Saturday, February 28, 2009

Well everyone, I leave for Jordan early Monday morning which is way exciting! We arrive back here Thursday night and then we have an all-day field trip the following day with another adventure on Sunday all day so life is busy over here like always. Thursday night, we had our HUGE Seder Meal. Even though Passover does not actually occur until April 9th, we follow a different calendar than the rest of the world at the Jerusalem Center. I’ve learned to just go with the flow since plans are constantly changing. So our celebration lasted for four hours as we read the story of the Exodus, sang songs, participated in the rituals of the festival, and ate kosher (“fit”) food. I felt like we were eating for three hours straight with the five course meal of an appetizer (fish...Yuk!), salad, soup, BBQ chicken with broccoli, and two different desserts. It was pretty intense stuff and quite an experience. I might even make this event a new holiday in my life from now on. Friday, I went to the Jewish Market which is absolutely crazy before Shabbat (the Sabbath) begins at sundown. Although it was freezing cold, super windy and rainy, I had a way fun time watching everyone run around buying last minute essentials for the following day. The smells of the market and the Old City in East Jerusalem are SO different than anything I’ve ever experienced in America so it can be quite nauseating at times. On our drive home with my awesome Old Testament teacher, Brother Wilson, we stopped at the Pita Factory where we got to see the process it takes to make this phenomenal bread. We walked out with a free pita in our hands so I would consider it a successful outing. As soon as we got home, we rushed off to the Humanitarian Project to make hygiene kits for victims of the Gaza Conflict. It was so fun to provide aid to those less fortunate than me and was definitely worthwhile. That evening we had a devotional with Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander and his wife Joni which was an inspiring meeting. My favorite statement from Elder Neuenschwander was when he encouraged each one of us to use our time wisely exploring all the wonders of this land and immersing ourselves in the incredible opportunity we have to participate in this study abroad program. We had district conference today with members of the church from the Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Galilee and Tel Aviv branches. What a sight to see the faithful saints of the Middle East gather together and take part in the sweet spirit of the gospel as a community. I feel so lucky every day to be in this Holy Land. I am so grateful for everything I have learned in my journey thus far and I am so stoked for the experiences I have yet to encounter.

1 comment:

Mom said...

You're definately not a fan of raw meat & olives - yuck! Your facial expressions crack me up! You are getting so culturally fed in so many ways. I agree with Elder Neuenschwander's advice to make the most of your priviledge to be at the Jerusalem Center & explore & experience all that land has to offer. Most likely a once in a lifetime experience for you!