Pastors' Blog

Expectations for Our Trip to Israel

I was privileged enough to travel to Israel in May of 2017 through a partnership with Shiloh University and The Living Word Fellowship. It was an amazing time of learning, meeting new people, and seeing sites that I’ve read about in the Bible. Upon coming home I’ve been enthusiastically showing photos and telling stories of our time to encourage everyone I can that they should go on a future trip.

The next trip is coming up fast as another group from Shiloh will be leaving for Israel later in February. Although I’m a little envious that I won’t be on this one, I’m super excited for everyone going. As part of the package, Shiloh University has included the course Historical Geography of Israel to enhance the experience of the land and its history. It is a unique opportunity to learn about the history of the Land of Israel and then experience it firsthand.

I asked a few of those traveling on this upcoming trip to describe their expectations for their time in Israel. Here is some of what they said:


I am anticipating my time at the Western Wall and experiencing something very deep and real in my spirit. There is a sense and a feeling of the atmosphere at the Western Wall that I want to stay with me and let it daily become more alive in my life.
Morene Welch


I had opportunity to visit Israel exactly 50 years ago this February, which is 6 months after the Six Day War. I even got baptized in the Jordan River. For this trip I have enjoyed taking the Historical Geography of Israel course. It gave me a clearer understanding of the geography of the country and many events that took place in the Bible. I also enjoy archeology and am excited about all that is being uncovered daily in Israel.
Don Welch


I developed several history courses for Shiloh University and I majored in history, so I appreciate going to places in Israel where things happened in the past. Even more so, I am looking forward to going to the stage where the greatest events in history are going to take place.
Jim Salsbury


I’ve been learning about the Bible and Jesus all my life. In my mind I’ve decided what all the historic places look like. I want to set the stories straight and true by what my eyes will see and what I will learn. I can’t think of a greater opportunity to make this happen nor a better atmosphere than this Shiloh University tour of Israel.
Karen Salsbury


This will actually be the third time in Israel for my wife and myself. We went in 1999 with a group from The Living Word Fellowship and loved it so much that we wanted to go back as part of our 30th wedding anniversary cruise in 2009. We only got to stay a couple days that second time, but it was a wonderful time that left me wanting to return again. I’m most excited to tour the underground tunnels along the Western Wall that we’ve heard so much about but were not able to see yet. It will be wonderful to be in Israel again and renew our connection with the land, the AMI Center, and the amazing spirit of God’s people that resides there.
Bill Beran


At first I didn’t really consider going on this trip because we’d been a few times before. But with the reports of so many new archaeological discoveries in the past twenty years and taking the Historical Geography of Israel class, my interest and excitement have been steadily building. The course has helped me in my reading of the Bible, understanding better where events took place. I’m also anticipating the trip because I love seeing ancient ruins in place rather than in museums and envisioning the lives of people long ago.
Eileen Beran


Seeing pictures and talking with those who went on last year’s trip lit a fire in my heart. While I will love seeing, experiencing, walking the lands that I’ve heard about and read about for so many years, and in our texts and readings, what I’m most excited about are the cultural experiences we will have. I am thrilled to have opportunity to participate in a Shabbat service at the Great Synagogue and a Purim service as well and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for us as we travel together!
Marsha Smith


I really want to go and see where it all started and how the people of Israel have stayed true to what God told Abraham to do. I also want to see where all the biblical stories happened including Christ’s ministry. The Shiloh University Historical Geography of Israel course showed the way the rivers, valleys, mountains, and roads had an effect on why events happened the way they did. And it can’t hurt to get away from all this SNOW we are getting.
Dave Hodgeman


I am so excited to be going to Israel! The land of the history of our faith. The land where our fathers walked and lived and heard the voice of God. My personal goal is to experience the atmosphere that gives me new eyes and new ears in a relationship with the Father. To really know Him In a way I have not. I am looking forward to being part of a real Jewish Shabbat, and to be a force in ending Antisemitism.
Vickie Hodgeman


I can’t wait to visit Israel and tour some of the historical biblical sites because I love to imagine and have a picture of where the stories took place. It helps me to understand what people were thinking and why they did things at the time and brings the word to life for me.
Emily Choate


The main reason I wanted to go is to be able to put a place to the scriptures. I think a lot of times we can imagine what a place looks like while reading the Old or New testament, but seeing the places adds another element to it. I think that this is going to impact how I read the word. I’ve heard all of these great stories and accounts from others who have gone, and I’m looking to experience it myself. The Historical Geography class is a great primer before going and I’m very thankful the resource is available to us before leaving. It’s nice to have an idea of what we will be seeing before actually going.
John Choate


I started to think about visiting Israel as I was hearing about previous trips and thinking, I need/want to do that! One of my Dad’s favorite songs, which he sang as a soloist in the Methodist church, was “I walked today where Jesus walked.” That song really gave me a connection to the Father. I got excited to “walk” where Jesus walked, and touch and feel more than stories in the Bible. I am anticipating a deeper connection to the Father as I walk in the Holy Land.
Donna Olson

Jeremy Richardson

Jeremy Richardson

Jeremy serves as the Media Pastor at Shiloh in Kalona, Iowa. Jeremy has worked in the industry as a video editor, graphic designer, and web developer, all the while fostering his inner geek. He loves movies, music, and anything creative, and is driven to see the spirit of the living Word of God expressed in the creative realm.