So I’m going on a trip to Israel in February. I’m excited and nervous about this trip but mostly excited. Truthfully, I started this blog as a way to record and be accountable for all the prep I need to do to get ready. But it’s been about a month now and not a single post about this trip. So maybe now is a good time to start.
So it all started with my Wednesday morning bible study. I’ve been taking this bible study for 5 years now and it’s my second family. We studied this amazing book a couple of years ago, The Epic of Eden. It sparked an interest in further study of the Bible and totally unlocked the biblical narrative for me. Now, don’t get me wrong. That does not mean I now totally understand the Bible. But when I read and study it now I feel like I’m reading a history of my family and a love letter from my Father instead of some far-away philosophical text. And that is a HUGE difference. Conversations started about putting together a trip to Israel to even better understand the scripture and I signed up. Wham bam.
About a month ago, after deposits and such have been paid, I finally find out the details of this trip I’m signed up for. And let me tell you it’s pretty awesome. We are going with these guys so it’s a pretty serious deal. But’s a school type thing…not just a show up and look at interesting rocks sort of thing. So I have homework. Which is a little daunting because, although once upon a time I was a great student, it’s been a while and I’m a little rusty. So here’s the homework assignments:
- 6 maps- this means reading the extensive discussion notes, deciphering a really ridiculous timeline chart, and reading corresponding scripture to mark up 6 separate maps. Supposed to be about 40 hours worth of work
- Reading- just what it sounds like. Reading Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and any gospel text I want.
- Exercise- apparently there is a lot of hiking and they want you to be physically fit enough to keep up.
So it may not seem like a ton ( 3 bullet points is nothing!) but it’s a lot to do and do well in your spare time. So be expecting regular updates from me and please please please help me to stay on target! My biggest fear about this trip is that I won’t be able to get as much out of it as a I possibly can because I was too lazy at home to spend the time to get myself ready.
So here’s how I’m doing so far.
Maps: I’ve got to finish a map a month in order to keep up! Map 1- totally finished! I finished it last night about 10:30pm waiting for my cookie dough to chill (priorities, people). It was a lot of reading and I feel like I need to go back now and read all the prophets. Which is like…half maybe? (I’m terrible at math) of the Old Testament.
Reading: …yeah not so much. I’m currently teaching a jr high bible study on Genesis…does prepping for that count? Ok…I need to get busy on this one.
Exercise: Also with the not so much. I have done some yoga (it’s stretching…best exercise ever) but that’s about it. My excuse is that I live basically in the middle of hell’s fiery furnace so it’s still well in the 90’s throughout September. Plans for mucho walking when it is less than a million degrees. I’m also planning on going for walks this weekend while I’m down at the coast since my dad will be there (a total fitness freak…why didn’t I get those genes???) and the scenery is nice to look at while you are walking.
I did finally get on the public library’s website and request some audiobooks on the history of Israel. I’m totally an auditory learner. When I went to Turkey a couple of years ago I found a “Great Courses” audiobook that taught the history of that region and I was able to enjoy and understand what I was looking at while I was in Turkey a lot more. So hopefully this will help. I’m a big fan of audiobooks in the car. I’ve listened to all kinds of crazy audiobooks while driving around. Beats the heck out of the crappy pop music and commercials that normally come out of my speakers.
All right well that’s the first update. Hopefully I can get to work on some of this stuff and get it done! I’d love any tips on organizing and setting and keeping goals if you’ve got ’em! Thanks!