the Dead Sea became significant. 

In fact, much of Israel’s land is fairly unremarkable – even vulnerable – and just as in Bible times, it is under constant threat of attack. Although I strongly encourage as many as can to go to Israel, it would not be described as a visual paradise (although spiritually it is riveting). Even so, Jesus Christ left heaven for this land to “proclaim good news to the poor” and “freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). 

Following in His worthy footsteps, Edgar R. Figueroa, now an Open Bible pastor, left behind wealth and comfort in Miami, Florida, to share the good news of salvation to poor agriculture workers in a struggling, migrant community (see story on page 6). Elaine Morris, also a pastor, left a lucrative job as a cosmetologist to proclaim freedom to those bound by substance abuse (page 20). Two missionary families, the McConnells and the Browns, often leave the comforts of home in the U.S. to preach the gospel to those imprisoned in Northern Mexico (page 28).

Edgar Figueroa says, “We believe in God, but the crazy thing is He believes in us.” When Jesus returned to heaven He left us with the mission of sharing the good news with all people. Can we be trusted?

About The Author

Andrea Johnson
Managing Editor

In her spare time you will most likely find Andrea Johnson with family or friends, or outdoors hiking. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with four children and five grandchildren.