A team of 13 students and staff from DBU are spending a week in Nazareth, Israel, leading a summer camp. Below are updates from the team about their experiences and ministry.
NEW! Thursday, July 11
These past 3 days have flown by in Israel. On Monday, we received a presentation from Botrus Mansour, the director of the Nazareth Baptist School, about their mission and vision for reaching their city. As he was speaking, he talked about the reality of Arab Christians and their struggles in Nazareth. However, he really blessed and challenged our team with this statement, "it would be really easy for us to leave Nazareth and come to the States or Europe because we are educated and speak very good English, but we believe that would be the easy way out; God has called us to minister to our people in Nazareth!"
We loved our time in Nazareth, and we are excited to see what the Lord does with His servants there. On Tuesday, we went to the Dead Sea and then to Jerusalem. We had a great day of shopping with our students as they saw the culture of Jerusalem for the first time. Wednesday was fast and furious for us. We saw the Garden Tomb, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Garden of Gethsemane, Via Delarosa, Bethlehem, Mount of Olives, and the Wailing Wall. Needless to say, it was a very encouraging day for all of us as we saw the Bible come to life like never before. We even got to ride camels!
It is currently night here, so our team is getting ready to go to bed as we have a wake-up call at 5:45 a.m. Please pray for safe travels and smooth connections on Thursday, and that the Lord will continue to place on our hearts what He wants us to learn and remember. And please pray for our brothers and sisters in Israel, that the Lord will encourage them as they minister to the people. Pray that the Lord will stir hearts that those who don't know Him would see Him as the true Savior of the world! Thank you for all your prayers and support and making this journey with us.
Monday, July 9
Saturday and Sunday were an absolute great adventure for our team. On Saturday, we went to the Jordan River, took a boat on the Sea of Galilee, saw Capernaum, and finished our last stop at the Mount of Beatitudes. It was so amazing for our students to see so many places we had only imagined in scripture. After this, our team went to a youth group meeting where Tiffany Stotts taught two American worship songs to the group and Chris Holloway had the chance to share from 1 Timothy 4:12. Afterwards, we ate pizza, which shows that youth really don't change too much from place to place. After this, we taught them American football, which was a huge hit! We then met our host families, who have treated us with nothing but hospitality and love.
On Sunday, we went to church twice and spent the day with our host families. Jon Dooley preached an amazing message on John 20 about trusting in Christ even when you don't see what He's doing. We love our family of believers in Nazareth. We long to see everyone back home, but it will be hard to leave such wonderful people. Tomorrow we head to Jerusalem to see more of the Lord's wonders. The team is doing well as we await for the Lord's next adventure for us. Please pray that our hearts will be open to the lessons the Lord wants to teach us.
Saturday, July 7
Friday, we worked at the school and the camp. We went to the Rosh Harana to see the coastal caves. Then we went to swim in the Mediterranean. We wrapped up the night walking around the ancient city of Accor. Saturday, we will see more of Galilee.
Thursday, July 5
Wednesday, the camp students were gone on a field trip so we spent the day working at the school. We did more painting projects around the school all morning. Then in the afternoon we went to the west coast to explore the ruins of Caesarea.
Thursday, we were back at camp with the kids doing games and making balloon animals. Half the group did painting projects again. We are almost finished painting and the school looks great. In the afternoon, the group was led around old Nazareth by a local seminary professor. The families here have been so nice and everyone is really enjoying it here. Please pray for our host Naeem someone stole his computer and some equipment from the school when a door was left open one night.
Wednesday, July 4
Tuesday, we left on the bus at 7:45 a.m. as normal to go to the school. We split up after a time of prayer with our trip host, Naiaam. Some of our team went to help with the childrens camp, while some worked to help clean up the school. At the camp, our group helped with games and facepainting. At the school, we painted classrooms that had graffiti and fading paint. There are three floors of classrooms so it will take more than one day to finish. After the camp program was over, we went to an old city reenactment called Nazareth Village. We learned so much about the parables of Jesus as we saw them lived out in the mini village.
Everything is good. Our hosts have been awesome and have really taken care of us. For dinner, they grilled burgers for us and we spent time meeting the American interns.
Please pray for unity to grow in our team as we work together. Also for strength and good attitudes as every gets tired from the draining heat.
Monday, July 2
We arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel on Sunday July 1 around 9 a.m. Everyone is doing great. We headed to Nazareth from the airport (about a 2 hour drive). We arrived at the Nazareth Hospital campus and met some other volunteers staying at the hospital too. We are staying in a large house split up with three separate living areas. After lunch, we had the rest of the day to rest and prepare for the rest of the week.
Monday, we were up at 7 a.m. for breakfast and then we met our bus at 7:45 a.m. We met the staff at the school and set our plan for the week. We began helping with their water games while some DBU students went to help paint classrooms at the school. After working with the VBS program, we were taken to see Mount Carmel. It was a great experience for everyone. We got to see the whole Nazareth area from the top. We are excited for tomorrow and trying to fight through a little jet lag. Pray for continued strength and energy. Pray that Christ would work through us to show love to the children.