that was real.israel.

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I can’t believe that I have been home for two weeks since my semester in Israel. Just missed the record amount of snowfall in Israel in a LOOOONG time-bummer. I am actually really thankful as I was not prepared for snow at all! As a sweet friend of mine told me, “it’s like you are recalibrating.” And it is really how I feel! It has been a weird adjustment from the crazy Ibex life where every day is planned to resting up and getting ready for this Christmas season and next semester.
I am ever so thankful for this past semester not just for the time and lessons learned in the classroom but also the things that I learned outside the classroom- in the country my God chose to send His Son to live and die for me. Something that I absolutely love is that the God that I serve isn’t some higher being that a person thought of some time ago-but He is real. My God is the same as in the time of Daniel, Jonah, David, and Moses. And 3 verses that I think of is Deuteronomy 8:17-19, “’Beware lest you say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.” Remember. An aspect that doesn’t just constrain to remembering just the faithfulness of God in my own life, but also seeing the faithfulness of my God in the lives of His children in the wilderness where they wandered and were provided with food until they were full and their clothes didn’t wear out! Even in my life there are moments that I don’t understand what God is doing, as my life might look foggy and confusing,, yet looking and remembering at the faithfulness of my God in times past, I know that He will continue to be faithful and lead me in the way that He wants me to go. I never understood how much prayer this trust in my God would ever take until this semester- a constant taking to the Lord my desires and holding them with an open hand knowing that God will lead.
A big lesson that I have learned and realized this semester is that I am not to live my life one event to the next. So often I like to think that I have a set timeline-just like everyone else in life. Like a checklist for life. I graduated from high school. I’m getting a degree. Then graduate from college. Get a job. Get married. Have 4 kids. They grow up. They have kids. I have grandkids. Then I’ve made it? If this is the way I live my life, how am I ever going to be content and trusting in the Lord and enjoy the precious moments God gives each day? I think I know everything that is going to happen in my life-living one event to the next in my “checklist” for life. Reality check: I don’t know what God’s got in store for my life. All I know is what is going on right now in front of me, therefore instead of worrying about the next phase of life and being anxious, I need to glorify God in this moment and enjoy Him and the gifts that He has brought into my life right now. And that kind of sounds flippant, to live in the here and now, but if I live always itching for the next thing, I am not glorifying God for the gift that He has right in front of me. So I’ve been learning to slow down and enjoy what is going on in relationships right in front of me with friends and family and seek to glorify and honor the Lord through them. Live in the moment with an eternal perspective.
And I’d just like to say, that a big misconception about life, especially in Christian circles, at least one that I’ve come to realize in my life personally-especially being a home ec major- is that my life doesn’t begin the day I get married. My life began the day I came out of the womb on February 4, 1993. So I don’t need to wait around and sing the song in the ever-loved movie Tangled, “when does my life begin” because it began almost 21 years ago, therefore-get going! And it is a freeing thing that I have realized that in my life that I’m living, I am to be living for the glory of God, not some event that might not even happen. All I know that is happening in my life is what the Lord sets before me each day He graces me with. Do I want to get married? Sure! But it’s not what I should be seeking and the sole purpose of my life. My sole purpose of life is to give God the glory! Romans 11:36-12:2!!
Something that I am loving right now, especially it being the Christmas season are the misconceptions that I always had about the birth of Christ have been demolished since living in Israel and being under the teaching of Bill and Benj. (something that I love about this semester is that these teachers have their doctorates, yet want us to call them by their first names-as they are personable and have the utmost respect from us students as they are so knowledgeable yet not arrogant.) Misconceptions like the fact that there was no innkeeper ever mentioned in the gospels as depicted in all the children’s books and coloring pages. “Inn” is a mistranslation as it should actually be translated to mean “guesthouse”. And I think it makes sense as in Luke 2: 6, “While they were there (Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born.” This to mean that while they were in Bethlehem for the census came the time for her to give birth to her Son-Jesus. She wasn’t coming in late on a donkey having terrible birth pangs-she was already in Bethlehem-the fulfillment of the prophecy in Micah 5:2. And this verse in Luke 2:6 continues in verse 7, “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” And I love the NIV as it says guest room!
Plus I love that I can look at the pictures and remember the time we went to Nazareth where the angel appeared to Mary and told her that she was going to give birth to the greatest thing that this world would ever see-Jesus. Savior of the World. Oh how the Lord used the lowly from an unknown town to bring this gift to this dead and dying world. And then to envision the little town of Bethlehem. And that I stood in some fields where the shepherds might have been as they were visited by the angels. Such a surreal moment. Yet, I can say-I’ve been there. AH! I love it! I am just coming to grips with these realities, and I am encouraged as a friend who went to ibex years ago told me just the other day that she is still coming to grips with the things she saw and did in Israel.
I can’t express enough how thankful I am that I got this opportunity to have this experience in Israel. Thankful for the friendships that were made and sights that were seen. I am ever so thankful for the friends, like Beatrice, my sweet roommate- who were willing to preach the gospel to me in my moments of weakness or even hear me share the gospel with myself. Yes, there were moments that I was homesick. And there were moments where I didn’t always know who I could talk to about things I was struggling with, yet through these struggles, I was able to understand so much better the approachability of my God and how sweet that intimate relationship with Christ really is. Never have I been so far away from home or my church family, but it was so good to get away and realize that there is a need of relationships with people, yet how much more important the dear and intimate personal relationship with Christ is-the dependence on the Lord that I can’t even express-it can only be experienced-because of its awesomeness.
Thank you for reading my blog and praying for me this semester abroad! I really appreciate the love from around the world. I praise God for the body of Christ in America, Brazil, Israel, Italy-Our God is awesome and doing His amazing work around the world! Can’t wait to see what God’s got in store next!
Shalom and Love,
Jenna

rivers & roads

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa. Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa. Pisa, Italy

Trevi Fountain. Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain. Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Here are a few pics from my recent trip to Italy!!

A group of five of us went to Rome, Pisa, Florence, and Venice in a week during our travel study break. It was a good time of rest for our brains despite all the walking that we did all over Italy.

I absolutely loved Italy-but especially Florence. It was beautiful. I would love to see it all one day in the late Spring/early Summer. I’ll be posting more pictures on my facebook page soon.

There are so many stories and great things that happened over this week but i’ll just tell a few.

In our first day in Rome, we wanted to meet up with another group, but we weren’t sure how it was going to work out. So we decided to go to the Colloseum. We walked through this massive monument where over 400,000 people died in the 390 years it was used for entertainment. After we spend some time and looked around, we meandered out of the area and we began walking to our next stop-Piazza Navona(another favorite stop of mine) and we looked to our left and who was there-our friends Mike O & Mike E-the two friends we wanted to meet up with! We then saw the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps. On our way to the Spanish Steps we met a couple and talked about Jesus which was really sad because they were talking about how you can attain all this knowledge about Jesus and religion, but you’ll come to a point in your life and reconsider and end up on the other side, implying that it’s not really needed. It really broke my heart. Then on the Spanish Steps a group of us sang and got 16 euros and were invited to a believer’s B&B in Virginia. Then for dinner we were going to go to one place, but the people eating outside said the food wasn’t good. so we kept walking up the alley of restaurants and wound up at L’Arcano. And my friend Jeremiah, being the great guy he is, answered our waiter in Hebrew as has become so natural to us, and the waiter was shocked and asked about Hebrew. We got to talking with him and he is a believer who has been studying Hebrew and the Jewish culture which we have been living in for the past 3 months! It was really cool the conversation that we were able to have with this man-Mario. What an encouragement to see that this man was pursuing Jesus and really seeking knowledge. Something that he said that i really appreciated was, “The language of God is not Hebrew or Greek, but love.”

Went to Vatican City-but didn’t meet the Pope-sorry dad!

On the second night in Rome, it was raining when we fell asleep. at about 2 am this is the conversation that took place when we all woke up to the loudest thunder and lightening except for Andrew Bush:

Jeremiah: Welp when in rome

Beatrice: Are you kidding me?

Jeremiah: Wait is it raining?

*Loudest crack of lightening*

Jenna: Yeah, it’s a thunder storm

Jeremiah: Thanks JENNA

Taylor: *laughing so hard*

It was such a hilarious night!

We went to Florence on Tuesday and I loved it here as it was a little bit more of a city and not so much touristy. I really loved all the terraces with wrought iron fences with flower boxes and painted shutters. Plus the food I had was delicious! Had gnocchi for the first time with a stellar pesto sauce and then some dark chocolate gelato-MMM! And then while we were there we went to the Galleria degli Uffizi where there were lots of paintings and sculptures and one of my favorite paintings La Primavera (Springtime). AND then at night we went on a mission. Taylor had heard of a secret bakery that opens at midnight. So we got some vague directions and went on our way. We got to the end of our directions and followed the scent of baking croissants to our destination. We knocked on a door and ordered what we wanted and then I scarfed that fresh from the oven, chocolate, croissant. It was DIVINE! About five minutes from the bakery, Jeremiah said, “do you want to go back and get more.” Taylor stopped and started walking backwards. SO we went back and got some more. These croissants were so good. and cheap. MMMM! Thankful for these friends who love an awesome baked good and sweet adventure.

And everywhere we went, Jeremiah would sing, “rivers and roads. rivers and ROADS. Rivers til I meet you” so loudly. It was on repeat in my head the ENTIRE week. and I love it. because we literally were in the land of rivers and roads.

When we got to Venice, we got off the train, looked to our left and Mike & Mike were waiting for us! It was hilarious. After finding our really great apartment for the night, next to the canal, we decided we were going to make dinner-to save money and for kicks and giggles. And it was awesome. Jeremiah and Taylor were cooking up a storm of pasta and grilled cheese and Mike O helped me cut cheese for bruschetta. It was a great dinner full of laughter and good company! and we didn’t spend a whole lot of money! Then the Mikes led us to another bakery where I got my cannoli’s and a free donut! By this time it was raining, but it was all good because there were enough heaters in our apartment that we could hang all our stuff all over the heaters and it was all dry by the morning! PTL!

Being in Rome, and Italy, we read through some of Romans in the morning and throughout our days together. And Romans 5: 6-11 is the passage that stuck out the most to me, “ For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

Favorite Italian words: Roma, Ciao, Scusi, and Grazie!

I am so thankful for these friends that I was so blessed to travel around Italy with this past week! Only two more weeks together and then we will be heading home!

beards, bellies, and unibrows

beards, bellies, and unibrows

It’s getting busy around here-going everywhere and studying and having a real social life with my 28 friends-it’s been a blast.
Since the last blog I’ve been to:
The Shephelah
Beth-shemesh where we stood on the edge of the Sorek Valley and looked at Zorah and Eshtaol where Samson was born and grew up. *amazing fact: Sorek means “choice vine” yet Samson was not allowed to eat grapes/drink wine. Ironic? I think not.
Azekah & Sucoh where the two cities are mentioned that the fight of David and Goliath took place between. And Sucoh is where Goliath is said to have been standing when he challenged the Israelites.
Lachish: a big city that was one of the last standing during the Babylonian Conquest.
Gath: the center of Philistine cities-quite cool how from the top of the acropolis, you can see all the other Philistine cities. This is where David faked being crazy to escape Abimelech and escaped to the Caves of Adullam.
Caves of Adullam: went here and hiked up the steepest hill we’ve climbed in a LONG time and I sat and thought about how quiet it was there-and what a place to seek refuge. David was a wise guy.
Then my Archaeology class went to my teacher’s lab at Bar-Ilan University where he is getting his doctrite. It was cool because he is a part of a real dig at an ancient site. So we got to see a lot of ancient pottery and there was even a lady putting all of it together-the ultimate puzzle master.
MY ROOMATE TURNED 20!! So it was fun to celebrate with her with real coffee and a scrumptious coffee cake.
This past Friday Beatrice and my good friend Taylor and I went to the local mall-which felt like real Israel-not a whole lot of tourists around there. But it was a good time of laughter, coffee, and a donut that had sprinkles that were pop rocks. definitely caught me off guard.
Then we got back to the Moshav and the clouds began to roll in and I went to Stephanie Schlegal’s house to make some Challah bread-which came out quite great if I say so myself.
Last Saturday, we went to a synagogue which was quite the experience. Part of it was in English and the reading from the Torah and Haftorah and Siddur were all in Hebrew. But I was able to keep up with the reading in Hebrew from my little knowledge of the language as we read from the “pulpit Bible”. The woman who read from the Torah, read in Hebrew and I followed in English-obviously. It was cool. Different. But now I can say I went to synagogue in Jerusalem.
AND THEN Saturday night, we ALL dressed up for a party with all of us ibexers and teachers. It was hilarious. Yes, I did dress up like a man-but not just any man, a shop keeper here in the Old City. Bea and I looked pretty great if I say so myself. beards, bellies, and unibrows. This was definitely a highlight for me for the week. We got really into character the whole night and I am so thankful for Beatrice Major, because I don’t think there is another girl here who would get into this role as much as she did with me. LOL it was fabulous.
AND I got to skype JP and Noelle-just love those family members of mine! ❤
I’m doing well. School is coming to a close-which is SO CRAAAAZYYY! In some respects I feel like I’ve just gotten here and then in others, I feel like I’ve been here FOR-EV-ER. I’m doing some projects, papers, and studying for some tests. Tomorrow we leave for the Negev area for four days. Then on the 16th I leave for Italy for a week with some of my best friends. With all these trips, it’s so hard to stay focused with the task at hand-school. But I’m getting things done-PTL!
Song on repeat this week: He’s Always Been Faithful to Me by Sara Groves

{area of samaria}

Last week I went to the area of Samaria. I loved this area because the whole time I thought of the Samaritan woman at the well-Jacob’s well. This is one of my favorite interactions that Jesus has as this is not culturally acceptable with the Jewish people. But the gospel is transcendent. A man approaching a woman, from an area that is hated by the Jews. Yet Jesus proceeds with the conversation to show her the truth and she repents and is saved.
We did go to Shiloh which is the location of the tabernacle during the time of Hannah-where she prayed and the Lord granted her a son-Samuel (1 Samuel2). It was cool to be on this hill top and be able to see the surrounding areas-it was a clear(ish) day so I could see vineyards and the other towns and see how the people would all come up to the tabernacle and worship the LORD there.
We went into an area that Samaritans still live in today. There are very few of them, but they are definitely still in the land of Israel. Bill Schlegel-the teacher that is so smart and knows so much about Israel- took us to a place where the Samaritans still practice sacrifices today. There was a large platform where they all would gather. Then the sheep are led to the slaughter-or the ditch which catches the blood- and then roasted on a big pit then eaten by the people. So in essence, they sacrifice for their sins and then have a party, aka: bbq.
THEN we went to one of my favorite spots: Mount Gerizim. From this mountain top, I could look down onto Jacob’s well-where Jesus led the Samaritan woman to the truth-to Himself! On the opposing side of this mount is Mount Ebal. The Israelites were to give blessing on Mount Gerizim and cursing from Mount Ebal from Deuteronomy 28. AND THE COOLEST THING OF IT ALL: IT WAS RAINING AS WE WERE STANDING ON THE MOUNT OF BLESSING!!!! Rain is the greatest blessing of all time to the people of Israel. It was super cool. I could see for a moment Jacob’s Well-which is now a town-but we could see the clouds roll into the valley and then release the rain. It is definitely one of my favorite places that we have been to during this trip.
Funny Story:
During our group time on Saturday Night, we played Battle of the Sexes-of course us girls won-but we played a roommate game of questions. Now, I love Beatrice and I think I know about her and I thought, ya, she’s gotta know a lot about me. SO the way the game worked was like the Couple Game-so Bea was asked questions and answered as I would have answered-but I was out of the room. So she answered and I came back in and I thought, yes, we’ve got this! But then it came to the question: “What does Jenna miss the most from home?” And I thought one or two things. And recently I’ve really been missing donuts. What can I say, I love me a good maple donut. I’ve been pinning them on pinterest for the past couple days. ANYWAY- it came to my turn to answer and I blurt out “DONUTS”. Bea turned to me and said, “What?! You miss your mom!” LOL don’t get me wrong, I definitely miss my mom-especially since it’s her bday today. But I can talk to her and see her-I can’t eat an all American donut. Then the next day, Bea went to the mall and got me an Israeli donut-she’s so thoughtful. It wasn’t quite the same, but it was quite delicious.

GALILEE!

I AM IN GALILEE! THE PLACE WHERE JESUS WALKED AND TALKED AND SHOWED HIS AWESOMENESS!

I have seen so much and there is so much to say.

I have visited:

  • Sepphoris (capital during Jesus’ youth)
  • Tiberias
  • Gath-hepher (hometown of Jonah)
  • Cana (possible place-probably not the real one, but maayyybee)
  • Mt Arbel (where we could see the entire Sea of Galilee-it was a cliff)
  • Kursi (traditional place where the demons into the swine)
  • Capernaum
  • Tabgha (place where Jesus taught from a boat and a mount close where He gave the Beatitudes)
  • Hazor
  • Tell-Abel beth Maacah
  • Tel-Dan
  • Caesarea Philipi
  • Mt. Hermon (transfiguration of Jesus)
  • Golan Heights (where we could see Syria-and read the conversion of Paul)

The place we are staying at is the only resort on the sea of galilee. As much as you would think that there is a built up town or city, there is really only one city-Tiberias and there is a resort in En Gev-where we are staying. It is just lovely weather. The water is warmer than the ocean. The food is delicious and I am really thankful for the coffee as it is good every morning. The winds do pick up in the evening, but it is never a cold wind.

Funny story: my window latch broke and I couldn’t close my window which was a bummer because the sand was coming in the window and makin a mess! It was nice during the day, but at night-it needed to close. So I was trying to close it but it wouldn’t shut. I thought maybe, I’m just an idiot, so I asked Alex-and she couldn’t close it either. So we walked over to reception and got a maintenance guy to come over and look at my window. He kindly told me that nothing could be done tonight-no way-shocker. So he said he would glue my window shut. I thought, ok fine, I don’t really care. So he came back into my room with a roll of duct tape-green duct tape-and taped my window shut. Moral of the story: College Life is so real life-macaroni and cheese and duct tape always fixes the problem.

Galilee…well kinda…

Yesterday started my trip to Galilee!

We haven’t quite made it to our destination quite yet, but we are getting there!

We have already been to a lot of places, so I’ll just do a highlight of a couple, or all of them.ok.sweet.

We would have been able to get there in a couple hours, but we took an amazing detour onto the Coastal Region of Israel.

Our first stop was in Aphek. It is mentioned in 1 Samuel 4:1-13. This is the place where the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. There is currently a Turkish fortress ruins that are standing there. And there is a park right next to it and I’m pretty sure the trees were eucalyptus, which are totally my favorite!

Caesarea Maritime was our next stop. It was here that I could only think of family as we passed a Coal Generating Station which was on the coast. It only made me think of my dad, who transformed my thinking of them from just being ugly pipe things in the ground, to stacks-generating station-a form of getting power to the city. I love my dad.

We sat in a theater that had been reconstructed to look like what would have been in Herod’s day-at least during one of the Herod’s day…anyway, this city is actually called “Little Edom” due to the amount of god-worship that took place here. We read through Acts 10-when Peter had his vision in Jaffa, then went to Caesarea and witnessed to Cornelius-showing proof quickly that the gospel is not just for Jews, but for all man.

THERE IS SO MUCH THAT HAPPENED HERE!

But my favorite is the testimony of Paul in Acts 23, 24 &26. He is imprisoned and fearless to share the gospel with the highest government official. Preaching the truth of the work that the Lord is capable of doing-saving the lost man to be found. Praise the Lord!

Megiddo: Judges 1:27-28. Today is pretty much a slab of dirt that is higher than the lower Jezreel Valley which makes it nice to see the surrounding country. A lot happened here, and it was cool to see all the layers of the people groups that have lived in this one spot.

It was really cool to see the Jezreel Valley as it is a large agricultural area, filled with different orchards and crops. Kinda like the mid-west, but much better weather.

Mt. Carmel: 1 Kings 18: 16-46. It was surreal to read this story and think about what was going on in the mind of Elijah and those prophets of Baal. And we could see the Kishon River where the prophets were taken to be killed. Through this story, it straight up tells about God, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Plus it was really amazing to see all the trees that we passed to get there and it all the agricultural metaphors make so much more sense. Its amazing. I am loving it.

Tell-Jezreel: 1 Kings 21:1-29. Ahab and Jezebel-what a mixed up couple! But it shows the reality that there is truly, nothing new under the sun-in regards to woman being so strong-headed. She definitely “wore the pants” of the relationship. But amazing to see how God is a sucker for repentance. When Ahab repents and sees the wrong of what was done, the Lord allows the prophecy that was placed on his head to be lifted, yet Jezebel was still going to be killed and their son as well. It was Jehu who truly put an end to Baal worship-yet he still worshiped as his Jeroboam II, which was not a manner that was honoring to the Lord at all.

Then we stayed in the Herod Valley. Literally right next to the spring, Gibeon Spring, at the foot of Mt. Giboa.

Today, we visited the spring where Gideon took his men to get his 300 men. The 300 men who would show that it was only God who was truly winning the battles for the Israelites.

We went to Beth-Shan-which is a huge ruin and active tell-excavation site and read 1 Samuel 31. It was at this place where Saul’s death occurred and his head was hung. Today it is a really cool place where we could see a 2nd century theater in its original shape, a bathhouse, and some old streets.

Then we got to Nazareth, which is where we are staying tonight. It is a cool modern city, it is difficult to imagine what it would be like in the day of Mary and Joseph- where there were probably only 200 people and everyone knew everyone and everything. A highlight of today was when we went to the Church of Enunciation-which is where tradition says the angel told Mary she was going to have a baby-Jesus. The Son of God! In some free time at this site, I read through Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1:46-56-what an amazing testimony of her servant attitude. I know she probably didn’t say this in this town, but still-it’s amazing. My God is amazing. 

The place we are staying tonight is a guesthouse/hotel that is across the street from the biggest Catholic Church in the Middle East. It’s huge. I’m actually looking at it right now as I am on the roof of my room, typing this blog. What a beautiful thing to go into this place and rejoice at the work of the Lord that He had done through His Son. The work He has done through His people in the Old Testament. My God is FAITHFUL!

I’m doing well-this week is going to be crazy, and there is going to be information coming out my ears, but I’m excited for the places we are going. I am a little home sick, but only when I’m not doing anything with my time, like hiking or sleeping. I am very thankful for this experience. I will literally never read the Word of God the same-Praise the Lord! Next time I’ll blog, I’ll be in Galilee!

d e a d sea

I was feeling a little down, so I went to the lowest place on Earth: the Dead Sea.

Don’t worry, I didn’t die, I just almost did.

The purpose of yesterday’s field trip day was to see the Ascent of Ziz, En Gedi, and the Nahal’s Arugot & David. This geographical region was important for a lot of different situations, but the two that I clearly remember were about Jehoshaphat and David. The Lord blessed Jehoshaphat in this area by delivering him from his enemies as described in 2 Chronicles 20. We talked about the different time David was able to kill Saul, yet didn’t. It was cool to read the account of David in an area that could have been the place, as there were caves and I could see how David really did have a good chance and opportunity to kill the one that had been seeking to kill his own life for so many years.

There was a lot of hiking. And on the first part of the hike, there were some pools and a waterfall or two that we jumped in and that was always refreshing-as it did surprise me as to how hot it was so close to the Dead Sea. It was hot. But it makes me understand all the better as to the metaphor of “living water” and the importance of water to a people group and how sweet water is-Agua Dulce {my Spanish of the day}.

At the end of the day, we finally got to the Dead Sea-and it’s not quite what I thought it was going to be like. It’s more like a salty lake. You can see across to the other side and OBVIOUSLY there was no movement in the water. The water is really oily, I guess, from all the minerals over time. What’s crazy is that despite the saltiness, there are fresh springs going into the sea all the time. Weird. And the mud is actually really gross-but it does wonders to the skin-my hands-SO SOFT! And after a while, the water really get to ya and burns. Plus the smell of sulfur is undeniable. BUT it was super crazy to float and not have to struggle to float. It was hilarious as you could be upright and still be floating, just bobbin in the Dead Sea.

I am thankful for the fact that as we were going down one of the steeper sides of the hike, I was wearing my backpack and I just stumbled a little, and my friend quickly grabbed my backpack-literally had my back. I wouldn’t have fallen, but it was a sweet encouragement that the people I am here in Israel with aren’t just fellow students, but friends. {so cheesy, but so true!} I am thankful for the fact that I haven’t gotten injured, just a nasty spider bite on my foot which makes me want to rip off my foot, but I’m just being patient so that I can turn into spiderwoman first.

I am stoked for several reasons: 1-bought my ticket to Rome for Travel Study. 2-we leave for Galilee for 8 days on Saturday! On the flight here, I sat next to an Israeli person who told me that Galilee is the one place you must go, supposedly it is beautiful. Yeah-I’m excited about that! OH yeah, plus being where Jesus’ main ministry was. That’s cool too.