January 18, 2014

getting in the swing of things.

Okay so sad news, my iphoto freaked out and deleted my pictures from monday, our first fied trip. I was really sad. I have a few from that day that I got from others so I posted some of theirs. Our field trip was to get us more oriented with Jerusalem. We looked at different over looks around Jerusalem. Our center is North East located on Mt. Scopus. I still can't believe I live here. The center is beautiful.
Our first stop was Augusta Victoria Tower which is on the Mount of Olives and provides a 360 degree view of Jerusalem and Judea. It took 233 stairs to get to the top of the Augusta Victoria bell tower, which was definitely my work out for the day. The view was amazing. It is a Lutheran church that also includes a hospital. The church is beautiful, we sang hymns and it sounded beautiful. It's amazing how well music can bring the spirit.
Our second stop was seven arches hotel lookout. We rested there while Brother Seeley shared some words. Brother Seeley and Brother and sister woods went on the field trip with us. In this picture are my good friends, emma and alicia. This view is from the East. Our third stop I have no pictures of but we went to Tayelet which gives us a view from the south. It was beautiful. Brother Woods shared some words with us there. He is such a great teacher who really loves the scriptures. We also ate lunch there.
Our forth stop was the Bethlehem Overlook. This was my favorite stop. It was absolutely gorgeous and the spirit was SO strong there. We all sat around as Brother Woods spoke. We sang hymns and pondered the scriptures. Christ our Savior was born here and walked these plains. We will eventually go down to Bethlehem, It is in West Bank and it is crazy to see the wall and how close the west bank is. Lower down were sheep and little boys were herding them, what a crazy job.
there are so many cats here! they are kind of cute actually, but definitely so NOT touch them.
Our fifth stop was Nabi Samwil where they believe Prophet Samuel is buried. We went inside the synagogue and not going to lie it was so weird. Just not something we are used to. There was a men side and a womens side. We couldnt really see anything on the women's side. It was just a white wall and people were praying in this tiny room. I honestly had no idea what was going on. You could see a lot of places from this spot. 
On tuesday Chris got his mission call to INDIA! it was super awesome cause he got to open it in the Garden of Gethsename. How cool is that?! His heritage is from India and he wanted to go there so it is perfect and super special to him. I'm super proud of him!
The church was super pretty. They have the prettiest mosiacs. The spirit was very strong in there. You had to be very silent. It was very special and neat. It was crazy and so surreal being at the garden of gethsename. I have heard the story of Christ suffering in these gardens and i can't believe I am actually here. The garden wasn't as I expected though, it is pretty small and gated off. I was kind of sad that we couldn't walk on the grounds. It was really pretty though. We get to visit here or the Garden tomb every sabbath day. I know my Savior atoned for my sins and bled and died for me personally.
On the way home the cutest little girl wanted a picture with me. I love the kids here!
I love the dirty streets here. and i love taking pictures here. i cant wait to take more.
On thursday after classes we went out to the city and did the ramparts walk. It was such a nice day out. The walk around the old city wall was really fun and cool. We were also very hyper, i just love the people here!
Standing on top of Damascus Gate
Creeping on children.
soccer fields
the sunsets here are so pretty, this doesn't do it justice.
School is very intense here. I love my classes though. We have officially started all of them. Old testament with Brother woods. He knows the scriptures so well and is a really good teacher, he is also the bishop of our ward branch. Brother Seeley is our ancient near eastern studies. He is really funny and knows so much about hte middle east and archaeology and such. The class is pretty interesting. We have Palestine with Bashir Bashir. He is SO funny. It's hard to understand him sometimes with his heavy accent. He always calls us "my friends" and our class "a party". We have Ophir (we call him by his first name) for Israel/Islam. He is also very funny and a awesome teacher. All of my classes are super interesting. There is so much reading and information thrown at me that it is hard to intake everything. I have hebrew with Ms. Goldman. She is awesome. She has been teaching here for years. We already learned a lot our first day. I can tell the class is going to be super fun. We sing songs and draw and such. I'm really excited to learn hebrew. It might be a little challenging though. Shalom means hello/peace and shabbot shalom is what you say when you are bringing in the sabbath. 
           This week has just made me realize how much reading and homework we will have. luckily we only have most of these classes half of the semester. I am still in love with the oasis food. I can't get enough of it. I am making great friends and everyone here is such a good example to me. So for the jews they start the sabbath at sundown friday night. So yesterday night (friday night) all of us got to go to the western wall at sunset and that is where a lot of the jews go to bring in the sabbath. It was amazing! We weren't allowed to take pictures because it was a very holy time and place and so it would be disrespectful if we did. There were SO many people there! Everyone was in their sunday best. The boys had to wear keepas so go in. We wrote down prayers and put them in the wall. Everyone was praying and it was such a cool experience. If you ever go to Jerusalem do this!! Lots of people were singing and dancing in circles and we got to join them. The girls were SO inviting and nice! It was so fun to talk to them and hear their stories. It's crazy that they don't have a leader but all these people go and worship the same place. It's crazy how much they they care about the wall where their old temple used to stand. These people are amazing and I am starting to love the jews. We then watch indiana jones because part of it was filled in petra, where we are going! SO cool! I can't wait to go. Later that night we had the grand opening of "The Well" (because everyone needs to fill their canteen). It is our student food stand in the student lounge. We had the best dance party ever! It was seriously so fun. It is probably the highlight of my time here haha. It bonded us as a whole. We then played "mow" a card game you play with uno cards. It is so complicated that I can't even explain it. But i love it. I get a high off it. 
Saturdays (the sabbath) are always the best. Church is SO good. It is 10x better here I swear. Maybe that's bad to say but I really look forward to it. I want to tell you a story about a women who visited out ward today. She was born and grew up in Jerusalem. She was not a member but she saw an ad for a byu scholarship and she applied for it and got accepted. She didn't know why but she felt like she should go to byu. and her family thought she was crazy. She then was converted at byu. She moved back to Israel and the only church ward she could go to was the one at the center. She was really determined to go to church and she needed a permit to get into Jerusalem because she is a palestinian, and you have to live in jerusalem if you are a palestinian. So she had to go 1.5 hours to get to a whole in the wall so she could climb through. But before she did she had to look for soldiers and had to make sure they weren't looking. Then she had to run and climb over a 10 foot wall and then run some more in a field. She then had to find a bus to take her to the jerusalem center. And not all buses would let her on. She did this for 14 years ever sabbath day until in 2007 she got caught by the guards and was almost arrested. She had so much dedication. I think this story is just amazing. I feel guilty now for the days I didn't want to go to church. Then she got a job with the united nations so she could live in Jerusalem and she then was relief society president. She then felt like she should quit her job and everyone in the ward thought she was crazy. She then felt like she should serve a mission but she didn't know why. She just got back from her mission. She was at church today because she got a 3 day permit. She probably won't be able to come back to church for a while. She is truly an amazing women who touched my heart. I love Jerusalem more and more everyday. I am learning so much about the cultures here. Each day it surprises me more and I can't wait for the rest of my journey.

song of the week/semester: Jerusalem: Matisyahu


  1. Ok, I love to read your blog! Love to hear you testify of Christ! You are amazing! Glad you are enjoying every bit of Jerusalem!