I have learnt a lt this year. I learned that things don't always turn out the way you planned, or the way you think it should. And I've learned that there are things that go wrong that don't always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I've learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones. This year wasn't always pretty. It wasn't always comfortable. Some things and situations even break your heart. But that's okay. The journey changes you - it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness and on your heart. You take something with you, and hopefully also leave some things behind. I will forever remain humble because I know I could have less. And I will always be grateful because I know I've had less.
Going to the Promised Land for the first time of my life was a dream come true. Seeing the places where so many things happened in the Bible, reading the stories and seeing the "exact" place where it happened was amazing. Using your imagination to see where Jesus died, going to all the places where some of it happened, and meeting amazing people at these places that tell us so much of what they know about the old city. The Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee were memorable, but the most amazing thing was when we were in the Old City of Jerusalem doing a challenge where we had to go to all the significant places where Jesus was. Like the upper room were Jesus and the 12 disciples had the last supper before He was crucified, but not all of those places were as “wow” as I had hoped it would be, to be honest. None of the other places that we visited were “wow” places for me. I was disturbed when I saw that the others were overwhelmed by these places and then it struck me, like a lightning bolt to the chest, why I was not overwhelmed. It felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me: “why did you expect to be overwhelmed at these places? Is it because it’s where Jesus was?” If it is, what then, have I missed the entire story? Many of you know that not all of His works were written down and that means that there are places on earth where He was and we don’t even know it. None of those places has a ‘Holy Spirit hot spot’ so why will these places have them and not the others where He was. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said: ‘These places bear no witness of what He has done or will do but it’s me that bear witness of what He has done and will do. Where I am, there is the ‘Holy Spirit hot spot’. Where I choose to glorify His name, that is where He is and where He is, is far more important that where He was.
We departed from Turkey almost two months ago already, but it was such an overwhelming experience to be a pilgrim in the country where a big part of the new testament plays off that I struggled to put it into words. Here is my attempt at celebrating the highlights!