July 15, 2015
When Laura Kellogg first heard about a special opportunity to visit Israel with e3 Partners in 2006, there was hardly a moment’s hesitation. While still sitting in her Sunday school class at Dallas’ Park Cities Baptist Church, she leaned over to her husband and told him, “I don’t know about you but I’m going!”
“I wanted to know the three major religions better,” she recalls. “But that was just God prepping my heart. I was embarking on an entirely different journey.”
The invitation came at an important time for Laura. In the months and years leading up to the trip, her faith had become an ancillary part of her life. While it was important, her spiritual growth had plateaued. But that all changed when she arrived in the Tel Aviv airport.
Full of excitement, she couldn’t help but smile. Throughout the week, the team was provided maps and prayer guides to accompany them on their journey. They travelled to powerful sites like Mt. Carmel, where Elijah called fire down from Heaven and Caesarea Philippi where Peter first confessed Jesus as the Christ. They visited the mountainside where Jesus delivered his beatitudes and took a replica ancient boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Those who were married renewed their vows at the wedding site in Cana where Jesus turned the water into wine. The team kayaked the Jordan river where they were later baptized. They also floated in the Dead Sea, climbed Masada, and visited the discovery site of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
As the Bible came alive before them, so did the regional tensions. In their final days, Laura and the others visited Bethlehem in the Palestinian West Bank. The oppression and strife were visible around every corner of the bustling tourist site. Meanwhile, the team was unable to visit Jericho due to recent rocket fire in the Gaza Strip. The tensions and fears served as further reminders of this world’s shattered state.
But the trip didn’t end on a note of brokenness. Neither does the Bible they came to experience so closely. Before leaving, the team visited the Mount of Olives and the site of the Last Supper, prayed at the Western Wall, and walked the busy Via Dolorosa where our Savior carried the cross on his back. They shared communion together after visiting Golgotha where Jesus was crucified and the Garden Tomb where he ultimately defeated death.
“I just didn’t want the trip to end,” Laura remembers.
Seeing these eternity-shaping sites firsthand led Laura to a place of spiritual recommitment that has defined the past decade of her life. She has since served in Not Forgotten’s SEEN events where attendees are given a chance to interact with Muslim women here at home, stirring her desire for their salvation. It has also changed the way she interacts with the Bible.
“When I study it, I can just visualize the spot. I was just in awe of the thought that Jesus once walked this path. I even felt physically charged.”
Laura’s time in Israel with e3 Partners was more than a tourist experience. It was an hands-on look at God’s Word that has ignited a passion for reaching those who don’t know him. We are serving in over 40 countries with thousands of local partners. Your support allows us to continue this exciting work.
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