Friday, March 23, 2012

The Galilee

It is such a wonderful day. I look around me and wonder how I got here. The sounds of the city surround me and two worlds collide. Part of me will forever be tied to this place. Something about being here just easily brings joy- perhaps because I never thought I would make it this far, or maybe because this place is so rich with history about what I believe. It's so beautiful- a smell of spices in the distance mixed with tobacco, the sounds of some street musicians and vendors all around. 

This past week has been packed with travels. I had five days of field studies in six days. The four day trip consisted of sites in the Galilee. Saturday- Tuesday- Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, Jezreel Valley, Sepphoris, Nazareth Ridge, Beth-Shean, Hazor, Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Crater Lake, Mt. Bental, boat ride on the Galilee, Capernaum, Chorazim, and the Cliffs of Arbel. Then, Thursday I had a Second Temple Field Study in the Shephelah. 

The Galilee was definitely my favorite field study. The majority of the previous field studies focused on the Old Testament, which is awesome or course, but I was certainly ready to learn more about the New Testament. We stayed in Nazareth the first night, and then right on the coast of the Galilee, in Ein Gev, for the two following nights. 

Overall, it has been a wonderful week, but as expected, I am really tired out. Today marks seven weeks left! 

Mt. Carmel Elijah statue
The tree used in Jesus Christ superstar. 

Some Roman toilets. So classy.
Sunset on the Galilee

Walking on water!

Heart shaped ice cream. It's all I need.

Our hut on the Galilee!

Boat ride on the Galilee

Jordan River

Monday, March 12, 2012

Life is life.

Hello Hello! So much has happened these past few weeks! This past weekend I had a field study for my Second Temple History class. The weekend before was filled with three days of traveling to the Mediterranean, Dead Sea, Masada, and many other places! Overall it has been so wonderful, although, as much expected I am feeling very overwhelmed. 

One of my favorite places so far is the Dead Sea! It was definitely on my bucket list for this trip! Floating in the sea was literally crazy! The entire coast was covered with hard, crystalized salt, which is very rough. Once I finally made my way in after several attempts (fearing that I actually wouldn't float), it was sooooo cool! That's all I can say, oh and, get one tiny drop in your eye and feel the burn!

I wish I could express all I am learning, feeling and experiencing, but it is far too much to blog about! A friend told me today about how she knows she cannot leave Israel as the same person that stepped off the plane. And this sparked something in me. I honestly felt a lot of tension with that remark. It's difficult knowing I will change in ways I cannot possibly control and it is teaching me about laying down my pride- which is incredibly difficult, especially in Western culture. Part of me is excited to learn and continually experience new things, but this whole process is really risky. I'm trying to give it all to God and trust Him fully, because I know His plans are so much better than anything I can even dare to think of. 

My time here is truly teaching me about God. And I don't just mean in a fluffy, lovely way. I mean the real God. The God of the Old Testament who fulfilled His plans through the New Testament. Before I came I had so much passion and desire to serve. Don't get me wrong, I know this is crucial. But, I realized I didn't know much about the God of the Bible. Through my classes, and conversations I am continually learning. Life is life. Some of the what I am learning I could be learning anywhere- things about myself I need to change. Life goes on and even though things are different, so many things are the same. But there are also things I definitely couldn't experience anywhere else- How when I step out of campus there is a wall made up of Ottoman, Hasmonean, and Herodian stones. Oh- and imagining God walking where I just walked, if you can teach me how to process that, please help me out.  

Please pray I would be able to cling to the hope God gives. It is really is an everyday laying down of my life for something so much greater. Thank you so much for your prayers, I really do appreciate the support and am so grateful for the encouragement.  

Chelsea and I, at the Mediterranean 

Food Storage section at Masada
Eva and I on Masada
3 Shekel ice cream- that is 75 cents! Win!
The Dead Sea
A cave at Qumran, some of the Dead Sea scrolls were found here. 
Street Musicians, just outside of the Old City 
Another creation at Domari!

A Purim Service, celebrating the book of Esther. It is like Halloween here!
Many dress up for the occasion, children and adults alike! 
Children reading part of Esther! Such a good way to get the youth involved. 

Overlooking St. George's Monastery 
The road to Jericho 
Awesome kids right outside of Jericho 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Let it snow...

Hey everyone! It has been a lovely week here, and ended nicely as I woke up to snow flakes outside my window. My roommates and I headed outside early this morning to take a walk in the snowy streets. It has not snowed here in about five years, and there has been a drought these past seven years! This to say, it was a joyful city today.

I helped out again at Domari yesterday. There were gypsies that were traveling from Norway and they taught me about the formation of the people group. It started over a thousand years ago in India, and the group has traveled around since. It seems they have always been discriminated against. I finished up painting a project I had been working on the previous week, and then we had a delicious lunch made by Amoun!

These coming days are going to be very busy, there is a three day field study to the Dead Sea, Masada, the Negev and many other places! Tonight is Shabbat and will surely be wonderful!
Ash Wednesday Service 
Liz and I at Shabbat dinner 
Lunch at Domari, they feed us well! 
Laura and I at Domari, we painted these!