Last night in the Holy Land

It is hard to put into words what these last nine days have been like–“incredible” would be an understatement.

To be able to share in this amazing journey with six young people, and our trusty leader, Charissa, is something I will remember forever. Surely, the magnitude of this experience will continue to reveal itself in our lives long after we leave this place tomorrow.

Some of you may have felt the youth’s entries and reflections were too short or not as descriptive as you’d like 🙂 And, that is probably true. However, there is so much to take in every single day that is can feel a bit overwhelming…almost like an overload of information and emotions. Eventually, one day blends in with the next and it is hard to remember everything we did in a day! So, we will have to give you more of a highlight overview once we get back, complete with pictures.

Thank you so much to those of you who lifted us up in prayer and followed along with our blogs. And, a HUGE thank you to Charissa who bravely embraced the joys and challenges of working with youth–if she can survive 10 days with six teenagers in a foreign country without going completely insane, I’d say she can handle anything! Well done.

I am truly honored to have had this experience with our youth and Charissa, and look forward to sharing more once we return.

We leave Jerusalem around midnight tomorrow, July 5, and touch down in Seattle around 10:20 am on July 6. We appreciate prayers for safe travels as we fly home.

P.S. Make sure to ask the youth about Edith.

In Christ,


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Day 7

Today was pretty eventful. We went to a few different churches, such as Jacob’s Well. We were able to drink water from the well that was said to cure a blind man. We also went to a sweets shop, where we got to try a unique type of pastry–knafeh. The final thing we did in the day was go to lunch, and we ate chicken over a type of flatbread with onions on top. After this, we drove back to Jerusalem, and the day was over. Overall today was pretty good.

-Theo Bushfield

@theobushfield on Instagram

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Tuesday 19.07.02 (Day 6) Audrey R

In Nazareth, there are a whole heck of a lot of cats. Like how New York has a bunch of rats, so you might see one with a slice of pizza or something, you’d probably find like a pack of cats with just pita bread or something, hanging around the dumpsters in Nazareth. In Jerusalem, there are like a couple, so you might see one or two a couple of times, but in Nazareth, they just like cycle out or something from one dumpster to another. They might be better off with getting food from there anyway because food for tourists is expensive. It was like $4 USD for a smoothie at Mt. of Beatitudes because of tourism, so I’ve already spent like half my money on that. They’re also really serious about not being loud there either because they needed a nun to go out to break up a proposal that was happening near the church.

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Day 5

Today we traveled to Nazareth. We left very early in the morning to see the sunrise over the Wadi Qelt. In Nazareth, we saw the Church of Annunciation where the virgin Mary lived and was first spoken to by God. We also met up with another Christian youth group that lived in Nazareth and connected with them. After that we ate dinner and had a celebration for Charissa’s birthday. The wifi is spotty where we are so it is taking a while to upload pictures–stay tuned.


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Day 4

Today we went to two very important and religious sites–the first was the Western Wall, and then the Al Aqsa Mosque. These sites are very important to both the Jewish and Muslim people of Israel/Palestine. When visiting the Western Wall, we quietly and respectfully prayed and reflected. When we went to the Mosque we did the same. After we left the old city, we went to a church in Ramla and met with the youth for a Sunday School service. After that we ate lunch and drove to the beach. We spent a long afternoon at the beach. The water was warm and the air was warmer. Then we drove back in rush hour traffic to a really good dinner.


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Day 3

In this day, we learned about Jesus’ birth and death, as well as their historical sites. There were 2 very important places in the Christian faith–one of which is where Jesus was born in Bethlehem (which was in more of a dark cave rather than a wooden stable like we all grew up knowing). In the Christian faith, we learned that there are many opportunities to touch, pray, and connect with Jesus.

This has been a insightful and holy experience today and excited to see more.

Below are some of the pictures I took today.


A sample of the cave-like home of the shepherds at Shepherd’s Field (where the angels informed the shepherds of Jesus’ birth).
Church of the Nativity.
Squeezing into the Grotto of the Nativity.
The exact spot where Jesus was born, marked by a 14 point star.

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Day 2 in the Holy Land

Hello all! After a long and tiresome day of traveling yesterday, we finally arrived in Tel Aviv. At Saint George’s Guest House we ate a delicious dinner of roasted chicken, spiced rice and vegetables, pita, and more. Then we settled down to a well needed sleep after staying awake for more than twenty hours.

The next day, we woke up and ate a delicious breakfast and proceeded to pray in a short morning service. Then we hopped on a van with Iyad and his son Rami and drove to Mount Scopus to view all of Jerusalem and to take a couple pictures. After that we were dropped off at the Ramparts and walked the city wall. There, we learned about many historic places and the people who died to build that city. One thing that surprised me was the story of how Suleiman the Magnificent ordered to hang his architects after they had made a mistake in the building, and buried them in the buildings that they designed. Next, we hopped back in the van and drove over to Herodium. We watched a movie about King Herod and then walked up the hill to look at the ruins. We ate a delicious lunch at Orient, where we watched them specially prepare some roasted chicken for us. Finally, we finished up our tour with a walk to see the gates to the Old City with Rami. Then we came back to Saint George’s Guest House to rest and eat dinner.

Overall, today was a good day for adjusting to Israel’s community, time zone, and architecture. I hope that tomorrow is as great as today was!


Stella Dull

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2019 Youth Pilgrimage: June 26-July 6

The countdown is on! Six youth and two adult chaperones will be heading to the Holy Land on June 26. The team includes: Charissa Bradstreet, Theo Bushfield, Desmond Conn, Ari Drummond, Stella Dull, Audrey Rossow, Alexandr Varanko, and Naomi Woodrum. We hope you follow along on our journey here–stay tuned for pictures and reflections from each of our youth.

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Epiphany’s Youth Pilgrimage 2015 Wrap-Up: BREAKING DOWN WALLS

Epiphany’s Youth Pilgrimage to the Holy Land is complete and all ten of us are back safely in Seattle. The short report is that it was a wonderful trip. We traveled far and walked even farther. We visited Christian, Muslim, and Jewish holy sites. We swam in the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. We explored two thousand year old ruins. And, we experienced the beauty of this place during the Summer Solstice and the month of Ramadan.

This trip was truly a highlight in my adult life. The chance to see and experience the Holy Land was formative and exciting. I am thrilled to bring back to Seattle a sense of geography, of distance, of smell, and of taste to share with our children in my role as Children’s Ministry Convener. But, the thing that I will remember most, and that I feel the deepest gratitude for, is the opportunity that I had to share the experience with Tieran, Sam, Alex, Winston, Nick, Jeannine, Ginny, and Maria. WallEach of them is flexible, intelligent, kind, inquisitive, and thoughtful. My most poignant moment of our trip was standing with our group on a busy corner in Bethlehem. The wall built to delineate the West Bank towered over us, and brambles and trash surrounded our feet. The noise around us was of thousands of Muslim faithful walking in pilgrimage to the Dome of the Rock to pray. We listened to the Gospel and to a poem by Robert Frost. In that moment, I was stuck by the magnitude of the challenge facing the Holy Land and the world. And, yet, I felt a great sense of comfort knowing that this group of young adults is being formed to respond to these challenges. We are in good hands.

We pilgrims will share a presentation about our trip at a +TEC Forum on September 20. Until then, please engage us for individual conversations about our travels. We can share stories of lost luggage and created friendship, details regarding the intricacies of “modest” dress in the Holy Land, discussions around the politics of the region, and much

Finally, on behalf of the whole group, I thank Laura Sargent and the Epiphany Staff for the immense work that they did to make our trip smooth. And, I thank you, our Epiphany Family, for your generosity and prayer before and during our travels. Thank you, Shukran and Toda.

—Elizabeth Walker, Children’s Ministry Convener

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We’re home!!!


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