Category Archives: Travel

Israel 2023 – Day 1

Caesarea (Israel 2023)

A quick glimpse from Israel. After a long plane ride we were all tired, but chose to spend some time at Caesarea. This is a city mentioned 20+ times in the Bible. After BEING HERE we’ll never read the book of Acts the same way again!

Philip lived here, Peter came here, and Paul did both prison time and preaching time in Caesarea. He went through many actual trials, but all those hard times brought him to a place where he was able to testify to kings, governors, and influential men and women. God will do the same for you. It was cool preaching where he preached and walking where he walked – now my prayer is to walk LIKE he walked (Philippians 3:17; Acts 25:23).

Israel 2018

Just returned from another absolutely amazing trip to Israel. I’m still blown away that we were able to take 35 people from Calvary Chapel El Monte!  I am so blessed that we have a body who loves Israel and whose heart is set on pilgrimage (Psalm 84:5).

Some people wonder why we go to Israel. Let me give you six reasons off the top of my head.

1. It adds another dimension to your Bible. You will now read about cities, mountains, valleys, and places that you’ve actually seen with your own eyes, touched with your own hands, walked with you own feet, and even kissed with your own lips (I couldn’t help but kiss the southern steps where Jesus walked and taught). When you actually walk where Jesus walked, you read those portions of Scripture with a deeper dimension, a connection to the illumination, that you can only have by having been there. Have you ever heard that saying, “You had to be there?” It’s true!

2. The fellowship with others on the same pilgrimage is indescribable! Discovering it together, seeing the looks on people’s faces when they see Jerusalem for the first time. The Sea of Galilee, Joppa Port, the Dead Sea, the rock at Caesarea Philippi, or the cave they believed that led to Hell, as well as the caves of En Gedi. The Garden of Gethsemane, the view from the Mount of Olives, Calvary, and the Garden Tomb (it’s still empty). Experiencing all this with other believers creates the bond of a lifetime. There’s an inherent fun and fellowship you cannot find, literally, anywhere else in the world.

3. We learn so much about Israel and Judaism. We’re always blessed with excellent tour guides who teach us all along the way. If you think about it, in one sense, Christianity is building upon the foundation of Judaism. It’s the fulfillment of the promises, it’s the substance of the shadows, it’s the completion of the covenant. It really is beneficial to our Christian lives to know as much as we can about Jewish life. The Tanach, the Mishnah, the Talmud, the Mizveh, the Phylacteries, the teachings of the Rabbis provide a wealth of symbolism that benefits our walk as Christians when we take the time to discover them. I believe that in one sense, God still speaks to us through the Jews.

4. We learn about history. As we visit ancient buildings, ruins, excavations, and engage in discussions we will be blessed and challenged by the rich history we have as a church and even the bigger picture of the history of mankind.

5. There’s something about those tangible expressions of faith. Or perhaps a better way to say it is that sometimes “touching it” brings out our faith. In my corresponding picture I’m at the Western Wall. Every time I touch the wall God touches me – and the tears begin to flow followed by prayers that seem to come from the heart in ways that I can’t express anywhere else. Oftentimes in the Bible we see people “touching” in order to stimulate their faith (Matthew 9:20-21; 14:36; Mark 6:56) for Christians today, a trip to Israel embodies that “touch.”

6. God blesses those who bless His people (Genesis 12:3). A pilgrimage to Israel is one way of supporting the Jews, and God’s promise is true, He will bless those who take the time and invest their resources to bless Israel.

Pray about coming with us next time. As Pastor Chuck Smith used to say, “A trip to Israel is the equivalent to two years of seminary.” Amen! Papa Chuck was so right!

Psalm 48:8 (NLT) “We had heard of the city’s glory, but now we have seen it ourselves— the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. It is the city of our God; He will make it safe forever.”

Your brother in Christ,

  • Manny


Cambodia Schmitz Family

This was our 3rd time in Cambodia and it seems like each time it simply gets better and better! What a blessing to preach the gospel, to teach the Word, to visit orphans, to provide benevolence to the poor, to fellowship with absolutely amazing Christians, to encourage missionaries (and be encouraged), and to get “zapped” with God’s work through us, yes – but primarily in us!

You might not be called to GO as a long-term missionary, but you are called to SEND (Romans 10:13-15). And if you can’t go LONG-TERM, there’s no better way to be shaken out of your comfort zone, than leaving your time zone, find out what missions is all about, and go on a SHORT-TERM mission’s trip. Really pray about it!

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”

(The 1st photo is of a group of Pastors, Teachers, Leaders, and their wives, I had the privilege of sharing with, in a remote village close to Vietnam. The 2nd photo is the Schmitz family, our dear missionaries in Cambodia – please remember them in your prayers!)

Cambodia – Day 2


What a blessing today was. At 7am we embarked on a 2 1/2 hour journey to Prey Veng, to do a medical outreach. Simple things we take for granted like vitamins, aspirin, ointment, antibiotics…shoes – are things these people don't have. One missionary told me that the province of Prey Veng is the poorest place in Cambodia. What an absolute blessing and honor it was to serve these beautiful people! You've got to check out the photos (Cambodia – day 2).

One incident that stood out, was a little boy whose feet were infected; some of the team washed and treated the bottom of his feet, but then I noticed he went on his way, without shoes…it broke my heart. We've decided to bring shoes to the children when we return to Prey Veng on Wednesday.

The photo shown here is a young man named Rachna, he's 18 years old, and today he prayed to receive Christ as His Savior! Praise God!!!! The other young man is Steven, he is a missionary here, and a translator.

We ended the night with a time of worship and the study of the Word with the youth…what an absolute blessing it was…so many youth in the middle of this big-time Buddhist stronghold, learning of and worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for you prayers….and please, continue to pray!

Cambodia – Day 1


We finally made it to Cambodia! It took us 27 hours to get here, but man, is it worth it! It was a long journey, but the Lord had me check my heart – how difficult it is sometimes to get out of our comfort zone, sometimes we need to get out of our time zone.

Today we got to know the area a little bit, we got into the Word, spent some time in prayer and worship it was so cool. We met so many beautiful people; The weather's a little hot and humid, and completely perfect.

I thought I would post a real quick video on us getting ready for a medical outreach tomorrow…we spent some time packing medicine and things we're going to be giving to the people – we leave for the village of Prey Veng tomorrow at 6am…please keep it in prayer!

Enjoying Family/God’s Creation


A couple of weeks ago, I was blessed to go on a family beach trip over to Newport and, as usual, we had a great time together (for some reason we always go to Newport – we’ve all come to recognize it as a family tradition – not really sure why – but we just can’t break it 🙂

For me, this is the best!  Family-time (without distractions), and simply-time to kick-back and enjoy the wonder of God’s creation.  I realize not everyone appreciates the beach as much as I do…but there’s just something about the feeling of sand between your toes, the smell of the ocean in your nose, the sound of crashing waves in your ears, and the view of the coastline in your eyes, and then…when it comes to a close, the setting of the sun (don’t you think it’s awesome?).  

I want to encourage you to do your best to enjoy your family and friends, and as the days go by (as time flies), try not to miss the wonder and beauty of the things that God has made for us to see – how great He is – the Maker of oceans and mountains, and water and fire, and sand and sky, of leaves and love, of you and me.  Apart from Him we’re not much…but in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are infinitely valuable and breathtakingly beautiful. 

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20

2009 Senior Pastor’s Conference

I’m blessed to be here at the conference. The Lord is teaching me so much. Pray that I would listen, learn and live out loud all the things that He’s showing me.

I’m always so blown away to see the absolutely amazing work that God has done through the Calvary Chapel movement! Effective work is being done all around the world.

This year’s theme is “Hold Fast the Word” – from the book of 2 Timothy. 2009 Senior Pastor's Conference

A Day in the Snow


I was super blessed this last Tuesday to be able to go skiing with my son Aaron.  It was his first time skiing; and for me, it was the first time in about 20 years.  We decided to take a lesson and then venture out in faith.  

As you might expect, there was a lot of falling going on, (I can't tell you how many times I picked Aaron up) as a matter of fact, Aaron took a terrible spill that left him with a bloody abrasion on the right side of his face.  But, in spite of all the painful spills, when all was said and done, we both had had an awesome time, enjoying each other and the beauty of God's creation.   

I am so grateful to God for giving me this time with my son…and I just hope and pray that Aaron knows, he has a heavenly Father who will always be there to lift him up whenever he experiences the "falls" in life.  It's sometimes hard to comprehend, but his heavenly Father loves him with a love, infinitely more than I do (and I love him soooo much).  

Lord, thank You so much for being our Father, for loving us the way that You do, and for Your gracious willingness to lift us up when we experience the setbacks in life.  

"You pushed me violently, that I might fall, but the Lord helped me.  The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation."  - Psalm 118:13-14  

"He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap." – Psalm 113:7