'He Did a Jewish Prayer for Me': College Student Reflects on Most Impactful Encounter in Israel

(Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash)

College student Olugbenga Joseph says praying with a Jewish guard he befriended on their bus in Israel was one of the most impactful encounters of his trip. He went to Israel through Passages, a program dedicated to sending young people to the Holy Land.

"One thing that was really special was that, on one of our last days, he prayed for me, he did a Jewish prayer for me. And I was able to pray for him. He was receptive to that. And for me, it was just kind of having those exchanges that were reciprocal.

"That linger, I think, the beauty about going to Israel, is that it turned the nation into people for me. And so the encounter that I've had with those people, I hope to carry with me in the years to come."

On the "Charisma News" podcast, Joseph also highlights how the trip brought the Bible to life—it's one thing to read Bible stories, and a completely different thing to walk the same streets Jesus walked.

"Kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane, reading about sort of the temptations that are the time that Jesus prayed—and he prayed so much that He basically sweat blood. ... Going to Masada, where King Herod dwelled, and just singing God's praises kind of everywhere we went was so impactful for me. ...

"It's a way of like, adding kind of a three-dimensional aspect to the Bible, insofar as the way that I read the Bible before and after is different, because I have context for the places that are being described. When you talk about the Sea of Galilee, I know that that's a place that I have put my own feet on, and that just changes the weight that the word has for me. It's something that I can relate with much more personally, and it's less just text on a page."

Listen to the podcast to hear more about Joseph's trip to Israel.

For more information about Passages, visit passagesisrael.org.

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