Grant was introduced to Passages during the early days of its existence. He traveled to Israel as a participant in January 2017, the second summer of Passages trips. After his trip, he was hooked on Passages. Grant served has served as a Fellow, a member of the Alumni Advisory Board, Senior Fellow, Trip Staff, and a PLN Ambassador.
“I was encouraged to apply by Scott Phillips, but I sat on it for a while,” Grant said. But as he delved deeper into what the trip entailed, he immediately realized the value. Once in Israel, Grant glanced around to the students he was traveling with and immediately felt like a less than ideal candidate.
“How did I get here? I don’t deserve to be here. There were so many sharp future leaders, and I felt like one of the lowliest kids there,” he said.
Grant was most excited to see the City of David. “David is a man of war, a musician, and a legendary figure. Seeing those ruins south of the Old City was really amazing,” he said.
Grant grew excited about the archaeological experiences he was going to have in Israel, and he found that excitement in seeing the actual places where the biblical figures walked.
“The modern political conflict was not something I expected on my first trip,” Grant said. “The things we were learning about the conflict were not just of a sad situation toward which we felt helpless, but there were actual lessons that we could apply to our own lives, specifically in the situations happening in America today.”
The experiences and lessons from Israel have helped Grant navigate the tumultuous times we are experiencing in our country today.
“I learned many things in Israel and through my time with Passages in all the positions I’ve held, but there are two things that rise above the rest. One is learning what leadership looks like, understanding that leadership is relational, servant-oriented, humble, and making people feel cared for. The other is the importance of examining your faith beyond the pages of the Bible. What I mean by that is the importance of understanding the Bible story in the real context by seeing it in person, on the ground in Israel. The faith rejuvenation, the revivals of faith that happen when people experience God is more than just the stories, but a real thing. Passages has shown the importance of going deeper and viewing the Bible as more than a book full of legends. God is just as real in those places in those times as He is for us today.”
Grant’s top five experiences in Israel include sailing on the Sea of Galilee, visiting a market in Tel Aviv, visiting the ruins of the City of David, having Shabbat dinner with a local Jewish family, and the conversations and relationships developed on the various buses on which he traveled.
“Every time I set foot on a bus in the States, I am swept back to Israel,” Grant said.
When asked why he chose to stay engaged with Passages and PLN, Grant said, “I was first encouraged apply for the fellowship program, and I thought that there was no way in creation that I’m going to get a fellow spot, but I was blessed to be a part of the program from the beginning and got to experience some really cool leadership lessons along the way. I wanted to continue to engage with my Passages family and to learn and grow even more. I’ve done so much with Passages, and if I can help build something new, I wanted to be a part of it. Other than my family, Passages has invested more in me than anyone by far. These experiences have made me into a better Christian and a better man, who I would not be if not for Passages.”
Grant said following as his message to our alumni, “Your faith matters, what you believe matters. The big questions of who is God, why am I here, does God exist, ultimately drive everything you do. It drives the relationships you choose to have, the political stance you choose to take, what activism you choose to be involved in, and how you treat your family and friends. Your faith matters.”