December 30, 2009 Edition

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Cole enjoys trip of lifetime

Bobby Cole (from left) and Fig Tree Ministries participants Minanda Witzen from Sydney, Australia, and Tylor Wahlburg from New Holland, Mich., stand at the top of Eingedi after climbing it.
Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

Former Walnut Ridge resident Bobby Cole recently participated in a chance-of-a-lifetime trip to the Holy Land of Jordan and Israel.

Cole, a pastor at the Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro, toured Jordan and Israel for 17 days with the Fig Tree Ministries of Holland, Mich.

"What drew me to the group is that they actually hike through the region," Cole said.

"I quickly discovered it is not a journey for the faint-hearted. One must be ready for extreme conditions such as heat and rough terrain. Most of all, one must be flexible. We hiked about eight to 10 miles a day through the wilderness and into the mountains."

During the trip, Cole visited several historical and biblical areas such as the Kidron Valley, Mount Arbel, Mesada, Negev Wilderness, Bethsaida, the Mount of Olives, Hezekiah's Tunnel and Galilee.

"At the Sea of Galilee, we had an opportunity to actually get into the water. Looking around at the hills surrounding the area, it hit me that Jesus was actually in this place," Cole remembered.

"Words cannot express the emotions that stirred within me. I was so humbled at how I had the privilege to be where Jesus walked, where he led his disciples, where he taught them, guided them and showed them the abundant life."

Cole and other participants also visited the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, where approximately 1,000 Jewish men and women gathered to pray aloud, while Muslim men and women chanted their prayer aloud.

"I could tell the Jews were accustomed to the Muslim call. It did not distract them in the least, and I was amazed at the massive crowds and how disciplined everyone was in praying to God."

Bible scriptures came to life as they were read aloud at the actual location in which they occurred.

"This trip reignited a desire in me to dig deep into His word and to truly understand the depth, love and sacrifice God made for each of us through his son, Jesus."

Cole is the son of Bob and Mary Ann Cole of Walnut Ridge. He currently lives in Jonesboro and serves as the ministries pastor of Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro. He serves over the First Impressions Ministry, Singles Ministry, Central Outdoors Ministry, Internet Campus Ministry and oversees volunteer ministry within the church body and community.

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