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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hello!

I know, I know. Long time no talk.   Life in the Holy Land has been a bit cray cray! First of all this past week was finals soooooo that should pretty much sum up everything. One word to describe this past week.... exhausting! Pretty much bombed my finals but hey I'm done. We've gone on cool field trips, had amazing food, and overall just amazing experiences (minus finals).  Some high lights of the past few weeks:
- Neot Kaudim (Biblical Gardens).  It felt like a camp out trip which I loved! We learned a lot about how the geography would have looked during biblical times, did some team building exercises, and made our own pita and lentil soup lunch over a camp fire.  Then a Torah scribe came and we learned about how they write their Torahs.  It was a great field trip!
- Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and it was AHHHMAZING!!! Loved it!
- Hezekiah's Tunnel and the brief rain that surprised us in the morning.
- Basketball Tournament!!! Juddhites 4 life! Never thought I'd see the day where I loved playing basketball but it was SO MUCH FUN! I didn't do completely terrible which was good. Also my friend Sydney and I made trophies for the winning women's and men's team.  Literally I was giddy when it came to crafting. I forgot how much I love crafting.  I couldn't stop beaming... and now my create bug just can't be treated.
- Guest lecture from 99 year old Elias Fenzielburg.  He is a Halocaust Survivor who survived 9 concentration/extermination camps.  His story is unbieleveable (as most of them are).  I was just so impressed with his pleasant and positive personality and outlook on life.  Obviously he went through terrible things but he was able to tell his story to us (with the help of translators) in a way that showed that he has grown from his past and hasn't allowed it to make him bitter. One thing that I love that he said is "I'm tired, but I'm not tired about talking about the Holocaust... this is my story."  Sometimes it is hard to talk about our experiences, especially the hard ones, but it is our trials and our stories that make us who we are.  And oftentimes we can use our stories to help others in their struggles.  How we choose to react to our trials and situations can make a great difference in our lives and the lives of those who come to know us.  We each can learn to better embrace the stories of our lives.
- The Festival of Lights.  The old city was putting on this cool light show which we got permission to go to. It was so fun!! Minus the crowds.  My friends Amanda and Nathan from my Hebrew classes back at BYU Provo are here (they and some others are staying for a week at the center because they just finished at a dig site up north).  It has been way cool to see them!!

Overall everything has been great.  Today was so busy.  Had church and then did some more crafting and then went with a group to the Garden of Gesthemane.  It was really beautiful and peaceful there.  Then I had to rush back to the center by 7 for my Family History/ Genealogy lesson.  I am the FH/Genealogy committee chair person and it has been such a blessing but so scary too.  It is hard being in charge of a committee where most people aren't super familiar with the subject.  And I am trying to make it as enjoyable and easy to understand as possible for those who come.  I am so so so thankful for those who come because I know that it isn't something that most people my age are interested in, but they should be.  I know that the Lord blessed me with this calling for a reason and I need to more fully embrace it.  I am really trying to magnify my call as best I can.

I feel very blessed and honored to be here with this group of people. I have learned a lot from them.  I hope to be more like many of them.  Overall I am just grateful for the experience of becoming. Becoming more like the Savior, and becoming more like who I am destined to be.  I also am wanting to focus on knowing. Knowing who I am.  Specifically who I am spiritual.  What was I like in the pre-mortal existence? Who is my spirit really?  And how can I get my body and my spirit to align more perfectly so that I can better learn to align my will with His?

There are so many things I want to do and learn that it can be overwhelming at times, but this week I have been reminded of the importance of staying organized, and making to-do lists.  Everything will work out.  I just need to not overthink it.

So yeah those are my thoughts!

Love,
Ash

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