Before I begin the story of my trip to Israel I want to thank those of you who made it all possible. Your donations and prayers where such a blessing and allowed me to go on a journey that changed my life. I visited so many places and experienced so many things, it would take at least 20 pages to describe all of it! Having considered this I’ll share with you a few highlights of my trip.
About a year ago I joined a dance studio called Arts Evangelica. The studio owner Lisa Kid always had a dream to take her students and teachers to the holy land, Israel, and spread the love of Christ to the Israeli people through dance. March of 2014 was the year that God decided to open the door for us to go. It was such an amazing trip and God not only allowed me to bless other people through dance but my life was also blessed and changed from this experience.
When I first began to tell people I was going to Israel some people talked about how dangerous it would be to go there right now considering all war taking place, but for some reason I wasn’t worried at all because I knew who was with me. Although it was a little scary when I first got off the plane and a security guard started interrogating me and not just that but I got interrogated a second time in the same airport! At first I didn’t know why they were picking me out of everyone in our group of 20 but then I started to notice that I look a lot like an Israeli person, with my long hair and dark skin!
On the third day of our arrival we got to take a boat ride out on the sea of Galilee. This is where Jesus preformed many miracles such as walking on water, where he calmed the storm and also where he told the disciples to cast their nets. When I was sitting on the boat and looking out on the water where Jesus actually stood years ago, I had a joy I never felt before, a fullness that consumed my entire body. It’s so hard to put into words what exactly I felt and experienced. In that moment I knew God was calling me to follow Him and trust Him with my life; to be a disciple for all those around me.
That day on the boat I gave God my life in a new and refreshing way, and told Him I would do anything He wanted me to do because I knew I owed Him my whole life. I told myself the least I could do, I say least because nothing I could ever do would be enough to thank Him for everything He’s done for me, is give Him my life and allow Him to work through me. I believe it was the next day that we walked the same path that Jesus walk when he was being crucified. I was able to see the real stations of the cross where He fell, and also where He was whipped and the crown of thrones was places on His head. It was all so overwhelming to be standing where He stood during the most painful time of His life. Of course I knew that Jesus died for my sins because He loves me, but going there made it all so real for me. He willingly endured all that pain and all those people laughing at Him and spitting on Him all because He wants to be with me and have a relationship with me. At that point I didn’t care what people thought about me, or thought about my relationship with God. I know that He’s the only one in my life that will never let me down and that will be with me through the good times and the bad.
Then the day that we all had been waiting for was finally here; we were going to dance in the middle of Jerusalem! We were all so exited. To our surprise when we walked outside, it was freezing cold. The wind was blowing so hard it was almost pushing us over, and not only that but it was cloudy and looked as if it were going to rain on us. Not to mention all the other days we were there the weather was perfect. But, the show must go on, and so it did. Even though we were stumbling on stage and falling over because of the wind and cold God still had our backs. It didn’t rain, and on certain parts of the dances where we were using flags the wind seemed to calm down. Most importantly God touched the lives of His people, He planted seeds of joy in them. We had a lady come up to us after the show and say, “In my life I have seen horrible things. I’ve seen children shot and killed in front of my eyes. But seeing this, has made me smile and have joy. This is the first time I’ve smiled in years. Thank you.” That brings tears to my eyes and so much humility to my spirit to know that God chose me, all of us, to spread His love. To see people smiling and clapping when they watched us dance was truly incredible. While I was waiting in line for my next dance I looked over and saw this older woman dancing in the crowd but not only that but she was actually trying to copy the girls on stage. When I saw that I just began to cry, that lady didn’t care what other people thought of her and it was so touching for me to be able to watch her.
On our last day, just when we though it couldn’t get any better we were able to dance for Israeli soldiers. The fact that they would allow us on their base was a huge deal in itself because normally they are very strict on not allowing anyone on their base that isn’t in the army. Not only that but they spontaneously asked us if they could show us their weapons before we danced to show us their appreciation. They said they didn’t know how else to thank us. My dance teacher was a little nervous about that at first but then we found out that what they were showing us was very top-secret. They said usually people are never allowed to see their artillery but they wanted to make an exception for us because we’ve come so far just to show them kindness. It was so awesome!
Soon after that we preformed three dances for them and we specifically learned Israeli circle dance so that they could dance with us. I’ll just say, the last day was my absolute favorite. When we started the circle dances we invited them to dance with us and a lot of them joined in! The smiles on heir faces were unreal. They were so
happy, and a lot of them didn’t even know the dances but they didn’t care they just wanted to have fun. They also took off their guns, which is strictly against the rules, because they wanted to make sure no one would get hurt. When we first arrived it was a little scary to see all these soldiers with their guns, but as we got to know them and talk with them and they were as nice as can be. When they saw us dancing our three dances a lot of these tough soldiers were crying and you could tell a lot of them were holding it back. My dance teacher said that one of them came up to her and asked her, “Are you here because of 9/11?” he said, “A lot of people just come here for sympathy because of something bad that’s happened.” She replied, “No we’re not here because of 9/11 we‘re here to thank you for all your service and to love you.” The soldier was so shocked and surprised that people would actually come all the way here just to thank them.
I couldn’t have been more blessed on this trip. Seeing Gods hand at work in the lives of His people was both honoring and humbling. I knew I would have a good time and that God was going to bless His people but I never expected my life to change so dramatically. Israel is such a beautiful place and not only is it beautiful but the people are genuinely beautiful as well. Everything about that place is so special. But it needs prayer, as a lot of places do. The majority of Israeli people don’t believe that Jesus came and died for our sins, which is the foundation of Christianity. They are living in the very place where Jesus lived, was crucified, and died for us and they don’t believe that He actually came. I encourage you to pray for them and that they would come to realize that Jesus has come and that He wants to be with them.
I hope by sharing just a few of my experiences bless you. I can’t wait till God opens another door for us to return to Israel so we can continue poring His love and joy into the hearts of the people.