I am a student at Trinity Christian College and I have been working for Ozinga for a little over a year. Just a few weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Israel along with Trinity Christian College Theology professors and about 30 other students to visit Biblical sites and learn more about the political standing of the country.
Our group landed in Israel on July 9 and the minute our feet hit the ground, we starting absorbing the sights. A majority of our trip consisted of visiting locations like the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes, Jerusalem, Jaffa (AKA Joppa), the Jordan River, The Garden of Gethsemane, and many more. While we were there, we opened our Bibles and read the Scriptures that are associated with each place. The other portion of our trip consisted of speakers from social and political communities within Israel who shared about the current struggles between Jews and Palestinians and how we can help ease tension.
Each new site brought joy, hope, and a few tears. Our eyes were opened and we let it sink in that these places actually existed and we were standing on holy ground. Many of us reaffirmed our baptism by being dunked in the Jorden River, we prayed and cried while sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane, and we partook in the Lord’s Supper overlooking the city of Jerusalem. Every person on the trip had a least one moment where our worldly reality seemed so small compared to the Lord’s heavenly design.
For me, this occurred at the Sea of Galilee. We went on a boat ride on the Sea and had individual reflection time to allow ourselves to soak in the events that happened so many years ago. I had opened my Bible up to Mark 4:35-40 and read about Jesus calming the storm. I closed my eyes, stuck my hand in the water, and repeated the words that Jesus had said, “Quiet. Be still.” The reason that this meant so much to me is because I struggle with anxiety and depression every day. Jesus has so much power that he can calm an entire sea, yet I doubt that he can take away my negative thoughts. At that moment, I said to myself, “If Jesus could calm a sea, then he can surely calm the storm in me.” I felt like my eyes had been opened and my struggles had become so small compared to the waves. This is a moment that I will never forget.
The speakers that we had the chance to hear and question really challenged us to think twice about what we hear in the media. Stories can be twisted and misinterpreted so easily in order to gain more viewers. It was heartbreaking to learn that what Americans refer to as ‘terror attacks’ happen every single day in Israel and for them, it is a normal part of everyday life. My heart broke when we visited the Gaza Strip and learned that one of the first things that children are taught is how to run to the nearest bomb shelter.
On July 20, we returned to the United States with a new appreciation for our safety and our country. If we compare ourselves to Israel, we live like kings and queens. We have homes that do not have bomb shelters attached. Our children can go outside and play without fear of a bomb flying overhead. We also came back extremely fulfilled. We watched the Bible come to life before our very eyes. We learned so much about the Jewish culture and gained an appreciation for their dedication to Scripture. We returned thankful. We serve a powerful and gracious Lord. I am forever changed and my faith deepened through this trip to the Holy Land.
I would like to thank the Ozinga community for all the support they have given me through prayers and concerns. Without this company, I would not have been able to attend this trip and see the Lord working in Israel.
Natalie Rosendale is a Human Resources Assistant who helps maintain compliance with government laws and assists with general office tasks. She enjoys eating pizza, watching Netflix, and drinking Starbucks.