Studying in The Holy Land

I hope you, your families, and your friends have all been well as of late and are finding yourself blessed in this season of life. I have recently been accepted to attend Fuller Theological Seminary and my first few quarters there have been going very well, as I have learned so much in my pursuit of a Masters of Divinity degree and a lifetime vocation in serving the Lord. I am writing to you in regards to a rare opportunity I have received to travel to the Holy Land of Israel. This trip, lasting two and a half weeks, is a part of Fuller’s study abroad program in the summer and is only offered once annually. There are commonly hundreds of applicants each time this trip accepts applications and only thirty applicants are accepted, making this both a rare and special opportunity for me.

As you may know, Israel is a land with thousands of years of history. This history most notably includes sacred history, which contains in itself many well-known biblical and religious figures. During this trip, I will find myself traveling through the same city King David ruled, looking up at the same stars the Apostle Paul looked up at, and walking on the same steps that Jesus walked on. Places like the Church of the Nativity, where Jesus was born; the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus walked on water; and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected; are all places that I will be able to see and learn in.

Sacred history is not the only thing I will be immersed in, but political history as well. Israel happens to also be a nation where a plurality of political views converge. This convergence often leads to conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, who both claim rights to the land; the conflict that exists between the people groups and the political powers in place dictate the daily life of the people in Israel, including the types of social interactions one may have and in some cases, the occupations one can pursue. Being in the midst of this turmoil will help me see firsthand the problems that exist and allow me the opportunity to involve myself in hands-on peacemaking efforts.

It is my hope and prayer that through this time of studying abroad, I will be able to learn about Israel’s influences on Christianity and how the Church in Israel can strive toward being a God-glorifying Body of Christ. The Lord has called me to work in building greater unity and love among Christians around the world by addressing one of Jesus’s final prayers: that we, his Church, would be one as he and the Father are one so that the world may know that God sent Jesus to the world to rescue them from sin’s power and secure for them eternal life in the kingdom of God; there is arguably no better place to address Christ’s plea for unity and love among his people, than in Israel, as there are a number of churches spanning many different denominations and traditions that could benefit from reconciliation efforts and the peace that results from such efforts.

I have been working hard in a number of avenues, in order to save financially for this trip, but I am not able to raise enough on my own. That is why I am writing you this letter. I believe that we labor together in ministry and that we are one in Christ; for that reason, I am inviting you to join me in God’s call to further establish His kingdom around the world. The next step in this process is my trip to The Holy land of Israel. I have been so blessed to be accepted as a part of the group of Fuller students that are going and I look forward to seeing everything come together as the date draws nearer and nearer. I have been a Southern California resident, originating from Santa Clarita, California, and I never could have imagined myself being able to represent this beautiful area of the world by the things I get to do in other far-away places. I appreciate the support you are willing and able to give and I know that you will be just as blessed as I will be, whether you contribute much or contribute little; we all share in the reward that God is going to bestow upon His workers.

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Organizer

Elijah Veluzat 
Organizer
Valencia, CA
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