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What a day. Days in Jerusalem are long and sweet and I never want them to end. I keep having to pinch myself because I am here again. So many streets are like sweet memories in my mind. So many faces are familiar and it’s the happiest thing to see them again. It’s unbelievable yet believable because God is good. Today was day 7…we leave in a few days and some have been saying how they are sad. But as I thought about it, I can honestly say that right now I am not sad about it because I am so sure I will be back soon. I am confident in the Lord’s leading and plan and I just have peace that He will bring me back here soon and again. My heart is in Israel and I will always miss it when I am not here.
Throughout my time in Israel this time on a tour, we’ve spent a lot of time learning about the state of Israel, political issues, war issues, etc. but also not a ton of time of Bible teaching. However, today we spent the majority of our day talking about Jesus. This morning we had a later start of getting out the door at 9 which was SO nice. I’ve just gotten used to only getting a few hours of sleep I guess! We started out at the Museum of Israel and saw the model of Jerusalem. It’s such an amazing miniature model of the city of what it would have been like during the time of Jesus. I finally got to see the Dead Sea Scrolls! My last time in Israel, I wasn’t able to see them. It was incredible to go into the shrine of the Book and see all the documents. Truly incredible. I could spend hours in there.
This morning it was cold and windy and sunny. We were freezing. We drove to the Mount of Olives. This is truly my favorite place in all of Israel- not because of the beauty or the graves or the way the sun sets, but because of how the Lord teaches me in this spot. It is such a vivid place to be. As I listened to the Islamic call to prayer followed by church bells ringing for Christians all the while looking at a massive Jewish cemetery, I was struck. How amazing, tense, rattling. There is no place like Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives is where Jesus will return. What a day that will be…may it be soon.
After this, we did the Palm Sunday walk and went to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was amazing to see a tree that was supposedly in the garden during the time of Christ. The Church of All Nations is always amazingly beautiful and the Kidron was so vivid. The weather was perfect. Blue skies and sunshine. We walked up the steep hill to the Lion’s Gate and talked a bit about the Pool of Bethesda, but unfortunately it was closed. We headed to do the Via Dolorosa. We went to the first station and went into the two churches…the architecture amazes me. One had a crown of thorns in the very top of the ceiling. We made it to the Christian Quarter and stopped at the Austrian Hospice for a bathroom break and stop at the roof. I hadn’t been on the roof and it was so stunning. SO thankful for a beautiful day. Visiting here reminded me of my last day in Jerusalem last March when a few of us went to the cafe and sat. I remember sitting with Luke on the terrace and listening to all the sounds of the city. Such a joy to be back…
At about 3PM, Avi, our tour guide, let us free to go roam the city until 8PM! SO glad to have time to roam the city. A bunch of us who spent the semester here last year brought along others to Shabon’s and his brothers. We had tea, chatted about the year and bought sandals. After, we walked over to meet the new study abroad group at Jaffa gate. As I walked with Dre there, I was just beaming because it was so fun to hear all the sounds again and smell everything. In order to get out of a deal today I had to say I was married several times. Josh and Josiah had scarfs put on them for no reason and talked them down from 200 shekels to 20.
It was so crazy seeing all the study abroad people!! So weird to see friends in another country. So sweet to see them. So much joy. Jeannette and I caught up and it was so good to see Song, Dotty and others in the group. Great to talk to Dr. Sigler as well. We all walked down to Green Door Pizza in the Muslim Quarter. It was about 20-30 of us. CRAZY. Jeannette, Song and I shared two pizzas. 11 shekels each! So wild. Nothing like an egg, sausage, cheese and tomato pizza. We walked back up, stopping to get sweet cheese or kanafeh, and Mother Moody treated to sachlab which is a milky drink with nuts and fruit on top. We all chatted for awhile and rejoiced in being together again but only for a short while. Eventually, the others of us left to walk to Prima Kings before the night.
Tonight we went to a synagogue in Jerusalem to hear Rabbi Binyamin Lau talk. It was such an interesting and strange experience. He talked of Abraham, Noah, “the light” and positive energy. Although this man was a rabbi, it was crazy to see the amount of mysticism and philosophical jargon in his mouth. Everything was kind of all over the place. The whole thing was just sort of depressing, as well as questions afterward. It really opened my eyes to the impact of Rashi’s teaching and also how we must be sharing the Gospel with the chosen people. If this man is a religious leader and a rabbi and he doesn’t know much and is saying this is truth, then how much does his congregation know and even more so the non-religious. It really hit me that I need to be evangelizing to the Jewish people and learn how to do so. They are so sweet in God’s eyes.
After coming back, we discovered the acetone smell in Lavi and Dre’s room to be moldy oranges. I guess thing don’t last as long here because no preservatives 🙂 Getting ready for a long day tomorrow of hiking and the Dead Sea.
Preparation for returning back to school right away/time to process
Take advantage of the rest of our time here