The pilgrimage continues
I started 2019 by going on a pilgrimage. I drove from Fargo to Dallas to meet Father David Rosebery, an Anglican priest, and his wife, Fran. They were my hosts and leaders of a pilgrimage for 70 people to Israel. Although I had never met them, they welcomed me into their home. They were a miracle blessing. They sharpened and encouraged me in a way I will forever be grateful for.
I had never met any of the 70 people. They were all curious how this guy from Fargo joined their group. The answer is: through a Google search! As I prayed about my pilgrimage I decided a trip to Israel should be a part of it. I looked for a trip that would be in January of 2019. I found this trip hosted by Father David. After talking to him on the phone, I knew this was the trip I should join. And now having gone, it was clearly a part of a much bigger story that God is writing.
We spent our first few days in the region of the Sea of Galilee. We went on Mount Carmel where Elijah witnessed God’s miracle in 1 Kings 18. We visited Caesarea where Paul stood before Felix, Festus and King Agrippa in Acts 26 and 27. In Acts 26 when Paul appeared before Agrippa, King Agrippa said, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
As I stood on that site, God came very near to me and gently whispered in my heart, “That is why I sent you and Teri to Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo 19 years ago…to love people, to be who I created you to be, and to share your story, my truth and my grace. Some will come to faith in me quickly. Others will take years and years. But no one is too far away. One at a time people will continually find salvation and hope in me.” It is amazing when God clarifies the purpose for which he created you.
The most spiritually and emotionally impactful moment came early on Sunday morning. As the sun was rising we were on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. The waves were calm, the air was crisp and the sun was warm. We sang a song by Matt Redman called “Bless the Lord oh my Soul.” One of the verses says this: “The sun comes up, It’s a new day dawning, It’s time to sing Your song again, Whatever may pass, And whatever lies before me, Let me be singing, When the evening comes.” We were singing those powerful lyrics on the very sea where Jesus calmed the storm. I am moved to tears thinking about it as I type these words.
I spent eight days of learning Israel geography, history, archaeology and nothing contradicted what we read in the Bible. Everything supported and clarified what we read.
The reminders I received and lessons I learned will serve me, and those I love, very well in the years to come.
Hauser is the founding and senior pastor at Prairie Heights Community Church in Fargo-Moorhead.He can be reached at www.jonhauser.com