10 Stunning Photos That’ll Make You Miss Israel

One of our goals at Passages is to cultivate a deeper understanding of the Holy Land, its people, and its significance to the Christian faith, both during our participants’ time in Israel and after they’ve returned home. To supplement our participants’ experiences in the Holy Land, we encourage students to complete the Passages Capstone course in the months following their trip. This course offers students a number of ways in which to process and reflect upon their time in Israel, including participating in an essay, photo, or submit-your-own-project contest. Winners have their work featured on various platforms and receive a cash prize for their creative submissions.

This post highlights our 2021 Capstone Photo Essay Contest winner, Scottie Nicholson. Scottie submitted 10 incredible photos, along with poignant descriptions of why each photo was significant on his trip to Israel with Passages. Keep scrolling to see this year’s winning Capstone photos!


“7.11.21- First Glimpse
The turquoise waters of the Mediterranean meet the dry coastline, a striking juxtaposition; after so many hours of travel, this moment before touchdown in Tel-Aviv was thrilling & surreal.”

“7.13.21- Nazareth
Wind whipping, the valley of Megiddo in front, Mt. Tabor to the left, the town of Nazareth [has] grown since biblical times to cover seven hills behind us… [With] a white horse majestically galloping around among us, this location felt significantly charged with sentiments of what Jesus’s childhood must have been like, as well as historical events and prophesies for the future.”


“The media can be so polarized and often removes the human aspect of conflict and the reality of everyday life. Food, clothing, family life, language, tradition; these things brought a weight to the events that have taken place and are still playing out in Israel.”

“One of the most impactful things about my experience in Israel was to see the tenacity of the people in the [face] of hardship and conflict; this was especially evident in the children.”

It was surprising to see how well people of different identities (religious, ethnic, [cultural], etc) coexisted. It was challenging to think of my own identity in a setting where identity is so clearly perceived.”

“Physical topography holds such significance in Israel. Places like the oasis in En Gedi felt symbolically rich as well as charged with history and imagery of David hiding for his life and Jesus wandering in the [desert].”

“7.15.21- The Sea of Galilee
This day brought so much life to my reading of the bible, particularly the gospels and the life of Jesus. Having the opportunity to sail on the very sea that Jesus walked on and the disciples fished in was incredible to say the least. The ability to contextualize and visualize these texts has sparked a desire in me to spend more time reading the Word.”

“The Wilderness
Natural places like the Mount of Olives [and] the Garden of Gethsemane were so helpful [as spaces] to process topics that we were learning about and things that we had seen, as they gave us the opportunity to be still and reflect as Jesus did. It was particularly special [to be] given special access to the garden as an exception by the priest himself when he gave us the giant metal key to the gate.”

“It was an honor to interact with everyone we came into contact with from all their differing backgrounds but there was something deeply sweet about connecting with the local body of believers. This man recorded the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic on my phone and I listen to it often as it seems to transcend the time between now and when Jesus spoke the same words in the same place.”


Congratulations to our 2021 Capstone Photo Essay Contest winner, Scottie Nicholson!