Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BETHLEHEM!!

At this very moment I am in the richly green land of Galilee practically living on the Sea of Galilee. As you can all imagine, it’s absolutely INCREDIBLE! It’s impossible to describe how absolutely beautiful it is here so before I get you all rallied up about how amazing Galilee is, let me catch everyone up on my trip to Bethlehem last Tuesday. I know it’s totally pathetic that this is so outdated but it was finals galore for me last week so please forgive me. To start off my unforgettable experience, we visited the ARIJ Applied Research Center (which means absolutely nothing to you or me since I don't even know what the first part stands for). An expert on the Palestinian refugee problem spoke to us about a plethora of things but it was a total wash for me as I struggled to stay awake the entire time. I sat directly in front of him, which I realized later is the worst spot EVER, but I wanted so badly to sit in this huge comfy office chair that was most definitely the best seat in the house. After that, we visited the Bethlehem University where my Palestinian Modern Near East instructor, Dr. Musallam, teaches full-time. We watched a renowned documentary film on three Palestinian cities that were taken over by the Israeli Army after the Six-Day War. I honestly have nothing else to say about the film because I was out cold for a full 40-minute nap. I’m sorry to say this, but I’m becoming more and more like my constantly sleepy father as the days pass. I felt so refreshed and was extremely happy afterward though so nothing to complain about there. After the incredible film, we had an open peer discussion with four of Dr. Musallam’s students. I was so impressed with their knowledge about the current Israeli conflict and learned a ton about what is really going on that is disguised by the media. There is too much to reveal now so let’s just say, the Jews aren’t the only ones who have suffered a fateful massacre. The best part of the day was when we visited Shepherd's Field, located right inside the checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Although it was March 17th, which is St Patrick’s Day in case you weren’t sure, we had CHRISTMAS in Jerusalem. As we sat on that hill overlooking my beautiful home in Jerusalem and looking back at the city of Bethlehem singing Christmas songs and reading Christmas stories, I began to ponder about the miraculous birth and glorious mission of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I was sitting at the exact midpoint between the places where He was born and where he was later crucified for the sins of all mankind. I realized then that I was in the very land where my Lord performed many miracles, taught in the temples and synagogues, bled from every pore so that I may never have to suffer alone, and then died for me that I might live. I knew at that moment that my Savior lives and that he loves me so very much that he took upon himself all of my pains, trials, and weaknesses so that I may find peace through his infinite and eternal atonement. Although I have always known that my Savior cares for me and that he is always there for me when I need him, I received such a stronger witness of his continual presence and selfless sacrifice that chilly night in the peaceful land of Bethlehem. I know that is one of the many reasons I have been given this opportunity to study here in this holy land and for that I am truly grateful.

5 comments:

Victoria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victoria said...

Hi Breana... I'm working on a song about places that the Savior was...I wish I could trade you places for a little while! I'm going to have to pore over your blog a little bit for inspiration. BTW, I went and took those pics at the flower field...you'll have to look if you get a chance:

http://vixlove.blogspot.com/2009/03/art-entry-number-one-one-with-best.html

Mom said...

So surprised to see a post with you being in Galilee! That was a nice treat! That is cool that you are learning about both sides of the very long conflict in that part of the world - as in all things - there are two sides to the true story.

I'm so grateful you are learning so much about our Savior & growing closer to Him each day. That definately was one of the main purposes of going on this study abroad.

Miss you baby girl!

Brooke and Aaron said...

Maybe we shouldn't give Dad such a hard time about falling asleep, if we are doing it ourselves too. For example, I have yet to stay awake for an entire movie if it is passed 8:30pm. I didn't know they celebrated Christmas in March. That's funny.

It sounds like you have some wonderful teachers. You're so lucky to be there and to have this experience.

Courtney said...

BREANA!!! I didn't know I could post comments on here until now!!! Your whole trip seems so amazing! Looks like you are truly getting everything out of it that you possibly could. What amazing experiences! I can't wait until you get back so we can talk about everthing! Your pictures are awesome...the huMONgous pitaaa ahhaha so funny. i love reading these things. anyways...keep enjoying yourself in jerusalem! love you girl!
<3 courtney wacaffee