Saturday, January 17, 2009

Garden of Gethsemane

My second Shabbat here in the Holy Land was amazing like it should be! The branch is awesome and the few families with kids we have here are such happy and knowledgeable people who are totally in tune with the Spirit. Right after church, a huge group of us went to the Garden of Gethsemane which is about a 10 minute walk from our mansion of a home in which we eat and sleep (besides that, we are outside exploring as much as possible)! To get to Gethsemane, we walked through Orson Hyde Park which was absolutely gorgeous! I'm not sure exactly what is significant about this place except that it was dedicated by Orson Hyde who was an original apostle in the first quorum of the twelve. I hope I have that right! Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I won't be offended...that's a hard feat to accomplish in my family! After we finally made it to the site of the atonement (WO I just got chills when I wrote that), we were led into this private area of the Garden that is usually locked. Whenever they see the BYU students coming, the gates are opened! GO COUGS!! As soon as I walked into that sacred place, I couldn't help but start to wander around to find a spot where I could sit alone and ponder. I found a little stump that I could sit on while thoughts started flooding into my head so I whipped out my journal and began writing. It was such a peaceful experience to reflect on what my Savior did for me and the great sacrifice it was for Him to take upon himself all of my weaknesses, pains, and temptations which account to plenty to bear I'm almost positive. I could not help but thank my Redeemer continually for the life He has given me and the opportunity He has provided for me to relieve myself of any trial or hardship I choose to place upon His shoulders. What an amazing blessing and comfort that is to me that nothing is too hard for the Lord and that I will NEVER have to suffer alone! What a glorious principle that is for me to understand and I find such hope and happiness in that assurance! I wish to end with a statement by my Savior to His Father in Heaven as He suffered extreme pain for my sins and all of yours, "nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." As Elder Maxwell once stated, "The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar." I pray that I may more fully understand this concept in my stay here in Israel and that I may become closer to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Shalom to all! BTW... The picture of the olive tree is where I sat in the garden to write in my journal.


Mom said...

What a beautiful testimony...thanks for sharing! I'm assuming that picture of the tree represents something important. Any more info to share on that?

Brooke and Aaron said...

Sounds like you live in a nice place! I can't believe you are seeing all of these sights first hand, many people will never see those things in a lifetime and you're seeing it all in a few months.