This June, I had the opportunity to travel to Israel for the second time. I get many questions about how I was able to do this, so I am writing a blog to tell this story. More blogs will likely follow that focus on other aspects of my trip and what I experienced.
*Before I get too far, I want to note that I am not being prompted or paid to write about any of the organizations I mention. I just love them so much and want to share them with you! Also, this is a longer post, but worth the read!
I have no doubt that God carefully orchestrated every step that led me to Israel. In my last semester of undergrad, I took my senior global class on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. I remember choosing it because as a christian I thought it would be interesting and I liked the professor better than the other ones. In other words, minimal thought went into my choosing that class.
I remember the class being challenging, eye-opening, and convicting. After the class I became more interested in learning more about Israel and casually thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to go someday?” not thinking that I’d ever have the opportunity.
The next summer I became involved with an organization called Forge Leadership Network. One of my friends through the organization had recently returned from a trip to Israel. Again, I loved hearing about it and my interest in travelling there increased. But once again, I didn’t think it would ever happen and I remember jokingly saying, “maybe I’ll get to go next year!”
Fast forward about a year, Forge Leadership had brought me into their fellowship program that had three stages: 1. Initial Conference 2. Federal Politics in D.C. 3. An International trip to…Israel!
Forge sent a group of us with a young organization called Passages. Passages gives Christian college students the opportunity to visit Israel for a very small cost thanks to amazing donors. The trip was to be only $600 in total for 10 days. I knew very little about the organization, but I trusted them and the other people I was travelling with. I also felt that this was a ONCE in a lifetime opportunity, so I wasn’t going to miss it!
Upon returning from Israel, Passages had various ways for us to continue learning about Israel and to stay involved with their organization. With each group that passages takes, it chooses two Fellows to travel with the group. They serve in a mentorship type role and help with some logistical and administrative things for each trip. I decided to apply to be a fellow.
I was thrilled when I got the news that I was chosen to be a fellow for the Summer of 2018. This meant that I was able to return to Israel at NO cost. And even more rewarding than that was the opportunity to go alongside other college students as they experience the life changing trip to Israel!
Being a fellow was so much more than I was expecting. It is impossible to describe the joy that comes from seeing the participants experience a variety of emotions as their eyes are opened to the challenges in the middle east, their hearts are opened to experiencing their faith in a new way, and their lives are forever changed! My life was once again changed in Israel in part due to the relationships I formed on my bus and the challenges that I had to face and overcome as a leader!
All of this being said I want to tell more of my story! I also HIGHLY recommend Passages! I know that this is just the beginning for me and I look forward to discovering how my Israel story will be continued.