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A life-changing experience: How a visit to the Holy Land transformed Harry from student of the bible to a leader in the Travel Ministry

by | Oct 26, 2021 | Testimonial

As a faithful student of the Bible and active Church member I had never considered a trip to Israel. That all changed when a visiting Pastor Theopholius Carroll, who would later become my mentor, announced to our congregation that he would be leading a trip there on his 40th tour. Instantly I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

I knew that it would enhance my understanding of the Bible by leaps and bounds. I knew that would help enlighten sermons and studies mentioning sites I would have visited. I knew that it would give me a clear picture of the geography the same as Jesus experienced. And obviously, I knew that it would connect me to the present-day cities, towns, people, and customs.

A pilgrim’s boat on the Sea of Galilee

But what I couldn’t imagine was how well I would learn from Israel’s finest Tour Guide who was uncompromising in imparting wisdom on us. How much I would appreciate the devotions and lectures from Pastors on the tour that looked forward to sharing. How much a Bus Driver who navigates safely through the tightest spots to our destinations would impress me.

I couldn’t imagine how well we would follow a schedule that seemed so fast paced but always allowed for frequent reflection, food, and restroom breaks. How much I would enjoy the large breakfast and dinner buffets in our comfortable hotel and lunches at midday on the road. How much I would experience the customs, tastes, and smells of the Holy Land seemingly standing still in time.

I couldn’t imagine that the cost of this adventure in my faith would be one of the greatest investments in my lifetime. And throughout the tour I couldn’t imagine how the fellowship enjoyed with other Christians on the tour would be one of greatest experiences in my life making new friends for a lifetime.

I couldn’t imagine that when they called this a “life changing experience” it would be for me an understatement. When I returned in 2005, I made a Holy Land Presentation to my church with 100 of our members in attendance. Pastor Carroll attended and was so impressed he asked me to lead the next year’s group of two buses and again the following year.

The Holy Sepulchre

What I couldn’t imagine before going that first time is like how a picture is worth a thousand words. Because in fact the experience of going to Israel, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, is worth over a million words. The highlights and memorable moments on that first trip were many more than I could imagine and I will always hold special this trip of a lifetime with new friends and strengthened faith.
I was so fulfilled and excited with the experience of going to the Holy Land that I joined Journeys Unlimited full time as a Sales Representative in 2008. Over these years, I have had the privilege of giving over 200 Holy Land Presentations and booking well over 100 groups to experience this very important ministry. And yes, I have now gone over 20 times to Israel and many times to Egypt, Jordan, Greece, Turkey, Germany, and Italy.

– Harry

Harry Welton serves as Journeys Unlimited Midwest Director of Sales, having worked with Journeys full time since 2008 in “what is the most spiritually rewarding career along with the greatest staff and management I could imagine”.

For more on Harry’s story: I grew up in a good Christian home but later in life, my faith took a major leap when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I’ve spent the last 38 years as a serious student of the Bible and have always been active in my churches.Early in life I flew helicopters in Vietnam in 1967/68. I later graduated from a Christian college in 1972 where I majored in business. Since that time, I’ve held numerous challenging management positions but again, nothing as rewarding as what I’m doing now.Since traveling to Israel and Egypt in 2005, I’ve given over 200 Holy Land Presentations and arranged tours for over 100 Christian groups. There is no greater joy for me than to see first time visitors experience walking in the footsteps of Jesus.Today God has blessed me with a wonderful wife with whom we have five children and 13 grandchildren. My family knows the love I feel in being at home with them but also working with a new tour group and the possibility that I might accompany them to the Holy Land.

You can reach him at: hwelton@groupist.com

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