Holy Land Mission Trip: New Ministry in Old Places

Outreach is well known for our mission vision trips. We take people from churches across America to see what God is doing in other parts of the world. We recently had a team return from the Holy Land, a perennial favorite destination and an exciting place of ministry. 

This trip was led by Outreach Associate Director Marilyn Borst. Amazingly, it was Marilyn’s 14th trip to the Holy Land, and it began like most of them do: a full day of walking through the Old City of Jerusalem. The team of 13 visited many sites which commemorate our Savior's passion and where many historic churches mark the traditional places where Christ was tried before Pilate or scourged by Roman soldiers. The Via Dolorosa, the Way of Grief, terminates at the Church of the Holy Sepulchure. Thousands of pilgrims crowd the narrow lanes, with a cacophony of languages swirling within earshot.  It is always moving to walk on the well-worn and ancient cobblestones. 

The group’s guide, Sai’d, was a Palestinian Lutheran. He continually reminded the group that it is the Living Stones, the indigenous Christians who witness to our Savior in this land of his birth every day, who proclaim our resurrected Lord in this complex and compelling place.

The team’s journey included worship with Palestinian Christians at the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. The itinerary also included visits with Outreach global partners, including Bethlehem Bible College, the Palestinian Bible Society and Musalaha. Musalaha is a non-profit organization that promotes and facilitates reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, based on the life and teaching of Jesus. Musalaha, meaning "reconciliation" in Arabic, was founded in 1990 and takes important steps toward unity in a fractured land. Small steps toward embracing "the other" are made through children's camps, youth treks (by camel) into the desert, and women covenanting to a 2-year program of retreats and dialogue and of sharing their lives with one another---often across a seemingly insurmountable divide between Arab and Jew. Learn more about Musalaha by going to https://www.theoutreachfoundation.org/musalaha/

With visits to Jericho, the Sea of Galilee, Bethlehem and the Mount of Transfiguration, Scripture took on “3-D reality” for the team. Another special visit was in Qumran. There, a first century Jewish sect, the Essenes, withdrew into the desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. They spent their time copying ancient text. Some of their library, hidden in the nearby mountain caves, was discovered in 1947: the Dead Sea Scrolls. Significantly, copies of the book of Isaiah found were 1000 years earlier than the earliest manuscript previously discovered. The words matched up almost exactly, confirming how the Holy Spirit guided the transmission of our sacred Scripture across the ages!

As is always the case with Outreach travelers, their presence was an encouragement to our global partners who give witness to Christ every day. As Marilyn said of the team, “We covenanted to pray, work and advocate for a peace for all the inhabitants of that place: Israeli and Palestinian; Muslim, Jew and Christian. This will bring joy to our Lord, who walked in this place and spoke these words: ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’" 

Consider joining us on our next journey to the Holy Land, May 15-26, 2018.