Jericho, Arab night, and other adventures of the week

Every Monday we have field trips. I am a week behind but better late than never!

The day after we got back from Turkey, we had a half day field trip to Jericho, the oldest city as well as one of the lowest cities on earth. When the scriptures talk about going up to Jerusalem they meant both literally and typologically going up towards Jerusalem because it is on higher ground and because it had the temple. We got to visit an archaeological site that had the oldest building found which is a tower from the old city of Jericho. There are more than 20 layers of civilization there, how crazy is that! Sadly it doesn’t look as interesting as it really is so we didn’t spend much time there. We also sat under some shade looking down the wabi (which is an old dried up riverbank) that munks had carved homes into the cliffs when munks would live in isolation.

Us hat girls with Faras the security man (because we were in the West Bank)
Lauren, Natalie, and Camila
Jericho: The Oldest City of the World (with Jaymie and Jon)
Way at the bottom of the picture you can see a glimpse of the oldest tower built!
A few of my awesome friends (I caught Amy perfectly in her jump!)
an awesome jumping picture of Analise, Devery, Amy, and Rachel
Elijah’s Spring

During our lecture from Brother Harper
Robin and I

After our field trip, a group of us went exploring towards the top of Mt. Scopus and we eventually came to the Jewish cemetary. This picture shows the beauty of west side of the Mount of Olives.

Many people believe that when the Messiah comes and we are all ressurected, the first people to be ressurected will be on the Mt. of Olives. So everyone wants to be buried there. I think one of our teachers said that in order to get a spot in the Jewish cemetary, it costs around 125,000 dollars. Crazy right!? We walked down the whole cemetary where we would zig zag through all these tombs. Fun fact: Jews believe that the soul leaves the body after 3 days so they leave an open hole in the tomb so the soul can leave and does not get stuck in the tomb. This Jewish belief that the soul leaves after 3 days is even showed in New Testament times, it now makes sense why Christ didn’t cure Lazarus until the fourth day so everyone could see the power of his miracle and have no doubt that he is the Messiah. So that was cool to make that connection.

At the bottom of the cemetary, there is an old cenotaph for Absalom which was standing during Christ’s time, so that was cool to see. What is cool about it is it was not built and then placed where it is, it was carved out from the rock there and stuck there like part of the mountain.

Tomb of Absolam
Zakharia Hezir Tombs

Another day in our adventure around the Old City we went to the Holy Sepulchre and inside where most Christians believe Christ was buried. It was really cool and it is so beautiful

Holy Sepulchre
So beautiful
People put their prayers here.

After that, we went to the St. George Cathedral and we ended up singing a bunch of hymns there (they had hymn books and we would find songs we knew in it). After a few songs, a man asked who were were, we told him we were LDS and he said that he was a priest for an Episcoealian church and he was impressed of us and he said we have the same songs but we have different melodies and tunes than theirs. That was really cool. Then we stopped at Omars.

St. George Cathedral

These sculptures are so beautiful

Omar’s Shop

Wednesday was Arab night. Jerusalem students every semester plan a night where we dress up as Arabs, men who do the call to prayer at the Al-Asqe Mosque (the one right next to the Dome of the Rock) came to teach us more about Islam, the Oasis (Cafeteria) is decorated, Akhmed (our chef) makes a wonderful dinner full of Arab food, and teenagers teach us dance moves and we dance to Arab music. It was so wonderful, I had bought an Arab dress from Shabon which was authentic and so beautiful and we had a great night. And it was an amazing opportunity to have the men “perform” the Qu’ran and the call to prayer and the actions for prayer for us. Things like that remind me that I am having a once-in-a-lifetime experience here because if I was just here as a tourist, I would not get to meet the men who do the call to prayer in the Al-Asque Mosque, the biggest and most famous mosque of all Jerusalem. I am so lucky and so lucky for this experience. We had a fun night listening to Arab music with the teenagers teaching us and then we showed them a little American culture with our pop music, and they got down and jiggy with us too. And what better way to end Arab culture night perfectly than watching the American Disney movie Aladdin, haha. But it was great, there are so many little jokes and comments that most people don’t notice or understand that now make so much more sense and are super funny.

Before the forum with Melissa and Devery
With cute little Melia in our favorite color purple
Eating Arab food with Melinda and Avery
With Michael, Melinda, Robin, and David
My awesome roommates!!
With Nate who was an awesome Aladdin!
Dwight and his “Harem” haha (he was told in the Bazaar that he needed to buy scarves for his harem,
which is funny because he is always the only guy with a bunch of girls)

Us with the Arab dresses!
Dwight and I

Thursday we went to the Mary Magdalane church after class because it is only open Tuesdays and Thursdays and we were able to squeeze in before lunch. It is so beautiful on the outside and inside.

Mary Magdalane Church
Devery and I
A few of us with the Dome in the back
Me with the beautiful golden mushroom domes behind me!

It was a fantastic week!

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