If you had the chance to go to Israel, would you take it? For some that answer comes easily to the mind. It could be an emphatic yes or a firm no. For others, it might be a matter of weighing the pros and cons: one’s financial situation and time off work, the fear of safety and security, or maybe travel isn’t appealing to you. For myself, it was a little bit of everything. (With the exception of travel. Travel is always appealing.)
Let me back up to almost a year ago. My husband and I were having typical conversations about future travel plans. I say “typical” because dreaming and scheming about travel adventures is a pretty common topic between me and . . . well, everyone. We listed possible destinations for a big trip that could take place a few years from now. Many places were on our list: from the cliff bluffs of Oregon to Germany’s Nürburgring, 221b Baker Street (yes, I’m looking at you Sherlock fans) to the Emerald Isle. We even considered going to Japan and trying to reserve a sushi night at Jiro’s restaurant. The idea of traveling to the Holy Land came up. It did make it onto the bucket list of adventures, but neither of us felt like it would be our first big trip out of the country together.
Fast forward to the 4th of May this year. I am sitting at my computer catching up on the emails that seem to endlessly pile up. I opened one of many forwarded emails from Ashland University. “Dear ATS student,” it began. “Ashland University is offering a 10-trip to Israel . . . This remarkable opportunity is available through a partnership with the Museum of the Bible and Philos Foundation.” Unbelievable. It was certainly a “remarkable opportunity” as the cost of the trip was greatly reduced by these organizations. As I read through the email, my pulse was suddenly racing. I felt like I couldn’t pass up this possibility. It seemed too good to be true . . . but it was true.
As the days and weeks have passed from that email until now, I see that God has opened and shut many doors for me. And in two days, I will be on my way to Israel with a group of curious and bright students from Ashland University. I have a heart for adventure and a willing spirit to travel. But I am also nervous. There are a lot of unknowns about travel abroad, especially with all the threats that we hear in the media. However, I do not think that living in fear is the answer. Rather, it is better to place my trust in the calling on my life. I am thankful for the support of my family and friends in this endeavor. I invite you to pray for the journey, both for travelling mercies and spiritual insights. I hope to gain a greater connection to my faith life and to understand the modern Israeli and Palestinian perspectives. Follow this blog and Instagram while I am traveling. And maybe you will be able to answer that question, too: If you had the chance to go to Israel, would you take it?