COGIC World Missions’ Youth Trip to Israel

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2 thoughts on “COGIC World Missions’ Youth Trip to Israel

  1. During your trip in Occupied Palestine, I really hope that you will be able to witness the genocide of the Palestinian people in order to be their voice. Please step away from the Zionist propaganda whenever possible. See for yourself. See the apartheid. See the Palestinian people living conditions: No freedom of movement. No water or power for most of the day. Stolen lands. Stolen houses. And more …

    I cannot help but compare the situation of the Palestinians today to the one of the inhabitants of the ghetto of Varsovie yesterday.

    Please stand for them. You are in no land of tourism. Yet, you will see a lot of shiny things on the so-called Israel state: food markets, bars, restaurants, beaches, etc. I am very sure one could go there and just have a nice little vacation with no idea of what is going on.

    But no, please, no. Move away from that to meet the oppressed. The ones who have to leave in rubbish and destroyed houses. The ones who fear everyday that their children will be detained in prison for no reason. The ones who fear to be executed while crossing the path of an Israeli soldier.

    “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”
    – Nelson Mandela

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I am incredibly pleased to hear from you. The gift of this educational tour is to see the conglomeration of the bitter and beautiful. The goal of Passages Israel is to provide an authentic experience of Israel. Although much that I’ve experienced have been overwhelming because of the Biblical historical context while visiting, yet I’ve witnessed heart wrenching facts right before my eyes and observed the misery that many endure. I’ve touched these people and walked on their grounds in their community. This is certainly a place to tour. If one relies solely on others’ experiences and do not take advantage of placing their feet on the ground to get an accurate pulse of the place, they are undoubtedly doing themselves a disservice. This is compulsory for all who have an opinion about any place. If they have relied solely on the sore spots, they haven’t served themselves well. If they rely solely on the sweet spots, they have not served themselves well. If they take are favored with the opportunity to be fully present and witness the struggles and the strengths of the place, then they are getting a glimpse or a sliver of the full story.

      Even last night we had a journalist come and speak before over 400 of us regarding the Ethiopian Jews and the similar struggle with Black Lives Matter, but in Israel!

      I have explored seven continents, and the story is always the same. It’s told with different accents and with a vast range of backgrounds and textures, but the core is always the same. Each and every place is a beautiful rose with many thorns. Each individual is a beautiful rose with many thorns. I don’t discredit the beauty of a country because of its thorns. I don’t discredit the brutality of a country because of its beautiful petals. That’s unjust. It’s inaccurate and sorely jaded, vexing, and foul.

      Many were disgusted, afraid, and fearful as I trekked along my journey, especially in the Middle East. Many who bore those sentiments experienced only one side or perhaps their readings, research, and reasoning led them to share in that manner.

      I have yet to process all of the beauty and bitterness of my first trip abroad and that was in 2011. I have yet to process all of the beauty and bitterness from China and that was 2012-2013. I have yet to process what happened with all the beauty and bitterness during the year that I taught in Saudi Arabia. And finally, as an American, I am still trying to process all of beauty and bitterness I’ve experienced since I was a child.

      These things take time. This I know to be true: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men…”

      Feelings, friendships, and fouls are fleeting. News comes and goes at such a rapid pace, it is challenging, to say the least, to articulate a well-rounded pulse on any situation.

      It’s a slippery slope for me to look at one nation, one city, and one region and cancel them out because of the devastating brutality of a section of the people.

      After listening to Israeli soldiers yesterday, who were actually American born, I was able to understand what the enemy actually is. In the past I would look at countries and see if they were allies or advocates of each other.

      After our session yesterday, I was enlightened that the enemy is one who has the following:

      The will

      The desire

      The intent

      The means for destruction, devastation, and harm.

      If I was even judged based off of the 45th President’s stance, that would be a terrible misjudgment. The beauty of asking, “what’s the full story on this” is that the answer is unending.

      I am yet in search for more understanding of the full story. The truth is beautifully bitter. It’s staggeringly sober. It’s violently vivid.

      I have never cried so many tears of joy followed by sorrowful weeping in any country other than Israel.

      I’ve never come into the parliament and in the same week visited Kibuutz were bombs and missiles had the capacity of going off while I stood on the grounds. Tragedy and triumph have gone hand in hand in just a little more than a week.

      So as I hear your heart as you write, I pray that you will hear mine. I pray not only for Israel, but for Palestine. I pray for peace. I pray for more hope. I pray that the soldiers that I hugged and met yesterday will continue to serve in the highest level of decency of morality as possible. I pray that my life will forever be Christ-centered and love-based. I’m grateful that I got to walk on the land where my Savior bled and died only to be just feet away from where a Palestinian killed a solider who I possibly passed earlier that day. Her blood still cries out for peace along with those Palestinians and Israelis who are in a brutal battle that is much higher than ethnicity, religion, race, gender, or even land. It’s so much more than flesh and blood. I see this hear. It’s a spiritual matter that requires a sober spirit to listen deeply and learn quickly.

      I must increase the rate in which I process this information so that I can be part of the change within myself, at home, and abroad.

      May you continue to carry the burdens and callings of your heart with grace. I will continue to carry out mine.

      Thank you so much for your comment. I am incredibly pleased to hear from you. The gift of this educational tour is to see the conglomeration of the bitter and beautiful. The goal of Passages Israel is to provide an authentic experience of Israel.

      Although much that I’ve experienced have been magnificently overwhelming because of the Biblical historical context while visiting, I’ve also witnessed heart wrenching facts right before my eyes and observed the misery that many endure. I’ve touched these people and walked on their grounds in their community.

      This is certainly a place to tour.

      If one relies solely on others’ experiences and does not take advantage of placing their feet on the ground to get an accurate pulse of the place, they are undoubtedly doing themselves a disservice. This is compulsory for all who have an opinion about any place. If they have relied solely on the sore spots, they haven’t served themselves well. If they rely solely on the sweet spots, they have not served themselves well. If they are favored with the opportunity to be fully present and witness the struggles and the strengths of the place, then they are still only getting a glimpse or a sliver of the full story.

      Even last night we had a journalist come and speak before over 400 of us regarding the Ethiopian Jews and the similar struggle with Black Lives Matter, but in Israel!

      I have explored seven continents, and the story is always the same. It’s told with different accents and with a vast range of backgrounds and textures, but the core is always the same. Each and every place is a beautiful rose with many thorns. Each individual is a beautiful rose with many thorns. I don’t discredit the beauty of a country because of its thorns. I don’t discredit the brutality of a country because of its beautiful petals. That’s unjust. It’s inaccurate and sorely jaded, vexing, and foul.

      Many were disgusted, afraid, and fearful as I trekked along my journey, especially in the Middle East. Many who bore those sentiments experienced only one side or perhaps their readings, research, and reasoning led them to share in that manner.

      I have yet to process all of the beauty and bitterness of my first trip abroad to the U.K. and that was in 2011. I have yet to process all of the beauty and bitterness from China and that was 2012-2013. I have yet to process what happened with all the beauty and bitterness during the year that I taught in Saudi Arabia and that was 2014-2015. And finally, as an American, I am still trying to process all of beauty and bitterness I’ve experienced since I was a child.

      These things take time. This I know to be true: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto ALL men…”

      Feelings, friendships, and fouls are fleeting. News comes and goes at such a rapid pace, it is challenging, to say the least, to articulate a well-rounded pulse on any situation.

      It’s a slippery slope for me to look at one nation, one city, and one region and cancel them out because of the devastating brutality of a section of the people.

      After listening to some Israeli soldiers yesterday, who were actually American born, I was able to understand what the enemy actually is. In the past I would look at countries and discern if they were allies or advocates of each other.

      After our session yesterday, I was enlightened that the enemy should not deal with race, it should not deal with gender, it should not deal with religion, but the enemy is the following:

      One who has
      the will,

      the desire,

      the intent,

      and the means for destruction, devastation, and harm.

      If I, an African-American Christian was judged based off of the 45th President’s stance on all matters and based off of all of his decisions, that would be a terrible misjudgment.

      There is bitter beauty in asking, “What’s the full story on this?” The answer to this question is unending.

      I am yet in search for more understanding of the full story in every land, especially this one. The truth is beautifully bitter. It’s staggeringly sober. It’s violently vivid.

      I have never cried so many tears of joy followrd by sorrowful weeping in any country other than Israel.

      I’ve never been welcomed into the parliament and in the same week visited Kibbutz where bombs and missiles had the capacity of launching while I stood on the grounds. Tragedy and triumph have gone hand in hand in just a little more than a week.

      So as I hear your heart as you write, I pray that you will hear mine. I pray not only for Israel, but for Palestine. I pray for peace. I pray for more hope. I pray that the soldiers that I hugged and met yesterday will continue to serve in the highest level of decency of morality as possible. I pray for what their eyes have seen and what their hands will do.

      I pray that my life will forever be Christ-centered and love-based. I’m grateful that I got to walk on the land where my Savior bled and died only to be just feet away from where a Palestinian killed an Israeli solider who I possibly passed earlier that day. Her blood still cries out for peace along with those Palestinians and Israelis who are in a brutal battle that is much higher than ethnicity, religion, race, gender, or even land. It’s so much more than flesh and blood. I see this here. It’s a spiritual matter that requires a sober spirit to listen deeply and learn quickly.

      I must increase the rate in which I process this information so that I can be part of the change within myself, at home, and abroad.

      I must reflect on this Word, “To whom much is given, much is required.” There is a sense of a greater responsibility that has been heavily draped on my shoulders. There is an innumerable about of takeaways from this educational tour. The eyes of the Palestinians and Israelis that I looked into and the hands of the people that I touched brings me to my knees. I praise God for this heritage-filled trip. These are my people. This is our blood. Here lies the Spirit of God. His presence is yet here. His anger is here as well. Both reside in the same neighborhood.

      As I return to my home, the commission is great, indeed. I see that clearly; living it out is not easy, but it is always worth it.

      May you continue to carry the burdens and callings of your heart with grace, mercy, and love. I will continue to carry out mine.

      Like

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