Monday, June 23, 2008

The End

I had planned on posting over the weekend, but it didn't happen...! So this last post about my trip will cover three days. I do apologize, but hope you'll enjoy it anyway.

The 21st...

We started our day with a ride across the Sea of Galilee. It was so relaxing and quiet and I really enjoyed reading about the Master calming the sea. From there we went to Capernum and saw the ruins there and then off to the Mount of Beatitudes. I think that the church that was built atop it is so beautiful!

The picture below is one of my favorites from the trip. This is an Israeli Burger King menu. The kosher law will not allow any dairy product and meat to be served together. That means no butter on your bread if you are also having meat for dinner, but it also means no cheeseburgers. So here is the menu. Which would you like? A hamburger?, hamburger?, double hamburger?, double hamburger?, or maybe you'd like just a hamburger?? :)

After lunch we travelled farther north to the border of Lebanon. We were able to walk through the old war trenches and also saw the Banias Waterfall which is one of the sources of the Jordan River.

After that we went to the traditional baptismal spot of Christ and watched a bunch of people baptizing themselves. They asked us if any of us would like to be baptized. We all politely declined as we had that taken care of back when we were 8. :) That night we ate dinner next to the Sea of Galilee at St. Peter's Fish Restaurant. (snazzy name, eh!) They bring you out an entire fish and you gnaw everything off of it. I was disgusted and got a pizza instead and it was the worst pizza I've ever eaten. :) Gotta love win-win situations. :)

The 22nd...

Today started on Mount Tabor aka the Mount of Transfiguration. From there we went to Nazareth and from there we went to different spots spending quite a bit of time overlooking the Valley of Armageddon. It's an incredible view and it will be interesting to see what happens there in the future. I came to love this country and the people and was overwhelmed with the thoughts of what will happen.

I really liked the road signs there. You can see the Hebrew, Arabic, and English.

Then we headed back to Jerusalem for our last night and day. It was Friday night so we went and watched the Jews bring the Sabbath to the Wailing Wall (their Sabbath is on Saturday). It was a cool experience, for sure.

Jen and I decided to join the festivities and stick our prayers in the wall along with them. (FYI-- that is not my head! I haven't done my hair like that since like elementary school, thank goodness!) We did have to wear shawls since they could tell we weren't Jewish. The wall is pretty crazy. Everyone reads the Torah while moving their bodies back and forth in the craziest positions and there is a lot of jumping and chanting. The men's side of the wall was much more intense than the women's, but there were some pretty crazy ladies there too. I found it amusing to find that there are 'wall hogs' there. :)

The 23rd, the last day...

Of course, this day was the last the best of all the game. We started our day in the Orson Hyde Gardens that the church owns on the Mount of Olives and then made our way over to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a very sacred place.

We made our way over to the BYU Jerusalem Center where we attended church. (In Jerusalem, the church even has church on Saturday since everyone else does it then!) This is Jen and I standing in the main hallway. It's the same place that President Hinckley walks down in "Special Witnesses of Christ." The shirt I'm wearing is one that I bought at the Suez Canal for $9! I thought I would give it a try in the heat, but the main reason I wore it was because I was out of clean clothes by that time! Even though it is long-sleeved, it is very light fabric so it felt great to not have the sun beating directly on your skin. I guess those Egyptians know what they're doing! Also, I'm wearing my J.C.'s if you look closely!

After church, we walked down the Mount of Olives through the Jewish graves. The rocks on top of the graves are their version of flowers. From there we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where some believe Christ was crucified and buried. I didn't like the place. After that we went to the Garden Tomb where many of the prophets have expressed their belief that this is the place where he was crucified and lain. The differences in feelings between the two places was night and day. I loved this place and it was definitely the best way to end the trip.

Here is Golgotha-- the place of the skull.

And the Garden Tomb.

On the door (inside the tomb in this picture) is a wooden plaque that said, "He is not here; He is risen!" What a great knowledge that is to know that our Savior is risen! He lives today and we can know Him and have Him as our friend. I am so grateful that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth and that I was privileged enough to be born to a family who is members of the church. All the blessings in my life have come because of it.

We then left for the airport and spent the next day getting home. Because of a delayed flight we missed our connecting flights and spent many hours trying to find other flights and hanging out in various airports as we were flown all over the country! Good times. :)

If you've survived; thanks for reading these! I've loved remembering what I did and saw and I love to share it with others.


Aliese Fry said...

Wow! What a neat experience. I'm totally and completely jealous; you have some beautiful photos.

Colby and Meredith said...

That sounds like such a fascinating trip! I would love to go there someday.

Matthew and Hillary said...

Way cool experiences! Thanks for sharing them!

Rachel Theurer said...

Oh...Jerusalem. I think about that place every day. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Julie Lewis said...

Thanks for taking all the time to write all of this up! It has been fun reading it and has made me want to go visit!

dr. clint said...

wow - looks like a very cool trip!

Brandon said...

Awesome. I really want to go to Israel... my parents did when they had four kids under 8, so that gives me hope that maybe Mandi and I can pull it off, too.