Pierce VanDunk

About Pierce VanDunk

I'm a Junior at Nyack College studying Bible and Theology. I love Jesus, which is why I want to be a Bible professor; my goal is to learn as much as I can about Him and teach others what I learn. My favorite teams are the Mets, Celtics, and Cowboys (don't hate me New Yorkers!). I also enjoy playing guitar and reading. Connect with Pierce on Google+

Church at the Bridge

Pastor Annette Vasquez

Pastor Jose Vasquez Pastor Annette Vasquez

On New Year’s Day, 2014, two Spirit-filled ministers stepped out in faith and followed God’s call to start their own ministry. Pastors Jose (left) and Annette (right) Vasquez are the leaders of an impactful new church in Newburgh, NY, named Church at the Bridge. The idea for the church’s name originated from its close proximity to the Newburgh-Beacon bridge, but the meaning behind it is derived from its vision: “Helping people to CONNECT with God, CONNECT with others, and CONNECT with their community.” Just as bridges connect one place to another, Church at the Bridge connects people with some of the most essential elements of life as a Christian: God, other people, and the community. I have been attending Church at the Bridge since the beginning of February, and I’ve been extremely satisfied with this ministry. It is determined to preach and teach the Word of God, and to show the love of Christ to everyone it serves.

I first met Pastor Jose and Pastor Annette a long time before they started Church at the Bridge. I was a freshman in high school, and they were volunteers in my church’s youth group. Before long, they became the pastors of that youth group. Throughout their time in that position, they were faithful, loving, caring, and empowering toward the youth. Now that they have begun their own church, they have retained the qualities that they displayed in the youth group and translated them to a new location and a new congregation. They have dedicated their lives to building the faith, love, care, and empowerment of the people whom they serve.

Small groups are a huge part of Church at the Bridge’s philosophy. Small groups allow people to ask the questions that they feel uncomfortable asking in church after hearing a sermon. At the Bridge, we call our small groups “Connect Groups,” because they give us an opportunity to connect with God and each other in a deeper way. They also allow us to connect with Scripture through asking questions and having discussions. I have been blessed by our connect groups; I have made some incredible friends, and I’ve learned amazing things about Scripture and about God.

I have seen God moving in powerful ways through these pastors and through this ministry. The church began with twelve people in the Vasquez home, and now, after little more than three months, it hosts between forty and fifty people every week. It has also been positively impacting the community in a variety of ways. As Church at the Bridge continues to grow, and as Pastor Jose and Pastor Annette continue to follow God’s call, I feel privileged to witness and be a part of this incredible ministry.

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From Graduation to Grad School with a Dean’s Fellowship

Boston University

Boston University I usually spend spring break at home with my family and friends, but this year I took a trip up to Boston to visit my future graduate school, Boston University School of Theology. Luckily, the visit days fell on Monday through Wednesday of Nyack’s spring break, so I did not have to miss class or take off of work. For three days the Boston University admissions team hosted the recipients of the Dean’s Fellowship, a scholarship award for high academic achievement, and gave us an idea of what it will be like to be students of the university. I enjoyed the visit, and I am excited to begin my graduate studies.

It took me about four hours to drive up to Boston on Monday afternoon. I arrived just in time for a diner with the admissions staff, alumni, and other proponents of Boston University School of Theology. Afterward, we spent the night in the luxurious Hotel Buckminster. I shared the comfortable room with two other prospective seminarians. We woke up rested and prepared to explore the School of Theology.

The next day was full of activity. We visited classes, explored the campus, and met important leaders in the School of Theology. I sat in on a class about the history of Christianity, and the days topic was John Calvin. It was very interesting, and it was much more in-depth than my undergraduate studies. The campus is right in the middle of the city of Boston, and it is a vibrant, lively area. I attended meetings and seminars with professors and leaders of organization, and I ate lunch with the academic dean. It was a great opportunity to connect with some brilliant people and get a better understanding of the School of Theology’s mission and purpose.

On Wednesday we attended chapel, ate lunch with the School of Theology students, and had a final Q&A session with admissions. Chapel was a good time of fellowship and worship. At lunch I got acquainted with many current students and found out what it’s like to be a part of the School of Theology. During the Q&A I got a better understanding of subjects like housing, insurance, and curriculum.

I had a few different options for grad school, but I chose Boston University because of its focus on applying and living out what it teaches. It’s goal is to equip and mobilize the scholars and ministers it trains to make a positive impact on the world. I feel that Nyack College has prepared me for Boston University because Nyack has a similar mission. It has taught me to apply what I learn to my life and to positively impact the lives of those around me.

Tutoring Biblical Hebrew

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A Reader's Hebrew BibleThe Old Testament is a fascinating group of books, and the language in which most of it is written is just as fascinating. I have been learning Biblical Hebrew for almost two years now, and I’ve had the privilege of helping the newer Hebrew students through their journey of learning the biblical language. I tutor each of the second semester Biblical Hebrew students for an hour each week, and I genuinely enjoy it. Learning any unfamiliar language can be a serious challenge, especially when you are learning an ancient language, but with the help of an experienced tutor it is doable and enjoyable.

As you probably already know, Biblical Hebrew has a set of characters making up its alphabet that is completely different than the characters that make up the English language. It also has grammatical rules and irregularities that are dissimilar to those in English. Even though we often work with familiar passages from the Old Testament, it is difficult to read, comprehend, and translate the subject matter in its original language. It requires diligent practice and attentive guidance to be able to learn this language.

Fortunately for me, the class in which I started learning Biblical Hebrew was very small, so the professor, Dr. Stephen Bennett, was very accessible to me. When I had questions or was uncertain about translations, I had frequent opportunities to sit with him one-on-one and learn from him. Unfortunately for the current beginners, this class is larger and Dr. Bennett cannot devote as much time to each individual student. That’s where I come in. I am accessible to each of the students for one-on-one time when they have questions or concerns.

My work as a tutor is not very difficult; it is the student who does the bulk of the work. A typical tutoring session will consist of reviewing Hebrew vocabulary, going over that week’s memory verse, and/or working through that week’s textbook lesson. The students will read the material aloud and translate it while I sit back and listen. If they read or translate incorrectly, I stop them and redirect them to where they made the mistake. If they get stuck or do not know what to do next, I coach them in the direction they need to think and feed them certain information that they might not have previously considered. If they have questions, I am there to answer them. I love to help students with the same issues that I used to struggle with, and I love even more to see the progress each student makes with time and effort.

The Quiet Room

The Quiet Room

The Quiet Room I am the type of person who needs complete silence to study and do homework effectively. The Bailey Library is full of excellent resources and a great place to hang out with friends, but it can get a bit too noisy at times. There is one part of the library, though, that is always quiet and calm; the only noises you can hear there are the turning of pages and the tapping of computer keys. This place is the reference room, or “the quiet room,” in Bailey library. The quiet room is undoubtably my favorite place on campus. It is where I am most focused and do my best work.

When you first enter the library, the quiet room is through the sets of double doors on your lefthand side. It has tables, chairs, outlets, and computers for students to use. All of the library’s reference books are contained in the quiet room, so while there you will have a wealth of information available to you. It is nicely decorated, well lit, and above all it is completely quiet. When you first enter, you’ll be shocked at how silent it is. The library staff strictly enforces the no-noise policy in the quiet room. I have seen students removed from the room for being too loud. This is a great comfort to those of us who prefer a quiet environment in which to study.

I did not discover the quiet room until my sophomore year at Nyack College. Throughout my freshman year I studied and wrote papers in a loud library or a noisy dorm room. The first time I set foot in the reference room I knew I had found solace from boisterous homework environments. I had found a place where I was free from distracting conversations and activities. Ever since then I’ve come to the quiet room almost every day to do my schoolwork, and it has been very effective.

The quiet room is my favorite place on campus, not because it’s fun or exciting, but because it’s peaceful. I’ve written countless papers, studied for dozens of midterms and finals, and done immense amounts of homework in the tranquil stillness of the quiet room. There are many people that can work well amidst noise and distraction, and some even welcome company and conversation while they are doing schoolwork. But if you are like me, then you need silence and solitude when studying, writing, or doing homework. If that sounds like you, then you will definitely benefit from visiting the quiet room.

The Honors Trip to Washington D.C.

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Whitehouse 2 Every year the Nyack College Honors Program takes a trip to a significant U.S. city to explore, see important historical sites, and have a lot of fun. This year the Honors Trip was to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. This city is rich with historical and political significance, and it is alive with rich and vibrant culture. We were led by Dr. Jonathan Gates and Dr. Kevin Pinkham, both of whom were very knowledgeable about the city. Our group had an incredible weekend exploring Washington D.C.,  and we have some great stories to tell from our trip.

We set out on Friday at 7:30 in the morning. To drive from Nyack to Washington D.C. took a little more than five hours. First we went into our hotel, the Residence Inn, to unpack our things. The hotel rooms were more than large enough to accommodate four people, and they had all of the necessities and amenities. Later that night we were able to fit our entire group, twenty-six people, into one room to share pizza for dinner.

Capitol Building After unpacking we walked about a mile and a half to Capitol Hill. It was pretty cold in D.C., but we were happy to be there instead of New York, where it was even colder. We stopped on the steps of the Library of Congress to take pictures, and from the steps you can see the top of the Capitol Building in the distance. Believe it or not, me and the other five men you see in the picture were the only men on the trip; the other twenty were women. It was a lot harder to fit all of the women into one picture than it was for us!

We visited the National Gallery of Art and the National Archives. The Gallery was filled with incredible sculptures and paintings, and the Archives contained some of the most important documents in our nation’s history. I enjoyed seeing this art and these documents in person.

Biking in DC On Saturday morning we toured the Capitol Building, which was a great opportunity to learn about the United States’ legislative branch. When we finished touring for the morning, we were given the afternoon and evening as free time. A group of us rented day passes for the city’s public bicycles. This turned out to be a fun way to get around and a great workout. We biked to the Holocaust Museum where we learned about the horrific injustices done to the Jews and other disenfranchised groups in Nazi Germany.

Whitehouse  On Sunday morning our group headed to church, but our biker group decided to bike there instead of riding in the van. By total accident, we ended up in front of the White House. We took some really nice pictures and went on to attend an impactful service at District Church.

As in years past, I had a great time with the Nyack College Honors group on our trip to Washington D.C. I learned a lot, and I had a lot of fun while doing it. It’s experiences like this that make being a Nyack College student fun and exciting.

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The Honors Program at Nyack College

Honors Program

Honors Program- students at nyack college When I was accepted to Nyack College my parents noticed the Honors Program and suggested that I apply. I really didn’t want to apply at first: in high school I had been a part of the National Honor Society, which entailed taking more rigorous classes and doing more extracurricular work, and I expected the Honors Program to be similar. The National Honor Society brought me a lot of benefits, but out of pure laziness I resisted doing honors-level work as I moved on to college. I reluctantly applied because of the scholarship it offered and the “graduated with honors” I’d be able to put on a resume. When I received a phone call from Dr. Gates, the Director of the Honors Program, I found out that I’d been accepted and I learned some of the benefits of being a part of Honors. I soon realized that joining the Honors Program was one of the best college decisions I’d made thus far.

The Honors Program at Nyack College is serious about helping others and serving the community. The first activity I took part in with the Honors group was a trip to do community service at a rehabilitation center, which was a fulfilling experience. We serve the Nyack community in a number of ways, such as hosting the Hunger Banquet each year.

We do a good amount of traveling as well. Each year we go on an honors retreat, where we get to know one another, spend time with God, and have fun. We also take trips to significant American cities such as Baltimore, Boston, and Washington D.C. We attend a play on Broadway every year, and we go on a Global Service-Learning trip overseas every two years.

The Honors core curriculum is rigorous, but it is well worth the extra work. We are privileged to take courses that give us insights into many different cultures, ways of thinking, and ways of learning. These courses challenge us academically and improve our reasoning and comprehension. Once you get used to it, the challenging curriculum is actually enjoyable.

CTA button for Blog UGThe community service is important, the traveling is fun, and the academics are outstanding. But the faculty and students who make up the Honors Program at Nyack College are truly incredible. Brilliant professors regularly make themselves available to us so that we can pick their brains and learn from them. My fellow Honors students are friendly, passionate about learning, and love the Lord. I’m grateful to be a part of the Honors Program at Nyack College and to be surrounded by such incredible people.

How to Write a Good Paper

Caesarea

nyack college

Much of your work as a college student consists of writing papers. Sometimes writing a good paper can seem impossible. You might ask questions like “How do I start?” or “What do I write about?” When you first get to college, you might not know what you’re expected to write for college as opposed to high school. First off, take a deep breath and relax. It’s not as difficult as it seems. If you start early, take it slow, and get help you can write a great paper. Here are a few pointers to help you figure out how to write a good paper.

When you are assigned a paper, your professor will usually provide you with a sheet that details the requirements for the paper. This will be your most helpful tool in writing. Read and understand exactly what it is that the professor wants you to write. If the assignment is to write a character analysis, don’t write a book review. If you’re asked to do a research paper, don’t write an opinion paper. If you’re uncertain about what kind of paper you’re supposed to write, ask the professor in class or during his or her office hours to explain it in more detail. Understanding the assignment details will help you to create a strong and effective thesis.

One of the most important parts of paper-writing is developing a strong thesis. A good thesis is composed of two parts: what you’re trying to prove and why you say it’s true. For example, “Writing papers is an effective teaching tool for college students because it causes them to develop critical-thinking and communicational skills.” This thesis statement says what I’m proving (writing is good for students), and why it’s true (because it develops skills). Now in my paper I would give details and examples explaining how writing develops critical-thinking and communicational skills.

Supporting your thesis with details and examples is another important part of writing a good paper. You need to be able to back up everything you say with evidence; don’t make any claims that you can’t support. Any information, facts, statistics, example, or any other kind of evidence you bring into your paper should relate directly to your thesis. Filling your writing with “fluff” that isn’t helping to prove your point will make your paper weaker.

These are just a few rules that will help you focus, give you direction, and make writing easier. There is much more to learn about writing than I can write here, but there are plenty of people; professors, tutors, Writing Center Consultants, and more; that would love to teach you as much as you’re willing to learn about writing. When you’re given a paper to write, don’t panic. Start with these simple rules and you will be on your way to writing a good paper.

The Bible Department at Nyack College

Bible Department Nyack College

Bible Department As a Christian I value the Word of God very highly. I see Scripture as the moral and spiritual standard for people’s lives, relationships with each other, and relationship with God. But, in order to properly apply the standard of Scripture to our lives we must first understand and appreciate the Bible. That is the primary goal of the Bible Department at Nyack College: to do our best to understand and appreciate the things that God has communicated to humanity through Scripture. The Bible Department takes an objective, comprehensive approach to studying the Bible, theology, and Christian history. If you are passionate about God’s Word, then the Bible Department welcomes you!

The Bible Department is a subset of the College of Bible and Christian Ministry. The department’s mission statement says that it, “seeks to assist Nyack students in their intellectual and spiritual formation by moving them toward competency in reading, interpreting and applying the Bible and in integrating its teaching into their worldview and personal lives.” The mission of the Bible Department comes in two parts: theory and practice. Much of a scholastic career with this department consists of thinking, reading, and writing, but all of that study goes toward practical application of what is learned in class. Being a Bible major is much more than thinking and studying; it is life-changing.

Aside from increasing your knowledge of Scripture and strengthening your relationship with God, studying as a Bible major will prepare you for continuing education and a number of career paths. By the time they graduate, Bible majors are well-prepared to study for master’s-level degrees such as the Master of Divinity or a Master of Arts in a biblical field. These degrees would put you in a position to apply for a doctorate degree. Being a Bible major also prepares you for ministry by equipping you with the knowledge and skills necessary to preach and teach the Word of God.

The Bible Department’s primary faculty in Rockland are Dr. Stephen Bennett, Dr. Frank Chan, Dr. Elio Cuccaro, and Dr. Amy Davis. In Manhattan the primary Bible Department faculty are Dr. David Emanuel, Dr. Thomas Donworth, Jeffery Garcia, Dr. Dongsu Kim, Dr. R. Stephen Notley, and Dr. Steven Ware. I have met almost all of these professors and had class with many of them; they are all qualified professors and brilliant individuals. It has been an incredible to study under such accomplished theologians.

I feel privileged to be a part of the Bible Department at Nyack College. I am blessed to be able to major in a subject that I enjoy studying. Scripture is not dull or boring; it is powerful and enlightening. Everyone who is serious about studying the Word of God is welcome to join the Bible department in that endeavor.

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The Writing Center at Nyack College

Writing Center

Writing Center Papers make up a large portion of the requirement for many college courses. Writing is one of my favorite things to do, so I really don’t mind having to write papers for college. But I realize that my opinion of writing is an uncommon one. For some students, writing is the thing they dread most about college. Some people are unsure of where to begin with a paper, and others are unconfident in the quality of their finished work. Thankfully there is a place where Nyack students can get help with every stage of the writing process. The Writing Center at Nyack College is committed to giving students quality assistance with writing. There is a center at both the Rockland and the Manhattan campuses where undergraduate and ATS students are helped. I have worked at the Writing Center as a writing consultant for more than two years, and while there I have seen incredible advances in students’ writing abilities.

The most important thing to know about the Writing Center is that our primary focus is the writer; the paper is secondary. Yes, we aim to work with you to improve the quality of the paper that you bring us, but our primary goal is to teach you skills and methods that will improve the quality of all your papers. We will not fix your papers for you, but we will sit with you and go over the paper’s strengths and weaknesses while pointing out areas that need improvement. We hope that by the time you leave the Center you feel more confident in your abilities as a writer.

At the Writing Center, the consultants will assist any student of any discipline with papers from any class at any stage of the writing process (can you find the keyword?). We offer a free service to any student of Nyack College or Alliance Theological Seminary regardless of the student’s major or academic standing. Our staff consists of students from many different disciplines, and even if your consultant is outside of your major, he or she is well trained to assist you with your paper. It does not matter if your paper is complete, in a draft form, or hasn’t been started; we offer assistance with any stage of writing. Even if you feel confident about your writing, you will still benefit from another’s perspective on your work.

If you feel overwhelmed by all of the papers you have due this semester, come to the Writing Center for help. If you feel confident and prepared to handle all of your papers, you are still welcome at the Center. At the Rockland Campus we are located above the Bailey Library, and in Manhattan we are located in Wilson Library next to the ESL/Computer Lab. We look forward to seeing you!

What to Expect from Personal Spiritual Formation

PSFPersonal Spiritual Formation is a class that teaches ministers- and theologians-in-training how to address their own spirituality so that they are able to address the spiritualities of others. Like every Bible, ministry, and ICS major at Nyack College, I am required to take Personal Spiritual Formation. Being that it’s my last semester and I haven’t filled that requirement yet, I’m taking the class this semester. I heard mixed reviews about PSF; some said it was the most enlightening class they had ever taken, but others said that it was silly and pointless. To be honest, I had been dreading PSF ever since I first heard about it. I thought that it would be a group therapy session where we would be graded on how much we cried. After going to the first class session I realized that I was completely wrong about PSF. For those Bible, ministry, or ICS majors who are not looking forward to this class, let me explain what to expect from Personal Spiritual Formation.

Each class session consists of two halves: the lecture and the small groups. The lecture addresses subtopics of Spiritual Formation, gives biblical perspective on the issues addressed, and provides techniques to help solve these issues. For the first week the lecture was conducted by Ron and Wanda Walborn, the primary instructors for the class. The subjects that they addressed were the role of God and the individual in Personal Spiritual Formation and the requirement of honesty in the process of Spiritual Formation. I was surprised at how much content and educational material there is at the base of this class. Clearly it is much more a group therapy session. Though I disagree with a few assertions made by the professors, their class notes were well put together, well thought out, and based on Scripture. I appreciated the amount of scholastic effort put into creating the lectures.

As explained by the leader of my small group, the small group portion of the class is meant to take what we learned about in the lecture and unpack it on a personal level. Normally I am very selective about the people with whom I share my personal issues, but I decided on the way to my first small group session that I would be open and transparent in order to make the most out of the class. I was afraid that I would be expected to share my innermost thoughts on the first day, but my spiritual director explained that we would simply get to know the members of our group and establish trust before delving into the “heavy stuff.” Needless to say, I was very appreciative of this. From what I could tell, the spiritual directors are trained to be tactful and attentive during small group.

If I had known the truth about what to expect from PSF, I would have looked forward to enrolling in the class. It is a great opportunity to develop the ability to address those things from your past that will negatively affect your life, relationships, and ministry. It also equips you to face future problems with firm faith and a sound mind. Now that I know what a great experience it will be, I am actually excited about taking Personal Spiritual Formation this semester.

Climbing up Masada

nyack travel

 

Masada My GS-L trip to Israel was amazing, but it was not my first time visiting the biblical lands. I traveled through Israel once before with a church group and did some of the same things that I did with the GS-L group. One of the things I remember most about my first visit was taking a cable car to the top of Masada, a plateau with a lot of significance in Jewish history. The cable car was a smooth, air-conditioned ride to the top of the plateau, which stands more than a thousand feet above the surrounding ground level. There is another way up Masada, though: the Snake Path. It is a rough, winding road through the cliffs around Masada. I wanted to take this route the first time I was there, but because our group had many elderly people the majority voted that we take the cable car. When I heard that our GS-L group would be climbing up Masada early enough to see the sunrise from the top, I was extremely excited.

We started out around four-thirty in the morning, drove twenty minutes to the site, and began our climb. After only a few minutes everyone started to realize how out-of-shape we all are. We were breathing heavy and we started to sweat even though it was fairly cool outside. After nearly forty minutes of climbing we finally made it to the top. Our timing was almost perfect. Within a few minutes we viewed a beautiful sunrise over the Moab Mountains in the distance. Next Dr. Notley and Professor Garcia, our group leaders, explained the historical significance of the site. It was first used by Herod the Great as a luxurious fortified palace. Not long after Herod’s successors abandoned it Jewish rebels who opposed Roman rule used it as a fortress. The Romans successfully sieged the fortress, but the rebels killed themselves and their families in order to avoid admitting defeat by their enemies. This event in Jewish history receives mixed sentiments; some see it as a symbol of valiant Israeli independence, but others consider it an example of Israel’s isolationist policy. The history lesson was very interesting, and the view from the top of Masada was unbelievable.

Near the end of our visit to Masada I was disappointed to find out that we had taken the easier of two snake paths. We had gone around the back of the plateau and taken the shorter, less treacherous route since some of our group would not have been capable of taking the other Path. Instead of viewing this as a disappointment, I saw it as a challenge and a reason to return to Israel. I made a large step in conquering Masada, and one day I will return and finish the job by climbing the real Snake Path.

GS-L Trip to Israel

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Thirty-five students of Nyack College, including myself, began the new year in the Holy Land. From January fifth to the seventeenth I joined the GS-L trip to Israel. Our group was lead by Dr. R. Steven Notley and Professor Jeffery Garcia; both are professors at Nyack’s/ATS’s Manhattan campus. We were also joined by Dr. Carlo, one of the deans at ATS in Manhattan. After nearly fifteen hours of travel we began to explore the attractions that Israel offers to tourists and religious pilgrims. We were able to see and experience many biblical sites and receive thorough explanations of the connections between the site and the scriptural text from the professors who acted as our guides for the trip. Not only was our journey educational, but it was spiritually enlightening as well.

The professors who guided us are qualified and knowledgeable about the biblical lands. Dr. Notley lived in Israel for sixteen years and received his PhD from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has been leading tours of Israel for over two decades. Professor Garcia is currently pursuing his PhD and is familiar with the biblical lands because of his experience leading tour groups throughout Israel. Dr. Carlo has been on multiple trips to Israel, so he was able to offer a lot of supplemental information. These three professors educated us on the geography, history, and culture of the places we visited. In many ways these site visits changed the way I read certain parts of Scripture.

Caesarea This is a picture of me standing on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Caesarea. Caesarea is a port city built by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus Caesar. It served as the place of residence for the pontiff of the province of Judea in the Roman Empire. We toured the enormous, elaborate first-century palace complex located near Caesarea’s harbor. When the Apostle Paul was imprisoned for two years, it was in this complex. The remnant of the palace complex lead scholars to believe that Paul’s detainment was not as grueling as is often assumed.

Omrit In this picture some of our group is exploring the ruins of Omrit, the excavation site of a temple dedicated to emperor worship. This site did not have scriptural significance, but it was very interesting to learn about the sites history. Like Caesarea, the temple at Omrit was built by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus Caesar.

Sea of Galilee Here Mitchell Woodford and I are posing with Dr. Notley and Professor Garcia in a boat sailing across the Sea of Galilee (which is more commonly known in Israel as the Lake of Galilee or the Lake of Gennesaret). This is where Jesus and Peter walked on water and where Jesus calmed the storm. It is much too small to be considered a sea (about thirteen miles long and eight miles wide), which is why it is referred to as a Lake by the residents. Being able to see and sail on the Lake gives me a more realistic picture of Jesus’ activities on and around it.

The stories you read in the Bible come alive when you are able to see the land and the culture that surround them. Not only were we able to learn about the history of Israel but we were educated about the nation’s current status as well. It is vibrant, lively, and culturally rich, but there is a lot of religious and political unrest. In many ways Israel, and especially Jerusalem, lacks peace. The Bible mandates that we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and this trip made the peace of Jerusalem a legitimate concern for me. I thank Nyack College and the GS-L program for giving me the opportunity to travel to Israel.

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