“When you come to Israel, if you allow Jesus to touch your heart, you cannot remain unchanged.”
A group of 33 people have just returned from our annual 10 day pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Over the ten days, every person on the pilgrimage has been impacted in their own way. Here is a collection of the various experiences.
For some, walking in the places where Jesus Himself walked was in itself a blessing and a tangible reminder of how real God is.
It was worth every form of sacrifice, the heat, finances, spiritual struggles etc. The Lord rewarded me with His blessings a million fold!!
“An awesome trip that I will surely never forget.”
“Israel was a mind blowing experience. It really made me realise how real God is and how real the Bible is. It has definitely taken my journey to another level.”
“The pilgrimage was a taste of heaven. We desire to continue living in this peace for the rest of our lives.”
Ivan & Natalie
“Walking in the place where Jesus lived, preached, died and rose again is just breath-taking. I tried to keep this in my mind on a daily basis so I could fully experience the Holy Land. Every place was significant to us as Christians, therefore it is a trip that helped me grow a lot. The experience was challenging, fun but surely worth it.”
“It was a challenging spiritual journey during which God gave me the grace to experience His love for me in a deeper way. Also, walking literally in Jesus’ footsteps makes everything simply more real.”
“An unforgettable experience, living the Bible in the Holy Land. I felt God speaking to me personally. It was a great boost in my spiritual life. I feel that I should visit again for a deeper experience. I can say that I’ll be going back home so much different that I was before. I would never forget this amazing experience.”
“I was struck by the daily Mass readings which reflected the places we visited that day.”
“Honestly, I have no words to describe this awesome pilgrimage. I n the beginning I felt lost and felt that I came for nothing. Yet when I was open and let myself go I could see that this is a true transformation. I couldn’t stop crying and I was so emotional. When I saw the photos I could see that my smile was different – I could see that my eyes were shining and could see certain joy that I never saw in me before.”
“I was eager to continue to enter deeper into God’s embrace. After this pilgrimage I returned home with a greater thirst for God who loves me so much. Thank you so much for organising this trip.”
“It’s been an incredible journey with the Lord. It really helped me to start to comprehend his love for each one of us. I’m going home a different person and looking forward to grow more in my walk with the Lord.”
“Reading the same scripture at different timings touches you and transforms you in different ways. Being in the Holy Land for the second time is just the same: living the fifth gospel at a different timing. Transformation is indescribable. You know it happened but can’t explain how. Things seemed the same, issues unchanged and yet a surpassing peace transcended all my being. And I know this is just the beginning of a deeper encounter with the Lord. So whilst awaiting and cherishing the ripples of such an experience, I look forward to relive the fifth gospel again and again.”
“Apart from being an enriching spiritual experience to me personally, the pilgrimage has deepened my understanding of the Bible particularly its biblical context.”
For others, it was the significance of a specific location and the events which took place there that stood out.
As I walked to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, early in the morning, I experienced God speaking to me and when we knelt down to place our hands on the rock of Calvary I felt loved by the Lord in a special way.”
“Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, my love and Saviour. I was deeply touched by the reality of the humility of the incarnation that left me with a deep sense of gratitude in the Spirit for the Father’s love for me. Celebrating the Eucharist inside the tomb was as if I was evangelised for the first time through the words of the angel in the gospel. “’he is not here, for he has risen’ as He said. ‘Come, see the place where He lay’” (Mt 28:6). I came, I saw, I believed Hallelujah!”
“At the Primacy of Peter (Tabgha) I felt the Lord saying “Ruth I have a plan for you, you are here for a reason, just surrender all you have to me because my plan is greater than yours!” A scripture which stayed with me throughout the whole pilgrimage was So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. (Mark 1:31). It was like God was telling me, that he wants me to serve him, from the very little that I have, he wants me to give it all to him.”
“I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to visit the Holy Land. To walk where he walked. To visit places where He performed so many miracles and most of all to visit Golgotha where he died for us. And most of all I was deeply touched to enter the tomb and spend time there knowing that he laid there and knowing that the tomb is empty that our heart may be full. As Peter said “Lord it is good to be here”.”
“The whole pilgrimage was, for me, a greater and deeper experience of the words of St. Thomas – “My Lord, my God”! Particularly in the tomb with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The understanding deep within that Jesus is indeed alive, was so powerful that I have no words to describe God’s power in the empty tomb. What a paradox! He is risen, He is alive indeed – God sent and sacrificed the one and only Son so that we may have eternal life.”
“A special moment in this pilgrimage was when I took a photo of my bare feet on the same stones that Jesus walked in the temple under Robinson’s arch. I looked around to imagine Jesus around me but when I looked at the photo, I instead felt Jesus inside me and felt that Jesus was with me in the past, in the present and is going to be with me in the future. I truly felt like a cherished and loved daughter by sending His only Son to us and could really call him papa.”
A true trip of landscape, wordscape and inscape. My special moment where the Lord showed me His suffering was at the adoration at Gethsemane. Also the empty tomb of Christ was not only touching my heart deeply but I felt a little miracle of time as I thought the others before me had such a little time but for me it seemed a very long time loving the Lord. Many other times like lowering the needs of my family into the house of Peter and placing them before the Lord. And of course every mass we participated it in.”
“It was such an amazing and wonderful experience. Sometimes the feeling in certain places was unrealistic. I was actually walking in places that Jesus walked, visited and I was right there, on Calvary where He gave Himself to save us! Israel was definitely a place worth the visit!… Thank you Andrew and Angie for this great and wonderful opportunity. God bless you loads.”
“God showed me clearly in prayer that He want me to join this year’s pilgrimage. I knew deep down in my heart that I needed personal time with the Lord and so I tried to find time to be still and acknowledge that He is my Lord. His presence was very tangible in most places but Tabor, Gethsemane and Golgotha where places where God spoke and was felt.”
“This was my fourth time in the Holy Land, so rather than seeing new things and places, I could afford to “go deeper” in places I was already familiar with. Golgotha struck me once again with its power. I will treasure especially an early morning prayer session during which I was overwhelmed – while focusing on the crucifix – by a renewed awareness of God infinite live and mercy for humanity, but not as a huge jumbled mass of people, but rather one-by-one, as individuals, a love manifested in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.”
“Even though this was my umpteenth visit to the Holy Land I was very blessed yet again. God spoke deep in my heart a word of affirmation and assurance. The experiences during the adoration at Gethsemane, the visits at Golgotha and my renewal of commitment to the Lord at Tabgha are moments I will treasure for the rest of my life.”