A group of 22 Sea Beggars made up of professors, staff members, parents, and students went to Israel for three weeks in May for the Avodah Immersion trip.

The trip was part of Providence’s signature Avodah program. Usually the program focuses on different cultures and cultural expressions in and around Los Angeles or Mexico. Once a year though, students go on an immersion out of the country. Past immersions have included Cambodia, Jamaica, and Belize. Justin Bleeker, who is in charge of the program, explains that the immersions are important for Providence students in order for them to more fully understand the world that God has made by understanding other people groups and what makes them distinct.

Providence junior Sean Rhoades said that one of the most interesting things they learned on the trip was the political state of affairs between Israelis and Palestinians. From these experiences, students learned to think critically about what is going on without the media’s bias, while also teaching others about the truth behind the conflict.

Two people in particular made the trip outstanding:  Sheila, the group’s tour guide in Israel and Dr. Scott Swanson, Providence’s Biblical and Theological Studies professor. By having the two of them at each site, the students learned about the historical and biblical importance of each place everywhere they went.

Some of the memorable places they visited include the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, and Masada. From swimming in the Dead Sea to hiking to the heights of Masada, those who went on the trip seemed to enjoy it immensely. Providence registrar Patty Tsai joined the students on the trip to Israel. She said she loved the trip and wants to go on more immersions if possible.