Sixteen Logsdon students, faculty, alumni, and staff
traveled to Israel for the Lands of the Bible May term travel course. During
this fifteen-day excursion, the group visited Nazareth, Jerusalem, and other
places from Jesus’ ministry.
As Assistant Professor of Scripture and Ministry, Dr. Meredith
Stone saw the trip as a valuable educational and spiritual experience.
“There are a lot of archaeological sites that I’ve studied in
depth that I had never seen with my own eyes,” she said. “There is also a
spirituality of place that is why there are things called pilgrimages. To take
that in, to breathe the same air, and be in those places was a very spiritual
Stone says that even though some of the places the group
visited may not have been the exact locations mentioned in scripture, she still
felt a spiritual connection.
“There is still a sense that people have worshipped in this
spot for thousands of years thinking about this very thing,” she said. “You’re
not only connecting with the place, but you’re also connecting with other
pilgrims where you’re worshipping.”
Because of Logsdon’s partnership with the Nazareth
Evangelical College, the students experienced lectures from their dean and
rabbi. During the lectures, they learned about Palestinian-Israeli relations.
“It is one thing to watch things happening on the news,” she
said. “But it’s another to be there, to meet people, and to understand what it
means for there to be a wall separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem. It made us think
about that part of the world in a whole different way.”
Logsdon takes a trip to Israel every other summer and a trip
to Greece every year during Spring Break. Dr. Stone says that these trips help
seminary students prepare for ministry.
“Travel courses expose students to the fact that their perception of reality is defined by their
geography,” she said. “When you’re in a new place and you’re engaging with different people, you
start to see the image of God in other people more fully when you’ve sat in
their space. When you’re studying intercultural ministry, it’s always a good
thing to experience being in the minority for once.”
MDiv student Hunter Brown said that the trip affected his
“There was a moment
at the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, built on Caiaphas’s house where Peter
denied Jesus,” he said. “There were steps there that our tour guide said that this
is where Jesus probably would have walked on the way to the cross. Spending
time there praying was one of the big parts.”
Brown said that the trip made the stories of Jesus come
alive for him.
“When we focused on
the passion narrative, the location brought out that feeling of Jesus’ presence
in that place,” he said. “The trip also helped me understand how to pray in
every situation. When we visited the place where Peter denied Christ, I prayed,
‘Lord, help me not to deny you.’”
The trip also included HSU faculty. Jim Jones is the Associate
Vice President for Enrollment Services, but he also teaches a Sunday school
class on the Jewish roots of Christianity at First Baptist Church. He says that
the trip has given him some new perspective for his class.
“I really enjoyed
seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Israeli museum,” he said. “It was amazing to
see something written that far back.”
Jones said he also enjoyed the provincial atmosphere of
“I could really get a
sense of where Jesus taught with his disciples and where most of his ministry
occurred,” he said.