Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Day in the Life....

...of someone who lived a long long time ago.

Today we had an awesome field trip and got to do some pretty fun stuff. It was really neat. We went to a biblical lands center. (I forgot the name of it-memory of a goldfish). We got to do all sorts of things people did in bible times, including.....
Drawing water from a well

Leading our beloved sheep (Stef, Anne, and Me)

Grinding Spice
(Me, Shamra, and Christine killin
the oregano)

Playing with Fig Trees

and Reading from the Torah (okay, maybe not biblical, but still cool. Every single letter of every Torah scroll is handwritten and can't have a single mistake. It's crazy, they have "Torah Writing School" and we got to meet an official Torah scribe!)

Cool Fact of the Day!! When we were drawing water from the well our guide talked to us about the story of Rebekah and I gained some awesome insight into how amazing of a woman she actually was. Quick recap: When Abraham's servant goes to Haran to find a wife for Isaac, he comes to the well after traveling a very long way. He's incredibly thirsty as well as his 10 camels (who haven't drinken for weeks probably). He decides he'll be able to find a wife for Isaac by testing the next woman that comes to get water from the well. Rebekah comes to the well, and the servant asks if she can get him some water. She doesn't even hesitate to jump to his service, but what's more, she offers to give water to each of his camels. Now, I personally always thought that was cool of her, but never really thought about it much more than that. Turns out that one dip of the bucket down the well brings up about 5 quarts. Well, each of the camels, after such a long journey, would have drinken about 150 quarts. The servant had 10 camels. If you do the math, that means that Rebekah voluntarily retrieved water from the well about 300 times for Abraham's servant. 300 TIMES!! And that thing is not light, I'll tell you that much. She probably would have spent a good couple of hours getting water for this man and his camels, and there's no way that's an easy task. It had to have exhausted her physically. But she did it willingly! For a complete stranger! Seriously, what a woman. How often do we take the time to do stuff like that for someone else? Let alone for a complete stranger? I was blown away by the whole thing. Isaac got himself a gem.

The day was awesome! And now, for your viewing pleasure (congratulations on reaching the end of this rather long post):

The stache (sp?) I saw today in the Old City. You can't see its full glory very well in this picture, but MAN! It was incredible. It reminded me of you, Dad!

Well, that's it for now! We're leaving in just a few short hours for Galilee! It's gonna be so great, I'm so excited. The majority of Christ's ministry was spent in Galilee so we'll be seeing most of the locations of events in the New Testament. How could that not be exciting?! We'll be in there for about a week and a half, but I'm taking my computer so we'll see if I can update you while we're there. No promises though...Lata!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Today is SUCH A FANTASTIC DAY!! Do you want to know why? It's not because we saw any big sites today. I didn't make any life-changing decisions. But oh what a glorious day it is! Today, we finished the second final of our two most difficult classes! Oh what a beautiful thing! Now the only classes we have left are New Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (which are two of my favorite classes) and we don't even have anything stressful in them before we leave for Galilee!!! (in THREE days!) This feeling is so exhilarating, it's coming dangerously close to the relief you feel after your last final of the semester.

Me and Val with our cute Islam professor Dr. Musallam right after the final. Love his grin, he's the greatest.

We're done!!! Those big fat smiles are genuine.

After the test, we felt the need to go get some candy (to add some sugar to our natural high) and on the way back we found these young boys with these adorable puppies (picture to come soon). That was maybe the best part of the day. I probably even got fleas from them (knowing me and my irresistable blood) but I don't even care, I fell in love.

The whole rest of the night, the JC went mad with energy. The night was maybe topped off by my buddy Shelby practicing his doorstep scene with various JC girls, and a crowd of 20 watching and critiquing each attempt. It was quite a sight. Only BYU students, I tell you what. We sure are somethin! Seriously hilarious. What a day!!!

P.S. I was very excited while reading this but now, going back and reading this entry, I've realized that while it's very exciting that a few of our hard classes are over, it is also a shot through the heart. I never want this program to end and this is a very big sign that the end is coming :(. I have a mission to make the most of these next few weeks!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

O Little Town of.....

Okay, I know I'm behind on showing you everything from Jordan, but today was such an awesome day! I'll catch up on Jordan after. So today we spent the whole day in Bethlehem, which isn't too far away but happens to be located in the West Bank, so it takes our teachers some preparation to get us there (don't fret, we were safe). Here are some fun highlights from the day:

We went to Bethlehem University and got to meet and talk with the students there. Since Bethlehem is in the West Bank (Palestinian territory), the students are 70% Muslim and 30% Christian. We had a panel of a few of the students and we got to ask them just about anything. It was SO interesting to be able to ask about their everyday lives, and how the conflict has affected them personally. It's definitely a different life than the one I have known.

One of my new friends

We also met up with our Islam professor, Dr. Musallam, who is from there, so he took us on a tour of his hometown. He is such a good man and I really respect him.

And of course, what would a city be without a falafel stand...?

The street vendor making my favorite food: Falafel!!

We went to the Church of the Nativity, which is believed to be the place where Christ was born. I guess with all the research on the area, it makes a lot of sense. It is the highest point in Bethlehem. That was really cool.

Me and Lex where the star on the floor indicates the very spot believed to be the birthplace of the Savior.

At the church, we learned something really cool. You know that verse in the New Testament when Christ says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God"? (Matt. 19:24). I always thought that referred to an actual eye of a needle. Apparently, it refers to a type of door made in Jesus' time. It was a short, half-sized door big enough for people to get through but small enough that it would be easy enough to block up in case of an attack. I guess people would bring their camels through that door, but the camel would have to kneel down and scoot through as its owner coaxed it all the way through. So the Savior wasn't saying it's impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. He was saying that it is much more difficult and requires extra effort. Cool, yeah? I thought so too.

Us going through the door of the eye of the needle

At the end of the trip, we went out to Shepherds' Fields. There, in the vicinity of where it is believed that the angel came to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus Christ, we talked about the birth of the Savior and the people that each played a significant part in it. It was dark by this point, and a little cold. Brother Wilson pointed out that we're only about 2 weeks away from the actual time of year that the Savior was born, so this is probably what the weather was really like. It was quite the experience to sit there and imagine what had happened in that field or closeby, and the feelings that must have been felt there. It was the perfect way to end the day. The only problem is now I'm in the Christmas mood! Only....9 more months!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Off to Jordan!

Just wanted to let you know I'm going to be gone on a field trip for four days! Hopefully I'll be more on the ball about filling you in when I get back. We're going to Jordan and Petra!