Scenic view of trees at camp

Stories From the 2020 Forge Israel Trip

by Anna Birch

Forge class of 2020

Each spring, Pine Cove’s leadership development program, The Forge, takes a trip to Israel! Often others get to join along as they tour the Holy Land. Every stop is an experience! Through hiking, teaching, and visuals, the group gets a hands-on lesson at each location. Those that have gone on the trip say that it has enabled them to read the Bible in a whole new way!

We love hearing what the Forge students learn from their time in Israel, so we put together a little recap of some of our favorite quotes from their trip blog. You can read the entire series of posts from the trip here.


“David and Goliath is not an underdog story. It is a story to show how big our God is. And to perfectly exemplify what it means to live by faith and not by sight…. God is so much bigger than our sight, and while the sight can provide clarity, it is the faith He wants. Faith that He will fulfill His promises as He has always been faithful to do.” – Ali Scarlett


“Just to give you a visual, the land was not a land that a person would want to spend more than a day in. It is fully exposed to the sun all day long, there is no water, it is dry (very dry) and there is hardly any vegetation or wildlife. How would a person be able to survive out here? I was thinking that most of the day in my dri-fit clothing, while carrying my backpack full of snacks and water. Not only did a person do this, but the entire nation of Israel, numbering approximately 2 million people, lived like this for 40 years! They had cattle and all their belongings with them, too. Their clothing was made out of animal skin, not the best choice for a life in the desert. They had nothing to trust in other than God’s Word—that He would provide water and food for them—which He constantly did, over and over again. God not only provided for them, but He also dwelt with them because He loved them and cared for them. He guided and provided for them in a land of nothingness.” – Kolby Friday

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“We started the day the same way we ended the last: the Dead Sea. It’s a beautiful place, really just more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen… but, drinking only eight ounces of the water would kill you and experts recommend not staying in longer than 10 minutes at a time. It feels so deceptive! How can something that appears so beautiful actually be so dangerous? I think this is a lot like our lives. So often, something appears that looks like a safe, practical alternative to the risk of trusting God. Today I learned how little we can actually trust what we see.” – Mary Lee Knowles


“We came upon a town that was known as Caesarea Philippi. This is the place where Jesus asked His disciples what could be His most important question to them: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ (Matthew 16:13-28) To give you context, this place was where the worship of the Greek god Pan occurred. Worshipping Pan involved ritualistic sacrifice of goats. It was a scary and dark place. Why did Jesus ask His disciples this question here? Because it’s easy to profess faith in Christ where you are comfortable. It’s a different story when you’re surrounded by pagan worship.” -Marshall Wallace

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“As the day carried on we learned more about Ahab and Jezebel in 1 Kings 21 at the Valley of Jezreel, and the story of Gideon at the Spring of Harod in Judges 6-7. These are all stories of people who knew God but were tempted to do what was right in their own eyes rather than what God was calling them to. Yet in the midst of rebellion we can absolutely rely on the character of our wonderful and mighty God! In these small stories that all point to the major story the Bible is pointing towards, God’s will prevails—and it always results in His glory and our good!” -Selina Apodaca


“The day ended with something so sweet: seeing six people being baptized in the Jordan River. There were four Forgies: Jason Duffield, Gus Roden, Emily Quinn, and Jenna Albright, as well as David and Janet Schuler—Jared’s parents. It was amazing to see my brothers and sisters in Christ declare their identity in Him. There wasn’t a dry eye in sight. Israel has not only shown us the physical beauty of the land but the beauty that is found in a Heavenly Father who can and who cares for us.” -Derrick Simiyu


“Our next stop was Hezekiah’s tunnel! We got to experience this tunnel up close and personal! With our water shoes on, we started the 10-minute trek through the tunnel. As a person who has a fear of confined spaces, this was quite an adventure for me. The Lord was faithful to use even this experience, which for me was challenging, to remind me of truth. I was overwhelmed by His promise to always be with me.” – Hannah Edwards


“We didn’t realize it at first, but we then walked the Via Dolorosa which led us to where many believe Golgotha is. This is where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre stands today. Here we recognize the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The procession of Christ is one of heavy Roman influence, in fact, it was inadvertently used to prove Jesus is God and Caesar isn’t. Christ’s death makes our resurrection possible.” – Harrison Hilburn

All photos courtesy of Rylan Sherrod.

Posted Mar 24, 2020

Anna Birch

Former Staff

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