The Holy Land, a place brimming with spiritual significance and historical charm, has always been on my bucket list. As a traveler and a believer, I yearned to walk the same paths where ancient prophets and pilgrims once trod. Finally, I embarked on a life-changing journey to this sacred destination, and in this blog, I will share my profound experience and cherished memories of exploring the Holy Land.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by the mighty women of God .
Who I became friends for life over 30 years ago. This "Women of the Bible Tour" tour was hosted by my dear friend Dr. Pauline Plummer—a woman of faith and love for God's people.
We arrived in Tel Aviv after an elven hour flight, we all were pooped and ready to shower, but the tour had just begun. We all got on the bus and began to see Israel, our first stop was the house of Simon, the Tanner, and we went off to Lunch. I won't be able to share every stop with you, but I will share as much as I can.
After a long journey, I arrived in the captivating city of Jerusalem, which holds immense importance for several major religions. Stepping into the city's narrow streets, I was immediately drawn into a tapestry of cultures, traditions, and ancient architecture as our tour guide explained their culture. The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, moved me to tears as I joined others in prayer, leaving a written note in its crevices as a symbolic connection to the past and future. The Wall changed me in so many ways, watching women from all walks of life come to this Wall and share their thoughts with God. It is remarkable, plus, as some of you make know, you CANNOT turn your back on the Wall; you MUST back out of the area. There was something special about it, it's like not turning your back on GOD, and once you are there, you will understand. There I was, crying out to God at the WALL! I was speechless as I stood at the WALL in humbleness and gratitude.
Discovering Bethlehem, A short drive from Jerusalem, took me to the town of Bethlehem, where the story of Jesus Christ's birth unfolded. I was surprised to find out that Jews were not allowed in Bethlehem. I was shocked to find out where Jesus was born; the Jews were not allowed to come because the Palestinians controlled this area. You can see the warning sign below.
Visiting the Church of the Nativity, the exact spot where Jesus was believed to have been born, filled me with awe and humility. The atmosphere was serene, and I couldn't help but feel a profound connection to the biblical events that took place here.
Journey to the Sea of Galilee Heading northward, I reached the tranquil shores of the Sea of Galilee. Here, we experienced a boat ride across the glistening waters, contemplating the stories of Jesus walking on these seas. The serenity of the sea and the surrounding landscapes made it a moment of deep introspection and gratitude. Let's not forget the praise we had on the boat; it was amazing.
The women I met on this trip were amazing; we are connected for life. We embarked on this trip together and will forever be bonded together.
Reflection at the Mount of Beatitudes, the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered the famous Sermon on the Mount. Standing atop the hill, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, I absorbed the profound teachings and pondered their relevance in my life. The experience left me inspired and renewed in spirit.
Exploring Nazareth, a town steeped in biblical history, on our stop. We visited the Basilica of the Annunciation, which commemorates the angel Gabriel's visit to Mary. The atmosphere was charged with devotion and reverence as visitors from around the world gathered to pay their respects.
The decision to be baptized in the Jordan River was not taken lightly. It represented a commitment to my faith and a desire to reaffirm my dedication to a higher power. The anticipation and excitement leading up to this day filled me with a sense of reverence and humility. Yes, I was baptized before, but this was different; it felt different. Then to be asked to assist with baptism was an honor. When I stepped into the water, I felt the Holy Spirit come over me like a blanket, and I knew it was something special just to be there. As I assisted in the baptism, I knew I was doing the Lord's work, but it was even more special when it was my turn. YES, I got baptized in the same river Jesus got baptized in….. That's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Yes, that ME!
The next stop was the Dead Sea, where I experienced a unique sensation once I put my feet in the water. I didn't know I had a scratch on my leg, but I learned quickly once that salt water touched it.
Farewell, Holy Land. As my pilgrimage came to an end, I couldn't help but feel a mix of emotions. The Holy Land had left an indelible mark on my soul, and I departed with a heart full of gratitude and reverence for the experiences I had gained. The journey strengthened my faith, deepened my understanding of history, and enriched my perspective on life. Thank you, Dr. Pauline Plummer, for inviting me to speak and participate in this amazing experience; you are forever in my heart and prayers.
Walking inside the tomb where Jesus lay was surreal. Descending into the tomb itself is a moment of reflection and contemplation. The confined space, carved from stone, carries an air of quiet reverence. The experience of being where the body of Jesus is believed to have lain invokes a deep connection to the foundational story of Christianity.
Not only did Dr. Plummer host the tour, but she and her husband, Bishop Plummer, went a little further. We made history while we were there by marching on "Martin L. King" street to honor his legacy, which had never been done before in Israel.