It is interesting how God evaluates leadership in the Bible – Israel’s prophets, priests and kings are measured as either good or bad shepherds. So strong is the Shepherd metaphor that Jesus describes himself as “The Good Shepherd” and while one may think they know what a shepherd and shepherding is, few in leadership have spent any time with either an actual shepherd or sheep. On this trip that will change as we spend time with a shepherd and flock, walking the ancient paths in order to discover the shape of biblical leadership in today’s world.

This “study tour” is essential for all involved in leadership; both in the ecclesiastical setting as well as in the market-place. Considered “vigorous” this tour, among other activities, involves walking with Shepherd and flock as they graze surrounding hillsides as well as a day long climb of Mt. Hor the traditional burial place of Aaron.

 

Typical Day

Usually our day begins with a 6:00 am wake up call, breakfast at 6:30, devotions at 7:00 am and by 7:15 we’re on our way. In order to accomplish what God sets out for us to experience, the majority of our days involve vigorous hiking. We travel to our various sites by bus where our hikes begin. It is at these locations where God’s word is studied in its context through onsite faith lessons. Lunch tends to fall between 2:00-3:00pm and will be served on location. At the end of the day, we will arrive at our hotel in the late evening for a wonderful dinner and welcomed sleep.

Hiking Boots!

It is highly recommended that you purchase a good sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots which provide good support. Obtain them well in advance and break them in thoroughly before your departure. Having a high quality, well broken in footwear is essential in benefiting the most from this experience.

Physical Preparations

We recommend you prepare for 4-7 miles of vigorous to strenuous hiking/climbing/walking most days of the trip. You will profit greatly by training long before departure for these physical fitness requirements. The trip will be more meaningful, educational and fun if you prepare in advance for the activity level you will experience. Helpful types of training:
  • Hiking stairs for at least 30-45 minutes (with your boots) is most beneficial
  • Daily walking/running 3-5 miles
  • Weightlifting with legs
  • Walking on treadmill with an incline (4 or higher)
You should consult your physician concerning these requirements and any medications or conditions which may have an impact on your ability to participate fully. Prescription drugs you anticipate using during the trip should be packed with some in your suitcase and some in your carry on. We suggest you bring along a written prescription as well, it can be filled if needed. Please contact your health provider to check your coverage when traveling outside the United States. Traveling to the lands of the Bible requires no immunizations though you’ll want to be sure your tetanus shot is current.

Clothing & Modesty Kits

Casual dress is recommended such as lightweight pants/shorts and t-shirts (shoulders must be covered at all times – men and women). Dry-wicking material is recommended. A lightweight hat is a must, preferably one that covers the neck and ears. If you prefer to dress up somewhat for dinner, that is certainly appropriate but not necessary. Many times we will eat in our hiking attire. At several sites Modesty Kits are required. A Modesty Kit for women includes either long pants or long skirts or Capri and shirts that cover the shoulder. For men this includes long pants, t-shirts/golf shirts covering the shoulders.

Weather

It will be hot & sunny so don’t forget sun screen and a good pair of sun glasses. The rainy season is November through April. May through October temperatures will be warm and dry ranging from the 90’s up to 115 degrees. Lows are usually in the 60’s.

Gadgets & Gear

The modern age has its blessings and its curses. With all the great toys out there, it is tempting to want the best, fastest and most sophisticated. I know – I’m one of them. Please think about bringing minimal electronic gear and gadgets (I know this will be hard for some). I am not saying forget the camera and all the rest – I’m just saying be careful. I will ask that NO cell phones (unless used as a camera) or Ipods be brought with us during the day. Sometimes people experience an entire trip through their modern gear and not with their God-given five senses. Please don’t miss out. Sorry, no electronic recording of faith lessons.

First Aid

Bring first-aid supplies, including anti-diarrhea medication, sleeping aids, pain relievers, mole skin, foot powder, alcohol rubs. And anything else you might think appropriate.

Oklahoma Wesleyan University Biblical Studies Abroad

This partnership provides a student with direct experiences of biblical geography, culture and languages, along with opportunities for face-to-face exchanges with those who have a working knowledge in these fields. Each trip and its accompanying courses help students to deepen their theological understanding of the Old and New Testament narratives. This training provides skills to develop a sound worldview by learning what it means to follow Christ in the world today.

With great confidence I can say that there was never a day in the life of Jesus, our Messiah, when He did not lift His hands toward heaven and declare to the Father:


Shema Israel, Adonai elohenu, Adonai echad,
Ve’ahavta et Adonai eloeikah,
b’khol levavkah,
uve’khol naphshekah,
uve’khol m’odekah.
Ve’ahavta re acha comocha.
Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone,
love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your strength!
Love your neighbor as yourself.

(Deut 6:4,5 & Lev 19:18)

Would you please start hiding the Sh’ma away in your heart in Hebrew and English. We will be using this prayer many times throughout our experience.