I wanted to go to Israel ever since 1960 when I was saved and attended Marian Clark's Sunday School class at Fellowship Baptist Church, Gang Mills NY. I listened to him talk about the places where Jesus walked as if he had been there. I do not know that he had, but the pictures that he painted in my mind's eye week after week, and God's promises that he taught in that Jr. boys class assured me that I would one day stand with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, on the Mount of Olives and see Jerusalem with him as the King of kings and Lord of lords. I still will, but to visit there in the flesh was a dream I inherited from my Sunday School training and my father, Levi Rice. Since his salvation in the same Church in 1958, Dad always wanted to go to Israel, to actually see Jerusalem, and he had tickets in hand after his second by pass surgery. His heart was weak, but I had told him that to go and even to die in the land would be better than to forgo such a dream. I was disappointed that his doctor and others, concerned for his heart, talked him out of his 10 day trip to the Holy Land. He canceled his opportunity and died without visiting Israel.
When the opportunity came for Bev and I to go on a 10 day Pastor Familiarization Tour it was financially impossible because we had just purchased tickets for our 10 day trip to Cajamarca, Peru, where our son Shane was ministering as a missionary. Impossible or no, the journal of that trip to the Holy Land was published. In July of 2022 another series of health and financial miracles brought us to sign up for another pilgrimage to Israel through Vision Baptist College of Solid Rock Baptist Church, Berlin NJ, where our grand children attended. They would escort us to Israel on Oct 30th through Nov 10th 2022, and our son Shane & Kathy Rice would join us. At the last minute or grandson Micah also got to join us on this trip. God is good, all the time.
We had also promised our friend Pastor Lee Pickett that we would also tour Israel with them when he arranged his tour, he did that on March 16-30, 2023, just three months after our return. God marvelously provided that we could keep our promise. This Half Shekel 2023 Journal Book is likewise dedicated to Misty, Kassandra, Rachael, Rebekah, Moriah, Micah, Alexus, Charity, Lucas, Parker and Christina Rice, our 11 grand children, with the expectation that they too, one day, will get to walk where Jesus walked, and that they too, will one day stand on the Mount of Olives with their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
God's Itinerary for Israel
Isa 35:1-10 ¶ The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. 3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5 ¶ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. 8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. 9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.