Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Catching Up

Okay... now that I've gotten through all of Egypt, I think its time for a little update on what's been happening since we have been back in Jerusalem

Last week we had a field trip! Our first stop was Gath, the city where Goliath grew up. It was an absolutely beautiful day! The hills were bright green and the wildflowers were just starting to bloom. I was so sad because I accidently left my memory card at the JC so I had to use my little camera. In Gath we got to visit the site that our Near Eastern Studies teacher excavates at, so it was really fun to see him in his element talking about his work. Then we all went down to the bell caves where they used to quarry for soft limestone used as plaster. It was absolutely beautiful! We got to wander around for a while and then we all gathered together to sing hymns.

Then we visited one of my favorite spots in Lachish. We learned about the battles that took place there and imagined what it would have been like trying to defend your home and families knowing that if you fail, your family members will be tortured to death. Lachish was the most beautiful spots we have been to thus far. I posted a picture of it when it was raining on my photo blog if you had a chance to check that out.

We also got to spot at the Valley of Elah where David slew Goliath! We down to the dried riverbed and grabbed smooth stones and practiced our slinging. Its safe to say that I probably would have been smashed to death by Goliath because I wasn't very skilled in the art of slinging. I remember growing up and loving the story of David and Goliath, but reading it again made me realize the weight of the story and how much faith David had. The words that he spoke when facing the "uncircumcised philistine" were so powerful and full of confidence, it truly is an amazing story.

Those are the main highlights from the day. We did a lot more but I'm trying to type fast so I can get a good, full update on the past couple weeks.
Chillin with Kevin and Greg in some tombs
I would be afraid of us too...
Reenacting David & Goliath
Pretty Day at Lachish
Jess and I in the Bell Caves
Bell Caves!
Not too long ago we had an Arab night. We all got dressed up in our best "Arab" outfits and had lots of fun. There was a demonstration of the reading of the Qur'an and the daily prayers said by Muslims, it was so interesting to learn about the culture and how they perform the different aspects of their religion.

The Oasis (our cafeteria) was all decorated and the food was prepared by some of the students. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and took lots of fun pictures before heading into the gym where we learned traditional Arab dances. It was so much fun to learn these dances from the men and women our age, dancing really brought down any barriers we might have had. We all had an amazing time, and I got plenty of funny footage of our attempt at dancing.

Heidi and I in our Arab Dress
Playing with Jacob and Sabrina

Ayman, our Arabic Teacher

Monday we got to go on one of my favorite field trips to neot kedumim. They turned the area into a biblical park where they wanted to grow all the different types of plants mentioned in the Bible in order to give people an image of what the land looked like during the time of the Bible. It was so interesting to learn about the different agricultural aspects because of all the symbolism associated with them in the Bible. Because the people were so connected with agriculture and the land, the Lord used it in order to get his point across to them. So by better understanding the land and agriculture, we are better able to understand the messages in the Bible.
Just herding some sheep...
Neot Kedumim
Crushing Hyssop
Chameleon Friend
Homemade Pitta (:
Just a Gerbil...

Some other highlights from the trip were: Sheep herding, making pita bread, trying date honey, getting to hold a chameleon that Jared found, playing in an water wheel, crushing hyssop to make our own spice, and lots of learning. It was a great valentines day! We all made valentines for each other and celebrated by having a valentines day dance in the gym. It was probably one of the best dances I've ever been to because we all knew each other and there were no awkward slow dances. I'm amazed at how close we have gotten, I feel so lucky to have met all these amazing people.
All pinked out for the Valentines Dance

We had a couple free days out in the city. We were able to fit in four sights on our list of places we have to see in the city. One of which was the Ariel Center where we learned about Jerusalem in the First Temple Period, watched a cheesy film, and learned how to write our names in ancient Hebrew. We spent our lunch time overlooking the Dome of the Rock and taking model shots. The city is our playground.

My favorite picture taken thus far... Brock and his ladies...

Josh playing model for me
Families that play together, stay together
Modeling for Joshua ;)

Glamour shots... Just for you Joshua

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