by Saianna Smith
So many people have asked why did I choose to go on this trip. My answer for the most part has always just been “because I want to walk where Jesus walked." However, over the past two weeks I believe my response has shifted. Yes, I still want to experience the place where Jesus did His ministry, but I also believe that I am on this trip because He wants me to be on this trip. I believe that God is sending me on this trip to have an encounter with Him like I’ve never had before. Almost everyone knows that I am a full-time student as well as work a very demanding job so when I requested time off from school to attend this trip all of my professors were on board except for one. The professor who was not on board with me attending the trip threatened to fail me for missing three days of his class to attend this trip and it was in this very circumstance where I realized God wants me on this trip. I almost did not come—I had my flight changed to accommodate the demands of my professor UNTIL I found favor in one of the advisors of my program who advocated for me to still be able to attend the trip and not fail. I believe that in this situation God was testing me. He has been preparing me for this trip for over a year, so He wanted to see how badly did I want to make coming on this trip happen, so it was on May 16th when I realized that I am on this trip because He wants me here. I was overcome with fear when I saw the news about the wars and bombings breaking out in Israel, however God gave me peace and told me that I am going to be fine because he is going to be there. So yes, I am still attending this trip to experience where Jesus did His ministry, but I am also here because I am supposed to be here.
Today I woke up at 4 am to be at LAX by 4:20 am for my 6 am flight (I live really close to the airport so did not see the need of being there 3 hours early!) During my ride from my house to the airport is when the excitement and the reality of this trip actually hit me. Until this morning, I was indifferent about the trip, but today I said "this is really happening." I flew into New Jersey by myself due to the fact that my flight had to be changed a few times because of the mix up that was happening at school. I spent 5 hours waiting for the rest of our team to arrive at the Newark airport (it felt soooooooo much longer!) While I was waiting for them to arrive, I was able to mentally prepare myself for what this trip has to hold. We will be departing from Newark and on our way to Tel Aviv at 10:50pm…I am not looking forward to a TEN hour plane ride, but I am super excited for this 10-day journey we are about to embark upon. I have never in my life been away from home for anytime longer than 6 days, so I am a little nervous about getting homesick, but even in those moments I am grateful to have some friends on this trip to comfort me in those moments. I believe this is all I have to say about day 1 of this trip!