How to experience the Holy Land

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 12 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Rona said many don’t make the trip because they don’t think Israel is safe. “It’s safer than Salt Lake City,” Rona said. “Outside of Israel, it’s mayhem.”

Citing a prophecy in Isaiah 19:23-25, Wilcox believes deeply that there will one day be peace in the Middle East.

“That prophecy seems to say to us that the day is going to come when Egypt, Israel and Assyria (modern-day Iraq) will all be united in one … I’m not convinced I have to wait until the millennium,” Wilcox said. “It will come. There are good people there. We want to facilitate and pray for it.”

Enhancing the scriptures

Bruce H. Porter is another LDS tour host who has traveled extensively to Israel. He has a background in Ancient Near East history and taught religion classes for BYU Continuing Education. He said the Holy Land is rich with opportunities to enhance gospel knowledge.

“Every stone, every hill, every rock has some type of history to it, and we want people to feel,” Porter said. “We want the scriptures to come alive as they see and feel these places, as visions of these stories come to mind in a way that has never been done before.”

Some of his favorite places to visit include Capernaum, the town Christ called home, and the Sea of Galilee, where Christ calmed the waves as well as walked on water.

“If you are a student of the scriptures, by being there you are never going to be able to read the scriptures the same way again,” Porter said.

Walking in the footsteps of Christ and the prophets is a wonderful thing, Wilcox said.

“Galilee always leaves me with a sense of peace in my heart, more so than any other place in all of the Holy Lands. There is something about the spirit of Jesus in Galilee that calms me down, and fills me full of hope and love,” Wilcox said. “To teach the stories in the settings that those stories were given, allows the Holy Ghost to bring them into deeper areas of heart.”

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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