I realized that so much happens-it’s kinda difficult to keep up a blog. But here is what has happened since last week!
Thursday: first class: Life of Christ-exciting-as the class looks like it’s gonna be good.
Friday: Hiked Nahal Yitlah, Ein Kefirah Hike- the hill behind the Ibex campus. Went down to a cistern and then climbed the mountain. And I sweat so much it was retarded. So thankful for water. Saw some ruins of an ancient fortress. Then walked back through Abu Gosh to Yod Hoshmonah in time for Kabbalat Shabbat-much nicer dinner as it welcomes in the Shabbat. And I love how the people here treat us. I mean we are a bunch of American college students, except Bea and Jen as they are from NZ and AUS, so we come in a little later than everyone else and eat all the nice leftover food. It’s pretty comical.
Saturday: went to church at Jerusalem Assembly where the church is close to Jerusalem and culturally diverse. The main sermon was preached in English then translated into Hebrew for the Israeli people to understand. All the worship songs were in Hebrew, but there was an English translation at the bottom of the screen-it was awesome to be able to worship the Almighty God together even if we don’t speak the same language-we worship our Father together. Then after church we went to the Old City and spent time walking the quarters, bartering and eating schwarma-which I prefer over falafel. It was a good time to talk and hang out with some sweet friends and explore this place we get to call home for the next 14 weeks. At night, we had Saturday Night Live-not like the show, but it was fun as we played games with each other-I love games! And we celebrated Bill’s birthday who isn’t just celebrating his birthday, but is celebrating his 50th semester in Israel. And if you had been on our hike and seen him hike like it was not a problem, you would not think he is as old as he is. He is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and kindness as I have seen as he teaches the Bible with an enthusiasm that isn’t found just in the classroom, but on the field as well. He has been teaching the same classes for a long time, but every time we get together, I feel like it’s the first. I am so thankful for a teacher who loves and wants to be here not just because he is a teacher, but because he wants to serve the Lord with his whole life.
Sunday: Hung out at the campus. Went to Abu Gosh and got fruit and fresh Pita and coffee and mint tea with a group of girls.
Monday: Went to Old City Jerusalem. We went to Hezekiah’s Tunnel. The original Western Wall which is now far beneath the city walls that are currently built. Loved going to the Jewish Quarter. We went down a street that is called Carda which was the “heart” of the city where we saw the oldest map of the city of Jerusalem that dates to 500AD in the Byzantine period. While we were walking to the Zion gate, we saw a boy passing by with a parade of people celebrating his Barmitzpha. When we got to the Zion gate we could literally see the damage that was done in the second siege on the city as the gates are a symbol of the Jews seeking peace and wanting refuge-but they were placing it in their measly little walls which is seen today in my own life in my own strength instead of the Lord’s. So as much as I want to say that the Israelites were dumb and made stupid choices, so do I. My Father is faithful to forgive. PTL. THEN we went to a place that is supposedly where the last supper took place-even though the architecture dates back to the crusader’s time-it is possible that it was even in that area-air space. So cool to be in a place that Jesus lived with people He loves. Obviously, we read from Luke22 and in doing the cup and bread with the men shows that He is the center-He is the reason for remembrance-the cup of redemption. My God is redemptive. HE redeems. What is sad, is right below this room is a place where people pray to David as if he is saint and he can do something to help-he’s dead.
We then trekked over to a spot where we could see where the Beth Hinnom Valley and Kidron Valley come together(as seen in the picture). It is here that we read Jeremiah 7:30 to the end of the chapter-so sad. The killing of their children to sacrifice to their gods. And as much as I want to point my finger and say, “they are so stupid” I can only think of what we do to millions of children every year.before they are even born. It breaks my heart. But then makes me thankful that the Lord is gracious and He did not leave the Jews out to dry, but He still protected and provided for them-His grace is sufficient. He redeems those who turn from their sin in seeking His glory and beauty.
We went to a church that I like to call, Church of the Rooster: the place where historians like to say Peter denied Christ three times. It overlooks the City of David and you can see the temple mount from the top of the church.
Then we hopped and skipped over to the city of David where we saw what looked like a pile of stones that they call David’s Palace which is totally possible from all the archeological evidence that has been found. THEN we went to the Gihon Spring which is where Hezekiah’s Tunnel begins and cuts through the mountain and ends at the Pool of Siloam as found in John 9. While we were in Hezekiah’s Tunnel, there was obviously a constant flow of water, the highest it got was just above my knees and it was awesome. The water felt so nice after the long day of hiking around everywhere in the Jewish quarter and what not. Plus the tunnel was colder than outside which has been very hot. I never felt scared or freaked out-it was so neat! Plus I only hit my head once on a rock which I didn’t duck down in time for. About half way through we turned off our lights and sang one of the Hebrew songs that we have learned and Amazing Grace. AND there are two pools of Siloam. One is at the end of the tunnel, and another is filled in just East of the other.
The last stop we made was at a place that is so-called the tomb of David which is in the side of a mountain that is opposite the temple that Solomon built up which is across the valley of the pools of Siloam. Here Bill explained how Solomon was anointed king at the spring of En Rogel and entered the city on his father’s mule. Because the king wasn’t to have a horse because a horse symbolized the idea that they can have power in their stuff rather than in God. Which makes me understand all the more the warnings in the psalms as some put their trust in horses and chariots, but how much greater it is to put your trust in the Lord (Jenna’s paraphrase). Which is still a struggle us American’s still deal with. We, rather I, am so quick to trust my judgment or my abilities to accomplish a task or issue that I don’t even think to pray about a situation and trust the Lord will do a work. I know He can work through me, but what good is it to do a good deed without honoring the Lord or seeking to live for His name to be proclaimed.
AND after all that walking we did, I went and played basketball for the first time since camp-it was great. Definitely a little more difficult than playing against those junior high kids.
Tuesday: Skyped my momma and dad. Loved seeing their faces. Went to Bible study where we are going to be going through Hebrews 1-7 this semester. Hung out on campus. Did homework. Planning my travel abroad trip. (work in progress…)
Loved this week: sausage in a blanket for dinner-and it was delicious!!! As the meat was well cooked and it was wrapped in a flakey croissant like bread-so good.
AND MAGNUM BARS-D E L I C I O U S
SO sorry this was so long. A lot has happened and I am thankful for you all who have been praying for me. I really appreciate it. The past couple days have just been information overload. I am thankful for a day like today where I could sit and process all that has happened and the things that I have seen. I am enjoying it all. The friends are good. Several people are starting to feel a little sick. Thankfully not me or my roommate-Bea-so glad God put us together!