Journey to Bethlehem Via Spokane, Wenatchee and Yakima
Churches in Spokane, Wenatchee and Yakima, Wash., each host a huge event every December called Journey to Bethlehem, a living presentation of the Nativity that touches many lives and changes them forever.
The churches offer this event free to their communities. More than 4,800 followed the star (actually a searchlight) to the Yakima Church's Journey. Spokane had 4,978 guests, and Wenatchee had 3,529 guests in this, its second year.
After taking her children through Spokane's Journey to Bethlehem the first time, Sara* joined another group that was just beginning and journeyed through again. After the second time through, she walked to the church and asked to speak to the pastor's wife. Shelley Blake was summoned, and Sara said, "I'm looking for a church to join where my children are taught about Jesus."
Blake reports that probably half of the people who came through this year were brand new, and many said they came because they saw the huge, bright star hovering over the re-created Bethlehem.
The excitement in the churches just before the event is electrifying as hundreds of cast and crew members perform a dress rehearsal. New this year in Yakima was a planted "tax evader" who was hauled off to jail from the tax collector's tent. Spokane added the story of the wise men at the beginning of the journey, and halfway through guests saw the widow searching for her lost coin in her little house.
Journey to Bethlehem also blesses beyond those who attend. A donation box at Yakima's event allowed people to donate to the Union Gospel Mission. In Spokane, a Second Harvest Food Bank container received donations from thankful guests who felt it a privilege to be a part of this yearly re-enactment of the time when Jesus was born.
*This is a pseudonym.