Staff Blogger: Gretchen Colón, Vice President of Advancement & Communications

As we continue our travel, I pause with gratitude for our EO trip leader, FJ.

We met FJ at the airport when we arrived in Israel – many of us for the first time. FJ greeted us with the warmest hospitality and he had a smile that made you feel right at home.

We quickly learned that FJ loves to share the word of Jesus Christ. He shares the Bible stories in our conversational English with grace, meeting each of us where we are in our walk of faith. He can seamlessly blend together history and scripture, encouraging those who have studied the Bible for years and those who are just beginning their study.

Throughout our time together, he has stood in the places that Jesus stood and shared the Gospel with conviction and passion to bring the stories alive in our hearts. He definitely has a gift of teaching and preaching.

As we ventured through our journey, FJ shared that his favorite place to visit is the Sea of Galilee. This sea is 13 miles long and seven miles wide. He explained that it is a sea that “gives and takes.”  It gives water to the land and takes water from the hills.  It’s the sea of life that is fresh, sweet and beautiful. He explained that Jesus loved this place because he spent more than 3 years of his life here performing miracles.

As for the hardest part of the job, he shared it is definitely when guests get sick. EO takes seriously providing care for their guests if this happens when they are on their journey.

As we travel to each destination, FJ is gracious enough to find secluded spaces so that the group can read scripture and reflect. This is no simple task, as most of these places are drawing in thousands of tourists daily. FJ has been working for EO since 2011, so he is experienced in maneuvering large groups in and out of sites.

Since the beginning of EO, the organization has focused on peace, believing that travel and education can build a bridge of understandings between different parts of the world.

Dear God, we give thanks for FJ and his gift to teach us about Your Son, Jesus Christ. We are gracious for FJ and the EO staff that serve the groups who are traveling in Israel. We ask that you be with those who might be sick during their stay as well as the EO employees and their families.  We know that being a leader might take them away for a few nights each week. In your name we pray. Amen.