Thursday, July 30, 2009
The past while has been amazing. We just got back from the shepherds field trip. It was so great we went to a shepherd’s field outside of Bethlehem and read scriptures that apply to the birth of the savior, and we sang Christmas Carols. It was such a great time to reflect on everything I have learned about the savior since being here. I have always known that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world and He atoned for my sins and died on a cross for me. That he grew up in a Nazareth and he taught, and preached in Galilee where the sea obeyed his words “peace be still”. I know that He is the son of God and that He was resurrected. After coming here I have learned about how people living during Christ’s time would interact with him. I learned that he was a devout Jew who kept all the laws that Jews observed during that time. I also learned about how compassionate and loving he is through his miracles. When the soldiers are going to stone the woman who has committed adultery the savior comes and tells them let him who has no fault cast the first stone and they all leave. He then stoups down to console her and tells her that her sins have been forgiven. He has so much compassion those he stoups down to her. I love the use of that word and the imagery it portrays. I know that He stoups down for each and everyone of us when we are in need of comfort. He is always there, and He will never leave us! I love the savior so much and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn of him and draw near unto his words.
We went to Jordan which was incredible!!!!! We got to go to Petra…yes like in Indiana Jones. It was so cool there not only was there a treasury but if you keep on walking there is an amazing monetary and there is also and alter on top of one of the mountains that you can hike up to and the view is incredible!!! We also went to Jerash which is an ancient roman city in Jordan. The Amp theater they have there is amazing!!! And it is so well preserved. The city of Amman which is also the capital is very westernized. They have a HUGE mall. I think it was 3 stories…maybe 4, and they had pretty much all American shops kind of crazy cause I hadn’t seen a real mall in months!!!
We then came back from Jordan and had finals the next week which caused the all the center to discuss only 3 topics. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict and every date, resolution, intifada…anything involved with that. Anything in the Old Testament (which resulted in many bible jokes….that we all find hilarious, but they are really not funny at all). And any thing Jewish….I think there is a strong possibility that I may know more about Judaism and the birth of the religion (which we found out can not be pinpointed to one event of cause…like almost everything else in Judaism) than probably the majority of American Jews know. Oh also we would pass secret notes in brother skinners class in Hebrew, which in theory wouldn’t really work because he speaks Hebrew…anyway that was that!!! After finals finished up there was much rejoicing by all the students!!
Then we got to go to GALILEE!!!!!! Galilee was so amazing. We went to the Mt of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Caesarea Philippi, Caesarea Maritime, on a boat ride on the sea of Galilee The City of Dan (at the city of Dan we got to see the 3 arched gate that was the same gate Abraham would have passed through), I got to eat a whole fish with the head and eyes still on it…and it was delicious. We stayed at the Kibbutz Ein Gev which was right on the water probably about 100 yards from the Sea of Galilee. We also had a lot of free time to swim and enjoy swimming and scripture study. I loved being able to sit on the beach and just read my scriptures and write in my journal for hours. The experience was amazing and I think one of the highlights of my trip. I received so much insight on how the Savior lived his life, not just what He taught but also the customs of the time and how other people interacted with him. I am so grateful that we have Brother Andrew Skinner, and Brother Kent Brown as two of our professors and mentors here. I have learned so much from them. And I am so grateful for their willingness to share what they have learned after years and years of studying.
I also gave blood yesterday…..it was good, and I didn’t get sick or anything!!!! YEAH then that night we had an informal talent show. There are 8 red head girls in the program which is crazy!! So Elise decided to teach us an Irish dance and it was great….I tried to keep a very serious face the whole time but I don’t know how that worked out…haha
We also have been putting together a book of reflections that we are going to get bound when we go back to the states. It is compiled of everyones insights at different sights, or different things that you have learned or just something you realized is import while here. Here is the paper I wrote. I wrote about the influence we have as Latter Day Saints in the Holy Land, and what we need to do with this experience we have been given to give back to the community that gives so much to us.
Through my experiences while living in the Holy Land I have learned what an incredibly unique group of people we really are. We all have been told growing up that we are a peculiar people. We stand up for things that most kids our age wouldn’t think twice about. We not only stand out physically based on our dress standards, but also our way of life and mindset is different than most people in this stage of life. Being in the old city I feel like we stick out even more, not in comparison to the locals but the tourists. I find this as one of the biggest compliments we could receive while being here. I have felt the impact that we have had on the people here through slight comments in passing.
Rachel Curtis and I were walking out of the Garden Tomb as we were leaving a man selling beads standing near the exit stopped and asked us if the Mormons would like to buy a necklace. Rachel told him no thank you and then asked how he knew we were Mormon. He told us that he could see it in our faces. Another time I have been effected by the locals comments was when Karyn, Matt and I were making our way to go to the Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension a man standing in the entrance to an over look of the city from the Mount of Olives asked us if we were Mormon. Matt turned his head to tell him that we were. As we then began to walk away he said God bless you. This simple statement got me thinking. People really do notice us, and they really do care about us. We bring something to the table here that is unique and different. I don’t think it’s possible to put your finger on it, but it seems to be a mix of respect of others religion and practices, while still standing up for our own, and the ability to give people time and allow them to get to know us and what we are and who we are without being able to say it.
Another interesting experience I had was while on the Kotel Tunnel Tour. Our tour guide reminded us of a very important task we have due to the nature of our stay here in the Holy Land he said “While you are discovering Jerusalem and Discovering Israel you are bringing back what you study here back to where you live in the west coast and North America. It’s so important, and most people don’t know exactly what’s happening. They know what the newspapers say and that they need to do this and that. Even my grandfather, I went to visit him in Canada a year ago he said you are Jewish you don’t know anything you need to bring the western wall and bring it over here to Montreal, pray in Canada have peace and that’s it enough fighting. But it’s so complicated…thank you grandfather.”
After listening to what he had to say I realized that we not only have a duty as Mormons, but also as Americans who have been given this opportunity to not just visit the sights for a short while, but to truly engulf ourselves in the culture and learn about this conflict from both points of view. Being able to be here and have the opportunity to learn and understand the conflict from the people it affects the most is truly remarkable. One thing that I have decided to do with the knowledge and understanding I have gained while at eh Jerusalem Center is to share it. I know before I left I got mixed opinions on what to expect and watch out for while I was preparing for my stay in the Holy Land. It was mostly full of westernized stereotypes that have been portrayed by the media, and now I realize that it only covered a very small percent of both parties involved. I fell that I have been given the opportunity to share what is really going on here in order to clear up some peoples mixed up views of the Middle East.
When I signed up for this program I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My expectation of what the program would be like was to have a great summer, learn about other religions as well as my own, and grow as an individual. I had no idea I would learn of the huge significance I have as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints while I was in Israel a place that allows me to speak nothing of my religion. While being here I have more deeply understood how closely my interactions are looked at. While we are students at the Jerusalem Center we are constantly being watched and observed by everyone in the city. Through our experiences here we can touch others lives without even knowing it.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Stephanie, Me, Emily, Alyssa, and Cali at the pools of Bathesda
After we were running around and not so quite we noticed the quite sign......OPS
We also went to Davids harp which is really cool. Its all atached to this huge walking bride. We had alot of fun playing on it
We also found a turkish toilet in the getty museum.... it was pretty exciting!!!
Savannah and Me after the dance party
So Regan, Emily, Brent and I decided we wanted to go through the "birth canal" cave so we went over to it and there were a ton of kids in the entrance so we had to time it right to be able to get in between the groups of kids. We got in and then it came to a room with a ton of pigeon holds, and we were suposed to climb up the wall using the holes and then climb out the rest of the way. So Brent goes up first and then helps Emily and Regan up, while Emily Regan were going up the others that were down were helping by suporting their feet if they needed it. So i had to be the last one to go up and I can not seem to get all the way to the top because my feet and hands keep sliping out of the holds. and I sliped of the wall and i was a little worried I hurt my ankel, but it is fine. So i give it another try and brent stretches down to reach my hand, luckily I was able to reach his hand and he was able to pull me all the way up the wall. It was a little scary....but I made it!!!! I could not believe that Brent was able to dead lift me up the wall.....then we climbed out of the cave and it was fun...such a tight squeeze....I loved spalunking though, it was great
Another Great experience I had at the field trip was with my bus, we sat and talked about the story of David and Goliath and one of the things I noticed that I over looked before was in 1 Samuel 17:39 "and David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him." I had never really looked at this scripture, but Ashley told us that we all have different strengths, and Davids strength was with his sling. His strengths were different than Saul's, and David could not use the strengths of another to kill Goliath. He needed to rely on his own strengths that he had been building upon and practicing. We all have different strengths and weaknesses what we use to defeat our goliaths in life and it is going to be different from another persons. and we need to use our own strengths in order to defeat the road blocks in our lives.
Friday, May 29, 2009
This is in the Luxor Temple. It is a picture of people belly dancing...and I thought I would give it a try!!!
We hiked Mt Sinai on our last day in Egypt. It was great!!! We had to wake up at 2:00 in the morning (which was not the high light) and drive to the base of the mountain and hicked up to the top, and with my luck the battery on my flashlight did within about 40 min. So i hiked alot of it with Trisha, who's battery on her flashlight was also about to give out....but we made it up. The view from the top was amazing!!!! The colors when the sun rose were so vivid!!!!Orange and red and blue.
This is on top of Mt Sinai.....all the other pictures I look NASTY!!!!! so here is one I like, cause you can't see my face.
Here are some of the girls in front of the Alabaster mosque in Cairo
For those who didnt know I have a twin.........I know were identical!!! Its like the parent trap all over again!!! haha
Here we are on a feluca ride across the nile over to our camel ride.
Jessica, Danny, Me, Kyle, Mandie
This is were the Papyrus was found that Joseph Smith Translated into Abraham. That was fun to go see. the guards there were really funny about us going down there, Cause it isnt really a tourist sight for most. but it was fun and I got a picture so I was excited!!!!
Caryn, Me, Emily and Mandi in Cairo in front of the sphinx and a PYRAMID!!!!
Really cool arches in anchient ruins on our way to Egypt
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
This is our group in front of Judean Desert
This is a view from a tiny little patio on the side of the monestary you can kind of get an idea of how high up the monestary was. It was a pretty good walk!!!
Kristen and I after we walked up to the doors of the monestary.....a little sweaty!!!!
Me in front of the ruins where the wall came tumbling down....its kinda hard to see
We just had Forum a few hours age, and for forum today Governor Huntsman from Utah came and spoke to us and we got to chat with him for a while. We also got to hear from the Attorney General of Utah who was one of the Key players in getting the Jerusalem Center re-opened. It was great to have them here today
Friday, May 8, 2009
During my very short experience so far I think I have grown more as a person and a Daughter of God than ever before. I have been able to recieve greater understanding of many different things in my life. I fell so blessed to be here where the savior performed his minestry
In rouins underneath what the city is today
Me and My Roomate Alyssa out side Damascus Gate. Later on in the day the streets and steps get filled with people selling stuff. Its crazy!!!! Ill Have to get a picture of it on another day
Megan, me and Mary Lu in front of the white building which is where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept. The Previous day we had a seminar taught by Brother Andrew Skinner who is a religious genious and also my Ancient Near Easter Studies teacher.
this is a picture of ruins of what used to be homes near the temple.
I think this is one of my favorite pictures so far. I found this while exploring in the Old City
This is a view from up above on the Rampart Walk. Jaffa Gate Is Directly In Front of me, Which is the main enterence from West Jerusalem into the Old City
The incredible view from my balcony at sun set