Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pilgrimage to Holy Land 3 - Prayers and Worship

About a month before our group departed for the Holy Land, we spent time praying corporately as well as on our own.  Right from the start we knew that this trip to the Holy Land was not an ordinary tour but a special visit.  Each of us have our heart set on visiting the Holy Land as a pray and worship unto the Lord.

This discernment was confirmed when we reached Israel from Jordan.  As soon as we got onto the tour bus, our tour guide, Jack reminded us that we were in Israel not for a tour but for a pilgrimage.  Some how the way he talked to us was unlike a tour guide, more like a lecturer instructing us what we should do.  We accepted this tone of voice as we were there for a pilgrimage and not an ordinary tour.  We want to experience the places where Lord Jesus had walked, and also how the other people in the Bible had spent their lives in various Biblical sites we were to visit.

One of the highlights to this pilgrimage was that we had devotion every evening of the tour.  Each of us were assigned to take our turn.  I must admit that initially I was apprehensive about sharing a devotion.  Thank God I learned much more in preparing for the devotion.  Before the start of each devotion we sang worship songs. We could feel the presence of our Lord in each of these devotions.

Beside, prayers and worship during devotional time, we prayed in many of the sites we visited.  Many of these sites were located in churches, and that were appropriate setting for prayers. Each time we prayed in these locations, the Lord was with us, and many were overwhelmed with emotions, especially feeling of the suffering our Lord Jesus had gone through.  One example, was while praying at the pit where Jesus was locked up for a night before His Crucifixion in the house of Chief Priest Caiaphas.  It was heart breaking to witness this pit with a hole on top where Jesus was let in, that was the only entrance and exit.  It was total darkness in those days.  Just imagine that!

Each of us is not the same after this pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  Certainly, reading the Bible presented new perspectives and understanding.  One could now imagine the places written in the Bible that we also visited in Israel.  Awesome! Yes, our God is A W E S O M E!

"Oh God thank you for this touching visit to the Holy Land, we felt your presence in this Land, our lives are changed forever as it is part of your plan for each of us.  Thank you Lord, bless you in Jesus Most Precious Name Amen."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land 2 - St.Anne, Jerusalem

Our pilgrimage especially to the Old city of Jerusalem brought our group to St.Anne Church on 22nd April 2013.

The church is located at the start of Via Dolorosa near the Lion's Gate, the Muslim quarter of Old Jerusalem.  This was a former Islamic seminary.  In 1856 the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid presented to the French for their support during the Cremean War.  This church is now owned by the French government and administered by the White Fathers, a Catholic order.

The church is blessed with amazing acoustic with the sound beautifully confined within the church that appealed to our sense of hearing.  The sound of music and songs produced from here is beautiful and fantastic.

Only when we were at the church, we were told by our guide that we can sing if we would like too.  Prior to this we did not know we could sing there.  We were the second group in line to sing when we got into the church.  As soon as the previous group finished, the Father in charged directed us to assemble in front of the church.  Our Sister Chuei Lian directed our group by gathering us and suggesting the songs.  As we observed from the previous group, they only sang one song.  We started with "Amazing Grace", and as we started, many of us had tears in our eyes as we were touched by our Lord.  As we got into our second song, "You are so good" written by our Brother Leslie Yeo (award winning song) more felt God's touch and some broken out in loud cries of repentance, and submission to God.  We sang the third song "I love you Lord", followed by repeating Amen, Amen, Amen in different tones, which was very beautiful.  The most amazing thing for us was that we were allowed to sing three songs instead of one!  Why? Because most group only had time to sing one song.  We were blessed as there was no new group immediately after us, the Father in charged urged us to continue singing!  Hallelujah!  Praise God!

Sample of the sound produced in this church.  This is a video from Youtube. Listen to the acoustic.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land 1 - A Testimony

Thirty two of us from our church just returned from our pilgrimage to Israel the Holy Land.  It was indeed an awesome experience to be literally walking on the land where Jesus walked more than 2000 years ago.  At the same time feeling what He would have felt in the different climates at different times.  This was certainly not an ordinary tour like when we visit foreign land.  In fact our team prayed over the month before going there.  We also read up study guides given to us by our pilgrimage leaders.  The whole idea was to get as much as we can before embarking on the journey.  We also felt that this pilgrimage was an appointment made by God for all of us.  Each of us has a story to tell of how each came to join this pilgrimage. My own circumstance was indeed God's answered to my prayer.  When I approached our leader that I wanted to go, she told me that since I was going alone I need to find a room mate otherwise the tour cost will be prohibitive. I thought to myself where am I to find this room mate, so I prayed and asked God that if it was His will for me to go He will find me a room mate.  Sure enough the following day a sister from our church called saying another brother was interested to go and be my room mate!  Praise God!  That was how I joined this pilgrimage.  I was already familiar with this brother and I was blessed to be his room mate.  We prayed every morning while in the Holy Land, and on several occasions both of us were touched by the Holy Spirit, and tears flowed.  Another occasion was when we sang at St.Anne Church in Jerusalem, all of us felt the presence of God and many broke down in tears. Personally I have not cried so many times in such a short period, it got to be the touch of God.  My heart, and mind were prepared for this pilgrimage, and I believe God saw in me as well as the others.  In fact, our Israeli tour guide reminded us that we were not there for a tour but a pilgrimage.  That confirmed our objective of visiting the Holy Land for a special pilgrimage and not an ordinary tour.  In many of the Biblical sites we prayed and meditated on the events of that location.

Praise and thank God for the privilege to visit and be blessed in the Holy Land.  Also for the personal encounter with Jesus right where He walked, taught and crucified and resurrected. 

"Oh God thank you indeed for this opportunity to walk where Jesus walked and to feel the presence of our Lord in the Holy Land".