Day 7: A Little Piece of Heaven
by Alexandra Rutkowski
“Our prayers will see a response from heaven when we match our prayers with our lifestyle; when we are willing to be the answer to our own prayers. This lifestyle… that’s intercession.” -Michael, our group leader.
Caesarea- one of those places from Maclean’s New Testament Survey class that completely fascinated me. It was even more captivating in person. The enormous amphitheatre, the hippodrome where the chariot races were held, the ancient ruins, the remains of Herod’s “floating city,” and the magnificent view… wow. I still can’t get over it. Walking through the ruins by the sea was a breathtaking experience- this is where Peter’s confession of Christ occurred. This is where Paul stayed. And this is where I was walking. Here at Caesarea is the Pontius Pilate inscription. Until recently, there has been no contemporary evidence outside of the Bible for the existence of Pilate. The discovery of a stone inscribed with his name and position of governor once again just proves how the Word of God is inerrant.
Next stop… *drum roll please* the location of one of the most epic stories in Scripture: Mount Carmel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite how I had pictured it. In the place of Elijah’s altar was built a church/monastery. But the view from the top of the mountain was absolutely breathtaking. We ended out time at Mount Carmel with prayer and worship. I could see the Valley of Megiddo, where the last battle will take place, and just standing there before it was so incredible. I could do nothing else but close my eyes and pray.
We also had the opportunity to meet with four Christian Arab students. They are the minority in Israel and face a lot of issues, and being able to meet, eat, and pray with them was such a blessing. (During this lunch, I had the most amazing real mango juice. Oh wow.)
After a glorious nap on the bus (this is becoming a habit), we visited a Druze village, Issifiya. I would love to explain more about the Druze, but honestly, I don’t know too much because this Arab sect is very secretive. When we met an older religious woman of this sect, all covered and very conservative, we didn’t expect her to know anything… modern, as silly as it sounds. While talking to the translator, this older woman is speaking quickly in Arabic for a few moments, and all of a sudden starts dropping names like Lady Gaga, Shakira, and Facebook. And then she pulls out her iPhone and starts taking pictures. I was so confused.
The Druze are also master culinary artists as I found out. This lady prepared all this food in ONE hour. Check it out. It’s a little piece of heaven.
After the Druze village, we departed and made our way to our hostel. After a horrible episode with an enormous spider, us girls decided to meet for a little while to just spend time fellowshipping. What started out with a simple worship night quickly turned into something indescribable that lasted until the early hours of the morning. The Lord spoke so clearly and lifted a lot of burdens off the girls. It was a night of encouraging, uplifting, and interceding for one another. A night not one of us will forget. It was a little piece of heaven.
And where were the guys during all this? Shaving Juan’s head.