I am back in Palos Verdes. But, I’m not sure what time it is. My body says one time, the brain quite another. Such are the joys of international travel — and it’s common to us all. I’ve just started thinking about the start of the trip, the Uganda part. When I was in Israel, for the first few days I had to make the transition from medical clinic to Israel tour. I got a touch of travelers’ issues in those days, but the forced rest was good for me. I didn’t like it. But it was good.

Once the tour group arrived, it was full-on tour mode. And that shut out the Uganda portion of the trip for me. I didn’t think about it at all. But on the way home, my mind went back to the initial purpose of this (too long) journey. Processing all of that is a difficult experience. Both aspects of the month were encouraging and profitable. The medical clinic was one of the best ever. Why?

I think because we had a really high-quality team of nurses which just started the flow of the day professionally and with great impact. And, I think Dr. James, the medical director, is making a healthy transition into that role for us. He is not comfortable in that position but does an amazing job. His hard work and tender heart set a high tone for the week. The number of patients was not our largest, but that is not our goal. Our goal is to raise the level of medical care in the community. We want to share the love of Jesus while teaching people about their own health, leaving them with the ability to make wise decisions for their healthcare in the days until we return.

With those purposes clearly in place, the medical clinic was a huge success.

It is much more difficult to measure the success of a tour to Israel. The purpose is clear to me, but not always to those who come along with me. I think I am clear about why we do what we do. To walk in The Land is an amazing experience. And if you don’t come home with a better understanding of the role of the geography with the text of Scripture, then why go? At least in my mind. So, we did just that. We walked through just about every geographical area in Israel. We now understand the coastal plain, the Shephelah, the Judean mountains, the Galilee, the Jezreel Valley, Mt. Carmel, and Samaria. We did it all. We even got to dip our toes in the Red Sea and swim in the Dead Sea — twice!

It was an exhausting journey. But it was rich in spiritual truth and I think the results will be realized as folks sit down with their Bibles (after they rest for a month!) and remember the geography of the places where the stories take place. There is nothing more valuable than a greater understanding of the role of geography in the text — except the way the text can then change your life.

It is amazing to be home. I am (almost) ready to get going on Fall around here. God has been good. All the time, on every day of this long month of travel. Let us worship Him together.