DAY 10 & 11 WESTERN GALILEE AND MEDITERRANEAN FIELD TRIP
This is my last post from Galilee so if you are just beginning to read about my absolutely AMAZING experience, start at Day 1 (just like always). So Wednesday was originally planned to be an all-day field trip in Western Galilee but all of us students were completely exhausted from our rigorous schedule for the past 9 days that our extremely generous teachers decided to make it half-day instead. We visited Akko first which was an important port city in the Canaanite, Old and New Testament, Roman, and Crusader eras. The apostle Paul stayed with Christian friends there en route to Jerusalem just before being arrested. We visited Hospitaller Fortress which was connected to the Romans in some way but I honestly don’t remember what was cool about it. We also went inside the most beautiful mosque with marble pillars that were from Herod’s palace at Caesarea. Lastly, we walked along the Mediterranean port. It was fun to jump on the rocks like a little child. I actually almost fell in which would have made for quite the adventure. The city was so peaceful and it was enjoyable to just explore on our own and not have to listen to constant instructions. Our last and final stop of the day (HOORAH!) was Beth Shearim which had a small memorial dedicated to tombs of various rabbis. Although there wasn’t much to see, we made the most of our short stop and had fun taking pictures inside the tombs (I’m pretty sure I laid in an occupied tomb once upon a time). After that, it was back to En Gev where I basked in the sun until our concluding class program. I was hoping to end on a spiritual note and take advantage of the incredible opportunity to be 10 feet away from the Sea of Galilee but things went a LOT different than I expected with Scripture Charades (I swear us Mormons are quite peculiar sometimes), people telling high school dating stories, and April Fool’s jokes being played on everyone. I left feeling frustrated so I decided it would be best to end my Galilee experience with a morning walk on the beach watching the sun rise over the horizon and spend some time reflecting on the lessons I gained as I spent 10 days following the route of my Savior’s ministry. When it was finally time to leave for home, it was definitely a bitter sweet moment. Jerusalem will always hold a special place in my heart since it has literally become my home away from home, but Galilee was an experience that will last for a lifetime. On our journey home, we stopped at another Roman city in Galilee called Sepphoris where the Jewish Mishnah or commentary on their “Bible” (I don’t want to complicate things so let’s just kept it at that). There really wasn’t much to see except more rocks and ruins and 5 different mosaics. We visited Mt Carmel next and read a story about Elijah the prophet since he supposedly lived there. Our last stop of the day was Templer’s Cemetery in Haifa. This site housed graves of 19th century LDS missionaries who served in the Holy Land. I had absolutely NO CLUE that missionaries ever served in the Middle East at all. Although their lives were cut short due to fatal diseases, it was cool to see the inscription on their headstones which read, “A missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” What an awe-inspiring testimony-building experience this entire trip was for me and I am so grateful for all the knowledge I gained about my Savior’s life and ministry. I pray that it may bless my life for future generations to come.