February 5, 2018

Greetings in the blessed Name of our Lord! It is our sincere hope that your holiday season was all you wished it to be and that your New Year is off to a great start!

We are actually in the middle of our third quarter of the school year. This is known as Research Week around here. It is the week in the middle of a quarter in which students are given a break from the classroom routine, which gives them time to devote to major assignments like research papers, essays, study for major exams, etc. We try hard not to refer to it as “Break Week” so as to not plant the idea of a holiday period in the mind. 

This quarter I am teaching Exodus-Deuteronomy, which is a continuation of the course on Genesis I taught last quarter. In that quarter, I taught Church Growth and Genesis in the daytime program, and Old Testament Survey in the Monday night Wives’ Program. The second quarter of the school year is my most challenging when it comes to the number of classes. Monday gets to be a long day starting with an 8:00 a.m. class and ending at 9:00 p.m. However, it’s good to have a part in the education of these students!

As of today, we are one month away from leaving on our 2018 Bible Lands Studies Program. Most of our staff, some of our current students, many of our alumni, and a few of our members at the Bear Valley congregation will be spending March 5-17 in Israel for this program. I am including an itinerary of the trip at the end of this report so that you can keep tabs with where we are and what we are doing. I’ve changed the times of the itinerary I’m including to Central Standard Times, since most of you who read this report are located in that time zone. This will hopefully make it easier for you to have an “up-to-the-minute” idea of the schedule.

I want to say how thankful I am to all of you for your interest in and support of this work. I will be making arrangements for visiting our supporting congregations in the near future. (In fact, I will probably make the first calls for that before I leave for Israel.) As part of my report this year, I will again include results of our year-end report from all our extensions worldwide. I’ll have more details when I give the report, but let me offer a teaser here by noting that our current students around the world baptized more than 3,000 souls in 2017 alone. The results of the work of those students who have graduated, whose work was noted in past reports, only God knows for sure, but I want you to know that your contribution to this work is not wasted. 

2018 will be a busy year for traveling again for me and my family. After a couple of years where I did not have to travel internationally nearly as much as years past (I only left the USA once in each of the past two years), I have three such trips planned for this year. In addition to the Israel trip, my family and I (Jessica will get to accompany Noma and me this time) will return to Great Britain this summer to help strengthen the Lord’s church there. This time we will be working with the church in Newport, South Wales, about a two-hour train ride west of London. We are very much looking forward to meeting these new brethren and then we hope to return to London to worship once again with the good brethren of the Thamesmead church of Christ. 

Then, in July I will travel to Cambodia to teach in our extension in Siem Reap. I believe I will be teaching the book of Revelation to these students, and will then be present for their graduation. This work is also a mission work of the Bear Valley church of Christ and this will afford me the opportunity to see first-hand the work done by our missionaries on behalf of the eldership here at BV. I should return from that trip a few days before classes begin again for our 2018-2019 school year in early August. 

In September, we have our annual Bear Valley Homecoming Lectures and I am blessed to be able to be one of the speakers this year. Bringing this preview of the year’s activities back to the present, the manuscript for my lesson for the Lectureship book is due April 15, so we stay busy.

Thank you and God bless,

Donnie Bates

2018 Bible Lands Studies Program

March 5-17

March 5 (Monday)

8:55 a.m. (CST)  Depart Denver 

12:45 p.m.     Arrive in Newark, NJ

3:15 p.m.    Depart Newark

March 6 (Tuesday) The Via Maris: The Path to Blessings

2:35 a.m. (CST) Arrive in Tel Aviv

4:00 a.m.    Lunch

5:30 a.m.    Explore Aphek/Antipatris: (The Land Between: John Moore)

6:30 a.m.    Travel to Caesarea 

7:30 a.m.    Explore Caesarea

10:00 a.m.    Depart

10:45 a.m.     Check into Hotel and Dinner

Overnight on the Mediterranean (Hotel Dan Caesarea)

March 7 (Wednesday) Faith Battles: On the Crossroads of Decision

11:30 p.m.    Preview and Orientation

1:00 a.m.    Depart Hotel for Mount Carmel

1:45 a.m.    Arrive at Muhraqa Monastery/Mt. Carmel (Geo. Orientation and Reading of 1 Kings 18)

2:30 a.m.    Depart

3:15 a.m.    Explore Megiddo (Speaker: Wes Autrey)

5:15 a.m.    Lunch at Megiddo

6:30 a.m.    Depart

7:00 a.m.    Explore Nazareth Village

8:45 a.m.    Depart

9:00 a.m.    Arrive at Mt. Precipice (Speaker: Wayne Burger)

10:00 a.m.    Depart for Hotel

11:30 a.m.    Hotel Check-in and Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation (Northern Area)

Overnight in Galilee (Kinar Hotel)

March 8 (Thursday) Faith Wars: When Cultures Collide

12:45 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:00 a.m.    Explore Capernaum (Speaker: Denny Petrillo)

2:30 a.m.    Depart

2:45 a.m.    Explore Chorazin

3:15 a.m.    Depart

4:00 a.m.    Explore Tel Dan

6:15 a.m.    Depart

6:30 a.m.    Lunch

7:30 a.m.    Explore Caesarea Philippi/Banias (Speaker: Tyler King)

8:45 a.m.    Depart

9:00 a.m.    Golan

9:15 a.m.    Depart

10:00 a.m.    Photographs at the Jordan River

10:20 a.m.    Depart

10:30 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel

TBD    Preview and Orientation (Sea of Galilee)

Overnight in Galilee (Kinar Hotel)

March 9 (Friday) This Man Jesus: Seeing the Glory of Christ

12:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:00 a.m.    Nof Ginosar Museum

1:30 a.m.    Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee (Speaker: Michael Hite)

2:30 a.m.    Depart

3:00 a.m.    Mount Arbel (Geography Lesson and Quiet Time for Reflection)

4:30 a.m.    Depart

5:30 a.m.    Lunch (prepared)

6:00 a.m.    Explore Beit Shean (Speaker: Ken Dawdy)

8:00 a.m.    Depart

10:30 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation

Overnight at Dead Sea

March 10 (Saturday) Strongholds in the Wilderness: Trusting in the Power of God

1:00 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:15 a.m.    Film and Introduction to Masada

1:30 a.m.    Explore Masada (Speaker: Dan Owen)

5:00 a.m.    Lunch

6:00 a.m.    Explore Ein Gedi (Speaker: Ron Crawforth)

8:00 a.m.    Depart

8:45 a.m.    Dead Sea Experience

11:30 a.m.    Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation

Overnight at Dead Sea

March 11 (Sunday) Escaping to the Wilderness: Faith at Work

12:30 - 1:15 a.m.    Worship (Speaker: Dan Owen)

1:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

2:40 a.m.    Qumran

4:30 a.m.    Lunch at Qumran

5:15 a.m.    Depart

5:45 a.m.    Baptismal Site: Bethany Beyond the Jordan

6:30 a.m.    Depart

6:45 a.m.    Jericho (Speaker: Donnie Bates)

8:15 a.m.    Depart

8:30 a.m.    Ma’ale Adummim Overlook

9:00 a.m.    Depart

9:30 a.m.    Arrive at Mt. Scopus (Prayer & Scripture)

10:00 a.m.    Depart

10:30 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation

Overnight in Bethlehem

March 12 (Monday) God and Kings: Lineage and Legacy

12:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:00 a.m.    Explore Herodium (Speaker: Michael Hite)

2:30 a.m.    Depart

3:00 a.m.    Israel Museum

5:00 a.m.    Lunch at Israel Museum

6:00 a.m.    Depart

6:30 a.m.    City of David: film

6:45 a.m.    Geography Overview from Lookout Platform

7:00 a.m.    Archaeology Tour of Jebusite City and David’s Palace

8:00 a.m.    Hezekiah’s Tunnel

9:00 a.m.    Pool of Siloam (The King of kings) (Speaker: Corey Sawyers)

10:00 a.m.    Depart

10:30 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation (The Shephelah and Beersheba)

Overnight in Jerusalem TBD - (Leonardo Jerusalem Hotel)

March 13 (Tuesday) Border Wars: A Testing Ground of Faith

12:45 a.m.    Depart Hotel

1:30 a.m.    Tel Beit Shemesh

2:00 a.m.    Depart

2:15 a.m.    Explore Tel Azekah (or Qeiyafa) and Elah Valley (Speaker: Wes Autrey)

3:00 a.m.    Depart

3:10 a.m.    Explore Brook of Elah

4:00 a.m.    Depart

5:00 a.m.    Lunch

6:30 a.m.    Explore Beersheba (Speaker: Donnie Bates)

8:30 a.m.    Depart

10:00 a.m.    Arrive at Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Preview and Orientation (Walking Where Jesus Walked)

Overnight in Jerusalem (Leonardo Jerusalem Hotel)

March 14 (Wednesday) In the Steps of Jesus (Ministry, Message, & Passion)

12:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

12:45 a.m.    Arrive at the Mount of Olives for Devotional and Orientation

1:30 a.m.    Walk to Gethsemane and Cave of Gethsemane

3:00 a.m.    Depart

3:15 a.m.    Arrive at Bethesda Pool at St. Anne Church (Speaker: Corey Sawyers)

4:30 a.m.    Via Dolarosa

5:00 a.m.    Lunch

6:00 a.m.    Church of the Holy Sepulcher

7:00 a.m.    Davidson Center and Southern Steps (Speaker: Keith Kasarjian)

8:30 a.m.    Western Wall and Western Wall Tunnels

10:30 a.m.    Depart for Hotel - Dinner

TBD    Guest Lecturer: Rabi Shulu Warman (The History of Rabbinic Judaism)

        Orientation (Things to See and Do in Jerusalem)

Overnight in Jerusalem (Leonardo Jerusalem Hotel)

March 15 (Thursday) Free Day

12:30 p.m.    Optional Western Wall Visit at Night

Overnight in Jerusalem

March 16 (Friday) News That Changed the World (From Denial to Resurrection)

1:00 a.m.    Checkout - luggage to stow in room or hotel designated area)

1:30 a.m.    Depart Hotel

2:00 a.m.    Tour Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

4:00 a.m.    Depart

4:30 a.m.    Galicantu (Speaker: Neal Pollard)

5:30 a.m.    Lunch    

6:30 a.m.    Citadel

7:45 a.m.    Depart

8:00 a.m.    Garden Tomb (Speaker: Tyler King)

9:30 a.m.    Depart

10:00 a.m.    Arrive back at hotel to freshen up, change clothes and get organized

10:45 a.m.    Farewell dinner at Naura in Abu Gosh (Closing remarks and reflections by group)

12:00 p.m.    Depart for Airport

3:10 p.m.    Flight departs

March 17 (Saturday) Arrive in USA

3:45 a.m.    Arrive in Newark

5:35 a.m.    Depart for Denver

10:05 a.m.    Arrive in Denver

Posted on February 9, 2018 .