Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Decisions and Misconceptions

As a student at Butler University, I was concerned with fulfilling the requirements to graduate next spring.  This required me to take a summer course.  I was determined not to be stuck in a classroom all summer, so I decided to research study abroad programs.  I was considering two options: going to Russia for three weeks or France for 8 weeks.  However, I was anxious about being away from home so long.  I just so happened to be taking a religion course taught by Dr. James McGrath, who was taking a group of students to Israel. I had heard about this trip prior to Dr. McGrath mentioning it in class, but I hadn't even given it a second thought.  Luckily, Dr. McGrath talked about it throughout the semester, which caused me to consider this trip because it sounded so interesting.  I made the decision talking on the phone to my dad a few days after the deadline.  Something seemed right about going on the trip and I decided I couldn't pass up this experience.  Maybe it was Dr. McGrath's enthusiasm about the trip or it was part of God's plan; either way, I booked my flight and was headed to Israel.  Because the decision was made so quickly, I didn't have much time to think about what I was getting into.  I will admit, after I had time to process my decision, I was a little nervous to go to the Middle East.  However, Israel was a country I had always wanted to visit and it was too late to back out.  When I told my friends and family, they all were nervous for me, which of course, made me nervous as well.  I think many people have a misconception that Israel is a dangerous country.  I was one of those people.  However, the reality is that this trip wouldn't  happen if it was too dangerous to visit.   So with that in mind, I began preparing for the trip, reading my Bible, A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus, and The Palestine-Israeli Conflict.  These three books gave me a better understanding of the country I was visiting, which is full of history.  In the next several blog posts, I will share my pilgrimage to Israel and the history behind some of the places I visited.

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