We had two last days of field trips this week- both days were dedicated to the last week of Christ's life.
It was such a wonderful experience. I have become so much closer to my Savior than I have ever imagined possible.
I wish I could describe the growth that has occurred over the last 4 months, but I just can't. I know that I am no where near perfect but my testimony has grown and I think that is something that I can be glad about.
Anyways, we started at the tomb of Lazarus.
This is the view from Dominus Flevit ("the Lord wept")
Tiny church but a magnificent view.
Overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. Dont worry- this isn't posed at all.
Today was our last field trip... and of course we woke up to the cold abyss outside! It was seriously freezing. I was not prepared for this weather! The field trip was cancelled for the day except for the garden Tomb. Which was awesome- I had the chance to hear the sweet testimonies of my classmates at the place of the commemoration of the resurrection. Nothing tops that.
I just want to end with saying that I know that my Savior lives and that He loves me more than I can comprehend. He loves us so much that He suffered all of our sins, heartaches, sadnesses and negativity. I am so grateful for that sacrifice. I will never be able to repay the debt but my Heavenly Father and my Savior love me anyways and will welcome me with open arms. I will strive to live my life in a way that will permit me to one day kiss their feet and wash them with my tears.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to come on this study abroad. All I can say that He has a plan for me- I am so grateful that my parents are so willing to help me and that they push me to become a better person everyday.
I will never forget what I have learned here!
I know that these posts are long overdue... and it seems like so long ago at this point but heres a few pics of our dead sea field trip!!
Overlooking Masada (One of Herod's fortresses)
Hiking up to the En Gedi
Linds and I! I miss this girlie
NBD just floating in the dead sea! This was one of the coolest experiences ever.... you get in and its completely different than anything I have ever felt before. You literally float! Its insane.
Today was our last full day here in Jerusalem. What is happening?! I swear we are in a time warp. This cant be real I swear. I will be home in America on Thursday. Today is Sunday. YIKES. Tomorrow and Tuesday we have full day field trips... it will be full of cool sites but it will be exhausting I know.
Anyways, today was definitely a good day.
We started off with a trip to the roof of the Holy Sepulcher. It was awesome and so clean!! I never get to see Jeru like that. It was a nice change.
Looking down at all the peoples.
Skylor and I on the lookout
We went out to West Jeru (Jewish) and got Hanukah donuts. Um hi, they were the bomb.com
After our trip to WJ we headed straight over to wait in line to see this gorgeous monument. Im honestly gonna miss seeing this everyday.
We finished our journey with a few last minute shopping stops and a quick pitstop at the Holy Sepulcher, this is the place where Christ was supposedly crucified- we had about 30 secs in there but it was still way cool!
Im going to be honest. Before I came to Jerusalem I was SUPER bummed about having to have my 21st birthday away from my friends and family. It was weird for me to think that I wouldn't get to celebrate this monumental birthday with people that I didn't really like.
HA HA HA.
Although I didnt get to spend my special day with my family, I did get to spend it with Skylor. And it turned out to be one of the best birthdays that I have ever had.
First of all, I woke up to all these cute signs that my roommates made for me! There are seriously the cutest. They also put a list of 10 reasons why they love me in my bathroom drawer. Seriously... the cutest.
The day was pretty chill- I didn't work on any homework (slap my wrist why dont ya) and Skylor and I watched Lord of the Rings. I loved it! We wanted to go and celebrate at the waffle bar but since it was a friday they closed earlier (Shabbat begins at sundown and the waffle bar was in West Jerusalem). We waited until our field trip that night to the western wall and then hit up MCDONALDs. It was literally the only thing open. But we made it a triple date with some of the other couples and it turned out to be a blast. The employees played a sweet birthday song to me and brought (I mean threw at) us balloons. We are thinking about making it a new birthday tradition??? Ghetto sauce I know :)
Jed + Alta, Skylor +Hollie & Kassie +Dallin (yep Kassie and dallin are engaged by the way... they met here and got engaged within a week!! They are getting married on the 29th! So excited for them).
To say the least, it was a very dramatic Friday for us here at the Jerusalem center.
Around 4:30 I woke up from taking a nice little nap on the bean bags in the Shekel shack and I was heading downstairs to go change into my workout clothes (I had to be looking fit for the prom alright?)
And as soon as Skylor and I reached the stairs at the 6th level Bro Judd sprinted past us yelling, "Everyone get into the bomb shelter NOW!!!"
At first I thought it was a joke... like no way. This can't really be happening right? Jerusalem cant be getting bombed!
Nevertheless, Skylor hustled me down to the 2nd floor shelter to wait it out.
While we were waiting there, people were frantically trying to remember who was still out in the city.
Honestly, I am so grateful that Sky is so level-headed. He was part of the reason I didn't freak out.
In total we were only in the shelter for about 20 min and they said it was safe to leave.
We had a meeting with all the administration to discuss what was going to happen.
The two missiles were probably a political statement and that everyone should resume normalcy as quickly as possible. They told us that the media would greatly exaggerate the incident (which was correct) but that everything would be fine and safe.
And apparently we are the first students EVER to use the bomb shelter (as an actual bomb shelter- in reality we use it as a laundry room and a nursery)
We are all safe and sound but it is very surprising that Jerusalem was targeted. This is the first time since the 67 war and quite a shock to everyone. Jerusalem houses the 3rd most holy site for the Islamic religion (Dome of the Rock, where Muhammad supposedly ascended to heaven).
It will be very interesting to see what happens. There has already been a heavy retaliation on Israel's part... now we are just waiting for Hamas and the Palestinian government to respond.
ANYWAYS. In light of this event we still had our PROM!
Skylor picked me up at my door. Awkward door pic anyone??
Flash back to the good ol' high school days.
I had to share my cute date with a couple other girls....
Haha. Best 3 wheeled date ever!
All in all, it was a pretty dang good way to end a Friday night.
Our field trip yesterday was a complete blast! We went to this biblical farm place- they only have plants that are mentioned in the bible and have an actual meaning. Really cool place! I've learned more about biblical foliage than I ever thought possible . But hey! I did get to herd sheep. So I liked it.
Ancient Torah scroll and an actual Torah scribe (this is their job)
It is only a real torah if it is hand written with no mistakes. If there is a mistake then they have to bury the piece that has the mistake.
Every single torah scroll is the same- the exact number of letters, words and lines on each word.
As you can imagine, it is a very time consuming task.
Skylor and I at the ancient water cistern (similar to a well)
These cisterns used to be used as prisons and storage wells when they were empty of water.
I got to snorkel in the red sea today.
Please be jealous for at least a minute.
Cause I am way pumped about it. I absolutely loved today. It was so much fun!
I started off the day by missing my alarm for a few minutes. Sophie and I jumped out of bed to get ready. Sophie was just freaking out to her alarm and I run into the bathroom asking my roomies if I needed to wear pants. It was so hilarious. I had no idea what was happening. We got up to breakfast by 6 am and loaded onto the buses and hit the road around 7 am.
We arrived at Eliat around 10 am and spent the next few hours living it up in the sun.
Around 4 pm we headed off to our 5-star restaurant... uh yeah. To say the least, there were cows everywhere outside... literally. But it was still really good. Im happy for any type of food after a day at the beach.
The red sea is such a blast- the water is incredibly blue and the fish were playful and not afraid to get close to us. All in all a very successful day :)
We had an interesting experience this last Sunday.... it included a massive museum and a 2 hour-hopelessly lost-walk.
Skylor looked up the address but of course.... it was wrong. And I just didn't have the heart to tell him that we were going in the wrong direction. I just let him do his thing! :)
I absolutely loved the museum though! There are so many cool artifacts (including the dead sea scrolls!) and tons of truly ancient artifacts.
For FHE on tuesday evening we had a night out on the town! I haven't been out at night yet, so it was a blast to just get out and explore.
This week has been a little crazy, I wasn't able to go out into the city until yesterday and today. We had two midterms and a paper and about 1349873485983 pages of reading.
School here is not my favorite but I am learning a lot. How could you not love that right?
First of all, I want to say that I miss my family especially today! I had a new little nephew born, William, and I cant wait to meet him!
Yesterday (Saturday- our Sabbath) we were able to go out into the city early because we didn't have regular church meetings (Conference started at 6pm!)
We went to the Lutheran Tower at the Holy Sepulcher, the view was absolutely amazing!!
Today for our field trip we all were able to go to the Ancient City of David. There isn't much known about the city because excavations are slow, there are still current residents. But they do think they know where David's palace was and they know where Hezekiah's tunnel is---
I think it might be easier if I just try to update my blog like once a week or so. It took my internet about an hour to upload these pictures. Plus, I don't have a lot of time regularly during the week. SO MUCH HOMEWORK.
View of the Dome of the Rock- Originally built in 638 AD This specific place on the map is high quality land, it is called the Temple mount (Mount Moriah in the bible) it is where Abraham almost sacrificed Issac and it is important to the Muslims because this is where Muhammed was taken back up to heaven (or something to that extent)
The oldest city is by far one of the coolest places in the entire world. Seriously.
Today (Shabbat- Saturday) we were able to go to the traditional garden tomb. Pres Hinkley said that he doesnt know exactly where Christ was risen, but it was close to here.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go live abroad again from August 2012 to December 2012. Jerusalem is the city of love for me- I met and fell in love with my hubby here. My life was forever changed after this experience!