Hey ya'll! This past week has been so amazing! The rest of Galilee was a blast, and I really came to learn more of my Savior. Here's the details.
Last Saturday's Sabbath was absolutely amazing! It seems like I am always getting some sort of revelation here. I love it! Before we went to our sacrament meeting, we stopped by the Jordan River at a site where hundreds of pilgrims every day come to be baptized or rebaptized to show that they are recommitting themselves to their faith. It's kinda weird their thinking, but I guess they have good intentions. On the way to our sacrament services we sang primary songs like "A Child's Prayer", "Army of Helaman", "Book of Mormon Stories" and others. It really struck me that even though these are 'little kid songs', they are the basics and teh most important things. It was just a cool experience to share with 80 of my best friends. Also, as I told you last week, I was having a hard time with some personal trials that I was going through. A talk given in sacrament meeting was about the atonement and the enabling power of it. What really struck me were two certain steps to help us expend our best efforts in using the atonement. The first was to pray, but specifically to pray to change yourself to be strong to bear the burden rather than the situation or trial that you are going through. This was a really good concept for me to learn because I had been praying earlier for the situation to change rather than for me to be strengthened. But now, I have been praying for that and it's been so much better! The next step was to set goals. I have always been a goal setter, but I haven't been working on this as much lately. This week, however, I made some goals and prayed every day for me to keep to them and remember them. Let's just say that this week has been much better now that I had that insight and inspiration. Oh how I love the gospel!!!
This was Sabbath morning on the Sea of Galilee
Sunday July 11 was another class day. We had class that morning and had all afternoon to swim and sit in the Sea of Galilee. I really made some much stronger friendships that day. I think that is one of the best things that I got from Galilee. Everyone grew so close. We really are best friends now. I consider them my family, and I would do anything for any of these people. I love them all so much! It was a great day to just relax and continue my 'summer vacation' on the beach.
Monday July 12 was one of the best field trip days thus far. That morning we went to an old Roman city that had so many different things. The best part of the day was that I got to sing in an old Roman amphitheater for my class! Oh man it was so embarrassing! My teacher asked me about two minutes before I he wanted me to sing to do it. So I had to go get an ipod and then sing 'Popular' from the musical Wicked. I mean, it wasn't horrible, but I didn't feel like it showcased my talents very well. But at least I can say that I sung in a Roman amphitheater right? Kinda cool. We then got to go swimming in some natural springs! They were so gorgeous and so refreshing after being in the sun for long, hot field trip days. After that we went to Mount Tabor which is the traditional site of the Mount of Transfiguration. This was a gorgeous mountain with a beautiful church on top. After we got done having our class time, Ricki (the boy who I sang in the talent show with) and I took the time to go to a side chapel and sing hymns acappella. It was such a sweet experience to sing such gorgeous hymns in a place with great acoustics with a voice that completely blends with mine. We were trying to be quiet so as not to disturb other people, but apparently it didn't work because afterwards everyone ran up to us and told us how gorgeous it sounded and how it totally added to their personal scripture study time. I feel so blessed to have a talent that I can use to bless other people's lives.
Tuesday July 13 was sweet. That morning we went to a few archeological sites. The coolest one was the tel of Dan because it was so fertile and green. In Israel there isn't much greenery, especially in Jerusalem. So it was really nice to have this 'tropical forest' type place where we walked through and just did a little hike. Later that day we also went to a waterfall. Our next stop was Caesarea Philippi which is where Peter proclaimed "Thou art the Christ." We had a great talk about our own testimonies of Christ and how they ahve grown since we have been in Galilee. It was a great time to reflect and think about my relationship with the Savior. Next was at a place called Nimrod's Fortress. It was a fortress built by the crusaders on top of a hill to defend themselves against the Muslim invaders. We just go to explore this huge fortress for an hour which was fun. That night we had a class bonfire with scones, popcorn, and smores. Delicious.
Wednesday July 14 we went to the city of Akko. I honestly don't remember much about what it was or the significance of it. I know that it was a crusader city and that at one point it was the richest city in the world. Other than that I zoned out. I do know, however, that they had some great shopping because I bought two purses and two pairs of earrings. Haha. That afternoon we were able to have the time to just sit at the beach again since it was our last night in Galilee. As always, so fun and awesome. That night we had another bonfire but with everyone this time. We basically just had a testimony meeting which was great. It was really cool to hear my peers and best friends testify of how they have grown to know our Savior and the experiences that they have had this past week. That night I got to my room early so that I could pack to leave the next day.
The sunset my last night on the Sea.
Thursday July 15 we went to a city called Zippori which is where one of my teachers (who is the foremost authority on the Gospel of Luke in the church) believes that Joseph worked and taught Christ to work. It was basically another archeological site but it was cool to think that Joseph and Jesus worked to build that city. After that we went to Megiddo where the final battle of Armageddon is supposed to begin.
Overlooking the valley of Megiddo
It was so weird to think about. Umm, other than that we just basically went back to the Jerusalem Center for dinner and the evening.
Friday July 16 was a free day to recover from our long trip and do laundry. I did the humanitarian project again, and then I went out into the city to do some shopping. I bought a ring with my name in Hebrew on it, and I bought another purse. So yes I am up to six purses. Haha. I never knew that I was a purse person until this trip. I also studied for my New Testament midterm which is Tuesday.
Saturday July 17, today, has been good. I slept in, went to my church meetings, had enrichment about journaling, and then read for New Testament this week. Now I'm writing you guys.
So overall, my week and a half in Galilee was absolutely AMAZING! I learned so many things. First, I learned that the atonement is for so much more than sins. I grew to understand my Savior and His atonement so much better than I thought it would. I also learned that the Holy Ghost really does work! This trip really showed me that the Holy Ghost can prompt me, comfort me, bring me peace, and tell me what I need to do to be happy and so on. I also learned about forgiveness. I learned that forgiving others asap is the best possible thing to do. I had to forgive some of my friends for losing some things of mine that really meant a lot to me. But I realized that their friendship is so so so much more important to me than any material thing. Material things can be replaced, and they are definitely not worth losing a friendship over. I also learned that we are never really satisfied with what we have. The food at the kibbutz we stayed at wasn't the best. While it made me so much more grateful for the food we have here at the JC, I'm still not satisfied with the food. I guess I'm just getting used to it and want more variety in my life. Haha. That's random I know. I also learned that I am not good about taking pictures anymore. After going to five archeological sites that all look the same, I just don't care and am too lazy to take more pictures. Next, I also learned that the heat SUCKS, but it's all about your attitude on whether the day becomes miserable or not due to it. It was super hot on the field trips because we were right by the sea which makes it humid, and we were also out in the blazing sun all day long. Even though we all got nice tans, we were hot. But it wasn't that bad because no one really complained about it. We couldn't change it so why complain? I also learned that once you know people it doesn't matter what you look like because they see you at your worst and your best. We all treated this trip pretty much like girls camp because none of us really did our hair, our makeup, or looked nice. The best thing was that we didn't care. We were all comfortable enough with each other already which was great. I love not having to feel like I have to look nice all the time. Haha. Next lesson: don't judge people. I really got to know some amazing people on this trip that I didn't take the time to know before because I thought they weren't my 'type' of friend. Oh man was I wrong! I learned that I can get along with most everyone as long as I get to know them. I seriously love everyone here so much more now! I am so excited that we all grew so close. I loved this trip!