Monday, June 20, 2016

Student Perspectives: Audra in Israel

Below is a first-hand account of LETU's recent Israel trip from Audra Cole. Audra will be senior this fall and is studying civil engineering. 

This May, I was blessed to have the incredible opportunity to go on an academic trip to Israel. When I first heard the announcement about the upcoming trip, I knew that I wanted to go. I have wanted to visit Israel since I was a young girl. I thought college was the perfect time to go, and the trip counted towards six credit hours as well. Little did I know that God was planning on transforming my heart and mindset while I dove into a rich Biblical and historical learning experience.

The first couple days of our trip were spent in the Sea of Galilee region. For me, this was the most impactful portion of the trip spiritually. This past semester, I was extremely sick with a viral infection, pneumonia and strep all at the same time. Up until this point on the trip I had been struggling in my personal relationship with God and questioning where He was when I was so sick. When I was standing on the shores of Galilee, I was able to reconnect with God and get some perspective on what I was supposed to learn through the season that I had just walked through. I realized that God had been carrying me the whole way.

I would love to tell you every single site that we visited and how amazing they were, but that would be much too long of a post. Instead, I will highlight some of my other favorite spots. 

On our way from the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem, we stayed the night in a Bedouin camp in the wilderness. It was at this time I started to realize the friendships that I was forming with my fellow students and professors were going to be something that I will cherish for years to come. At the Bedouin camp, we had the opportunity to ride camels and it was a blast, except for the fact that the camel behind me thought my hair looked pretty tasty!

After the Bedouin Camp, we traveled to Jerusalem. On our way, we had the opportunity to climb Masada. When we arrived at the site, I was slightly afraid that my lungs would not be able to help me make it to the top. However, I was able to, and the whole way back down my lungs were working wonderfully. This moment on the trip was a huge victory for me because I realized that I no longer needed to be worried about my health and that I was completely healed.
After Masada, we had the opportunity to swim in the Dead Sea. I absolutely loved this experience. Being in water in which you cannot sink was one of the strangest feelings, but it was so awesome to share this memory with the group. We then spent the rest of our trip in Jerusalem. It was absolutely amazing. I loved every site that we visited; it really made the Bible come to life in my mind. Being able to tangibly see the places that we had been studying in our Bible and history classes enriched our learning experience exponentially. The whole time I was in Jerusalem I kept thinking, "This is where so much history from the Bible has occurred and I get to be here to experience it.”

I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip. It changed my life in more ways than one. I grew so much spiritually, academically and recovered physically while I was in Israel. I would emphatically recommend this trip to anyone who is considering it. The richness that our tour guides Mishi and Diane, as well as Professors Ostendorff and Roudkovski, brought to this trip was invaluable. Being able to complete my personal pilgrimage to Israel has changed my life forever.