by Chad Burnett, Spiritual Life Director and High School Bible Teacher
Ben Lippen went to Israel this summer for the first time ever! We spent two full weeks exploring the land of the Bible with Dr. Bryan Beyer, CIU Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, who has led 22 trips to Israel. Dale Angstadt also spent countless hours to make the trip a huge success. Words cannot describe how impactful this trip was but here’s a sampling of our adventures:
We rode a camel in Jericho, looked down on the valley where David killed Goliath, walked through Hezekiah’s underground water tunnel, sat on the southern steps of the temple, read the Sermon on the Mount on the hillside where Jesus preached it, worshipped with believers from all over the world in the oldest Protestant church in the Middle East, floated in the Dead Sea, stood above Peter’s house, took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, scaled Masada like the Romans, peered into the well that Abraham used before his journey to sacrifice Isaac, celebrated baptisms in the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized, stood where Paul went on trial, strolled along Mediterranean beaches, reflected on the “battle of the ages” while sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane, sat in Caiaphas’ dungeon where Jesus was held before his death, and sang of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection right next to the empty grave!
Really, that’s only a taste. Dr. Beyer kept us moving so we could soak in as much of the Holy Land as possible. When you combine the map work we did before with Dr. Beyer’s teaching at each of the sites, and then nightly journaling on everything we saw…it made for the optimal learning experience. We were in such awe of what we were seeing that Dr. Beyer graciously reminded us, “Remember we worship a person, not a place!”
Watching family members and entire families experience Israel together made for a special group dynamic. By the end, we all felt like family. Here’s what a few of our members said about the trip:
“It was really cool to reaffirm my baptism in the Jordan River. I will never forget that experience. Also, visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and feeling the power of the Holy Spirit in that place. It was an amazing trip I will never forget with an awesome group of people.” -Chris Lynch, Ben Lippen Senior
“I was impressed by Allison Troyer’s amazing sense of direction (navigating Old City streets) and our group’s amazing camel riding skills at Jericho.” -Dr. Bryan Beyer, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at CIU
“I loved floating in the Dead Sea, sifting through ancient pottery shards at Beth Shemesh, and seeing the huge differences in terrain throughout Israel.” -Susan Davis, Ben Lippen Parent
“Some of my favorite moments were teaching my friends how to shag on the rooftop terrace overlooking Jerusalem, the incredible food, relaxing on the hammocks in Galilee, visiting the beautiful crystal blue springs at Dan, and riding in the boat on the Sea of Galilee.” -Katelyn Nichols, Ben Lippen Alumna
“I was continually reminded of the accuracy of the Bible….how archaeological finds confirm the details of Scripture. Examples would be the inscription uncovered in Dan that is the first non-Biblical reference to the House of David, the stone discovered in Caesarea Maritima that contained the name of Pontius Pilate, and, of course, the Dead Sea scrolls which included the entire book of Isaiah and parts of all the other books of the Bible except Esther. To see these items and more at the Israel Museum was truly amazing.” -Mary Mayberry, Ben Lippen Parent
“Caesarea Philippi was my fave site by far! Jesus intentionally takes the twelve disciples to a place that makes it obvious that following the gods is all about the pleasure and self-indulgence they reward you with for worshipping them and then asks His disciples who the people, and they, think He is. Peter nails the answer, with the Holy Spirit’s help of course… and then Jesus tells the twelve that He is going to the cross and that if they are going to follow Him, they must take up their own cross as well… Caesarea Philippi was the only place that such a stark and conflicting theological contrast could take place! A powerful place…
The camaraderie, fellowship, and friendship among the ‘Israeli 25’ was fabulous, and matched only by Dr. Beyer’s knowledgeability and insightful life lessons intertwined with beautiful geography… the best tour I’ve ever led or been a member of!! This tour will be the ‘gold standard’ for all others…” –Dale Angstadt, Ben Lippen Dean and Teacher
“My favorite memories were wading in the crystal blue water in Caesarea and riding in the boat on the Sea of Galilee. How do I even choose?! It was all so beautiful! Oh, and riding the camel was cool too, once in a lifetime for me. Watching the sunset from the terrace was beautiful as well!” -Craig Attaway, Ben Lippen Alumnus
“My favorite spot was seeing the Garden of Gethsemane and picturing Jesus crying out, “Not my will but Yours be done.” And God heard His cry and Jesus was obedient. I loved Hezekiah’s tunnel where we got to walk through the water all the way through the mountain. It was a wonder how they dug this tunnel from opposite sides of the mountain and joined in the middle, definitely a miracle of God!” -Caroline Troyer, Ben Lippen Parent
“I was moved by hearing Mr. A’s testimony and his desire to finish well as he was baptized in the Jordan; sharing in all the baptisms, memories, and seeing so many lands of the Bible with my daughter and my Ben Lippen family; our time at the Sea of Galilee and imagining all the teachings of Jesus that took place along those shores; finishing with Caesarea by the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and being commissioned to go into all the world to share the gospel like Paul; truly this trip was amazing!” –Shannon Nichols, Ben Lippen Teacher and Parent
This trip has profoundly impacted the way I read the Bible. I will be unpacking it for the rest of my life. The land, archeology, and continued discoveries continue to tell and confirm the greatest story ever told. I hope you can join us on our next Ben Lippen Israel Trip, summer of 2021!