Women’s Israel Experience – Forever Etched in Our Hearts
By: April Rogers, Author & Speaker – Reflecting Light Ministries
In May 2016 I graduated from seminary with a Master of Theological Studies degree. It had been an intense three years of juggling my coursework while raising two young daughters with my husband, who had a demanding career of his own. After throwing my cap into the air and hanging my diploma on the wall, my supportive husband said, “You should take a trip to Israel. After your studies, it will make the Bible come alive!”
He needn’t say more. I quickly began to search for a trip to the Holy Land that would work for our schedules, knowing I would have go alone so that my husband could stay home to care for our girls. My first preference was a “women’s only” tour, as my focus is primarily women’s ministry; however, I couldn’t find one. Thankfully, a good friend of mine connected me with the ICEJ and I attended the Pastor’s Tour in November of that same year.
If you have been to Israel, you know that once you place your feet on that holy ground, you have a longing to return—a slight ache to go back and experience His presence all over again. And so, I did. But this time I returned with the focus of one day leading a tour for women so that they could experience the Bible come to life before their very eyes. It was a dream the Lord Himself placed in my heart, and even when COVID-19 reared its ugly head, I held out hope that in His timing, this dream would become a reality.
This past November, ICEJ USA Director Susan Michael and I led a group of 35 women in what we called a “Women’s Israel Experience.” It was a tour highlighting the women of the Bible and what we can learn from them. We began the trip by ascending Mount Tabor, and while looking out over the Jezreel Valley, we remembered Deborah’s story and her courage to rise to the battle when no one else was willing to fight. We visited Nazareth Village and pondered the humility and sacrifice Mary was willing to undergo to bear the Son of God. We experienced the vastness of the Judean Hills and thought of Sarah and the part she played in birthing the nation of Israel. At Magdala, we recounted the faith of the woman with the issue of blood who, with one touch of Jesus’ cloak, was instantly healed. At each site we were challenged to put ourselves in the sandals of the women whom we learned from, and we allowed the same God who spoke to, healed, and loved them to speak to, heal, and love us these thousands of years later.
Yet the most impactful and cherished moments of our trip were walking where Jesus walked and worshiping Him for the God that He is. The Word made flesh who came to dwell among us was palpably present throughout the trip. At every twist and turn His Spirit was with us, drawing us into a deeper awareness and awakening of who He is. It truly was an “experience” that will forever be etched on the hearts of those who participated in the journey.
I was beyond grateful to see a dream that God gave me more than six years ago become such a beautiful reality. Witnessing the Bible come alive for these women was a gift I won’t soon forget, and I pray that the Lord allows the Women’s Israel Experience to continue. But for now, the question remains: Are you ready to let your faith come alive?
Are you ready for your faith to come alive? Join us on one of our Israel tours.