Evangel member travels to Holy Land

Published 12:46 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Carlton LeMond, a member of Evangel Presbyterian Church in Alabaster, recently returned from a trip to the Holy Land. During the trip, he visited Jerusalem (pictured), the Sea of Galilee and Calvary. (Contributed/Carlton LeMond)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

When Evangel Presbyterian Church member Carlton LeMond got his first glimpse of Jerusalem, the passages he had been reading in the Bible most of his life gained a new sense of realism.

“When it says in the Bible that Christ went up to Jerusalem, I was actually able to see what it meant, because Jerusalem is up on a hill,” LeMond said. “You have a vision in your mind when you read the Bible, but when you see the real site and the real thing, the Bible comes alive.”

In March, LeMond spent 10 days touring nearly every major city and location mentioned in the Bible as part of an organizational visit for an upcoming group trip to the area.

LeMond will use what he learned during the visit to plan a September group trip to the Holy Land, which will be sponsored by the Premier Adventure Travel Agency.

“(In March) we really did more of an inspection tour with the guys who will be leading the September trip,” LeMond said. “It was my first time over there, and it was absolutely amazing.”

During his March trip, LeMond toured locations such as Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee and the Garden of Gethsemane.

Because LeMond followed the path Jesus took when he visited the sites during his ministry more than 2,000 years ago, LeMond said the inspection visit became a meaningful spiritual journey for him.

“It was amazing at Mt. Olive to see 700- to 1,000-year-old trees,” LeMond said. “Genealogy-wise, those roots and those trees were there when Christ was there.”

The most memorable part of the trip included a visit to Calvary and what is believed to be Jesus’ grave site, LeMond said.

“Of course, the grave is empty. There is a sign that says ‘He is not here, he is risen’” LeMond said. “We can’t say for sure, but that is probably the borrowed grave Jesus laid in before he rose again.

“The trip was very moving at every stage,” LeMond added. “When you go where Jesus went, it will change your life.”

Some of the region’s modern-day offerings were also impressive, including the hotels and the food, LeMond said.

“One thing that really sticks out in my mind is how wonderful the food was,” LeMond said with a laugh. “There is so much fresh fruit. The taste of if was so fresh, and there was so much of it. I can’t speak highly enough of it.”

LeMond will return to the Holy Land from Sept. 3-12 with the Premier Adventure Travel group along with Evangel Church Senior Pastor Dr. Jeff Lowman, who will be teaching during the tour.

During the September trip, the group will visit as many sites as time allows, LeMond said. The cost of the trip is $3,300 per person, and includes air fare, lodging and breakfast and dinner each day.

For more information about the trip, or to sign up for the event call LeMond at 621-7759 or visit the Evangel Church sanctuary hall.