Dr. Bruce Waltke
Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Regent College
“It is my great pleasure to commend my friend Ivan De Silva, a gifted and erudite Bible teacher. I first met Ivan as my student in the early 1980’s. Since then, we have grown to become friends and partners in several writing projects. In 2007 Ivan helped edit some of the chapters of my book An Old Testament Theology. In 2013 he assisted in proofing my upcoming book, Finding the Will of God. Currently we are working together to produce a shorter version of my two volume commentary on Proverbs. I have had the pleasure of co-teaching several biblical studies courses with Ivan at Trinity Western University, and have found him to be a kindred spirit not only in teaching the Bible, but also in embodying its call to faith and trust in the Lord of the Bible. I have no doubt that accompanying Ivan on a biblical travel tour to the Holy Land would be a faith building and life altering experience and highly commend the trip to everyone.”
Dr. Sven Soderlund
Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Regent College
“I have known Ivan De Silva since his days as a student at Regent College, now some thirty years ago. I saw already then Ivan’s thirst for knowledge, his commitment to the study of the Bible and his deep love for God. In the last several years we have renewed our friendship and I can bear witness to his deepening passion, maturity and competence as a trustworthy theological educator. Those who go on this tour with Ivan will be a privileged lot!”
Rev. Dr. Ed Gerber
Lead Pastor, Willoughby Christian Reformed Church, Langley, B.C.
“Ivan is a first-rate Bible teacher and one of the best lecturers I’ve ever listened to. His love for Scripture is obvious, his theological knowledge top notch, and his mind capacious. On top of these noble characteristics, Ivan is relentlessly personal and uniquely gifted by our Lord for bridging the gap between inaccessible scholarship and those in the church longing but struggling to go deeper. Some trips to the Holy Lands are full of heart but lacking in theological rigor; others are full of theological grist but lacking in language and posture that attends to the soul. A trip with Ivan and Sacred Bridge Travel will doubtlessly be double-barreled — both heart-felt and theologically rich. I’ve been a close, personal friend of Ivan’s since the late 90’s. I commend him most heartily as a teacher, preacher, fellow sojourner, and thinker extraordinaire — and above all as a beautiful brother in Christ. I only wish I could come on this trip myself!”
Travel Testimonies from previous pilgrims
on Sacred Bridge Travel Tours
“Many people say that the Holy Land is on their bucket list. I imagined a bus load of wide-eyed tourists on alert for terrorist activity and souvenir shops, but I was mistaken. Travelling with Ivan and Carol through Israel and Jordan was a pilgrimage of unexpected blessings, remarkable epiphanies and treasured memories. My heart was stirred as I stood on sacred ground and reflected on Jesus’ incarnation, life with his disciples, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Our group of 11 bonded as we hiked, gasped at breathtaking views, sailed the Sea of Galilee, learned fresh perspectives of significant Biblical places & events as His-story came alive (through Ivan and our tour guide Makhoul), witnessed our friend get baptized in the Jordan, shared flavourful meals and personal stories of faith, sipped sage tea with Bedouins in their tent, waded through an underground tunnel, wandered Jerusalem’s night market, prayed with my roommate who has become my friend for life, and then some more…. A valuable pilgrimage where God will answer the raw questions you bring to Him.” – Katherine S. (Israel & Jordan 2017)
“My husband and I joined Ivan and Carol of Sacred Bridge Travel, together with a small group of fellow pilgrims, to tour Israel and Jordan in the spring of 2017. It was challenging in every way….physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But that is what made the trip meaningful and memorable. Spectacular hikes, fascinating history and archaeology, and insightful Biblical teaching enriched the experience of the Land of the Holy One and our lives. We also had a great deal of fun! The whole tour was beautifully organized so we, as participants, had no worries and were free to enjoy each day’s adventures.
On a personal note, I had the joy and the privilege of being baptized in the Jordan River, and am forever changed. We did a lot of singing in Israel, and I came home with the song of God in my heart. If you choose a tour with Sacred Bridge Travel, I think you will too!” – Helen V. (Israel & Jordan 2017)
“The trip to Israel and Jordan with Sacred Bridge Travel in 2017 was above all expectation. It was very well planned and organised, the group had no worries about the trip details, and could concentrate their time and efforts in exploring the sites, participating in the devotions before starting the tour day, as well partaking in the brief studies at the sites and socializing in the evenings. We covered a lot of ground in the 16 days visiting the major sites as well as very interesting and beautiful sites where very few other tour groups typically visit.
Ivan prepared meaningful Bible studies related to the sites that gave us a deeper insight of many Bible passages. Reading the Gospels and the Old Testament now brings a much more vivid and personal understanding of the events that happened in those places of the past, that continue to have a huge impact in our faith life today and into the future.
The Israeli guide Makhoul, a fellow brother in Christ, brought an outstanding contribution to the trip with his amazing knowledge of the land, its history, Bible connections, geography, plants, animals and the local ways of life; as well as the Jordanian guide, Gihad. The trip was fast-paced but smooth travelling all the way through. Easy going personalities, very friendly company, beautiful landscape, excellent food and reasonable accommodations. I highly recommend this trip.” – Pedro D. (Israel & Jordan 2017)
“I wish to thank and to emphasize my satisfaction to Ivan and Carol of Sacred Bridge Travel. I would like to congratulate the team for their tour organization, professionalism and dedication, so that the pilgrimage passed with comfort, quality and safety.” – Carlos B. (Israel & Jordan 2017)
“Ivan and Carol (Sacred Bridge Travel) led our TWU University group on a travel study to Turkey, Greece and Rome in 2014. The trip was incredibly well organized, balancing each day with intense Bible teaching, challenging question and discussion time, wonderful hotels and great food! Ivan has a deep knowledge of the Scriptures, which he is passionate about imparting to others, and his perspectives are thought-provoking and challenging. A tour under the leadership of this couple will undoubtedly enrich everyone who participates, and leave impressions and perspectives which can only be attributed to Ivan’s profound Biblical knowledge and insights. Carol undertook to ensure that everyone was well cared for, and was aware of small details which helped to make the tour run smoothly and that everyone felt comfortable.” – Kerry R. (TWU Travel Study to Turkey, Greece & Rome 2014)
“I have visited over 20 countries in my travels and the trip that I took to Israel in 2013 tops the list of places I have traveled and experienced. Oftentimes we go to foreign faraway places, but we do not really experience them. Ivan’s expertise, knowledge and leadership enabled me to experience Israel in such a way that I would not have been able to do on my own. We traversed the country from top to bottom, fitting in more than I would have thought possible, and discovered how the knowledge of Israel’s geography is essential to understanding the biblical narrative in context. Ivan’s teaching during this trip made the biblical text come alive for me. We experienced the land, the culture, the food, and the diversity that Israel has to offer. The tour leaders took care of all the voyage details, which allowed us to enjoy our own time even more so, as we wandered and contemplated what the land was like back in the times of the Bible. Some particular highlights for me were the many hikes that we did, walking through Hezekiah’s tunnel, swimming in the pools of Ein Gedi, and exploring the Old City of Jerusalem. This trip was meticulously well-designed and inspiring — I would highly recommend experiencing Israel with Sacred Bridge Travel and Ivan as your tour leader!” – Chelsea S. (Israel & Jordan 2013)
“How can I summarize those life-impacting few days of our Turkey, Greece and Rome biblical travel tour?
From seeing the sites of the Seven Churches of Revelation, to now being able to grasp much more fully the influence of ordinary believers in the early days of my Christian faith – the faith-builders who blazed a trail and showed me the way of following Jesus.
By tracing the trail where Paul walked (but we rode in a comfortable bus – lazy us), I was filled with awe to see the distance and the extremely rough topography where he walked in self-sacrifice to share life with Jesus to people whom he had formerly rejected – Gentiles, those who had never heard – and yet still Paul had chosen to live in all those hardships for the sake of the Gospel! By visiting the prison in Rome where he was held, and then seeing the place of his execution, I was moved over the origins of my faith, now so much more clearly and more deeply rooted in me. I am frequently drawn back to review these places via the pictures I took while there.
Of the early churches, from the Hagia Sophia and Hagia Eirene (Istanbul) where my spirit was led to profound worship at the beginning of our tour together, through following Paul’s footsteps and seeing the stories of my brothers and sisters in Jesus from the early church, my heart and spirit rejoice in awe and gratitude at God’s abundant grace for His people, including me. Even as I write now, my memory moves my spirit and my eyes are wet in love for Jesus. Truly amazing days together on this biblical travel tour. Not to mention the teaching times that caused me to reflect on my own life and belief system – yes, even some adjustments. Thank you, Ivan and Carol, you did well.” – Glen & Lillian W. (TWU Travel Study to Turkey, Greece & Rome 2014)
“It has been really cool in the last month finishing my semester and ending up here in Israel thinking about being a real person and tearing down walls and masks that I have put up all my life. Because of the things that I have learned on this trip, I am a changed person. I have made so many memories; some of the memories are because of the fun that I have had, some are because of the friendships that I have created, and others I made personally between God and me. God has changed me and my outlook on life. My perspective has been shaped by the Holy Spirit from not only my experiences, but also the journey that this trip took me on in my faith with God because of the significance of the places that we have visited. Because of this trip, I can now read my Bible with more understanding and with so much more enthusiasm because of the knowledge that I gained. Ivan has challenged me to grow on this trip. Although, this trip has raised my knowledge by a significant amount, I also have realized how much it has shown that I do not know.
There have been a few people that I have had a hard time explaining my trip to because I do not think they will understand the depth of the spiritual part of my journey. I pray that my understanding may go deeper and deeper and that my desire to learn never fades.”
– A.K. (TWU Travel Study student to Israel, Jordan & Egypt 2011)
“My wife and I are senior citizens and this was our first trip across the Atlantic Ocean. Each day in Israel & Jordan was a highlight. Our local driver and tour guide were very professional and knowledgeable. Prof. Ivan
made the Bible story come alive for us in ways I had never seen before. Ivan can come down to my level so I can comprehend the Bible story. It is one thing to read about it, it is another to experience it! Our tour highlights included Caesarea Maritima, Galilee, Nazareth, Capernaum, Caesarea Philippi, Dead Sea, Petra Jordan, Jerusalem (3days), Bethlehem. Looking down from the Mt of Olives and seeing the Dome of the Rock, now controlled by Muslims, I kept wondering what it would be like inside the Dome. If Sacred Bridge Travel and Prof. Ivan offer other trips to Turkey, Greece, Italy, we will be sure to go.” – Bill & Faye Q. (Israel & Jordan 2013)
“In 2010 I went to Israel, Egypt and Jordan with a TWU travel study class led by Professors Ivan De Silva and Kent Clarke. It was certainly the trip of a life time. Israel is a very beautiful country, full of history and packed with much to see. Ivan’s experience of the land coupled with his understanding of the Bible makes for a far more significant experience for understanding the importance of each site that is visited and its role in history. One of the main highlights for me was that the trip to Israel definitely helped my understanding of the Bible come to life, and better visualize the settings and environment connected to the names of places in the text. I highly recommend anyone considering going to visit the Holy Lands to take the leap with Ivan and Sacred Bridge Travel.” – Alex S. (TWU Travel Study student to Israel, Jordan & Egypt 2010)