Thursday, March 31, 2011


Is this real life?

The weekend started off on Friday when about 30 of us from the center participated in the first Jerusalem Marathon. I wish I could say I ran in the marathon but I'm pretty proud of my 10k. This is definitely the land of hills and valleys. Kaitlin and I made the most of the hills by running down airplane style with our arms stretched out singing "I Believe I Can Fly". It was so surreal to run through the Old City and see the different parts of Jerusalem as we ran. I can't believe this has been my home for the past 3 months. 10,000 people came together to run in this race for cancer and we met people from all over the world. Not only was the race a great experience but we got a sweet neon green shirt, backpack, medal, and lots of free food.
For our free day on Sunday the whole center went to Eilat to go snorkeling in the Red Sea. Being in the water was so relaxing and we soaked up the sun on the beach for as long as we could.
Here are all our wonderful boys here at the Jerusalem Center. How did I get so lucky to meet so many amazing people? I honestly don't know.
Although I was deathly ill (or at least it felt like it) for our field trip on Monday, I loved every minute of it. This is outside the Temple Mount on the steps that Jesus would have often walked on. This could have been the very place he met the man born blind and rubbed his eyes with mud before sending him to the Pool of Siloam just minutes away. I have literally walked where Christ walked.

The pictures are a little out of order- our trip at Eilat: Kaitlin, Cory, Josh, Chelsea, Rachel, me, Donovan

Sweet Galilee

Breathtaking. That is the word that comes to mind when I think of my experience in Galilee. I don't even know where to start in telling about the experiences I had, so I'll just post an overload of pictures.
Casearea- Herod's port city on the Mediterranean Sea. Taylor and I
Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea- Neal and I
Austin and I at
Kaitlin and I
Me, Brock, Rachel, Kaitlin
Me, Josh, Kaitlin
Me, Spence, Cory
Ancient water trough- instead of the wooden manger that everyone pictures Christ being laid in, this is more likely to be the place he was laid after being wrapped in swaddling clothes.
AJ and I at the Jordan River! There were so many people there of different religions being baptized.
Donovan and I
Austin and I- we're hardcore.
Beautiful walk we took to a waterfall.
The view from church in Tiberias
Josh and I
Mark and I
Jess, me, Kaitlin
Our wonderful hometeachers! Michael and Piers
Fish Restaurant at Ein Gev- yes I ate that- including one of the eyeballs- all part of the adventure.
The view of the Sea of Galilee from our hotel rooms- watching the sunset every night overlooking the sea of Galilee with bonfires on the beach a few nights a week- not bad huh?
Sister Muhlestein and I on the most beautiful hike I have ever been on- it was so fun to chat with her while we walked- I love her!
One of the most incredible experiences I had the whole week was on the Mount of Beatitudes as I studied the sermon given by the Savior and looked around at the place he stood when he taught. March is definitely the best time to be in Galilee.
Our boat ride on the Sea- we sang "Master the Tempest is Raging" and read about the miracles the Savior performed on the Sea of Galilee. Rachel, Lani, me
Uncle Peter, you were right- this was definitely a highlight of this whole experience, I learned so much about the miracles the Savior performed and will always treasure the experiences I had studying the scriptures on the shores of Galilee. I got to know my friends here better than ever and spent so much time getting to know the wonderful people I am here with. I love my life!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Heart is Full

It seems as if all my prayers lately have been filled with pleadings to my Heavenly Father to help me be a more charitable person. Tonight our hometeachers taught us about looking for the good in others and expecting the best rather than the worst.
Here are some of the people at the Jerusalem Center that I absolutely love...
my beautiful, wonderful, incredible, practically perfect roommates

Dressed up as Hawaiian tourists for Hawaiian night

Nothing brings you closer than service
People here make me laugh so much. I love that.

As I am developing my relationship with my Savior in the Holy Land my capacity to love has grown so much. I am so grateful for Christ in my life. My roommate, Rachel, sang a beautiful musical number today of "Be Still My Soul"- one line stuck out to me "In every change, he faithful will remain" I know that every person on this earth is loved and that we always have the Savior with us through every moment in our lives. I am so grateful that the Savior can change people through his unwavering love. He is the perfect example.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Top Ten of February

10) Tombs
It seems like every other picture we take is laying in someone's tomb. We spent a couple hours one day at the Tomb of the Kings- which consisted of climbing down below ground and wandering the pitch black tombs with our flashlights.
Our Jewish professor hosted a Seder dinner for us one night- and we had a blast! We spent the evening reading about the Exodus, singing, eating and participating in traditional Jewish customs. The next night we learned Israeli dancing, which was a hit- there will be Israeli dancing at my wedding recepetion- such a fun thing for big groups of people.
8) Playing with friends/ the Jerusalem shirt
The Muhlestein family started a fun tradition of passing two shirts around the JC- one for the girls and one for the boys. I was the first girl to be given the honor of wearing the JC shirt for the day. We didn't have a lot of free time on this day but we wandered around by Hebrew University and took pictures/videos- I love my friends so much!

7)Hezekiah's Tunnel
This was such a fun field trip! Hezekiah's tunnel is a manmade tunnel that was used to bring water from the Gihon spring to the Pool of Siloam (where Jesus healed the blind man!) It was used to give water supply to the city of Jerusalem when they were attached by Sennacharib. We walked through this tunnel- which has water up to about your mid calf. We sang the whole way and turned our flashlights off a couple of times to make our way through the narrow tunnel. Note the wonderful outfits- shorts are not allowed in the city so we wore skirts/dresses over them until we could lift them up in the tunnel. Classic.
6) Giving Blood
My first time giving blood! I was so so nervous- ever since watching birthing videos my freshman year of college in my human development I have a weak stomach. Everyone said the finger prick is the worst part so when that happened and it didn't hurt me at all I felt just fine. Then someone fainted and I started to get nervous again. It wasn't too bad, just a little uncomfortable and she moved the needle around for a little bit trying to find the vein (ouch!). But I was so happy to do such a small thing to help someone else. This will not be the last time it happens!
5) After an excruciating painful couple of days of finals (which does NOT make my top ten) we had a late, late night field trip to the Kotel Tunnel, which runs underneath the modern day Western Wall. I have to admit I was not looking forward to a field trip after such a long day but it turned out to be fun, even though I was groggy the whole way. The best part was being at the Western Wall at night and seeing so many people worship. I love this land.
4) Neot Kedomin
This was a part of our Valentine's Day field trip that I absolutely loved. It was so nice to have a day of playing-this was my valentine for the day- cute huh?
3) Bethlehem
We took a trip to Bethlehem on Monday- it was so wonderful! Our first stop was at the Herodion- a massive palace that King Herod used for the summers. We wandered around the ancient ruins, looked at Herod's tomb, and walked through pleasure pool- a huge pool at the bottom with a small island in the middle of it. Then we went to Bethlehem University where we had the chance to meet college aged students and ask them questions about what it is like to live here with all the conflict. I was amazed at how much they sacrifice to gain an education. I have so much respect for the people who live here. Then we headed to the Church of the Nativity where the Savior was born. The neatest part of the experience was sitting in the adjacent church singing Christmas hymns. Grown men and women stopped and cried as they listened to us sing, some joining in, others taking videos. We all had a common love for Jesus Christ that brought a sweet spirit. We shopped for a little while and then went to Shepherds field and had a testimony meeting. We heard some musical numbers and shared our testimony's with each other. I am so grateful for the love that I feel here. My capacity to love has grown so much in the past two months and I am so grateful to the Savior for allowing that to happen. It was an unforgettable night as we sat under the stars in Shepherds Field and looked back the little town of Bethlehem.
2) Dome of the Rock
Finally! I don't know why it took so long for me to get to the Dome of the Rock- but it was well worth the wait. The mosaic decoration and gold top is absolutely beautiful. As I have said so many times, I love seeing the different ways people worship- at the Western Wall, synagogue, and outside the Dome of the Rock. There is so much history on the Temple Mount where this Dome is located. It is the same location as Solomon's Temple and Herod's Temple where Christ visited.
1) Service
One of the things I have grown to love the most is the opportunity to serve. We have a great humanitarian couple here give us the opportunity to serve as often as they can. Chelsea is in charge of the committee and works so hard so we all have the chance to serve. One Sabbath we went to the Christian quarter of the Old City and visited with some of the elderly people in their homes. This sweet woman has the only piano in the Old City and loves for people to come and play it at her house. We have yet to go back and visit her but I am looking forward to going back. Yesterday we went to an elementary school- I was in heaven. I'll upload those pictures when I get them. Kerry, Donovan and I were in a kindergarten class with about 20 kids. We taught them songs- Ring around the Rosie, Popcorn Popping, Hokey Pokey (their favorite), itsy bitsy spider, Once there was a snowman, and Do as I'm doing. I wish I could have captured the looks on their faces when we were there- they were so genuinely happy. They love to give high fives and