Following my incredible fellowship with the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute this summer, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Israel with a group of student leaders to learn more about the country’s history and why it is critical to support its right to exist. Throughout my time in the Holy Land, I visited different cities, villages and religious sites. I felt closer to God than I have ever felt in my life, and I realized why it is crucial to stand up for the Jewish people and peace in a region of the world that so desperately needs it.
My first couple of days in Israel were spent in Golan Heights and near the Sea of Galilee. I loved exploring Northern Israel, and I had the privilege of riding a boat on the Sea of Galilee. We boarded the boat in the early morning hours, so that we could watch the sun continue to rise over the water. We also held a devotional on the boat, where we discussed the importance of trusting in God as Peter had when he decided to follow Jesus on the very waters we were floating on.
After taking in the sites within Northern Israel, we began our journey toward Jerusalem. While traveling to the eternal capital of Israel, we made three memorable stops that I will forever cherish. The first of these stops was at the Jordan River. While at the Jordan River, we were all given the opportunity to be baptized in the same river that Jesus had been. I will never forget this moment, and I am grateful to have been able to be baptized in the same waters that my Savior was. We then drove to the Dead Sea, which happens to be the lowest point on earth. I loved collecting rocks and floating in the salty water with the friends I made on this trip. However, my favorite part of our journey to Jerusalem was definitely getting to ride camels in Genesis Land! We rode camels along the mountains that overlooked the surrounding desert that seemed to go on forever.
When we finally reached Jerusalem, we visited the Mount of Olives and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I was amazed by the beauty and history that filled these places and every crevice of the city. While in Jerusalem, I had the opportunity to speak with people from all different backgrounds and religious affiliations. It was incredible to see how greatly religious freedom thrives in Israel. We ended our time in Jerusalem by visiting the Western Wall and the City of David.
Words cannot express how much I will cherish my time spent in this beautiful country filled with the same freedoms and individual rights that I am blessed to have here in the United States of America. Israel is truly a beacon of hope in a part of the world that so deeply needs the liberties that we often take for granted in America. I have never been prouder to stand with the Jewish State, and I have faith that God will continue to ensure its prosperity.