-- Says it was like an encounter with Jesus Christ
Pope Benedict XVI of the Roman Catholic Church once said that to go on a pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves to encounter God where He has revealed Himself; where His grace has shone with particular splendor, and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe.
And surely, these were similar experiences several Liberian prelates encountered recently when they traveled to the Holy Land of Israel.
The journey of these clergies were made in search of moral or spiritual guidance. Typically, it was a journey to the grave of Jesus Christ, the Jordan River, which is all-important to the belief of the Christian faith.
The preachers of the gospel, six in number, returned to Liberia from the Holy Land of Israel on Tuesday, October 3, 2019, to a rousing welcome from scores of their compatriots at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Harbel, Margibi County.
The Liberian delegation to this year's pilgrimage to Israel had traveled to the Land of Creation through the instrumentality of a Christian organization called, "Covenant Travel and Tour Liberia (CTTL)." Reverend Wallah Sormallah Wilsitoe, Jerusalem Pilgrimage (JP), headed the delegation.
Rev. Wilsitoe, known as the Joshua of Liberia, is also the vice-chair of CTTL. He described the pilgrimage as a "very successful one."
"We had a wonderful trip in the Holy land, Israel," he said. He added that it was a dream to carry people from Liberia to tour that beautiful country and to perform the Holy Sacrament.
During the mission, the delegation toured Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem, and Galilee.
Rev. Wilsitoe said that planning for the trip was challenging, "but in the end, we thank God that we were successful."
"When we started this quest, people taught it was a lie, but when the lie becomes a reality, then enemies worry about it, so we are happy as a result of the massive support of these thousands of Liberians to come and welcome us back home," he said.
He said that a total of 14 people were approved for the visa, but only six out of that number made the trip. "The six persons are the ones that God wanted to go," Wilsitoe said.
The only female preacher, who made the trip, Reverend Clementina W. Johnson, termed the journey as a life changing one. "We want to bless God today for taking us safely to Israel and for having brought us back safely to our family," Rev. Johnson said.
She continued, "I know that this experience I had is a life time experience, and we are going to share it with our community, because there are words that we had been preaching, teaching."
She described the journey as a once in a lifetime experience to see the Holy Land, walk on it, go to the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus' friend, and the grave of Jesus Himself to show that the Bible has come alive-- "and this is a blessing for us."