SNU students gain educational experience on 2014 Holy Land tour
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Bethany, Oklahoma
More than a dozen Southern Nazarene University students and alumni are traveling the Holy Land with School of Theology and Ministry Professor Marty Michelson for the first two weeks of 2014. The tour includes religious sites and points of ancient history in Israel, Jordan, and Palestine.

Highlights of the journey, based on the previous four trips Michelson led for SNU, will include a boating experience on the Sea of Galilee, an opportunity to be baptized or recommit to baptism at the Jordan River, and visiting the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem. Each day of the aggressive itinerary, travel participants will experience the social and geographical realities of stories from the Old and New Testament related to multiple sites, including cities like Jerusalem, Nazareth, and the region where the Israelites settled and where Joshua, David, and Solomon led the people.

"SNU students took a semester-long course in the Fall of 2013, which set the stage for all that they get to experience now in the Holy Land," said Melany Kyzer, vice president for Academic Affairs. 

Jen Duckwall, Michelle Madden, Kaylyn Messer, and Laura Waggoner are seniors in the School of Theology and Ministry who took the course. Each day these students, along with other SNU graduates and partners in travel, will learn about history in the context of the actual places where the history took place. In addition, participants will have opportunities to meet local Christians, Jews, and Muslims from both Israel and Palestine and spend personal time on walks in towns where Jesus ministered and was tempted in the wilderness. 

More than 30 students and alumni have traveled with SNU on similar sponsored trips in the past decade. Michelson has spent more than 100 days in the region, teaching travel groups or Church of the Nazarene pastors from areas such as Syria and Iraq. Michelson noted that he enjoys teaching the course and taking people to Israel because their lives are transformed as a result of their experience in the region.

"I have no doubt that this trip shapes and forms each student to be a better preacher, for a lifetime," Michelson said.

Hal Cauthron, chair of the School of Theology and Ministry, requested prayer for the participants.

"We welcome your thoughtful prayers for safe travel and meaningful learning for all of us until we return," he said.

For more information about future travel tours, which have taken place every three years, contact Michelson at
--Southern Nazarene University
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