Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Holy Land Day 3

By Guest Contributor: Christina Sandstedt

We began Day 3 by going to the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the location where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and revealed to her she would conceive a son by the Holy Spirit and his name would be called Jesus because he will save the people from their sins. The church itself is home to the largest Christian congregation in Israel.

Church of the Annunciation
Inside the Church
Camille read Scripture and shared her thoughts with us
After going to the church, we had the opportunity to stop by Nazareth Bible School and hang out with the students on their class break. I thought going up to the students and talking to them would be like pulling teeth, but most of them were so excited to see us and loved practicing their English with us.

Our veteran YoungLife leaders (Dakota & Ned) made new friends easily.

We also went to Nazareth Village, which is a reconstruction of Nazareth life at the time of Jesus. Our tour guide for the open-air museum was Nathaniel, who is one of the approximately 20,000 Messianic Jews living in Israel. Messianic Jews make up less than 1% of the Christians in the Holy Land, and Christians make up less than 2% of the population in total. Originally, we were sad Amer (our tour guide during the week and low-key my favorite person I met in Israel) wouldn't be giving our Nazareth Village tour, but we soon enjoyed getting a great tour from Nathaniel and hearing part of his story! After the tour, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch of the type of food Jesus would have eaten.

Nathaniel, our tour guide.

Alex made a new friend on the tour.

Olive Press on the Nazareth Village Tour
Our Chef

Our afternoon was surprisingly free because of a schedule change that morning so each of us chose activities that were life-giving to us. Some took naps, others shopped, or explored around Nazareth. The group I was with decided to walk to the top of a chapel building we could see from afar. We ended up walking a few hours and through a construction site to get there, but the view was worth it!

Our destination

View from the Top

More Adventurers-Jess and Rahel (photo cred to Campbell)
That evening, we experienced legendary Arab hospitality to the fullest. A family who worked with YoungLife had us over to their home in the small village of Ibillin. Our host cooked for us...and cooked for us....and cooked for us. I think all the Fellows would agree that was the fullest we were on the whole trip! I went to Israel expecting the holy sites and the place to impact me the most, but in reality it was the people we met, who loved us so well, that impacted me the most.

Some of the local Ibillin YL leaders had dinner with us.

Ned and Wael giving (and translating) speeches.

Our Chef Extraordinaire who cooked us fifty pounds of meat each

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