Interim Offers New Trip to Holy Land: Photogallery
“The Bible in Its World”, a new overseas trip to the Holy Land, took 19 students to Israel where they explored ancient sites and hiked over Israel’s rugged terrain. Led by Instructor of Theology Emily Thomassen ’09, the course focused on biblical geography and a deeper understanding of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
After days of traveling around Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Dead Sea, the group spent time in the peaceful region of Galilee as students learned about Jesus’ life and ministry.
Thomassen, who earned her master’s from Jerusalem University College (JUC), returns often to Israel and developed Trinity’s Interim course based on a similar program offered at JUC. The emphasis on biblical geography called for the students to map Bible events and reference these maps during their travels.
“I was given the opportunity to not only read and learn about Jesus but to learn about the history of the land, so that I could better understand the context in which the Bible was written,” said Leah VanTol ’16 of Rock Valley, Iowa.
“One of the most incredible things was being able to experience the movement of God's people as they traveled into the Promised Land,” said Daeleen Visser ’15 of Burlington, Washington. “As Professor Thomassen explained the significance of where we were standing in the barren Judean wilderness, we could feel the Israelites’ uncertainty. But as we followed their path west into the beautiful Shephelah, we were given a vivid picture of the way God continues to guide his people from desolation to blessing if only they put their trust in his promises.”
Six others accompanied Thomassen and the students, including parents Dave Visser and Lisa Huisman ’86. Huisman, mother of student Lette Huisman, captured hundreds of photos of the experience. “I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to study with Emily in Israel and to be able to share the experience with my daughter, Lette,” she said.
“In the week since I’ve been back I’ve been able to read the Bible with a new set of eyes and a new understanding. It suddenly comes to life in a new way,” said Lette Huisman ’14 of Hudsonville, Michigan. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to study in Israel.”
Thomassen said this new appreciation for how they read the Bible was echoed by other students. She added that the bond that was formed between the students was an added blessing of the trip.
Because of Thomassen’s connection with JUC, the group had the honor of visiting in the home of college president Dr. Paul Wright, who served as Thomassen’s thesis advisor during her graduate studies.
This course was only one of the 25 options students could choose from during the College’s annual two-week Interim program.