Greetings from Israel. My name is Kristie Jones and I am a third year seminary student at Shepherds Theological Seminary. I live in Raleigh, NC and I am pursing a Master of Arts Degree in Church Ministry with a focus in Christian Ministry. I work in women’s ministry in my local church and assist in mentoring young women in our youth ministry.
This trip has been life changing. I will never read or study the Bible the same way again. This experience has caused me to look at life, theology, and ministry through different lenses. My faith has been strengthened and replenished. Each day as we move from destination to destination, I cherish and embrace each lesson learned.
Today we traveled to several destinations. The two locations that I would like to share are Shiloh and The Mount of Olives. Shiloh was previously a major place of worship in Israel. It was here that Joshua erected the Tabernacle once the children of Israel traveled through the wilderness from Egypt. The Tabernacle remained in Shiloh for over 300 years from the time of Joshua through the period of the Judges, and was where the people of Israel went to worship and participate in annual feasts. It was in Shiloh that Joshua divided the allotment of land between the tribes of Israel. Hannah the wife of Elkanah prayed at the Tabernacle for a son and was given Samuel (I Samuel 1:1-28). The story of Hannah is one of my favorite biblical narratives and to be able to see the very place where this story unfolded is nothing short of amazing. It was in Shiloh that Samuel the son of Hannah and a prophet grew up under the guidance of Eli the priest. Eventually Shiloh was destroyed by the Philistines around 1104 BC who also carried off the Ark of the Covenant. The Tabernacle was later rebuilt in Jerusalem.
The second area for discussion is the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives sits east of Jerusalem and is an important part of the landscape though not part of Jerusalem. It is mentioned in both the Old Testament and New Testament. The Mount of Olives serves as a burial place and has thousands of graves. At the bottom of the Mount of Olives is the Garden of Gethsemane. This is where Jesus went and prayed before being betrayed by Judas before being taken for trial (Matthew 26:36). Jesus also wept here over Jerusalem. This site is now the Dominus Flevit Church. During our visit to the Mount Olives, I reflected on the life of Jesus and that many of the aspects of his life occurred in this very location.
As I continue on this trip, I plan to use each experience to better serve in ministry. As I work in women’s ministry particularly with young women, I will share this experience to help them become Christians and strong disciples of Christ. I am thankful for the Israel Initiative and for those who make this trip possible.