Friday, August 3, 2012

One Last Post's official. In 5 short days I will be sitting on a plane heading towards the JFK International Airport in New York. I will be leaving Jerusalem and leaving what has become my home and my family for the past 3 1/2 months. It feels pretty strange. I feel like I haven't been here for very long at all, but at the same time it's kind of hard to picture what life was like before Jerusalem sometimes. As sad as I am to leave, I realize that I can't stay here forever, and am excited to move on with the rest of my life. Today is the last Sabbath that I will be here in Jerusalem. This morning before our church meetings I got up and went and sat on the balcony on the top level that overlooks the whole city. As I was sitting there, in great company I might add, I thought about when Christ sat on the Mount of Olives before he made his Triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem that would mark the start of the last week of his mortal life. He lamented over the wickedness of people of Jerusalem.
Matthew 23:37: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

The people of Jerusalem at that time were so wicked--enough so that they crucified our Savior. It breaks my heart to think that our world was the only world wicked enough to crucify the Son of God. He was the only perfect being that has ever walked this earth, yet they did not accept him. Being here, though, and learning all about the life of my Savior, as well as living in the area of his actual ministry, has helped me personally to learn to accept him into my life even more. With him, anything is possible. It is because of his Atonement that I am able to be cleansed of all my sins, to be comforted in all of my sorrows, to be renewed in my hope that I can one day return and live with my Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for my Savior and for all that he did and continues to do for me, and for this land that I have had the great opportunity to live in and as a result come closer to Christ. Today as I overlooked the city for one of the last times, I remembered that although Jerusalem might have been wicked once, there is still a lot of good in the world. I felt so at peace. Whatever the future may hold for me, I can face it head on with the help of my Savior.

Psalms 147:12: Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.

Thank you Jerusalem for everything you taught me, and for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. You will never be forgotten! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Last Thursday we got back from our 10 day trip to Galilee! It was so wonderful...probably my favorite part of the trip thus far. We stayed at a resort right on the Sea of Galilee and alternated between staying at the resort and having classes and going out on fieldtrips. It was hot and sweaty but so worth it. There is not much that could top laying in a hammock watching the sun set over the very same Sea that Jesus sailed so long ago.

Mark 4:39: "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."

Here are just a jumble of random pictures from the trip...

Standing by a boat that was recovered from the Sea of Galilee that is thought to date back all the way to the time of Jesus!

I love this picture because I am a giant!

Sunset after our fish dinner. Yes I ate a whole fish...eyeball and all!

Outside of a potential site for the baptism of Christ at the Jordan River

Susan is so fantastic. I love her. I don't know where we are here...

Touching the old floor of the Synagogue Church

Winnie the Pooh Tree

No clue where this is. Susan, Alvin, and moi

Mt. Carmel. Where Elijah battled the Priests of Baal

Beautiful Caesarea!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just a Few Thoughts and a Long Overdue Update

So first off before I get into the extremely condensed version of my life in Jerusalem since my last post I just want to apologize to everyone who sent me an email in the past month or so and to whom I haven’t responded. My hotmail wouldn’t send emails but I have since gotten a gmail account so I will write you soon! Also I want to apologize for being the biggest blog slacker ever...but we all knew that I would be so maybe I am not that sorry. Anywho here is the fast forwarded version of what I have been up to for the past few weeks, or at least the parts I can remember.

1. We went to JORDAN! We were there for four days and got to see a lot of really cool things. Among my favorites were Petra—a super cool archeological place with sweet rock formations...Indiana Jones anyone?—and the Jordan River. I say this almost every post but probably the most intense heat I have ever experienced was at the Jordan River. We walked down to the site where Jesus was supposedly baptized by John the Baptist, and man crazy monkeys was it sure hot. Besides that, though, it was really special. We sang some hymns and read about Christ’s baptism...really powerful. So Jordan was a great trip all around. Actually it was probably my favorite trip thus far, and not only because we got to see really interesting places. The people that I was with just made it great...I just love everyone here! 

In Jordan at the place where Moses overlooked the Promised Land


 2. A few days after Jordan we had a day field trip to Bethlehem if I remember correctly. It was fantastic. We saw some really beautiful churches, including the beautiful Church of the Nativity. My favorite part of the Bethlehem field trip, though, was when we were sitting in a shepherd’s field. Dr. Harper talked to us for a little while, but then he gave us time to just sit there and ponder. That is kind of where my thoughts are stemming from for this post. As I was sitting there contemplating Christ’s birth and what it meant to me in my life, the phrase “wise men still seek him” kept coming to my mind. I thought about the ways that I try to seek for Christ in my life, and came up with the obvious and familiar seminary answers. But then I realized something that I really needed to be reminded of. I can find Christ in everything that is around me. I can seek him by looking for the good in others, and recognizing that his hand is guiding almost everything that we do in this life. I can seek him by striving to be like him. As I mentioned earlier I just love the people that I get to associate with here in Jerusalem, and I really feel like I have come closer to my Savior just by associating with the people here because they all have such Christ-like qualities. It is often through them that I am able to feel of Christ’s love, so in that sense I truly believe that one of the best way to seek for Christ in our lives is to recognize all the many things that he has blessed us with. I definitely needed to remember that.

3. After Bethlehem I don’t really remember specifics on what has happened. All I do know is that it has been a lot of fun! I am basically becoming a regular at a Jewish bakery in the Old City...super delicious. I have seen a lot of cool sites including Tomb of the Kings, Hezekiah’s Tunnel (that was before Jordan), Tomb of the Prophets, more churches etc. A few days ago we went and got a tour of the Kotel Tunnels, which are underground tunnels that expose almost the full length of the Western Wall, and are very possibly streets that Jesus himself walked. Neato! Something that the guide said that I thought was cool was that “there are people with hearts of stone, and there are stones with human hearts.” Going to all of these sites and places with such extensive histories behind them reminds me of just how much we can learn from the past. Especially being in Jerusalem, “the stones” can literally tell us the stories of what happened here so long ago. I love it!
Ok enough of the longest blog post of life. I have a few more thoughts that I wanted to write but I will have to save them for another day. camera broke in Jordan. So the only pictures I have are the ones from Jordan that I took before that. Yay. Luf you all and congratulations if you made it to the end of this post! 

More pictures from somewhere in Jordan

Beautiful Sunset

Natalie! She is no joke probably the sweetest girl I know

Getting ice cream for Dana's birthday!

Touching Hercules Hand :) 
Doesn't Alvin look great in my sunglasses?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wise Words from Aladin

So sometimes we meet a lot of awesome people as we are wandering around the Old City. Thursday as we were coming back from the City we stopped off at the money changers...Aladin! He is a pretty funny guy, and asks me everytime if I play basketball. Anywho this time as we were leaving he gave us some wise words of advice...

"Live your lives and love it while living for good, and don't be afraid of death"

I love all of the little random life lessons that I seem to learn everyday here. Also...we met this cute little girl named Annie while we were getting shwarma's in the city. One of the only Arabic words I know is helwe...which means beautiful. So I tried to tell her she was beautiful, but she just smiled really big at me and laughed.So cute.

Annie...and delicious shwarma! :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This Actually Happened...

This is Alvin wearing my skinny jeans. Enough said.

Look at that face...he is so precious.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Best Parents Ever

Since I am too far away to do anything for my dad this Father's Day, I figure that this meager blog post will have to suffice as my gift to him. So dad this post is dedicated to you! BUT... I am also going to dedicate it to mom as well because I missed my Mother's Day blog post because I was in Turkey. So really I am going to invent my own holiday here and call it Parent Day (although it already exists apparently on the 4th Sunday of July...but who really celebrates it? I am still taking credit for inventing it). Anyways...there are so many things that I could say about my parents, but to avoid being to long and boring I will condense it to just a few lines of what I love about both of them.

Mom - I can't even describe in words the impact that you have had on my life, and the impact that you continue to have! All I can say is you are one of a kind, and everyone who knows you would agree. I don't know anyone with a more dedicated and caring attitude. I hope I can be even just half the mom that you are one day!

Dad - Thanks for always being the person that I could come to with any problem. You always help me to put things into perspective and help me remember that things will work out for the best. You are the kindest, most gentle, and most patient person I know. You have always told me that I need to find someone with a good heart, so if I can find someone just like you then I think I will have accomplished that!

Thanks for being the best parents ever! I feel SO lucky/blessed to have been born into your family. So much so that I feel bad for all those people who didn't have you guys for offense to anyone else. But thanks for everything mom and dad. I LOVE YOU!

I just love them.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sometimes I Make Silly Choices...

So...this past week I was somehow convinced to go on a no sugar-diet. Say What? It’s so true that you never really know just how much you want something until it is gone. Except in this case I actually do know how much I want sugar all the time. may or may not have lasted only like 4 days. But still...the whole time I just wanted chocolate. Or a delicious waffle from the waffle bar... 

Banana Boom waffle from the waffle bar. Mmm. Also I love Rachel Ely.