A group of about 50 people from Campion Church, including Campion students and teachers Erin Johnson, Haley Baker, the Gann family, and the Jordan family, were able to take a trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land, June 19-26. Addison Gann, sophomore at Campion, shared a bit about their incredible experience.
The first day was a relaxing day as people arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel to get ready to travel. On day two, the group was met by the tour guide Samir, and the tour began by driving through Joppa, then exploring Caesarea which is where the Hippodrome and Stadium of Herod are located.
Day three was a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and a trip up to the top of Mount of Beatitudes. Erin Johnson, one of Campion’s teachers said, “The biggest impact for me was being on the Sea of Galilee, and being where Jesus has calmed the waters, and where He performed so many miracles. It was great to see it because now I’ll never read the Bible the same.”
Day four included a trip to the ruins of Jericho, a look at the cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and a float in the Dead Sea!
The fifth day was a cable car up to Masada, and in a short story, it is where a mass of Jews chose to kill themselves instead of being captured by Romans. Travelers also got to visit Lazarus’s first tomb, and then to finish the day off, the group went to the Wailing Wall to welcome the Sabbath.
On day six the travelers went to a garden where there is a tomb which archeologists have said could have been Jesus’ tomb. Then the group had a special communion together in the garden to close. After the garden, they went to the church where the disciples were taught to pray the ever famous Lord’s Prayer, and visited the top of the Mount of Olives. Other sites that the group visited included the Garden of Gethsemane, the Pool of Bethesda, the church where Jesus was first taken to Pilate, Mary the mother of Jesus’s house she was raised in, the road that Jesus carried the cross on, (the Via Delarosa) and the Church of the Sepulcher. Finally, some went inside Old Jerusalem to watch a light and sound show, portraying the history of Jerusalem.
On day seven the group visited the cave where the shepherds were told the good news of Jesus being born, as well as the possible birthplace of Jesus. The group also visited the Dome of the Rock, and at the end of the day, they went to the Valley of Elah where David fought Goliath.
Day eight might have been the most exciting as most of the travelers trekked through Hezakiah’s tunnel. Hezakiah’s tunnel was how they brought water from the spring outside into Jerusalem. Everyone enjoyed tramping through the cool spring water, which at times was up to the knees or higher. After the cooling excursion, they visited the house where the Last Supper took place. Finally, the last destination was Josephus’s house where Jesus was first brought after being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Pastor Michael Goetz, Campion’s former head pastor, organized the whole trip and said that the best part of the tour was “Caiphus’s house, where Jesus was lowered into the pit. It had escaped my readings before, and the prophetic Psalms describing the pit came alive, and you could hear the echo of Jesus being beaten. In that pit, His love came alive.”
Jack Jordan, junior at Campion Academy, said, “The people of Israel had the greatest impact on me. Their religions, life choices, and how passionate they were about their choices. The Jews never missed or skipped their prayer time, even on the airplane. The people of Israel show me that though they don’t believe as I do, I shouldn’t be afraid to live out what I believe.”
Overall, despite the intense heat, travel stresses, and no air conditioning in some places, this was a life changing experience for everyone on the trip.
Addison Gann, Guest contributor
In June, Marcela Zuniga, junior at Campion, served for almost one month on a mission trip to Mansa, Zambia. A group of about 20 attended the trip including Marcela’s sister, Dayanara, incoming freshman, Haley Beckermeyer, 2023 graduate, and Kent Kast, former staff member.
Organized by Jim Lynch with Give Back to Humanity, the group spent most of their time constructing a wall for a Seventh-day Adventist school in Mansa. The wall would help the school to mark off the property and keep the kids safe during the school day. Marcela shared that they typically worked 10-hour days, but were able to spend time in worship with the local children each evening.
Marcela remembered, “The local people were very hospitable, always making us feel like we were at home. I enjoyed that they were happy with what they had and they showed me that small things in life do matter. The kids showed so much faith and love for God and were grateful for what they had.”
Haley Beckermeyer agreed saying, “My favorite part was getting to know the local students. They were all super kind and friendly, and you’d never feel lonely while you were there. They were all very thankful for us coming, and it felt like they were more of a blessing to us than anything we did.”
Despite the hard work, the students expressed how the experience blessed them. Marcela shared, “It made me grateful to know we praise the same God and helped me realize I am blessed to be able to go to Campion. It was a rewarding and life-changing trip.”
Jill Harlow, Communication Director