Though December 26 will mark the beginning of his twelfth pilgrimage to the Holyland, the thrill of the journey has not dulled at all for Rev. Don Bowen of Cobham Park Baptist Church in Warsaw.
“I never get tired of this trip. Out of every place in the world, it is without a doubt my favorite place to go,” he says.
His first voyage to the Holyland happened when he was a young preacher in the 1960’s. Bowen said it was the trip of a lifetime, and ever since he has enjoyed returning, bringing first-time travelers with him.
“The impact and influence stays with you. It’s something you just cannot forget,” he says.
Bowen credits the constant excavations and research that is conducted at the Holy sites, with keeping the pilgrimage fresh. He said there is always something to see, adding that different tour guides make for unique experiences as well.
Bowen’s favorite site is the Sea of Galilee. He says the site is the same as it was in Jesus’ time and nothing has changed.
Though some sites have been confirmed as the locations of Biblical events, and some have not, Bowen said it makes no difference to him. He says it’s more about the experiences and feelings evoked when hearing the stories he’s heard all of his life in the proximity of where they actually occurred.
“When you take the trip, you quickly learn that ‘go down to Jerusalem’ is not just an expression; it’s what you have to do,” he laughs.
Making each trek unique are the reactions of Bowen’s fellow travelers. He recalls seeing a married couple on their anniversary in tears at the site of the Garden Tomb.
“It’s so authentic. You can instantly see the impact on them and are even fortunate enough to see how it stays with them after they return,” Bowen says …
Read more in the March 23 edition of the Northern Neck News.