May 1, 2014

easter and final goodbyes.

Saturday April 19:

This is my last blog post on Jerusalem. How did that happen so fast? Saturday was easter sabbath. The choir sang beautifully. It was our last sunday. I'm going to miss that view of looking out over the city each sabbath. Church here is the best! It was pretty cloudy out and even rained a little bit. We had a easter service that night where they read the scriptures from the last supper and the choir sang. Dr. Whitchurch spoke and it was a good time to reflect on our time here.
Sunday April 20:

Easter sunday we went to the easter sunrise at the garden tomb. We left at 5:15 in the morning and walked over. Celebrating easter was the best way to end my time in Jerusalem. A bunch of Christians filled the seats at the garden tomb. We got special front row seats, they love the mormons. They played live christian music. It was great. We had words to go along with it so we could sing. Some people were dancing and raising their hands to feel the spirit. It is interesting to watch people worship. There were some speakers. It was amazing being at the garden tomb on the day that he was risen! What a better way to celebrate easter? It will be an easter I will never forget.
We then had a picnic at a park and played frisbee. We had hot dogs in a pita and chips and such. It was such a nice day out. We also had a egg throwing contest. It was super fun then we had a easter egg hunt. It was such a chill day spending time with the people that I love. We were playing music and just relaxing with was nice after having finals.
We then went to the shuk for one last time. We found some pretty horses. Sunset club was great that night. We just danced the whole time.
sunset club
Monday April 21:

We had our last week of Jesus' life field trip on monday. We went to Bethany to see Lazarus' tomb and a few churches. Bethany is in the West Bank.
After we went to Bethphage to a Catholic Chapel where they believe Christ made his journey to the old city which we celebrated on Palm Sunday. We then saw some tombs that could have been Christ's tombs or that looked very similar to his.
Next was Dominus Flevit. We had a lesson here and this is the church that commemorates when Christ wept over the city. It is located on the Mt. of Olives. 
We then went to the last supper room and over looked dormition abbey.
The next church we went to was St. Peter in Gallicantu. This commemorates where Peter denied Christ three times. I have been to all of these places we went on monday but it was great being back and following Christ's life.
We then stopped at the Pater Noster. We all took naps there it was quite funny.
I got back to the center and we had a mini photo shoot! It was beautiful out! I tried not to take for granted every time I looked out to the city. I lived in a castle, really a castle. I love the Jerusalem center. It was my home.
always rofling with this girl
lol this is candid, we love eachother
Later that night we went out to the train station! I love that place! It was the end of passover so it was a party there! I'm so glad I went out that night because it was out last night to go out. There was a band playing music and lots of chairs lined out. There were these weird people dressed up and they were getting people to dance and of course we danced with them. We went up to the front and people were watching and filming us. It's so funny cause I am so comfortable here and I wouldn't have done that in the states. We also got free food, it was like some sort of bread. There was this guy with dreads playing his guitar and singing. He was way good. He sang hebrew and english songs. There was a screen of the words so you can sing along. There was also another mic to sing into. It was way fun we all sang to the english songs and danced of course. It was a perfect last night on the town.
Tuesday April 22:

Tuesday, my last field trip day. It was bitter sweet. I'm not going to miss those receivers though. We started the day by going to Orson Hyde Park. I love this park, such a special place. Belnap talked to us about Christ and his suffering. He gave us time there to ourselves. I wrote down thoughts in my journal. It was really our last time to stop and think about our time here while being there. I miss overlooking that city.
We then stopped by the garden of gethsemane. It was extra gorgeous that day I swear.
We then stopped by the Church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethseda. The church was built by the Crusaders in the 12th centurty next to where Christ healed a man here (John 5:5-9). The ruins of the Pool of Bethesda were next to the church.
We then went to the Catholic church of the Flagellation and Condemnation. This commemorate when Christ was arrested and crucified. They were beautiful churches.
We then had free time for two hours. I decided to get some mint lemonade and eat my lunch on top of the Austrian Hospice. It's also where we went on our first day in the city. It was so hot outside! So we went around and enjoyed the city and did a little shopping.
Next we went to the Garden Tomb for the last time. We had Belnap talk to us for the last time and then we had a testimony meeting. It was one of my favorite parts of the semester. Some people sang, and read poems and shared their last thoughts. It was very emotional. Emma Belnap got up first and she is just the cutest girl. She was balling and gave her testimony, she was the bravest of us all and got up first. I knew coming to the center that I would build relationships that would last a lifetime. Belnap left us with "Go out and make your own sacred space and cosmos". Now is the time for us to leave and make used what we learned here. He also said "You can make these the best three months but don't make them the BEST three months". Meaning that this shouldn't be the best time of our whole lives, we need to keep moving forward and have even better experiences.
Belnap family
We then had a great dinner made by our chefs. We had a bbq and special food, It was yummy. The chefs treated us! I was busy finished the slideshow for that night, haha it took a long time. Then we had sunset club. Some cats had babies at the center so there are the cutest kittens at the center! I DIED. Then it was memories night. Our last night at the center. It didn't feel like it was over. I played the slideshow, it turned out pretty well, I could have fixed it better but oh well. We then handed out shirts and had a dance party! I didn't stay too long cause I was tired. I walked around the center that night to try to take it all in. 
 Wednesday April 23:

Wednesday, my last day in Jerusalem. I couldn't believe it. A bunch of us decided to go to the dome of the rock in the morning. It was a gorgeous day out. The blue skies made the dome glow! We sat around there and enjoyed the temple mount.
matching with the couple
We then just walked around and had a chill last day in the city. I love how we could just sit and relax and enjoy it. We also did some last minute shopping.
I got one last falafel in the jewish quarter. We sat there for a while just talking and meeting people. 
bought shirts from him, he loved us
love this guy! he wants to marry a blonde mormon model
it's the photo guy!
last time leaving damascus gate! Some kid touched my lens so that's why there is a smear in all the rest of the pictures...
firas! best security guy!
We then all packed, it was stressful getting everything in my two bags. I had boughten so much! I'm broke now! Worth it though! YOJO, you're only in jerusalem once. It was sad seeing my room all empty, it felt like just yesterday that my roommates and I were just moving in. I remember that first night so well. We then had our last dinner at the oasis, which I was kind of happy about. I was getting pretty sick of the food. It was beautiful out. The sunset was perfect. We then all went up for sunset club. It was unreal that we were all leaving in about an hour or so. It was so emotional. We took lots of last pics. We all sang "God be with you until we meet again" in a big circle. It was great. We all danced and sang and enjoyed each other's company for one last time. We then said our goodbyes to all the people who weren't going on the plane ride home with us. And then all of a sudden they were yelling at us to get on the buses. NO. I did not want to leave! I was ready to leave but when it got down to it I wasn't. Life was perfect here. There were no worries. And then that was it we got on the buses and drove to the airport. Everyone was crying saying goodbye to each other.
I don't really know how to end my blog post and my last post on Jerusalem. I can't even explain how lucky I am to have this opportunity. I would never have thought that I would be able to go to the holy land. I would like to thank my parents for helping me get here. This study abroad brought lots of surprises. I had no idea what to expect when coming here. I was nervous about making friends, but I made the best of friends and I already miss them all so much. There is no other experience like this where I get to live with my best friends and travel around one of the most amazing cities in the world. There will always being a little piece of this city with me. I have learned oh so much here. About myself, the culture, holy land, it's history, the scriptures, and my Savior. I have been spiritually and culturally fed each day while being here. I have come to fall in love with this place and the people here. Who would have ever thought I would be obsessed with the middle east? I miss it so much already and all my experiences here. The people here are what make the place. I know one day I will come back. Elder Holland said "you don't need to come to the holy land to gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it ought to count for something." I made it count. I have a strong testimony that Christ walked this land and that he ministered here. He is my Savior, older brother and most of all friend. He suffered and atoned for my sins. I can't imagine the pain he must have felt. Heavenly Father loves us so much that he gave his only begotten son. I'm grateful for Mary and her willingness to have our Savior. She is a strong lady. Because of Christ I can live with my family forever. I know that Christ was resurrected and that he lives! If he had not risen, his suffering would have been pointless. Dr. Seely said this about pilgrimage, "3 and a half months ago we set off together on a pilgrimage - we have all come far seeking different things. In our pilgrimage three kinds of journeys: physical, intellectual, and spiritual - ONE JOURNEY. Seeking light and truth, seeking understanding, fulfillment, and intimately redemption - to know ourselves, our fellow travelers and our God better." Coming here I have had more clarity and peace. I have been so content with life. I know who I am, where I am and where I am going. I have learned to make my own sacred space and hope I continue to do so. I have had the best teachers here, I will never forget them. Jerusalem has changed the way I look at life and the people around me. I would have never thought 82 strangers could have been best friends, I love ALL of them. It just goes to show you really can be friends with everyone. Belnap said "Christ has faith in you". I have followed Christ's footsteps and I hope to continue to do so. Am I going to be the shepherd that finds that one lost sheep? I need to go out and feed his sheep. Jerusalem has forever changed me. 

Jerusalem I will never forget you <3


  1. I love this and you oh so much!!

  2. I love how you ended your blog. In deed, we all need to feed His sheep. I am so grateful that you had this opportunity and that you could feel the power of the Holy Ghost while visiting the Holy Land. Love you-mom

  3. What a BEAUTIFUL testimony! It has grown SO much. I could feel it in every picture and every word you wrote. I too thank your parents for their support and encouragement and giving you this unforgettable opportunity! You have terrific parents, who love you VERY much!