Monday, February 9, 2009

Family Home Evening was so much fun tonight because we were invited to a member's home in our branch who have the most hilarious kids ever! I had a blast playing and laughing a ton with them since we all know how children pull at my heart strings. I know I haven't updated my blog for almost a week now and I bet most of you didn't mind not having to deal with my shenanigans but sorry, I'm back! Since we have been back from Egypt, my homework load has escalated to a new level with reading, assignments, and quizzes all piling up. It's quite overwhelming at times but no worries, I still found time to sing in tunnels inside cisterns, do some shopping in the Old City, and experience my first encounter with phychotic people in Israel (refer to my My Blog List in the sidebar under The Holy Land with the title CREEPER for more info). We had a Conquest Field Trip last Thursday which was super cool visiting the city Jericho conquered by Joshua, the traditional site of the Mount of Temptation where Christ was tempted by Satan (hence the name), and Herod's Winter Palace where the evil "baby killer", as my Near Eastern Studies teacher refers to him as, lived when he got bored of his palace in Jerusalem (man, what a life). I had a jolly good time then but our field trip today was 100 times better!!! No one really knew what was going on so it was quite mysterious but ended up being my favorite one so far! We visited the five fortress cities in southern Judea that were established to protect the bigger city surrounding it but whatever, that wasn't really the coolest part. My two favorite sites today were Elah, the setting for David's encounter with Goliath and Micah's Cave which has absolutely no historical significance but we got to get down and dirty spelunking through "birth canals" (that is the actual name I'm not just being inappropriate). Although I never succeeded at hitting Goliath in the head, I did finally get the hang of using a sling shot...sort of. Let's just say there were no major injuries or hospital visits which occurred in my presence. After that, we visited Micah's cave and got covered from head to toe in chalky dust while climbing through a 1 foot in circumference hole that was way intense. A couple people started hyperventilating in the tunnel because it was dark and claustrophobic but we all made it out alive. That's it for my adventures today but to end on a spiritual note, Bishop Burton from the Presiding Bishopric of the Church spoke at a fireside here on Shabbat and he gave a simple but much needed message. He first started out with a baseball analogy describing how the pitcher is always trying to trick the batter just as Satan is constantly deceiving us. He stated that our advantage over temptation and deceit is the gift of the Holy Ghost so we must always be worthy to recognize the promptings of the Spirit. I appreciated the sweet but powerful testimony he bore as he blessed each individual that we might withstand the buffetings of Satan. I hope that when the Goliaths come and go in my life that I might fight them off with my newly gained sling shot skills.


Mom said...

Fun pictures & cool field studies! You're looking tan already...that middle eastern sun is doing it's trick on you! Thanks for the updates! We were missing hearing about your activities.

kylejnielsen said...

You left me hanging for a while there but now we have an update.
Sounds like things are good as usual.
I wonder what it's like to be out in the sun and be warm. I almost can't remember what that's like. Lucky you.

Brooke and Aaron said...

First of all, don't apologize for long posts or anything of the sort. This site is for you to record your adventures and feelings and you don't need to justify anything. I'm with Kyle - I miss the sunshine too...but the girls love playing in the snow so I guess I can deal with it a little longer for their sake. You're constantly in our thoughts. We love you.