Bishop leads group from Great Plains to the Holy Land

Todd Seifert


Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. is led a group of 61 people from the Great Plains Conference on a tour of the Holy Land. They visited the traditional sites of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, as well as locations of other key locations from biblical history.

Todd Seifert, conference communications director, shared these videos each day during the journey.

Fortress of Masada, Caves of Qumran and the Dead Sea

On our final day in the Holy Land, the group first toured the ruins of Masada, a fortress and palace from Herod the Great's era that was the last Jewish outpost to fall to the Romans in 73 AD. The group then looked over the caves of Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. Finally, some of the group floated in the Dead Sea before heading to the airport to return home.


Garden Tomb, Crusaders in Emmaus and Remembering the Holocaust

Today, our group started with a moving experience at the garden tomb, a second possible place where Jesus was buried, with a time of exploring the tomb and communion. The group also visited Emmaus and the Benedictine Abbey of Abu Gosh, which was built by the Crusaders. On a more sober note, the day included a powerful time at the Holocaust Remembrance museum at Yad Vashem. 



Bethesda, the Via Dolorosa, Christ's Tomb and the Temple Mount

The group spent the entire day in the Old City of Jerusalem, starting with lessons on how the Temple Mount came to be controlled by Muslims and then seeing the ruins of the pools at Bethesda, where Jesus healed a lame man. The group then walked the Via Dolorosa — or stations of the cross. The walk commemorates the various stages of Christ’s journey toward the cross, culminating at what used to be Mount Calvary, now home to the enormous Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Great Plains group then visited the Wailing Wall and culminated the day by seeing a stone that Jesus most likely used to step into and out of the old city.



The Garden, Palm Sunday and the Upper Room

The group started the day with a visit to the Mount of Olives and a chance for devotions and singing in the Garden of Gethsemane before walking Jesus' possible route on Palm Sunday and seeing the suspected location of the Last Supper and the location where Peter denied Christ three times.


The Manger, Jericho and the Remembrance of Baptism

The group visited the traditional location of Jesus' birth, covered today by the Church of the Nativity. It also visited the traditional location of where the shepherds became the first to hear the good news of the Savior's birth. The group visited Jericho, the second oldest city in existence. But perhaps the most moving experience was Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. leading a remembrance of baptism in the Jordan River.



Mary's Good News, Mount Carmel and the Mediterannean Sea

The group visited the ruins of Sepphoris, where it's believed Jesus and Joseph may have worked; Miggido, the site of Armaggedon from Revelation; the Church of Annunciation, built over where it's believed Mary lived when she was told by the angel that she would give birth to Jesus; Mount Carmel, where Elijah struck down the 450 prophets of the false god Baal; and Caeseria by the Mediterannean, a town Herod the Great built in only 12 years.


The Galilee

The group visited Capernaum, which was Jesus’ home base for ministry for much of his three years of teaching and preaching. It took a boat excursion onto the Sea of Galilee. It visited the ruins of Bethsaida and Magdala. And it visited the region where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Our pastors on the trip teamed up to read the scripture from Matthew. 

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