The following are a sampling of testimonies from our pilgrims who have come from churches of many denominations and worship traditions:
“I did not know what to expect before making this pilgrimage since I had heard so many differing experiences from others who have gone to the Holy Land. So, I went with no expectations and prayed that God would meet me in a new way! And He did just that. I can honestly say that I am changed because of having made this pilgrimage. Being in the places of the Bible and seeing what Jesus saw, walking where He walked and standing at the exact places where He performed miracles has opened the eyes of my understanding of His Word. He has given me a new hunger and thirst to rush to Him first thing in the morning. His word has come alive for me! Going to the Holy Land has deepened my relationship with Christ, and I am forever thankful.”
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“Fr. Dean and Glorianne Schultz were wonderful pilgrimage hosts. They partner with an excellent Israeli tour guide. I felt safe always. This trip not only allowed me to see the Holy Land sites but challenged me to go deeper in my walk with Christ. Before going, I had difficulty picturing or relating to what I read in the Bible. But now, I can picture Bible stories much more vividly than I was able to before, including the climate of a culture that I witnessed firsthand”!
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“On January 21, 2019, we began our 11-day pilgrimage to Israel with Pastor Dean and Glorianne Schultz. It’s been said that a pilgrimage to Israel is a life-changing event, but that’s an understatement. It’s impossible to imagine just how impactful this pilgrimage can be – and in so many ways. The travel brochure provides just an overview of the various places where Jesus walked; there are so many more amazing sites to see, hear, and experience along the way- such as the only natural spring at Nazareth, Jacob’s Well, Peter’s mother-in-law house, the shore of the Sea of Galilea, the Pool of Bethesda, the Room of the Last Supper, the Gethsemane Garden, the Easter Gate, and the Stations of the Cross. Oh, the Stations of the Cross – we did not observe the Stations on a church wall but rather on the streets of Jerusalem where Jesus walked. It’s astounding to know that all these special places still exist, and many more continue to be uncovered over time. I’ve got to believe that other members of our group still talk about our pilgrimage as I do. I truly believe that every Christian should have the opportunity to take this pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime”!
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“Just like our bodies and minds can become weary, so can our spirits. I left for this trip with a weary spirit in such need of rest and renewing. I was both worn and tired in my soul. This trip was such a refreshing and reviving time with other believers who have such a tender heart for the Lord. I have a new understanding of the deep love for Christ in other nations. There were so many groups of people from other countries who were overcome with emotion by the significance of what took place in the many sites we visited. A well needed and unforgettable experience and I am so thankful the Lord allowed me the privilege of being able to go on this trip. Thank you, Dean, and Glorianne!!! Praise His Holy Name”! + + +
“As I begin to process our trip and all that happened, I am overwhelmed with memories of the many places we visited, our worship times, our singing and the entire band of stalwart pilgrims visiting this Holy, Holy Land! There are two ways to visit Israel… as a simple tourist traveler, and with a group of Christians who are awed by it! I recommend the latter! What an experience. Friends said it would be life-changing and it was. Thanks, Dean and Glorianne for your great leadership and kindness”! + + + “I wish there were more expressive words in the English language than fantastic for it was more than that. I took my slide show to my Bible study class and they were in awe. I would and will recommend this experience to all Christians that I know. Thanks for everything”.
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“What a tremendous blessing our pilgrimage to the Holy Land was to our whole family! We are still unpacking our souvenirs, looking at our photos and savoring all the memories. Perhaps the most moving experience I had was the worship and singing that we did every day. You even called us, the “Pilgrimage Choir.” I remember singing The Lord’s Prayer with a group of Japanese pilgrims at the Church of Our Father where Jesus taught his disciples to pray. That really brought home to me our unity in Christ with fellow believers from all over the world. Traveling with a one-year old granddaughter went more smoothly than I could imagine. To everyone’s delight, she took her first steps in Jerusalem at the Farewell dinner on the last night of our tour. What a memory! Several of the sites we visited made a huge impression on me. Nazareth Village, a living history museum, opened my eyes to Jesus’ teaching on separating the sheep from the goats, shepherds leading their flocks, the significance of “roots and shoots” of the olive tree and most of all the parallels between the olive press and Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Bible lunch we enjoyed there was delicious as well as authentic. Visiting Jacob’s well in modern day Nablus (Biblical Shechem), where Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well (john 4) as well as the actual very DEEP well that the patriarch Jacob dug to water his flocks and herds made a huge impression on me when I saw the rope marks cut into the stone from drawing up a bucket over thousands of years. Visiting the kibbutz in Galilee and seeing the 2000-year-old preserved fishing boat from the Sea of Galilee in Jesus’ day was absolutely mind blowing! Stepping over the threshold of the first century synagogue where Jesus worshiped and taught in Magdala and knowing we could put our feet where He is known to have been was awe inspiring. One of my most precious experiences was sitting on the balcony of our hotel room in Tiberias, reading my morning devotional and watching the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee where Jesus lived, taught and performed so many of his miracles then going down to the dining room for a fabulous breakfast buffet. I loved the Shakshuka and the fish salad. Our Israeli tour guide, Ruby, was so knowledgeable, flexible about rearranging our itinerary to suit the various changes in the weather and fun. I learned so much about Israel in Bible times as well as the customs and conflicts in Israel today. I now have a much greater appreciation for the land and its various people than I had before the trip. I also appreciate all the logistical arrangements for the entire pilgrimage so that we did not have to be concerned with managing luggage, finding places to eat, currency exchanges, reservations needed to visit holy sites, even arrangements for Holy Eucharist were all taken care of ahead of time. Vendors were pre-screened to ensure we had positive experiences and fair prices as we all picked up souvenirs on the trip. One concern my family had before our trip was safety since much of the Middle East is so dangerous. We felt and were completely safe the entire time we were in Israel—safer than we are at home. Fr. Dean’s teaching on the bus and at various holy sites enriched our time on this pilgrimage. I know my whole family has been changed by this pilgrimage. Our eyes have been truly opened to the Bible and to our Lord by this experience. We have all deepened our faith. I would travel with Fr. Dean and Glorianne to the Holy Land again in a heartbeat”.
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The pilgrimage that I took in January of 2017 to Israel was like no vacation or trip that I have ever taken before. It was so incredibly inspirational - to be able to put myself into the time frame of when Jesus lived, and to see where He lived and walked, and to bring to life the many Bible stories that we have all learned about and to see how they all fit together was totally amazing. How cool it was to be baptized in the Jordan River as Jesus was, and to go for a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee as Jesus did so many times, and to see firsthand how a storm can come up so quickly because of the surrounding mountains and cause great distress with the disciples. It was such fun to swim in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, and, yes, to float in it. Wanting to enjoy the full experience, I rode a camel – certainly not the most comfortable means of transportation; I can empathize with the long journey of the 3 Kings. The experience of spontaneously singing in the open amphitheater in Caesarea, (as well as so many other places) in front of several different tour groups was fun, indeed, and then, to join in with a group from South Korea who were singing the Lord ’s Prayer at the Mount of Olives where Jesus taught the disciples that prayer was extremely heartwarming and emotional. This pilgrimage was definitely “an experience of a lifetime” and one that I will never forget”!
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