Trip Of A Lifetime

What A Day of Rejoicing

From compression socks, to being compressed in a standing room only cable car 1300 feet in the air, we took the trip of a lifetime to the Holy Land. Yes, Israel; land of our Savior’s birth, life, ministry, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. This city-loving girl, whose idea of a vacation was either lounging on a beach, or just sleeping in late, was privileged to go halfway around the world, on a 13-hour flight, with her husband, youngest son, and some fellow believers to have the most incredible journey of a lifetime! I am ever so grateful to GOD for ignoring my thoughts and inviting and drawing me into a special encounter with Him, a very real GOD, in a very real place, to experience a taste of what it was like for HIS Son, the LORD JESUS CHRIST to walk on earth. We were baptized in the Jordan River, saw where David fought Goliath, and stood in the ruins of Jericho. While we appreciated the grandeur of the buildings, the beautiful displays, and some amazing food, we came to a deeper level of appreciation in understanding what it must have been like for Jesus and His disciples to travel as they walked from place to place, ministering to the people. While we had a comfortable bus to ride on from place to place, we still had to do a great deal of walking. Now when we read the scriptures, we envision where our Savior was, where He walked, how physically exhausted He and the disciples must have been, but how He continued to minister to the people, because that’s what His mission was. Jesus saith unto them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (Jn 4:34 NKJV)

It was an amazing experience to step into and also sail on the Sea of Galilee, to hear our own Pastor expound on the Sermon on the Mount at the Mount of Beatitudes, and to see the Mount of Transfiguration and the Mount of Olives. From walking through Capernaum, Cana, and Caesarea, to visiting the bottom level of Caiaphas’ house where our Lord was whipped, to seeing an empty tomb where our Lord may have been laid, and many of the other places where our Lord lived out his earthly life, my life as a believer has not been, nor will it ever be the same.  

This was an experience like no other. Our tour guide F.J. which he shared stood for Full of Joy, was just that. As he, led by the Spirit of the Lord, excitedly expounded on the sights we were seeing, he added his personal faith encounters, which made our adventure that much richer. We learned from F.J. that not only is Hallelujah the highest praise, but a more literal meaning is “absolute light expelling absolute darkness.” We will never view or use the word “Hallelujah” in the same way ever again. Some areas, like the garden tomb were so surreal, that we could physically sense the presence of Holy Spirit in that place. Having communion with like-minded believers in a place which could have been where our Savior was laid after His crucifixion was indescribable. It brought many of us to a point of intense introspection, reflection, and tears. Yes, we were immeasurably blessed to have been able to take this trip. All this, in early December, right before Covid-19 the coronavirus hit. What a mighty GOD we serve!

This was indeed the “TRIP OF A LIFETIME!” The only trip we expect to eclipse this one will be the one we will take at the end of life when Jesus cracks the sky or calls us home to Glory! What a day of rejoicing that will be!!

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Minister Tracey Cleveland

Minister Tracey Cleveland

Minister Tracey Cherry Cleveland is the youngest of five children born to William and Reatha Cherry in Philadelphia, PA. She was reared in a home full of music and the Word of GOD. She has been singing and playing the piano and violin since the age of seven, and accepted JESUS CHRIST as her personal LORD and SAVIOR at the age of ten. She has been gifted to teach, counsel, and exhort others from the Word of GOD both formally and informally. She received her certification in Biblical Counseling from the Christian Research and Development Institute in Philadelphia, and a Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling from Faith Bible College & Seminary in Washington, D.C. She has served in various capacities throughout her Christian life, including Sunday School Superintendent, Bible Study Teacher, Instructor at Bible College, Minister of Music, Choir Leader and pianist. She is an anointed worshipper and is part of the Worship Arts Ministry and Ministerial Staff at First Church of Christ Holiness, U.S.A, under the Pastoral leadership of Elder Dr. Ralph A. Martino, Sr. She is married to her Boaz, Wilbur Cleveland, and they have one daughter and two sons.
Minister Tracey Cleveland

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