Monthly Archives

April 2009

Jerusalem, Lower 48

Jerusalem Party in Utah

25 April 2009
I’m back in America, and not just any part of America, but Utah…
Traveling was loooong. It was the saddest ever leaving the JC, and soooo sad leaving the peeps. How am I supposed to survive without my Jerusalem life? These past four months were the best of my life, thus far.
But at least we had Stephen Wilkinson’s graduation party for a little reunion.

It was sooooo good to see everyone again! It had been about 24 hours and I was so sad without all my fellow JC ites, so sad.

But this party at Silky Wilky’s house was the best, and we had to get in one last GQ picture until the next reunion.
It’s hard being gone. I miss it alllllll.

Ma es-salame. Go in peace.

24 April 2009
My four months at the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies (aka the JC), was the best four months of my life up to this point. I learned so so so incredibly much and grew so much and saw so much. It was one of the most unique experiences anyone could ever have.
I learned about the history, the culture, the politics, but mostly I learned about Christ. Being in the Holy Land, Christ was obviously the center of my Jerusalem experience. It was the best. I miss it so much.
So sad to say goodbye. Peace out JC.
Shalom 408. Best Jerusalem roomies I could ever ask for. We had so much fun fun in our little room. Love these girls.

Bye bye for now to the best Old City explorers and best Middle East adventurers in the world. Miss you girls.

I miss it so much. I wish I was still there.
But peace out.
Ma es-salame… go in peace.


Shine, Jesus, shine!

13 April 2009

What does one do when they return from floating in the Dead Sea? A talent show of course! 

There were so many good acts and funny people and talented things. It was the greatest. Although I would definitely have to say that the highlight for me was performing my favorite song with my favorite girls.
Kara, Marianne, and I sang “Shine, Jesus, Shine!” and came up with some sweet dance moves for it. We also dressed up in sweet outfits with sweet makeup and put baby genie pants on our heads.

After our outstanding performance, we took a series of unsuccessful jumping pictures using the self timer. What fun we have.
Don’t you love our outfits? :) The song and dance was even better. 
Okay, hopefully you can’t completely zoom in on our faces, because if you can, you will find the most horrible picture of us three ever taken. Love it.

My new favorite song, as learned from the Lutheran hymn book when we went to a service there. I fell in love as soon as we started singing. And I never stopped singing it, shouting it out as I walked through the halls at the JC, or up the many stairs, or sitting in my room, or in the computer lab. I’m still singing it now.
Shine, Jesus, shine. Fill this land with the Father’s glory.
Blaze, Spirit, blaze. Set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow. Flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth your word, Lord, and let there be light.

The Lowest of Low: Dead Sea

13 April 2009
Have you ever been in a body of water with 33% salinity? Not many people have, since you can only do it at the DEAD SEA! I have been fortunate enough to go there though, and to float in the water like a buoyant little human. Funnnnnnn stuuuuffff.
We all posed holding a newspaper. It’s what you do in the Dead Sea, kick back, relax, check up the latest. Thanks to Lindsay for the picture by the way.

Soooooo fun. My goodness, I missed water so so much while in Jerusalem. I live in Alaska; I go to school in Hawaii; I must have the ocean in my life. This Dead Sea trip was quite refreshing for my need of salt water.

And here is everyone who I have come to love soooo much. All of my JCites coated in Dead Sea mud. So you know that Dead Sea mud you pay big bucks for, well, we had an endless supply. Just go to the mud hole, dip your hand in the ground, grab a chunk, and wipe. Good for the skin apparently.

We went to Masada too, a fortress built by Herod the Great, and to get up there you had to take this tram. You can kinda see the Dead Sea in the top left corner of the picture.

Speaking of Herod the Great, he was pretty great. You know who else is great, Brother Huff. This picture is him teaching us about Masada and all sorts of good things. He really is sooo great and I have learned so so much from him.

This is Bro. Huff’s son. I just had to throw in this picture because Zach is such a funny little dude. Crazy kid. 

Later in the day we went to some waterfall. And the hike was sooo hot and there were soooo many people. I don’t remember enjoying it much, that was until we got to the waterfall. It’s always worth it when you get to the end. 

And to top it off, Nycole and I got this sweet picture of our sweet watches that we bought in the Old City. Mine is a Harry Potter watch and hers is Fula or something, Muslim barbie basically. 

Then… QUMRAN! Where the DEAD SEA SCROLLS were found. Whoa. I was there where the caves are where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls. The caves are behind me in the picture and guess what is on my chin… yep, it’s a fly. There’s a fly on my chin.

On field trips such as this, you may have noticed that I like to take random pictures of various things. This one is a picture of the authentic Jesus sandal and foot, or basically, it’s Carly’s dirty foot.

And here is Steve Marcum looking good in my sunglasses.

On the bus ride home, Eliza fell asleep, in this position, mouth open, looking pretty darn awesome.

As we were on the bus back to Jerusalem, there were some camels on the side of the road. Oh I love the Middle East.

There’s nothing better than ending your day with a camel.

HAPPY Easter! He is risen!

12 April 2009
Let me tell you, sunrise service on Easter morning at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, while singing beautiful, joyous songs of worship and praise with those wonderful friends who you love so much… it doesn’t get any better. This has been the best Easter of my life, and I highly suspect that it my stay as the best Easter of my life for quite some time.
I woke up at 4 am, got in the taxi at 4:30ish, then went and got in line at the Garden Tomb with a bunch of the Jerusalem Crew. There was a group of maybe ten other Christian students studying here in the Jerusalem who were first in line. But other than that, our group was it. The doors opened at 6 am, and we waited in line for well over an hour, but it was totally worth it because we got the best seats in the house!

Chelsea, Stephen, and Jacob. Seats don’t get any better than this. Can you imagine being at the Garden Tomb on Easter morning?! We were there with so many other faithful Christians, celebrating Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. And we were celebrating at the place where Christ came out of the tomb as a resurrected being. Incredible. Spiritual. Definitely one of my top three Jerusalem experiences.
The sunrise service did have preaching and sharing of the Easter story, but it also included a lot of singing. This picture is the musical group that lead it all. They were soooo good and so into what they were singing. Everyone was. I LOVED IT. Hmmm… makes me kind of want to convert to evangelical Christianity. :) Only joking. Being a Latter-day Saint is the only way to go.
I LOVE THIS SONG. Oh my goodness. I had the hugest smile on my face the entire service. Everyone was just rejoicing and celebrating Christ and celebrating the resurrection. We were all united together with the same foundation and with the same belief in Christ.
This is after the service was over, (too bad it had to end). Here’s me and good ol’ Ryan Money, who was shouting “Amens” and “Allelujahs” through the whole thing. What a character, that Money Man.
Before this Easter in Jerusalem, I didn’t really know what Easter was all about. I hadn’t thought about it much, as I hadn’t thought about a lot of things very much. But Easter celebrates Christ’s resurrection. I looooooove Easter.

Palm Sunday, Christ enters Jerusalem on a donkey. The triumphal entry. I was privileged to take his path from Bethphage (or maybe Bethany) and into the beautiful city of Jerusalem.
Christ then teaches in Jerusalem and journeys to Bethany at night to stay with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Thursday evening, Christ has the Last Supper with his apostles and institutes the sacrament.
Later on Thursday night, Christ goes from the Upper Room, across the city, through the valley, to the Garden of Gethsemane, where he atones for the sins of the world, where he sweats great drops of blood from every pore, where is bears every pain, physical, mental, and spiritual that we might face. It was that night, that he saved us all.
He is then taken to the houses of Annas and Caiaphas, then to Pilate, Herod, and back to Pilate, where he is condemned, scourged, mocked, humiliated. and tortured.
He then takes the path through the city, now the Via Dolorosa, and carries his cross to Golgotha, as he is in such great pain and is completely exhausted.
It is on this Friday that Christ is crucified and remains on the cross for most of Friday.
Joseph of Arimethia begs his body from Pilate, then Nicodemus helps prepare Christ for Joseph’s tomb. Christ is placed in the Garden Tomb. Day 1 is complete.
Saturday/Shabbat/Day 2 passes.
Sunday, Day 3, EASTER morning, the bonds of death have been broken. Christ the Lord is risen!
Happy Easter.

A Million Little Pieces

10 April 2009
We went to the Herodion, which is most likely where Herod the Great was buried. It is located in the West Bank so we had to go through security and the Separation Wall to get there. I took a picture of a sign right before the wall and then my camera wouldn’t really shut off. 
I’d shut it off and the lens wouldn’t go back in. I tried everything to fix it, but it wouldn’t fix. I took the battery and chip out multiple times. I pressed all of the buttons like crazy. And then I decided to hit it a little bit, and I went a little crazy…
This Jerusalem trip and traveling of the Middle East was hard on my camera. It started to die. It was slowing down a lot, it’d make funny noises, and it was reaching its end. On this fateful day, it actually did die. So I figured I may as well make the best of it and help it on its way out, and break it into a million little pieces. 
After my bout of destruction, this is what my camera looked like. Goodbye old friend.
Though I only had about two weeks left after I destroyed my dead camera, I had to get another right away. So less then 24 hours later, I spent 1250 shekels and got a new camera. Luckily, it was the exact model that I wanted and the exact same camera that Stacy got for Christmas. It ended up costing me $270 to buy it at the store in Jerusalem, but at Costco in the states, in only cost $170. Cost me $100 extra to buy it there, but totally worth it, because I took this picture of my home in Jerusalem. 



7 April 2009
Ramadan is the name of ninth month in the Muslim religion. It is a time of fasting, praying, and alms giving. They fast from sun up to sun down for the entire month. That is so crazy. Do you know how hard that would be? That is insano. The Muslims also give a lot more money and food to the poor at this time. The refrain from gossip and other evils to purify themselves and become closer to Allah. At the end of the month of Ramadan, they have a FEAST! That’s the part that we did, although we feasted months and months early. You have to modify things for JC life though.
Dr. Adnan Musallam, our professor for our Palestinian/Islam class, taught us about Ramadan and introduced us to the two sheiks that he had come and pray for us. The sheiks are like the religious leaders. The two that came in were father and son and their names were Nagi and Feras I think. Their positions at Al-Aqsa Mosque have been passed down in their family for 530 years. They are the type of people that do call to preayer.
Five times a day, there is call to prayer. I love listening to it. And when I first got to Jerusalem, I loved it waking me up at 5 am every morning. Love it. They sing surahs (sections of the Quran, the Muslim holy book) and it’s really amazing what they can do. They don’t breathe for sooooo long too. They just sing/speak the surah. 
After learning about it, the feast began. Our kitchen staff at the JC is so good. Jimmy and Mohammed, they’re all so good to us.

Marianne, Kara, and I sat together at a table, and guess who else… KEN! We had so much fun at our little table. And we created some sort of concoction for Ken to drink. He did it, painfully. What a trooper. But he did get a magnum bar out of the deal… :)


7 April 2009
There are so many opportunities to serve and help other people here in Jerusalem. One of our main service projects is putting together hygiene kits to send to those in Gaza, who have been devastated. It’s so good and we put these assemble lines together and speedster speedily pack the bags with towels, soap, tooth brushes, tooth pastes, and other such things. Those people need it.

Another service opportunity is feeding the babies. There is a Muslim hospital right down the street and you can go there and feed the little newborns and the babies that are underweight. This one I was feeding was maybe about 4.5 lbs, and it was 40 days old or something. Feeding the babies is really cool. Made me miss my darling nieces.

You can also go to Princess Basma’s Center for Disabled Children and play with the kids. There are all different severities the children, but it is so fun and so good and they just need people the play with them.
There were so many things we could do here to help bring a little peace to Jerusalem. I only wish I would’ve done more. Peace.


Christian Jerusalem Field Trip

6 April 2009

Another field trip! Woo hoo! We just went around the Old City to various sites associated with Christ. One of the big stops was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is one of Sham Sham’s favorite places. In that church it has all of the sites that Helena determined to be the sites of the burial, crucifixion, condemnation, and other such things. It is an incredible church
with incredible, old, old, old mosaics all over the place.
There were some fun little caves too. Woo hoo for caves!
Then we went to this church where Father Angelo, a cool dude, told us cool things about his life. I think said something like doing what he does means you have no money, no wife, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But I’m not sure if he said that or not. Somebody did at some point because I heard it somewhere… :)
Father Angelo showed us how Orson Hyde, one of the early apostles,  had carved his name on this door in one of the rooms.Then we went in to another church and Brother Skinner (or maybe Brother Huff) taught us about the “eye of the needle.” Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into Heaven. The stones near this arch are Herodian stones, 2000 years old. That opening on the side is called the eye of the needle. It was there for people to get through when the gate was closed. Perhaps that is what Jesus was referring to, because it would be extremely hard for a camel to get through this opening, especially with their awkward movements.
Can you see a camel getting through here? Not really. I guess it must be pretty hard for rich people to get into Heaven then.
Also at this church were paintings of Czar Nicholas and his family. There was a painting of Princess Anastasia. I LOVE THAT CARTOON! Anyways, the Romanovs stayed in this room for a while. I went in this room. Cooooooool beans. 
The next church was Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, when I had gone to mass about two months before. It was awesome going in there again, because we got to sing my favorite song… “SHINE! JESUS! SHINE!” We sang that song when I first went there and when we came here for the field trip and Bro. Skinner asked if anyone had a song they wanted to sing, I yelled out, “671!!!” Oh I love Shine, Jesus, Shine. Best song ever. 
After the churches, a group of us went and learned about the Shroud of Turin, which is possibly the cloth that Christ was covered with in the tomb. There’s a lot of evidence that’s supports it, but that’s kinda crazy. It was really cool learning about it though. I am learning so much here. I don’t want to leave.



6 April 2009
We were so blessed to be able to celebrate Palm Sunday in the very place that Christ’s triumphal entry occurred. We did the procession and walked from Bethphage into Jerusalem on the same path that Christ would’ve ridden the donkey on.
We got there pretty early, and I don’t know why we were there like an hour early, to just stand around and wait.

Kara, Lindsay, and Marianne waiting around for the procession to start. It was sooooooo sooooo hot. And we just had to stand around and wait in the heat, not very fun.

Then people started coming through with little boy scouts and monks and friars and other such religious leaders. 

This dude was wearing his baseball cap with his robes, interesting combination.

This guy had an awful haircut. I don’t really understand it.

This girl, who also joined with the thousands of people walking in the procession, had a wicked wicked long crazy braid.

There were palm leaves all over. Little kids would sell them all to people. 


Here’s me with my little leaf that I found on the ground. Again, it was so so so so so so so hot. I couldn’t handle it. And the walk was going so so so so so slowly. I just wanted to be done.

Me and my two favorite Jerusalem girls. We walked with thousands of other people from Bethphage to St. Anne’s Church just inside the city walls. It was so hot and there were so many people, but still good.

Once we had finally escaped from the crowd and the people, Kara, Marianne, and I went and got some hummus and pitas. Yay! Hummus and pitas!

I love Palm Sunday, especially in Jerusalem. What an opportunity to be able to walk the path of Christ’s triumphal entry. I love Jerusalem.


“I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing!”

5 April 2009
     The song “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay has become one of my favorites since being here in Jerusalem. I love it. In the song it says, “I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing…” and that part describes this lovely Sunday perfectly.
     The Squires are a service couple here and they are incredibly musically talented. Brother Squires plays the organ in the auditorium, which is probably the finest organ here in the Holy Land. It has 3000 pipes and when Bro. Squires plays it, it is awesome. They are also in charge of the Jerusalem Center choir, that pretty much everyone sings in. But since all of the students sing in the choir on Shabbats, there is no audience for the performers. So quite often I sacrifice by sleeping in an extra hour so that I can listen to the choir. :) How good. 
     The Squires bless not only the people of the Jerusalem Center with their musical gifts, but they bless all of Jerusalem. Every Sunday they go and ring the bells at the YMCA tower and they usually bring students with them. 
This is the YMCA bell tower.

This is the view of Jerusalem from the bell tower.
And these are the bells! All of Jerusalem, or at least half of it, hears these bells.

This is me ringing the bells! Woo hoo!
Ali and I played “Ode to Joy.” The Squires had simple music for the students to play and it was pretty fun stuff. A little intimidating though, considering 100,000+ people are listening to you.

“I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing. 

Roman calvary choirs are singing. 
Be my mirror, my sword, and shield, 
My missionaries in a foreign field. 
For some reason I can’t explain, 
I know Saint Peter will call my name. 
Never an honest word, 
But that was when I ruled the world.”


5 April 2009

Samara = creepy girl from the Ring

Samara = what Holly shouts at me when she shuts off the lights as I’m in the basement at my dad’s house, leaving me in the dark by myself screaming

Samara = name of travel agency in Jerusalem and not the travel agency we used to go to Galilee, not that we used a travel agency anyway

By the way, I’m back from my 11 day trip to Galilee. I will be blogging about all of the Galilee goodness very soon hopefully.

I had the greatest time ever. It was so so good and so beautiful. Everything was green and we were right on the Sea of Galilee so there was a beach and there were beautiful flowers all around and I loved every second of it.

We’d go back and forth from a day of field tripping to a day of New Testament class for three hours and then free time on the beach. I had such a good time. I loved it so much.

The beach was my favorite part, no surprise there. I miss the ocean, but the Sea of Galilee satisfied my ocean need for now, even though it’s only a lake. I’d go for long walks on the beach all by myself and it was the best. I found a few dead fish and then had nice little burial services for them, and I found a dead bird too and did the same. And I found a lot a lot of ladybugs. They were all over the beach. I gave them names like Winston and Emmaline and Josephine and Octavias and Julius and things like that.

I’d also read the New Testament on the beach and it was so incredible because everything I was reading about happened right where I was sitting. I was looking out at the water the Chirst walked on. I was in all of these places where he performed wonderful miracles. I love the Holy Land.

Galilee was the best trip ever. I miss it. And I’m going to miss Jerusalem too, because I leave this wonderful place too soon…


I like to snorkel Eilat a lot.

3 April 2009
After a loooong, incredible time in Galilee, spending far too many hours on buses, we decided to get on the bus for another eight hours the very next day.
We got up early in the morning, after not a lot of sleep since we just got back the night before, and then rode four hours to Eilat, at the southern tip of Israel and on the Red Sea. The Red Sea!
Then… we went snorkeling in the Red Sea! Awesome possum, I know. I love snorkeling. I love the sea. I love pictures wearing snorkels and masks with Kara and Marianne.
We were snorkeling on a nature reserve so we couldn’t wander around very much, but it was wicked awesome anyway. And the water was fuuuuullllllllllll of JELLIES! I love jellies! There were tiny little baby jellyfish all over and we just swam through them. So fun.

There was also this awesome fish that was like neon and fluorescent and really colorful. I loved it. When we were done snorkeling, we took jumping pictures of course.
Some of them turned out great…

… and some didn’t. :)

Swimming in the Red Sea is good for you.


Goodbye Galilee

2 April 2009

Galilee was the best field trip ever. Trips don’t really get better than Galilee. My last morning there I woke up early and went for a little beach walk to watch the beautiful sunrise and say my goodbyes to the Sea of Galilee.
I met Marianne and we went on a little beach walk together. I really love this girl a lot.
We left Ein Gev and were kind of headed home, but with a lot a lot of historical stops on the way. This place is known for its beautiful mosaics, especially this one. It’s really incredible how much detail and shading they get just from putting together all of these little rocks. Could you imagine making something like this? Not me.
The sign said, “It is forbidden to wet or stand on the mosaics,” so I peed outside. :)There was also in old Roman road that you can all the wear and tear on and paths from old wheels. After that place, we went to another place that had something to do with Elijah. We sang some hymns. Love it.
Then I went on a roof and it had a map things pointing to many different cities and places. JERUSALEM! I love that place, so so so much.
Then we went to Haifa, in northern Israel. There’s the Mediterranean!
And there was an ice cream truck that played ice cream truck music. Yay! I don’t know if I’ve ever actually seen an ice cream truck in real life before. We don’t really get them in Homer.
Then we went to a beautiful cemetary, where some of the early missionaries to the Holy Land were burried.

Finally, after many hours and many stops, we made it home, to the Jerusalem Center! Yay! It’s always always so good to get home.


Leopard hat day is always a good day.

1 April 2009

Roomies! I love my JC roomies. We’re in Akko, where there are a bunch of Crusader remains, as I’m sure you can tell from the vaulted ceilings and massive pillars. :) Shamra loves Crusader architecture.
Then we went to a mosque.
They are beautiful inside.
Then on our way to the sea, we walked through a market where there were lots of dead fishies. Classic smell.
So happy to be at sea! I do love the Mediterranean.
And I love Kara Van Wagenen and Marianne Gold.
I especially love posing for pictures with them.
We left the Mediterranean, the beautiful sea, and went to some Jewish tombs. Angie and I took a purple picture. She’s so wonderful.
Stone coffin. :)
Dead faces. Human menorah.
Outside the synagogue. No, it’s not called a synagogue. This definitely isn’t a synagogue. What’s it called? I can’t think of the word. Sepulcher? Cenotaph? Maybe I’ll just say tomb.
Before we ended this slightly shorter field trip, Moon was jammin’ to her pod and dancing on the wall. Moon… love her.
We went back to Ein Gev and I again found myself wandering down the beach. I came across a dead bird and surrounded it with little shells.
Then I covered it with grass. Little birdie is now resting in peace. This place makes me so happy.
I walked in the water where Jesus walked in shoes that probably looked kind of like his. It was the best.
Our last night in Galilee… we had a bonfire with everyone! All of the guys attacked Moon and had a funny little mock trial. But poor Moon ended up with peanut butter and barbeque sauce on her. She had to shower, which she didn’t really want to do. :) But still, Galilee = nothing but good times.