Saralyn Richardson: Preparing for Israel 2017
The first Shiloh University trip to Israel with several members of the student body and faculty is less than a month away! In preparation, I asked some of our students how their studies have impacted their excitement for their visit to the Holy Land. This is what Saralyn Richardson, Master of Divinity student, shared with me about what she is looking forward to during her trip back to Israel after many years:
I had to the opportunity to travel to Israel 18 years ago when I was a teenager (see photo below). The thing I remember most about that trip is how suddenly real the stories of the bible felt to me. As we drove over the hills to Jericho, I could imagine how it must have been for those men and women traveling by foot into the promise land for the first time. Hiking up to the spring in Ein Gedi, I imagined the young man David hiding there with some of his closest friends as King Saul was hunting for them. I could almost feel Christ walking along beside me as we walked through the old city in Jerusalem and came to the western wall where I added my prayers to those of thousands who have come before me. Since that time I have prayed for a chance to go back to אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל the land of Israel. And now it is here! How great is our God!
Now, I will leave for Israel again in one month. I find that as I plan and prepare for the trip, I am in prayer and seeking God for what will happen. Along with my passport, I am also packing my hunger for a new experience with my Father in this special place–the place that He gave to the people that He called by His name. A people who “because the Lord loved them He kept His oath which He swore to their forefathers” (Deut 7:8). I want to go to Israel and bless our Jewish brothers and sisters.
I am currently a student at Shiloh University studying for my Master of Divinity. This year I have been learning Biblical Hebrew. I have had the unique and wonderful opportunity to have a native Hebrew speaker teaching my classes. He has worked with my classmates and I closely on pronunciation with an emphasis on reading and speaking the scriptures aloud. There is something powerful in beginning to speak out loud the Holy Scripture in the language it was written – God’s language. It is amazing to be learning the language of the scripture; the language which has been preserved for thousands of years by these people who just believed the promises of God to them. I think everyone should study Hebrew!
While there, I am most looking forward to standing at the western wall and praying there in Hebrew Psalm 122 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may they prosper who love you. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces. For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, ‘May peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”
As I hear the perspective of our various students attending this trip, I feel myself gaining an even deeper excitement to revisit the Holy Land. There will be more updates in the coming weeks so make sure to subscribe to the Shiloh University blog by clicking here and visit our social media pages.