April 30, 2014

up in galilee.

Okay so I am way behind on my blog, sorry about that! I just got so busy by the end of the semester. About a month ago we went to the galilee! I was looking forward to it all semester cause I have heard such great things about it. The Galilee is northern Israel and is very green!

Thursday March 27:

We left on Thursday and first stopped at Beth Shean. It was an important crossroads city throughout ancient times. In the Roman, New Testament, and Byzantine eras, it was known as Scythopolis and once again was a political and cultural center, being the chief city of the Decapolis. It was a huge city! It was really cool. We had seen so many ruins though.
bath house
ancient toilets
We then stopped in Nazareth. Nazareth is a small village in Lower Galilee. Today it contains churches that honor Jesus' early life and mission. We went to a synagogue where Christ could have used to taught at. Brother Belnap gave us a lesson in there and we sang some hymns. 
We then went to The Church of the Annunciation which commemorates the angel Gabriel's announcement to the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God. The church was very beautiful. It had mosaics from all over the world of the virgin mary.
America's mosaic of Mary
We then had a little free time in Nazareth to explore the city
We then stopped by Mount Arbel for the beautiful view of the sea of galilee. It was beautiful. We contemplated there and Belnap let us have our own time and think about what we wanted to get out of galilee. It was a good time to write in my journal and read the scriptures.
We finally got to a resort in En Gev and we were all so excited! It was beautiful! I thought it would be more beachy but it was kind of rocky and had grass. It was still great. It was a lake not an ocean duh. A kibbutz owns the hotel so it was a little different. We had four people in a room and our rooms were so nice, right on the water. We all had tvs, a kitchen and couches. It was great. I loved the feel of the place. There were also hammocks along the beach. The cafeteria food was really good too. The weather was very warm, about mid 70s to mid 80s. I was so excited to be there for 10 days with 81 of my best friends! Sadly our classes were pretty split up, we switched up free days and field trip days.
 Friday March 28:

The next day we had our western galilee field trip. We went to the town Akko and it was beautiful. It was right on the water and it was a beautiful day out. I loved walking on the water.We went to a turkish bath and watched an hilarious video. We got to go to some crusader ruins which included a dining hall that Marco Polo ate in.
We then went to Sepphoris. Sepphoris was the Roman capital of Galilee before Tiberias. This city later hosted members of the Sanhedrin, who completed the Mishnah here.
After dinner we had a bonfire and this might have been one of my favorite parts of the trip. I just remember everyone being so content. I looked around the fire at everone's faces and everyone was so happy. We were singing songs and just talking.
 Saturday March 29:

Saturday was shabbat and we got to sleep in and relax in the morning! It was great! I got to read the New Testament on the coast of Galilee. I loved it! We then went to the Jordan River which is were Christians come to get baptized. It was amazing how many people were there. It was a beautiful spot.
We then had church in tiberias and top of a hill. It has the best view! The building is owned by the church and the branch president and his wife live there.
Sunday March 30:

Sunday we had class in the morning and some free time. Sadly it was pretty windy out, but we still laid out. It was really funny how windy it was, it was still relaxing. In the morning it was so windy and it reminded me of in the New Testament when the sea of galilee was very windy and stormy.
We then went to a restaurant out on the water. They served full fish, with the eyes and everything. I'm not a fan a fish so I was too scared to get it but others did. I just got grilled fish, it was actually really good. 
We then drove to Tiberias and got to shop and get icecream. It was fun being out. Sadly I lost all my pictures from that night but it was really fun.
 Monday March 31:

Monday we had a half day Golan field trip. We first went to Gamla which was one of the last Galilean citites the Romans besieged and destroyed. It was on a large hill that we had to climb down and hike up to. We were lucky it was all green and sooo beautiful.
little mermaid sitting on a dolman (stone table)
We then went to Bethsaida which is where Peter and Andrew were from. We then went to a fisherman's house and Brother Seely talked to us about how everything is about the people and I really liked that.
Later we went canoeing on the Jordan River. It was SO fun! I loved it! I was with Paris and Phil, the couple. Everyone was tipping eachothers canoes and spashing eachother. We got to climb a tree and jump off of it. There were also rope swings. It was way fun.
 Tuesday April 1:

Tuesday we had class in the morning. I really like the way Belnap teaches. I loved studying about Christ's life where He ministered. We then had an option to go on a hike and I went. We hiked to waterfalls in the Golan Heights. We had a tour guide and got to swim in the last waterfall. It was freezing! But it was so fun! I was probably in the water for 20 minutes. It felt good cause it was hot outside. The hike was beautiful and green. At night we had ANE class, which we had for the next three nights.
Wednesday April 2:

Wednesday we had the Upper Galilee field trip. We first went to the Tel of Hazor. It is the capital of the greatest of the greatest of the nothern Canaanite city-states, conquered by Joshua, became one of Solomon's chariot cities and was refortified by Ahab before the Assyrians destroyed it in the 8th century BC.
We then went to Tel Dan. It was gorgeous and unique with all the trees. 
Dan's gate
We then went to Caeserea Philippi, which is the site of Peter's testimony of Christ. In Matthew 15:13-20, it says "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, upon this rock I will build my church". We then went to the Banias waterfalls which was very large!
We then went to the Nimrod Fortress, near Mt. Hermon. It was super fun exploring the castle 
We lastly went to Har Bental which is one of a series of volcanic mounds in the northern Golan Heights. From the top you can see the road that leads to Damascus and recall the New Testament story of Saul's conversion. You could also see the Syrian border a few miles out. It was crazy how close we were.
It was brooke's bday!
some boys built a jerusalem sand castle - it was amazing!
 Thursday April 3:

On thursday was class and a free day. It was funny and so nice out. It was fun swimming and chilling on a hammock. Life was so good in the galilee. We just got to relax, read the scriptures, and learn about Christ. I love galilee.
Friday April 4:

Friday we had the Jezreel Valley field trip. We first went to Megiddo which was a fortified city on a hill that was long ruled by the Canaanites, whore sacred area contained four temples. it became one of Solomon's chariot cities and was later refortified by Jeroboam and Ahab.
We then stopped at our last tel, tel Jezreel!
We then went to Mt. Tabor which might be the Mount of Transfiguration. Mt. Hermon might possibly be as well. We took buses up there and it had a really pretty church. We sat and sang hymns and the spirit was so strong. I love how we can bring the spirit where ever we go. People also stop and record us, I love it.
Met some cute kids
We then had some time to relax and swim on the beach and then got the opportunity to go visit the kibbutz. It was really interesting. Kibbutz's are a jewish community where they make their own money and all give their profit to the community. They have school there, they eat there meals there and socialize there. It's literally their life and live there their whole life if they want to. They do their laundry together and all have their own numbers that they put on their clothes to wash.  
Saturday April 5:

Saturday was sabbath and we started the day out by going to the Mount of the Beatitudes. The Mount of the Beatitudes is the traditional location for the Sermon of the Mount. We had a great lesson on the sermon on the mount there. Laura and I wrote down our testimonies on a piece of paper and stuck it in a tree where we saw a bunch of other notes in the tree.
We then went to the tagbgha church which commemorates the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and the other honors the Savior's command for Peter to "feed my sheep".
We then stopped by the church of St. Peter Primacy. This is the traditional site where the resurrected Christ visits his disciples who were fishing in the sea. It was here that Christ served them breakfast on this table and when the Savior asked peter three times, "lovest thou me?" When Peter responded affirmatively, Christ commanded Peter to "feed my sheep."                                                                                    

We then went to a greek orthodox church. It had beautiful grounds and the church was very unique and colorful. There were peacocks on the grounds which was fun.
We then went to Capernaum which was the home of Peter, Andrew and possibly Matthew. Jesus moved to Capernaum at the beginning of his ministry and referred to the town as "His own city". We got to sit by the water and think about what Christ did in this town.
We then had church in Tiberias and we all were there. We had a fast and testimony meeting and the spirit was so strong there. I learn so much from my classmates. It was an amazing day following Christ's life. We then went to see the ginosar boat which is an ancient boat that was found on the sea of galilee which could have been one of the boats during Christ's time because it dates back to 100BC to AD 70. 
We then got to ride on one of the Jesus Boats. It was so beautiful on the boat. The sun was going down and it was so fun being on the boat with all of my best friends. Belnap then talked to us about Peter and Jesus.
"And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus"
I looked forward to the sunsets in Galilee every night. They are beautiful!
Monday April 6:

The next and last day in Galilee was great. We first went to Mt. Carmel which was the setting for Old Testament episodes, such as Elijah's challenge to King Ahab and the priests of Baal. 
We then stopped at Haifa. Haifa includes the Baha'i gardens and has a great view. Haifa was a beautiful town. I wish I could have explored it more! We also stopped at Haifa cemetery which a lot of LDS missionaries and church members were buried there. Elder Spori was a missionary there in Haifa and the Spori (Art) building at BYUI is named after him which is really cool cause that's where I have all my classes.
We then went to Caesarea Maritim which is a splendid city built by Herod the Great. Caeserea was a field of missionary labor for Philip, Peter and Paul. It was along the Mediterranean coast and it was the most beautiful city. We got to walk on the water on the coral. We were all so tempted to go back and swim cause it was hot and the water was gorgeous.
We then stopped by the aquaducts down the road. We were all wishing we could have been in our swimsuits cause the weather was so nice.
Sadly we had to go back to jerusalem, the trip went by way too fast! It was so relaxing and such a spiritual uplifting experience there. Every night I loved hang out by the beach. It was nice to contemplate about Christ and Peter. Peter had so much faith in Christ to walk on water. The savior said if we follow him he will make us fishers of men. I hope that I can also be fishers of men and bring men unto Christ. He is such a good example and love and hope. I will never forget my experience on the sea of galilee!

1 comment:

  1. Pictures are amazing! Thanks for taking the time to complete the blog!