Saturday, May 20, 2017

We're All In This Together!

Hello friends and family!
This week was a pretty good week. I'm trying to remember everything we've done, there's been so much! For our field trip on Monday we went to the Negev.  We visited the Wilderness of Zin where the children of Israel wandered for 40 years.  We also visited Arat, Arad, and Beersheba.  It was really cool to be at these places after having read about the events that transpired there. Seriously it has been such a privilege to be here! My favorite part of the field trip was a hike we did through a small portion of the Wilderness of Zin.  Although it was so hot (we were hiking in like 90 degree weather..yikes) I absolutely loved it! I love just being in nature and getting some exercise.  It was very beautiful.
Classes are going okay. I feel like I do a ton of studying but I can for sure learn how to improve on that.  I feel like I do a lot of reading but I don't really retain the information.  After classes on Tuesday I went into the Old City a bought a beautiful scarf that is Bedouin made, and some camel sandals, and some treats for our flight to Greece tonight.  I'm really excited! I needed to get a scarf because on Thursday we had "Arab Night" we dressed up in "traditional" wear and had multiple events. We had two sheiks come and read part of the Qu'uran to us, and also prayed in front of us.  The reading of the Qu'uran and the Call to Pray made me tear up. It was so beautiful.  As I was listening to these two devout Mulsims share with us their sacred scripture I just felt the love that Heavenly Father has for them, for ALL his children.  I have really come to respect and love the Islamic culture and religion.  It really is very beautiful, and very similar to our LDS beliefs.  I also have really come to love the Hebrew culture more than I already do.  Although the Lord has designated only one way to return to Him, which everyone needs to hear, He loves ALL of us regardless of race, nationality, or religion.  I know He loves those children who have not yet heard the Word but still worship Him to the best of their abilities. How blessed we are to have to gospel of Jesus Christ.  I really feel that I need to be more devout in my own faith, just as my Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters are in theirs.
After listening to the sheiks we had a traditional meal that our kitchen staff spent literally all day preparing! IT WAS SO GOOD! I love Middle Eastern food.  They went all out, we literally had like 8 courses and they decorated the tables and everything. It was so fun to see everyone dressed up (including the faculty and staff) and we were all just laughing and enjoying each other's company.  Then there were some girls that came and taught us some traditional Palestinian dance steps.  It was really fun to dance with everyone.
The highlight of my week was being able to watch my little brother open up his mission call. Even though I had to wake up 1:45 am to video chat it was worth it ha! Though I can't say where yet because he is waiting to reveal it later (my mom told me like 30 times to not say anything about where he was going haha). Needless to say I am SOOOO proud of my baby brother, and really look up to him a lot. He has such a strong testimony, and such a sensitive soul.  He is going to be a great missionary. Love you Bubba!
Well tonight we leave for Greece.  We are leaving here at 2 am.  Two early mornings in a row ahhh. I am so excited to go to Greece but it is going to be NUTS we are doing a lot each day.  Last night we watched Hercules for our movie night and it was so funny. Literally everyone's inner child came out.  People were singing at the top of their lungs, and swaying back and forth it was hilarious!! Disney, Disney, Disney.  Well I think that is all I really have to say.  I hope you all have a great week!


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