Scenic view of trees at camp

Stories From The Forge Israel Trip

by Chelsea Connor


Every March, Pine Cove’s 8-month discipleship program takes a trip to Israel. It is always a huge highlight of the program for the students, and there is always extra space for a handful of non-Forge students to join them too.

This year’s group got back a couple weeks ago, and if you haven’t had a chance to read through their daily blog posts from their journey, here are some excerpts of their writings, plus some photos! You can read through all of the full posts here.

Day 1

“The Israel trip has surely started off with a bang! One of the first places we went to was Bet Shemesh, where we hiked up onto a hill overlooking the Soraq valley. This is where we sat down and Matt Lantz had us turn to Judges 13-16. ‘Samson! Wow, one of my favorite stories.’ I thought to myself as I got my Bible flipped open. Little did I know, I was about to learn a ton of new lessons and get a much deeper insight into a story I thought I was so familiar with.”  –Andrew


Day 2

“God brought the Israelites to the wilderness not just to bring them out of Egypt, but to get Egypt out of them. For 430 years they were enslaved in Egypt, entangled in their culture and traditions to the point of finding comfort in the familiar day-to-day as a slave. SO comfortable, so complacent in not knowing and obeying the Lord their God that they begged Moses to let them return to slavery in Egypt after the Passover and Exodus rather than walking in freedom en route to the Promised Land of God.”  -Kimberly Webber

Day 3

“Back to this Ein Gedi waterfall. Jared spoke on, honestly, the silliness of it all- if I can say that. The pure lack of sense in denying the offer of living water into our every day, decision, pore, sip, thought, relationship, moment. Jesus tells the women at the well – “IT’S ME. I AM WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.” Open your eyes. Danielle, look up. Take your eyes off the feet in front of you, off the next step you have to take, off the rocks that you’re afraid might cause you to slip…” -Danielle Smith


Day 4

“Of these wonderful experiences, the lesson at Tabgha impacted me the most. When diving into the story of Peter, I quickly saw my similar, reluctant spirit. Like Peter, I have been asked by Jesus to follow Him multiple times, and like Peter, I have ignored Jesus multiple times. Even when we (Peter and I) have started following Jesus, we have stumbled more than a few times. I so often struggle to walk in faith and be obedient. I doubt, give in to my impulses, and try to do what I think is right all the time. Fortunately, Jesus does not leave Peter and me to sit in our unfaithfulness.”

Day 5

“As I write this (just to set the scene and maybe provoke some jealousy), I am sitting on my porch watching the sunset over the Golan Heights, the city of Tiberias, Mount Arbel and the Sea of Galilee. I’ll let that sink for you in the same way I am attempting to grasp it at this very moment.”  -Carson Wilder


Day 6

“If today had to be summed up in a phrase or two (which is a task I would not wish on anyone), it would be this: As the Lord’s grace gives us eyes to see Him for who he is, our confession of faith and continual remembrance of that keeps us from forgetting. Because we, like the Israelites, are very forgetful people.”  -Katelyn Sullins

Day 7

“As I leave this place, my prayer is that I (and we) remember that faithfulness requires submission to something greater, it requires devotion.”  -Karly Manuel


Day 8

“Today has been a big day. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”  -Josiah (This line, or something similar, was repeated just about every day by various authors. It seems like all the days were “big days” on this trip!)

Day 9

“As I went through the day, my faith was very much tested in a way that it has not been recently. We experienced so many people who ardently believe such different things, and I couldn’t help but realize that to them, I am just another guy who ardently believes something that could easily be dismissed as a cultural fairytale. So what makes us right? How can we have assurance that our path is the right path?

In light of these questions, I think it’s fitting that we got to visit the Holocaust Museum as a “break” from the Biblical sites. This may have been the hardest site yet for some in our group. The Museum accurately and graphically portrayed the events surrounding World War II, and it was a tough pill to swallow. The topic of the holocaust is always sobering, but today I saw something important. I saw how important ideology is. I saw how ideas are dangerous. I saw that there is right, and there is wrong. I saw how crucial it is for people like you and me to hold fast to the truth. The truth that God came as Christ incarnate, died, was buried, and ROSE to life. The truth that He has defeated death once for ALL. The truth that we don’t have to fight in order to get “closer” to God, because Christ lives in us. I saw a world that so desperately needs the truth – the Gospel.”  -Christian Lipe


Day 10

“Suffice it to say we are coming back changed, and we’d love to answer the question, ‘How was Israel?’ We can’t wait to see all of you, and are grateful for your prayers with us.”  -Caylee Kennedy


Find all of the full blog posts, plus the full photo galleries here.

PS- Applications for the Forge Class of 2018-2019 are now open! Know someone who should apply? Is it you? Apply here.

Posted Mar 27, 2018

Chelsea Connor

Former Staff

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