Holy Land tour brings the Bible to life for group of 23

Published by Olivia Dunklau 1 month ago on Thu, Jul 7, 2022 2:06 PM
Pictured (l-r): Back: Scott Bruick, Doug Garrison, Jacob Garrison, Steve Hakes, Tom Cahoon, Max Johnston, Josh Marlatt, Bob Marshall and Mark Meehl. Middle: Jan Bruick, Pamela Marshall, Megan Hakes, Linda Cahoon, Doug Sunderman, Kay Marshall, Rebekah and Chuck Blanco. Front: Erica Lamm, Megan Obermueller, Esther Langness, Rosanna Scott, Renee Sunderman and Aliana Scott.
Pictured (l-r): Back: Scott Bruick, Doug Garrison, Jacob Garrison, Steve Hakes, Tom Cahoon, Max Johnston, Josh Marlatt, Bob Marshall and Mark Meehl. Middle: Jan Bruick, Pamela Marshall, Megan Hakes, Linda Cahoon, Doug Sunderman, Kay Marshall, Rebekah and Chuck Blanco. Front: Erica Lamm, Megan Obermueller, Esther Langness, Rosanna Scott, Renee Sunderman and Aliana Scott.

On May 27th, a group of 23 Concordia students, alumni, professors and friends all traveled to Israel for the Holy Land Tour of 2022. What was originally scheduled for late May of 2021, had to be postponed to May of 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Mark Meehl, professor of theology, coordinates and plans the trip every three years. 

Dr. Meehl has been a part of excavations in Israel, Jordan, and Syria. He lived in Jerusalem for two and a half years, serving as Program Director for the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, before coming to Concordia University in 1991. Meehl coordinated the trip with tour guide Johnny Asmar, a Palestinian Christian from Jerusalem. This was Dr. Meehl’s fifth tour he coordinated with Johnny as their guide. 

The trip is designed to immerse the students and community members in a rich experience of exploring the Holy Land. The group visited traditional sites associated with the Bible, excavation sites, talked with a variety of locals, experienced a worship service in the Old City and more.

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Megan Obermueller, Esther Langness (current student), Jacob Garrison, and Josh Marlatt (all alums) jump in Herod’s North palace, Masada.
 

The trip is designed to immerse the students and community members in a rich experience of exploring the Holy Land. The group visited traditional sites associated with the Bible, excavation sites, talked with a variety of locals, experienced a worship service in the Old City and more. 

The trip started with a flight from Omaha to Tel Aviv, visiting ancient Joppa and getting to know their surroundings before full days of events and tours to follow. Day two of the trip would be visits to Caesarea Maritima, Megiddo, Beth-Shean and then the Sea of Galilee.  

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Shepherd’s Valley Tent Restaurant in Beit Sahour, a suburb of Bethlehem.
 

"Sounds pretty simple – visit Masada, Qumran, swim in the Dead Sea, ride a camel. That was our day! However, each step was very complex – but fun and interesting – and deserves a chapter in its own right. Top that off with an interesting encounter with Israeli Border Guards while entering a checkpoint outside Bethany, and it was a day! Most of these events defy description and simply must be experienced to be comprehended,” said Meehl. 

The group visited a few archaeological sites including the location of David’s battle with Goliath in the Elah Valley and Khirbet Qeiyafa. They also were able to visit the tomb of Lazarus and his house which was a part of a church complex in Bethany, which is outside of Jerusalem.  

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Pastor Scott Bruick and alum Megan Obermueller
 

Esther Langness, a senior student on the trip stated, “One of my favorite parts of the trip was being able to learn more about the current state of Israel and Palestine. We were able to visit both a Jewish Settlement as well as a Palestinian Refugee camp. The tensions between the two are complicated, so it was really cool to be able to hear both sides and gain a little bit of a clearer picture of how things are.” 

“I will remember this as an epic time where I was able to actually see the terrain and distances that Jesus and the other people in the Bible walked and as a time when I was able to sit on a rooftop overlooking Jerusalem discussing all the sites and people we visited with my fellow travelers,” said Esther. 

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Senior Esther Langness in the theater at Caesarea. 
 

If you are interested in upcoming travel opportunities and events, follow Alumni and Friends Events.