When 18 people decide to go to follow the footsteps of Jesus, CRAZY things happen. As most of you have followed along the journey, you know KIVU takes a Global trip every year to share our relationships with people who attend our Teenage Summer Program in Colorado. This year, we had an AMAZING group of people who wanted to go and see what's going on in the Holy Land.
I told them from the beginning, "You can take a tour of the Holy Land with a tour guide, but I promise you; I'll give you a behind the scenes look at everything going on politically, economically, and theologically."
I'm not a big fan of tours anyway. I like to meet people, talk to people who live on the ground, and figure out what's really going on outside of the normal tourist sites.
We started in Tiberius along the Sea of Galilee to see where Jesus began teaching. Just like anyone who visits, our group was overwhelmed with the beauty of the Sea. We walked along the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave His famous Sermon on the Mount. We took a ride in a wooden boat much like the disciples would have used to fish in Jesus' day. And we saw Where Jesus Began Ministry at Caperneam.
We traveled down the countryside through Jericho.
We floated on the Dead Sea.
And then we stayed inside of Bethlehem for the remainder of the trip.
We went to Hebron and saw the tension of people groups trying to live together.
We went to the Tent of Nations to meet with Farmers trying to make it in a contested land issue.
We met with Palestinians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Israelis, and the locals on the ground.
The group was incredible.
They took in all the sites, wrestled with the issues on the ground, and smiled well as they learned how to Love ALL people in various parts of the land.
At the end of the trip, we attended a birthday party for one of our KIVU students who traveled to Colorado last summer from Bethlehem, and the greatest part of working with teenagers...A Party is just what the Doctor Ordered.
I'm more impressed with the ability of teenagers to see through all the contentious parts of the world and just realize we're all human.
We're all just trying to make it through school.
We're all just trying to get a good job.
We're all trying to take care of our families.
We're all trying to make sense of this crazy world.
Through it all, we saw clearly; politics isn't the answer, sociology isn't the answer, and economics isn't the answer.
The answer for people to live in harmony with one another is the relationships we develop along the way. It's so much more fun to make friends than it is to make enemies. And the only way we can break down the walls of enemy is to spend quality time looking at each other in the eye, and learning how to care for one another.
Once again the KIVU motto of LOVING GOD and LOVING OTHERS proved to be a worthy goal.