At Christ Church, we exist to make, mature, and mobilize disciples of Jesus Christ by loving Jesus and loving like Jesus in the world. While many times that happens right here in Memphis, the call of Christ has global implications, and we are committed to reaching the nations with the gospel. This year, Christ Church will be taking trips to visit three of our partners: Bethlehem Bible College in Israel, New Life Children’s Home in Guatemala, and Yugo Ministries in Mexico. GO 2017 will take a look at these trips each Friday, starting with our trip to Israel from trip leaders Ken and Lisa Dunavant.
What will the team be doing this year in Israel?
While the trip will include visits to various sites that we are familiar with from the New and Old Testament, the primary purpose is to continue to grow and support our relationship with Bethlehem Bible College. This college is located “outside the wall” in Palestine territory with a mission to train students to serve Christ thru a deep sense of community involvement in a part of the world surrounded by violence, strife, and hopelessness.
What were your favorite sites from your last Holy Land Tour? How did seeing them in-person compare to your expectations from Bible Reading?
Our favorite places were a combination of well known sites and normal interaction with Palestinians in their neighborhoods and communities. Taking communion with our group at The Garden Tomb where Christ was thought to have been crucified and resurrected was touching as it provided a real-life image that visually connects with the communion we partake in at Christ Church. Walking in the same steps and location of Christ brought to life many of the biblical stories that are the foundation of our belief. Likewise, we enjoyed the daily interaction with a diverse group of people in the neighborhoods around the college. From attending a wedding festival to being asked to dinner, from a shop keeper to spending time at the Tent of Nations, the interaction and memories of the people in the region are everlasting.
How did you see God move on this trip?
This area of the world is complicated. As westerners, we naturally hear and see stories about the Jewish and Muslim communities. Yet, our fellow Christians, who are very much in the minority, are often forgotten. To see their passion, devotion, and resolve for serving and spreading the word of Christ is inspiring. God is doing some wonderful things with this small Christian community in Palestine and teaching students how to show the love of Christ when you are marginalized and oftentimes oppressed daily.
What if I have never been on a mission trip before? What advice would you give me?
A mission trip will impact your life. Whether it’s local, national, or international, the hands and feet of Christ come in many forms. Being able to meet people at the intersection of their life in their environment provides a unique perspective that we cannot gain by staying in our day to day space. The person going on a mission trip quickly realizes their individual faith journey is re-nourished as we see first-hand how encompassing Christ is in EVERY environment.
Why should someone give up a week of his or her summer to see Israel?
Geography and the Christian life can be said to have a symbiotic relationship. Many of the locations surrounding the life of Christ leave a resounding impression in our faith. They provide yet another validation that Christ was indeed real living in a land that still exists today. The ability to literally walk in these same footsteps was awe inspiring and something that will stay with you forever.
Don’t miss your chance to join part of this team going back to Israel May 5-14! For more information, including cost, full itinerary and registration, visit cumcmemphis.org/goglobal. Registration deadline is February 15.
Questions about the trip? Please contact Bob Whitsitt at email@example.com