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, continuing this week with Tom Fuerst, Lead Pastor for The Table and a member of this year’s Israel team.
What will the team be doing this year in Israel?
On one level, it’s a Holy Land Tour. You’ll get to see the sites of the Bible, and it’s a great opportunity for that. I actually have a greater desire to go through than that- while we are there, our tour guide and and partners on the ground will be with Palestinian christians from Bethlehem Bible College. You are going to have the ability to see christians living the gospel out and thriving in a really tough situation of oppression.
What were your favorite sites from your last Holy Land Tour?
I’m kind of nerdy, and while seeing Biblical things come to life was amazing, I really loved sitting in on the lectures at the college. It was so interesting to hear Palestinian christians answer questions like, “What does it mean to be Arab?” and to deconstruct all of our stereotypes about middle easterners. I loved hearing their stories, and hearing their reflection on how they live in a world where most of the people around them are Muslim, and where most of the Christian west seems blind to them, yet the Gospel is thriving.
How did you see God move on this trip?
Again, I think God surprised our last team with the encouragement we received from the Palestinian christians. I think we assumed that they would be there to help us see Israel and would stay out of the center focus, but they ended up showing us more of the Gospel than we could have ever imagined. I saw first hand what religious oppression looks like, and how they were still living like Jesus in spite of that.
What if I have never been on a mission trip before? What advice would you give me?
You’ll be stretched and challenged. You’ll learn to see the Gospel through a different lens and you will see how God is at work outside of your tribe and your family, and all of that will be exhilarating, intimidating, and over way too fast. It is amazing.
Why should I give up two weeks of my summer to visit Israel?
You’ll get to see the Bible come to life, and you’ll get to see things that you’ve been reading about your whole life. But more than that, through the lives of the people that we meet, you’ll see that the story of Scripture has continued beyond its pages and that story is bigger than our we could have ever imagined. Our partners are incredible, and worth the trip alone. The sites are cool, the people we spent time with were cooler.
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 Tuesday, February 28.
Questions about the trip? Please contact Bob Whitsitt at firstname.lastname@example.org