Israel

God did not make my trip to the Holy Land easy. It took me over four hours to cross the border by foot at Aqaba and Eilat in the south of Jordan and Israel. But the obstacles put in my way only helped me to enter deeper into prayer once "inside." Immediately, my attention was drawn to the amount of men, women, and children wearing traditional Jewish garb -  tzitzit, hats, and long skirts. But soon I was accustomed to the dress and found myself meandering into the heart of Old Jerusalem. It was a busy center overflowing with tourists and merchants, both Muslim and Jewish alike. I drifted in and out of small churches and peered through a decorated barrier of barbed wire and over a soldier's shoulder for a view of the Dome of the Rock. I covered my head and sat peacefully behind mourners at the Weeping Wall, also know as the Wailing Wall, and offered my own prayer for reconciliation. After throwing away old shoes, I purchased a pair of leather sandals and entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The following day I visited the Church of the Holy Nativity, and on two occasions visited Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Research. It was a moving experience to say the least. On my trip to where Jesus was born, I was brought into Palestine, where the local bus was searched and the men and women were screened. Weapons were manifold, and I escaped the tension after a week and made it to Tel Aviv, where I enjoyed the beach and outdoor markets. Like entering, it took me hours to exit as my body and bag were searched thoroughly by security in Ben Gurion airport. My visit to the Holy Land was an eye opening experience, coupled with deep moments of prayer, frustration, and an incomprehensible sadness.