SNU Students Gain Educational Experience on the 2014 Holy Land Tour

Students and Alumni from Southern Nazarene University are on a Holy Land educational tour the first two weeks in January 2014. More than a dozen persons are traveling with Dr. Marty Michelson, SNU School of Theology and Ministry Professor, on a tour that includes religious sites and points of ancient history in Israel, Jordan, and Palestine.

Highlights of the journey, based on the previous four trips Dr. Michelson has led for SNU will include a boating experience on the Sea of Galilee, an opportunity to be baptized or recommit to baptism at the Jordan River, visiting the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem singing “Silent Night, Holy Night.” Each day of the aggressive itinerary, travel participants will experience the social and geographical realities of stories from the Old and New Testament related to multiple sites, including cities like Jerusalem, Nazareth, and the region where the Israelites settled and where Joshua, David, and Solomon led the people.

Dr. Melany Kyzer, VP for Academic Affairs at SNU, noted about the trip:  "I am thrilled when students get the opportunity to study abroad either for a short-term trip like this or for a semester.  Exposing students to our world and helping them to see our role in serving God by serving others is integral to our mission."

SNU students took a semester long course in the Fall of 2013, which set the stage for all that they get to experience now in the Holy Land. Jen Duckwall, Michelle Madden, Kaylyn Messer, and Laura Waggoner are seniors in the School of Theology and Ministry and are current students at SNU who took the course. Each day these students, along with other SNU graduates and partners in travel, will learn about history in the context of the actual places where the history took place. In addition, participants will have opportunities to meet local Christians, Jews, and Muslims from both Israel and Palestine and spend personal meditation time on walks in places including the towns where Jesus ministered in and around the Sea of Galilee, or even in the region of his Wilderness of Temptation.

More than 30 students and alumni have traveled with SNU sponsored trips similar to this one in the past decade. Michelson has spent more than 100 days in the region, teaching travel groups or teaching regional pastors for the Church of the Nazarene in Madaba, Jordan for pastors from Syria to Iraq. Michelson noted that he enjoys teaching the course and taking people to Israel because their lives are transformed as a result of their experience in the region.

“I have no doubt that this trip shapes and forms each student to be a better preacher, for a lifetime," said Michelson.

Dr. Hal Cauthron, Chair of the School of Theology and Ministry said: “We welcome your thoughtful prayers for safe travel and meaningful learning for all of us until we return.”

For more information about future travel tours, which have taken place every three years for the past decade, please contact Dr. Michelson at

Southern Nazarene University’s mission is to transform lives through higher education in a Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.