Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gossip in the Center

With 82 students living under one roof you think there would be more drama and gossip.  But. There isn't.  It is kind of like everyone know everything about each other, and if we think something is happening, we say it and then find out if it is true or not.  But with 4 days left, we have a new piece of information, that can't get sorted out...
Last night Brother Manscill went into the library late at night to get a book.  He turned on the lights and found a couple in there.  Easy enough, right?  Except he won't tell us who it is.  He said they were a surprise couple to see, and he had never really even seen them together.  People tried to guess, and he kept saying no.  Then he gave one more hint... He is like the Romeo of the center...  It still doesn't help.  But, there is officially gossip going around the center.  I guess.  Mags came and told us, prefacing it with the fact that this is gossip.

And, tonight was the first night that I hugged a professor after receiving a grade.  I survived Old Testament.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

5 days

Where does time go?  I feel like it was yesterday that I walked through the front gates at the Jerusalem Center.  All the service couples lined the front walk to shake our hands and hug us in welcome.  I knew maybe 5 people's names, and for everyone else, I looked at the name tag we were required to wear.  And the days moved slow.  Where did the time go?  Tonight I was talking to my dad about being here, and how blessed I feel, and quickly he replied, 'So then you're glad you went.'  We laughed.
The joy I have felt while being in Jerusalem has been so strong.  I feel like I have devoted the past semester to improving myself through Christ.  And now, as I go home during the Holidays, all I want to do is tell everyone about this joy.  I love Jerusalem.  And I want to always remember to pray for the peace here.  It no longer is a conflict between Israeli's and Palestinians, but now between people I love.  Whatever happens here will effect people I have met, played soccer with, talked about their beliefs, laughed with, and developed a deep love for.  Oh Jerusalem, if I forget thee...

This week we've had finals and I spoke in church.  Now things have calmed down in the center, and they have picked up in Provo, so we have time some time on our hands. 

Here's to our last 5 days!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bethlehem...without words

George and Ramses deserve words. Thank you for the most beautiful nativity! And letting me call my mom from your cell phone! 

Out My Window

A weekend in Jerusalem

After church on Saturday we went to the private section of the Garden of Gethsemene.  This part deserves to be called a garden and not just "the three trees of Gethsemene."  How lucky that my afternoon decision was to decide whether to go read at the Garden Tomb or the Garden of Gethsemene.  Honestly?
Sunday we went to the YMCA to play the bells in the bell tower.  To clarify... this means that I actually played the bells.  To be exact, I played the Carol of the Bells for all of West Jerusalem to hear! One of the service couples at the center goes and plays the bells every Sunday (he is a masterful organist, and it must carry on to bells also?), and he lets us come.  I loved it!  Nathan played the Hogwarts theme music. So cool.  How fun would it be to all of a sudden hear the bells playing this?
That night we went to dinner at Roza in West Jerusalem for Shelleybelly's birthday(more Shelleyisms are coming) and Adri's parents came!  Her dad surprised us all and paid for us, he is an angel! It was so fun hanging out with her parents! It gave us a new light on Adri, and made me love her even more!

Then we went to Ben Yehuda Street and got gelato.  When we were leaving we saw this lady sitting at a table by herself, with a single rose on the table. We were trying to think of what her story could be, so finally I went and started talking to her.  It turns out the rose was just given to her by a plant shop owner when she bought a plant.  But, the rose wasn't the story.  No, it's the fact that her name is Michelle and she is Prince's lover.  Yes, the Prince. They are lovers, and he will come back to her when she gets with a handsome, sexy black man.  That is the only thing that will make Prince come back to her. And yes, I mean back, because she made it clear that they have already been together.  But she wouldn't be his groupie, so she left him.  So she asked us about clubs where she could find black men.  She's from Canada, and has been in Israel for 2 weeks.  When she finds her black man, and Prince comes back for her 5 seconds later, Prince will have a concert in Jerusalem, and she will find us and give us tickets.
Oh Michelle, go find your black man!


Well, I can now say that I celebrated the 4th of July on Galilee.  That will come later if you can last looking at this post until the end.  We were in Galilee for 11 days, and everyday was amazing. On the way to Galilee we stopped by Caesarea, Tel Meggido (Armageddon), and Nazareth (you know? where Christ was raised. Supposedly some people forget that sometimes, so I thought I'd just clarify, in case you're one of them)
Lauren Hays, Lauren Ricks, Lauren Magleby (lots of Laurens), me, & Adri at Caesarea
We were welcomed to Nazareth by this billboard. Right behind it is the church that covers the home of Mary where the Angel visited her to tell her she would give birth to the Christ (wow).  We had to walk around this billboard to get to it.
And this is the cave.  We weren't allowed to go down, or even on the same level as it, because a small church service was happening.
But I did get to see this guy.  And the most beautiful stain glass.  When President Hinckley visited this church, he said, "Roman Catholics really know how to build churches."  And it was.
Then we went to the other site that the angel could have appeared to Mary, the well.  And yes, there are two spots.  Because most sites in Jerusalem are actually just guesses as to where things happened.  It took me a couple weeks to be okay with that idea.  But now, it's normal. 
And talk about normal, it is seeing a tell, cistern, AND a mosque or synagogue everyday. And it was no different in Galilee.  This was at Tel Dan.
And this was the cistern at Tel Dan. Cisterns are our favorite.
My favorite stop of our 2nd day was at Caesarea Philippi (Banias).  This is where Christ gave the sermon about living waters and Peter being the rock.  It also is pictured in the back of our scriptures, which i tried to show, but... you might have to look yourself.  But it was here that I realized that I have actually been now to 24 of sites pictured in our scriptures.  And at this site's photograph was taken by our very own, Brother Manscill who is a professor here, calls me Janer, lets us come talk to him and his wife on Saturday nights, and cut my Thanksgiving turkey this year (again, pictured at the end). 
The next day we started with a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee.  It was breathtaking to be going across the water, reading the stories of Christ on the Sea, and singing "Master the Tempest is Raging." 
This sums up our Galilee experience with the Sea.
We then went to the Mt. of Beatitudes, where Christ gave the Sermon on the Mt. Needless to say it was amazing.
And they have strict rules for entering, of course.  At every site, it says no guns.  This is common.
After we had time on the Mount of Beatitudes, we walked down to the Sea to the churches of Tabgha where Christ fed 5000.  On this hill where we walked is where all the people who came to hear Christ would have sat, and He would have walked as He went down to the Sea.
Capernaum! This is where Christ stayed during his ministry in Galilee, at Peter's house, which is guessed to be the house underneath the big building.  That building is again, another church.  About the design in the covering building, Bro. Hamblin said, "It's like Picasso on Acid". 

Me, Adri, Alli, and the fish dinner. 
The view from church in Tiberias
After church we stopped by another site of the Jordan River.  This is where religious people come to rebaptize themselves.  They had the passage from Mark about the Jordan River in every language of people who have come to be baptized there.  My favorite was the Hawaiian Pidgin.
And this is how they were rebaptized.
And this is what they all looked like after.
This is just to show that my fashion has become really important since being here.  No other pictures will be shown of this day.  But we went to Nain, Mt. Tabor, a natural spring that we swam in, and an ancient Roman city.
Another day we went to Akko, and visited more mosques.
And free time in Akko brought us upon this shark.  Just trying to be sold.  Who wouldn't want to buy their fish like this?
And Thanksgiving!  The first time the BYU program came to Ein Gev to stay for their time in Galilee, the Kibbutz got Thanksgiving mixed up with Independence Day.  So they have kept the decorations since that first time, and use them, everytime. The room was red, white, and blue, and our turkey came out with sparklers in it!  I think this should be a new tradition for everyone.
And this is Bro. Manscill!  His tests make me want to go crawl in a hole, but I still can't wait to visit them when they come back to Utah!  
After our Thanksgiving dinner, we ended our time at Galilee under the stars at a bonfire.  I can now say that I bore my testimony on the shores of Galilee, and I have so much to be grateful for.  It was one of the moments that when I look back at my time here, I will think of being with everyone there.  At least for the first two hours.  By hour 3 and a half, and 59 testimonies later, I was ready to be done. 
This was the most amazing week to think about the gospel and life, what I'm doing, where I'm going, things I want to do, the person I want to be.  Scary things.  But nothing felt scary.  I ran in the mornings or evenings, by myself, and had time to remind myself how blessed I am to be here! It's a good reminder, especially today.  

Because two weeks from today, I'm coming home!

Talent Show

Tuesday night there was a talent show at the good ol' Jerusalem center.  And people here have talent!  There were so many amazing performances.  Molly playing the violin, a puppet show about the teachers, Brooke dancing, the nurses showing their nursing skill, Matt serenading with his guitar,  and Nathan playing Viva la Vida with all the violinists. Amazing.  And then there was us...

Friday, November 27, 2009

And between them lies the wall...

A wall runs through the Holy Land, separating the West Bank from Jerusalem. Yet, the wall runs through Palestinian neighborhoods, not just separating Palestinian and Israelis. 

I feel like I understand the conflict here so much more since being here.  This didn't take much, because the first day I got to Jerusalem, I realized I didn't know anything.  But I do know for certain one thing, I love this city!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Silence is Foreign to me.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love everyone here. But tonight, I felt kind of like I was standing in the middle of here...
So I did this...
Try it.