Aroma, Shabbat and an Update

I haven’t posted an update in a long, long time. I’m about three weeks behind on what we’ve done. SO many photos to go through and so much to write down. WIth slow wifi and a packed schedule, I have lots of photos to share in this post. Sooo…be prepared for lots and lots of memories and photographs, (some iPhone too).

This post will include the end of our time with the Smith’s. They were here for two weeks, like all of our other professors. We all miss them a lot. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are such a lovely couple that were our mom and dad for two weeks. I have been doing day-by-day posts on Instagram if you’d like to keep up with daily things. One of our days with the Smith’s we went to a museum that showed some findings of the Herodian Quarter which was the foundation of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. It was so cool to see how people lived then and actual houses and such from their time. We of course had to go to Aroma for some yummy coffee.

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It’s been so nice to have some busy days but I love the days when we just get to go for hikes or go to the park too. One day we went enoing in the park while some played soccer. Some locals played with them too. It’s crazy that as we lay in the sun and grass, snow is falling in Chicago in chilling temperatures. There was a little playground next to the park but it was sort of like an outdoor gym. All of the “machines” looked like toys but they were really workout contraptions that used your body weight. Never seen that before instead of a playground! On Shabbat we swing dance in our rooms and watch movies. Some of my favorite times have been when we just get to enjoy each other and know each other more. I love these people so much.ย Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Photo Jan 31, 3 19 59 PM Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset Photo Jan 31, 4 51 49 PM

One of my favorite things we’ve done so far is go to the Shuk…it’s basically like an outdoor market with food, clothes and anything else you’d need. It was one of those places that I truly felt like I was in a different culture and got immersed in the culture. Before going to the Shuk we went to Ammunition Hill which is a spot of one of the biggest and final battles in the six day war of Israel. Before going here, I didn’t really know anything about the war and had never heard of it. Everyday I am amazed at my ignorance.ย This video explains the war and the Palestine/Israel conflict really well. Understanding this conflict is so foundational for understanding the unrest and history of Israel. Afterward, we went to the Shuk, got burgers for lunch, bought a pomegranate for 89 cents and saw a shopping cart full of cow heads. Sorry for the graphic picture…just trying to share all of my experience ๐Ÿ˜‰ The photo below is a representation that showed the borders that were set up before the war by Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine. There were lights that showed each battle on the map.

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One day, we didn’t have class until three in the afternoon because people stayed up to watch the Superbowl…I was not one of them ๐Ÿ™‚ I have learned so much throughout this time and can’t put it into words. I am so grateful for the times of class, sunshine, grace, mercy, love, body of Christ, continued healing, recognizing my brokenness but trusting in His faithfulness. I’ve been so blessed by continued encouragement and building up in the fruit I am bearing and all that God is refining in me. One night at dinner it was Joseph’s birthday (one of the guys on kitchen staff) so there was sooo much chocolate for dessert.

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One of our last days with the Smith’s we went to the Tower of David and saw a light show which was really beautiful. The tower of David isn’t David’s tower and doesn’t really have any ties to him but it’s a beautiful place! The show didn’t allow any photographs but they used the inside of the tower as a place to project images which showed the history of Israel. From the top of the tower we could see the city. On our way back home, Kev, Jared, Luke and I had a little singing competition. Love those guys. So much fun.

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Mount of Olives and Church of Mary Magdalene
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There is so much Rosemary, Sage and Lavendar lining the streets
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All signs are in three languages; Hebrew, Arabic, English

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Our last day with the Smith’s we walked the Via Dolorosa which is the walk of where Christ walked on the way to His crucifixion. Although some of them are not absolute, it was incredible to experience such a thing. There were fourteen stations to go through. At each one, one of us read the Scripture that correlated with them. This is a highly Catholic tradition so some of the things truly were not found in Scipture…for instance station six is where Veronica wipes his face, which isn’t mentioned in the Gospels at all. However, there were stations that were supposed places where Jesus touched His hand when He fell the second time, where His garments were stripped from Him and another that is engraved “Jesus Christ, the Victor”. It was amazing to reflect and think that Christ had walked these very places that I was walking so that He could pay for my sin.

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The last place we went, which is the last station, was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where many people come to kiss the stone. This is where it is believed that Jesus was buried. The stone is the supposed place where He was wrapped. However, one of my professors told me that once he asked a girl that was kissing the stone what it was just to see if she knew, even though he already knew. She shamelessly responded, “I don’t know.” This is true of so many that do such things as they come to Israel. So much of tradition is done in ignorance. Anyway, after this we went to Shabon’s shop to get our shalom ya’ll mugs, grabbed pizza and headed back home. On this Shabbat, the Boskey’s came to teach us all a bit more about Shabbat and what it is. We had such good conversations. I am so grateful that all of us are learning so so much.

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The more time I spend here, the more I fall in love with this place. I pray that this would not be the last time I am in Israel. We have a little less than a month left and it is breaking my heart. God has taught me SO much about the Jewish people and His heart for them and has given me such a passion and love for them. We’ve done a lot since these things but I think I’ve crowded ya’ll with enough photos for now ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been forty three days to be exact since I’ve been in the states. I’m missing clean clothes and laundry that actually smell good. We’ve done a lot of handwashing and had laundry sent out but it just smells nutreul. Oh well ๐Ÿ™‚ I also miss being able to understand things or read things. When we first got here, I cut my foot up pretty deep and it still isn’t healed. I went looking for some cream and couldn’t find anything. Not knowing any Hebrew is fun. I broke my only pair of sturdy shoes I brought and so went to buy some. Except the lady didn’t speak any English so it was fun trying to communicate with her ๐Ÿ™‚

Prayer Requests

  • Peace of Jerusalem. Ultimately this means to pray for the rebuilding and construction of the third temple which will bring peace and bring Christ’s return. (Read Romans 9-11 and Zechariah 14)
  • Health. A lot of people are sick right now. Also please pray for my foot as I have three big and deep cuts in it that make it very uncomfortable to walks. They’ve been bloody and I’ve had them for over a month.
  • Continued knowledge and understanding. Pray that we would be receptive in classes, to the culture, the people and their history.

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