2022 Israel Trip
Orangewood Church

“The following blog was written by Pastor Joe Creech.”

A group of 17 was blessed to visit the Holy Land just a few weeks ago. This trip was canceled in March of 2020 at the start of Covid and was postponed two more times after that. We were thrilled to finally be able to travel to the land where so many Bible stories took place. So much of the story and ministry of Jesus, including his birth, death, and resurrection, took place in modern-day Israel.Our group arrived late on a Friday afternoon, and we traveled about 90 minutes north to the city of Nazareth, where we stayed for the first four nights of the trip. Nazareth is a mixture of old and new cities, and is centrally located to visit several biblical locations. In addition, we were able to go to Caesarea Maritime on the Mediterranean Sea. We saw the remains of the palace of King Herod, extensive ruins of the city, along with the massive stadium and hippodrome where the chariot races took place, all during the height of the Roman Empire and the life of Jesus. 

The city of Caesarea played a crucial role in the spread of the Gospel to the gentiles! In Acts 10, God sent Peter to the home of Cornelius, Peter preached the Good News, and we are told that the gentiles were amazed and the Holy Spirit came into power.

From Nazareth, we visited the Sea of Galilee area and experienced the city of Capernaum, where Jesus spent much time and performed many miracles. We walked the Mount of Beatitudes, which was very special, having just finished the sermon series on the Beatitudes. 

We had the joy of spending two hours on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Another day, to the far north in the Golan Heights at the foot of Mount Hermon, we visited Caesarea Philippi. It was here that Jesus took his disciples in Matthew 16, and Peter confessed, regarding Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”

 A highlight of our time in Nazareth was worshiping with brothers and sisters at the local church. There are many Arab-Israeli believers in this area of Israel. God has raised up the Nazareth Evangelical College, and we were hosted by the President, Azar Ajaj, and his amazing wife, Iptisam. God is using their ministry to train many to serve in churches in Israel and in the Arabic-speaking world.

We spent our last four nights in Jerusalem. We visited Jericho, and the Dead Sea area, including the sites of Ein Gedi, where David spent time, Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were found, and Masada. In Jerusalem, we experienced the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Pool of Bethesda, the Western Wall, walking the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Garden Tomb.

On Saturday, we worshiped with brothers and sisters who are Messianic Jews near Tel Aviv. The Lord has used Pastor David Zadok to foster a vibrant congregation, and we experienced their hospitality and friendship. In addition, one evening, we were blessed to have time with Nashat Filmon, Executive Director of the Palestinian Bible Society, and his wife. They are amazing people whom God is using throughout the entire region.

Our final day was on Sunday. We spent it in Bethlehem, worshiping with Pastor Danny Awad and the Baraka Presbyterian Church family. We had lunch with Danny, Joy, and their family. They are Palestinian Christians, and they say their family goes back to the earliest days of Christianity in Bethlehem.

Our group would say that God blessed us throughout the trip, but our favorite times were worshiping with our brothers and sisters throughout Israel. Orangewood is privileged to partner with and support all of these brothers and sisters with whom we worshiped. Our lives are fuller and richer after this time with fellow Christ followers and visiting the land of Jesus, where God wrote so much of the history of our faith! 

We hope to have a trip to the Holy Land every 18 months. So please consider joining us on the next trip!

Pastor Joe Creech