Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Capernaum, Capernaum, Capernaum

Capernaum is a town in which the Savior spent most of his ministry. Many miracles that he did happened here in Capernaum. Just to name a few: healing of the man with Paulsy that was put the the roof, woman who touched the hem of his garment, the raising of the daughter of Jairus, and many others. It is a very special place.
There are still a couple wall that exist from Peters house. This is where the Savior spent a lot of time because he didn't have a place to call home. He also healed Peters mother-in-law
in this house. Here it shows the two different layers of rock foundation. The darker rock is the exact synagogue that Jesus taught in and where he performed many miracles. It was cool to think that Christ actually touched those exact same rocks. If only the rocks could talk and tell us what they saw 2.000 years ago. It was a great experience to be in the very spot where he performed so many miracles. I just sat there and imagined what the people would have thought and felt at that moment.
So in this picture we are in the Synagogue in Capernaum where Christ healed the withered hand of a man after the Pharisees were tempting him to see if he would do it on the Sabbath. I am supposed to be Jesus healing Becca's hand in this photo.

Mt. of Beattitudes

We visited the Mount of Beattitudes where the Savior gave the Sermon on the Mount and included the Beattitudes or "positive and loving version of the 10 commandments." They built a church on the top of the the Mount, of course, because that's what they do in every sacred place in Israel. But on the two slopes that go down the mountain there is a natural theatre that is there with great acoustics. So the Savior could have taught many people the Sermon on the Mount by standing in a special spot where it would pick up his voice.
The grounds were so beautiful!! The nuns take such good care of this place and we saw a lot of nuns meeting outside for class, singing, and studying the good word. It was a good place filled with the Spirit.

Sister Mary Rose, one of the Nuns there at the church, gave us a humble speech about the Beattitudes and the love that Jesus showed when he gave the Sermon on the Mount. With every single one of the Beattitudes there is a blessing. It shows us what kind of intention we should have inside when we keep the commandments. Sister Mary Rose really had good intentions and was really trying to do what the Lord wanted her to with all the love that someone can give. She bore the strongest testimony to us of the reality of our Savior and that we can only be saved through him. I loved her sweet humble testimony. While visiting so many churches here in Israel I have been so appalled at the love that the nuns and munks show towards us. Every time I talk to them or introduce myself, he hold my hand, bless me, and show so much love to a me - a stranger but also a sister in Christ. They come from all different countries to work here in Israel because it is so Holy. Through all these experiences with other religions I have learned that there are so many doing the best they can with the knowledge they have. They have such strong testimonies even though they can't explain everything. The Lord loves them so much and blesses them with his Spirit.
I thought this sign was funny. Can you tell what is weird about it?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I swam where Jesus walked

The Sea of Galilee - my new favorite place to be!!!
"Oh Galilee, sweet Galilee, where Jesus loved so much to be!"
This is part of a hymn that was taken out of the new hymn book but is one of my new favorites. Jesus spent most of his ministry teaching in the surrounding towns of Galilee. I now know why he loved it so much. It is such a beautiful fresh water lake with green beautiful little towns all around it. We stayed in a Kibbutz resort called Ein Gev for 12 days in little cabins right on the beach. During that time we had class and a lot of time for swimming. We also took a lot of field trips to all the places that the Savior was in around the Sea of Galilee. It was incredible!!

We are showing off our Galilee sun tan lines. It was sooooo hott!!!
A group of us outside our cabin on Sabbath morning.
This is me on a boat out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee about the same size as the fisherman's boat that Jesus was in. We sang "Master the tempest is raging" and we read the scriptures of Jesus calming the seas and walking on water. I learned so much about Peter and how much faith it would have taken to take that step out in the water especially when it was rough water. I want to be more like Peter and try to do hard things and have faith that I can do it with the Lords help. Jesus and Peter are the only ones that have walked on this water.
They found this boat within the last 20 years at the bottom of the Sea and they figured out it is about 2,000 years old. So this is similar to a boat that Jesus would have been in.
We did bonfires on the beach with smores, campfire songs, games, and skits. It was incredible! There is nothing like it!!
The sunsets were always so beautiful. Across the Lake was the city of Tiberias with all the beautiful city lights shining every night.
We are happy to be at Galilee!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nazareth - Home of the Savior

We visited Nazareth, located close to the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. It was cool because the city is still pretty small and also

Proud to be an American

There are things you don't really realize you are grateful for until you see other people who don't have what you have. Being in Israel on the fourth of July made me realize how grateful I am to live in a country where we unite when hard times and tragedies come. We sang together the national anthem and a girl kind of bore her testimony of why she was grateful to live in the USA. I am so grateful and proud to be an American. We also sang that song "I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me." Those words have never meant so much to me.
Ok, so for the fun part of the night. We celebrated the 4th of July on the 8th, because we were in Bethlehem on the 4th. Our cooks made it a special night and did a big barbeque outside. We had hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, salads, barbequed chicken and steak, and all sorts of good American food that always tastes better when you eat outside.
This is one of my really good friends, Ashton. I have so enjoyed getting to know her. Can you se the gold roof of the dome of the rock in the background?
Sister Jackson, one of our doctors here and some other friends.
We also had a little carnival with fishing games, face painting, American music, and 3 legged races. I felt like a child. The only thing we were missing was a parade!!

These are a couple of my young women that live in the center with me. Carrie and Tashara, they are so sweet and have become my good friends.

I will never forget this fourth of July that I spent in Israel.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Christmas in July

Merry Christmas to everyone on the fourth of JUly!! That's how we celebrated the 4th of July this year - singing Christmas songs in Bethlehem. It was a great experience. My favorite part was sitting in Shepherds field, reading my scriptures to myself. I read the part in Luke 2 where the shepherds see the angels. They go with haste to the child then go tell everyone that Christ is born! They were some of the first Christian missionaries ever! I am so grateful for their obedience and example.
This is where they say that Mary had the baby, you can touch the rock that she had the baby on.
This is a picture of inside the Church built in Bethlehem, they have all kinds of different catholic shrines in one church.
This is in Shepherds field, where the angel announced to the humble obedient shepherds that the Christ child had been born.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We're gonna party like we're ARABS!!

Well one of the funnest things I have done since I have been here is participate in an ARAB WEDDING!! They guy that we exchange all of our money with is named Aladdin, and his son was getting married and so he invited a few of us students. We couldn't pass up the opportunity because we hear the weddings going on the time, and THEY KNOW HOW TO PARTY!! So we got all dressed up and showed up at the really nice hotel for 3 hours of pure fun and dancing!!
If there is one thing that I can say about Arab weddings it is that - THEY NEVER STOP DANCING!! The whole night they had songs pumping and the entertainment going. They fed us some good Arabic food and normal wedding cake. We were definitely the only people there that were not Arabs, so it was kind of awkward at first but they were so nice to us. They were begging us to come dance with them in every song. So basically we sent the night on the dance floor with the bride and groom and their family.

I spent too much money at the Olive Wood shop!!!

One of my favorite parts about Jerusalem is the amazing olive wood shops that they have. Those who know me, know how much I love Nativities. In all my travels I try to buy a nativity from each country. I bought an amazing nativity and also spent some money on gifts for other people. I splurged and bought this bust of Christ, I just had to have something that I could leave out all year.
There were so many amazing nativities that I would buy in a second if I had the money.
This is a camel from the 3000 dollar nativity. So much detail in beautiful wood, this is my dream nativity!! One day. . .

This is Omar, who I bought most of my olive wood stuff from. He caters to the mormons because we buy so much from him. This is the bust that I bought, it was the best Christ face that I found.
Although I spent a lot of money, I know that I bought things that I will use my whole life and they will be a symbol of my love for Jerusalem and everything that I learned here.