“… But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Jesus, Acts 1:8 NLT
Estimated time to read: 8 minutes
Back in March, my good childhood friend asked where I was travelling to for my 30th birthday; she somehow knew I would not stay put in the states. (She knows me well!) At that moment I had no clue where I wanted to venture to, but the following week my church announced our first group trip to Israel would be in October and I just knew that was my answer. I figured how cool would it be to walk where Jesus walked as He entered into His world-changing ministry at the age 30, as I myself enter into my thirtieth year of life.
Now I am no pastor or preacher and have desire to be; just simply a woman who loves her some Jesus and strives day literally by day to do better and live according to the word of God. It by no means is an easy feat – Jesus Himself said, “The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention” (Matthew 7:14 MSG). So I have no reason to think this life will be a stroll in the park … and it has not been but my desire to please God rises above that – a daily decision I have to make.
Going to Israel, to be honest, for one’s 30th birthday is not the most glamorous place you think of, but I just knew I had to be there. And I am so glad I choose to go at such a time as this.
We went all over – I for reals felt like a nomad – from Jerusalem to Nazareth to Bethlehem to Jericho and back to Jerusalem. We visited Mount Carmel (the Place of Sacrifice) where the Prophet Elijah called down the fire of God onto the altar against the prophets of Baal. Now, let me note, I do attend an African church and we pray like Africans. We were praying in the garden of this location and got yelled at for being too loud – ha, good times. We also went to the Basilica of the Annunciation, which is said to be built over Mary’s (mother of Jesus) house where the angel visited her to tell her she is blessed and highly favored and would give birth to the Son of God. After visiting the Mount Beatitudes, we went on a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee – yes, that sea where my Jesus walked on water. My pastor gave a super bomb word (let Jesus into your boat aka your body/your life) as we sailed along. It was so calming and awing; such a peaceful, beautiful sea.
The next day, we voyaged over to Jericho, and without hesitation, I can say my favorite moment of the trip was when I was baptized in the River Jordan, where John the Baptist baptized his cousin, Jesus. When my pastor was about ready to dip me backwards, no lie, I was hyperventilating (lol, go head and laugh too) … I remembered a freak accident I had when I was in the 6th grade and asked him to give me a minute (true story). And then voila – I was (re)baptized. I initially didn’t think anything of it. But some moments afterwards, I felt refreshed, recharged, renewed … literally as if I had a rebirth and I could tell something shifted in my life (one of the moments you have to be there to truly understand). If for this moment alone, I look forward to visiting Israel over and over again, and each time I do, I will be sure to get baptized. (When you visit Israel, be sure to make this a must do!)
We also took time to go floating in the Dead Sea – no swimming here! Upon your first step into it, you will feel the hardness of the ground beneath – pure salt. I floated a bit when I wasn’t laughing or thinking I was about to drown in less than 2 feet of water from all the laughing (don’t come for me) and then gave myself a nice little body scrub. You know when you’re in shopping malls and you see people at kiosks asking to scrub your hands with salt from the Dead Sea? Yeah, this is that same salt. And if you hit the right spot on the beach, you could also give yourself a mud bath (we didn’t reach that spot this time around). Needless to say, my skin was fresh and popping.
Towards the tail end of our trip, we pilgrimaged over to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection and walked down the “Palm Sunday Road”. The view of Jerusalem from here was simply breathtaking!
We went to the where the Pools of Bethesda, where people went to receive their healing. It is now dried up and more of a memorial, but surely a sight where people today still go to receive their healing.
We were warned not to be loud and pray in the Upper Room because it is now controlled by Muslims in the land and if we were caught doing so, we would be kicked out. Let me just say we prayed LOUDLY and were not kicked out. Jesus is Lord!
We visited the Wailing Wall on the west side (Jewish quarter) to pray and leave our prayer requests in the wall. If you gave me any of prayer requests, I wrote and interceded on your behalf and left our prayers in the wall. Trust me – I am believing God for major testimonies for you and me both. (Share your testimonies with me!!!)
The life changing moment of it all was when we walked the path Jesus walked with the Cross when He was on trial. To think of how heavy the Cross was (estimated to have weighed 300 pounds) coupled with the length and mountainess path He had to trek, you only imagine how treacherous it was for Jesus. Hence, why they had Simon of Cyrene was instructed to help Him carry it #honor. With all that we saw and where we went, I still feel I did not have enough time to bask in the land of my Savior – I only scratched the surface. I am super excited to make this a more than once in a lifetime experience.
Since being back, everyone has been asking me what was it like or do I feel any different since going to the Holy Land. In short, it has been difficult to put into words how the trip was, without simply saying we did this or that, even as I wrote this post. It is one of those moments in life that just has to be experienced to be understood. Even so, I hope you were able to envision what it would be like to be in the same place Jesus once walked. Be sure to catch more footage of my trip on my Instagram stories and highlights in the coming days.
Do you have plans or goals to visit Israel? Let me know below.
You know I had to wear Ankara in Israel – the green pants are an old pair that my daddy got for me years ago when he went home to Nigeria. I also wore this comfortable burgundy Kente dress I picked up at a market, which everyone there seemingly loved. It’s supposed to be worn off the shoulders, but I was in the Holy Land and decided to respect myself lol.
By the way, I got one blessed and highly favored sister a little gift from Israel! She will win it my 30-day giveaway in honor of my 30th birthday in my Beese’s Pieces Wakanda Month-long Birthday Giveaway starting in just 3 days. It is all of November, so you do not want to miss out – enter to win if you have not yet.