First of..

This blog should not be called the average Joe because I am not the average Joe

Friday, April 27, 2012

New Students!! Spring/ Summer Semester's Arrival!

So the new students are here! The week in between the two semesters was a pretty hard week, but all is well now the new students are here. But don't forget about our last semester, they are still missed. So they arrived around 4:30 pm and they had a short orientation and then I got to lead my own group of 10 students around the center, giving them a tour. Then we ate dinner with them in the Oasis and then talked with a few of them and played basketball with a few of them. Met a lot of new people that first night! Then yesterday was the Orientation walk for the students and me and Josh got to take our own tour together! It went really well and it was really fun. Then I hung out with a few of them, met a few others and then went to Get-to-Know you games, and that was really fun. I can already tell that this semester is going to be great! and also really fun! My hunger for students has been feasted! :)

Me and Josh's group for the orientation walk, it was great!

At the Get-to-Know you games!

Memorial Day and Independence Day

So two days ago was Memorial day in Israel and it was really cool, there was a siren that went off at 11:00 just like what happened on Holocaust rememberence day. There were fireworks that night for memorial day. I didnt really have any Israeli to remember so I just thought about the people whi fight for our country. Then yesterday was independence day and we didnt have school (which made me happy!:) But throughout the middle of the day jets and planes were flying just above our heads and it was really cool and also there were fireworks last night too, they were really cool, this was a really neat experience.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Last week with the Winter 2012 semester! :'(

Friday: I started hanging out with the students right away in the morning and then I went out into the city with a few people (Codi, Jason, and Lizzie) We went to St. James cathedral, it is one of the oldest churches in Jerusalem and it was so old that the incense was making the oil on the paintings rubbed off, it was really cool! Then we went to the Western Wall which is where all the other students were for a field trip. Then when I got home I partied with the students because they were done with finals! (finally!!)

Saturday: Went to church, gave my talk, church here is always amazing and uplifting. Hung out with some students after church, some came over and made cookies and cinnamon rolls (yum!:) Then I went to the Upper Room/ Last Supper experience which is where there is a setup like the Last Supper. We read a few scriptures (John 13-17) then we had contemplative time and I sat there for a while pondering, it was also a very spiritual experience.

Sunday: So today I went out into the city with Codi, David Frome, Annalise Harker and Crystal. We kind of just wandered around, went to King Davids hotel and we stopped at a little field my Davids tower and chilled for like an hour and a half. Then we went and got Shawarma, which is now like my most favorite thing in the world! I eat it a ton! Then I went to a party with the students and some Palestinians that they met it was really fun! Met some new people, it was really great! Then I played football in a field below the center with some students and some Palestinians. Then i hung out with a bunch of students the rest of the night.

The end of Spring Break :(

Monday: Went to school, we had a puppet show then we made our own puppets, it was one of the funnest days at school! Then when I got home I hung out with Codi, Jason, Crystal and Kyler right outside the top of the center in a field, it was really fun. Then I hung out with the students a lot.

Tuesday: Today I went to school, was normal. Then I went home and hung out with a bunch of the students. Then I ate the end of the semester BBQ in the Oasis (the cafeteria here in the JC) Then I went to the memory slide show, it was really good. Then I hung out with the students a ton then went to bed.

Wednesday: Skipped school and went out into the city with Codi, Alec, David, Crystal, Annalise. We wandered around then we wrote prayers and put them in the Western Wall it was a cool experience. Then we went to the Austrian Hospice (which is like my favorite place in the Old City) and chilled there for a while. Then we went home and talked with J.J. while he was at the airport about to leave for Boston. It was really great to hear his voice, I really miss him! Then I hung out with the students and ate dinner in the Oasis. Then we took group pictures and then said our goodbyes and they left :'( Oh that sad moment of seeing the bus with the students leaving the JC for the last time :'( I will miss them a ton but only 4 days til the next group comes.

Spring Break: Jru style!

So my spring break was really great and I would like to give you a quick summary of what I did.
We got out of school on Thursday and I just chilled the rest of the day.

After my Holy week, which there is a post on this.I got to have some fun for Spring break.

Monday: I went on a field trip with the students. We went to Masada (which is one of my favorite places) then to Ein Gedi, then we went to the Dead Sea, had a lot of fun floating. Then we went to Gumron which is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were supposedly found. This field trip is one of my favorite field trips, it was really, really fun! Then at night I read my first chapter in Acts!

Tuesday: Today was Sarah Bradshaw's birthday love her! We decorated her door and it looked really great! We went to the Mary Magdalene church with Kirk and Maegan the we went to the teardrop church, both of those churches are really cool. Then our family went to a beach just above Tel Aviv, chilled there for a while, it was really fun. Then we ate at Moses' Burger again, but a different one in the same joint though, I love that place!
In front of the Mary Magdalene Church

Wednesday: Went to Yad Vashem which is a museum for Holocaust with our Young Mens group. They did a good job on the museum, it was really interesting, the holocaust is so sad. Then I hung out with students the rest of the day and played basketball. Today was really fun!

Thursday: Went out into the city with Rachel Bennett, Natalie, Kaytlyn, Camille. We went to the usual places. Then got home hung out with some of the students then me and Josh went to Peace Player practice, I love peace players! Then after practice I hung out with the students.

The next few days will be in a different post: The last week with the Winter 2012 semester.

Where does my Easter goal go now?

So after my Easter goal, which went so well, I decided to continue reading in the New Testament and to finish it off before we go back to the states. So as of today there is 108 days til we go back and 133 chapters left in the New Testament (I am on Acts 13) So for 25 days I will read two chapters and then for the rest of the time I will read one chapter a night. :) How is Provo?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah Day

Yesterday it was Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah  (Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day)At school we had a speaker and he was one who survived the Holocaust and he told us his story he didn't go to concentration camps, luckily, after all the times he ran away. But it was really cool and his stories were neat. Also at 10:00 sirens all over Jerusalem rang and we all stood up and we had a moment of silence, it was sad to think about all the suffering the jews had to go through.

Sad goodbyes, but happy moments

So two days ago (wednesday) the wonderful Winter 2012 semester left, it was really sad, but we will see them in only four months way different from last semester with 8 months left. The happy moments of the day was going out into the city with a few of my most favorite people in the world and we got to talk with J.J!! Since he was leaving for Boston, we got to talk with him while he was in the airport. It was really  great and it was nice to hear his voice, I miss him a ton! I finally got to tell him about my Easter experience, which was so amazing. 

Our last dinner

From right to left: Aimee Sioux, Crystal Myler, Me, Codi Jameson, Alec Park, Kyler Harmon, Boone Parkinson.

Calling J.J!

Oh, we miss him!
Group Picture, Im gonna miss them! :'(
(try to find me!:)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Talk 4-14-12

So today I had to give a talk, the cool thing about it is that I was so prepared and so comfotable with the people I was delivering it to that I wasnt nervous at all! It went really well and I feel very good about it. Here it is:

Today I would like to speak on some of my experiences here in the Holy Land and because Easter was just a week ago I decided to speak a little on my experiences with my Easter here!J This Easter was really special to me 1. Because like everyone else I am experiencing it in the Holy Land and 2. Because of my Easter goal. I would first like to talk about my Easter goal. So there is a chapter on the resurrection and the first Easter in each of the four gospels and a random thought (maybe the Holy Ghost ;) came to my mind, what if I read one chapter a day from the Gospels till’ Easter and then read the four resurrection chapters on Easter. So I have been reading one chapter a night, I didn’t miss one chapter and when the Easter chapters came I skipped them and then as of last Sunday I am done with the Four Gospels!

 So on Easter I first went to a service at the Garden Tomb and it was very interesting how other people worship and it was somewhat uplifting but most of the time during the service they were playing loud music, even during the prayer.  It makes me grateful for the peace and spirit that is felt in our religion. While I was there I read two of my four Easter chapters then when I got home I went right to the seventh floor balcony right out there and I read the last two Easter chapters. I then sat there and pondered for about an hour then I said a prayer out loud for like 20 minutes.  It was the strongest I have ever felt the spirit and I was the happiest I have ever been in my life! It was a really neat experience and I will never forget it. And I don’t think I really thought about what Easter really is until here and studying all about it, Easter will never be the same, it will be a lot better!

One really cool thing about my Easter was the hymn: “I Stand All Amazed” Our family had a devotional on the Mount of Olives and we sang this song, then in Sacrament meeting last week we sand this song then I started to play it on the piano. This hymn has been popping up and it is really special to me and it is definitely my Easter hymn for this year. I really like a few lines in that hymn one being: “that he should care for me enough to die for me” and I think it is wonderful to me that he should care for me enough to die for me.

I would like to share with you a few of my favorite scriptures that I have read in the four gospels.  One is when John is explaining why he wrote his gospel, John 20: 30-31: I like this scripture because I think through my experiences in this Holy Land I have really come to fully believing in Jesus Christ and I hope that that will bring everlasting life. Another scripture that I really like is Mark 11: 23-24: There are many times that I have noticed where Christ will ask people why thou have such little faith or why didst thou doubt? And I think this time he is making a declaration in these verses, if you have faith, you can do miraculous things.

Through Reading the scriptures I have had multiple blessings and one of them has been that the Holy Ghost has been a lot stronger with me. I have had multiple little experiences where the Holy Ghost has told me to do something and it paid off later. One experience was: We were about to leave for Tel Aviv one day and I looked in my wallet and I only had two shekels so I didn’t think that would do any good but the Holy Ghost told me to bring it with me so I stuck it in my pocket just like president Monson says: ‘Just do it!” listen to the prompting right away! And sure enough when my Dad was paying for our parking he asked if anyone had two shekels and I was like yep I do and I pulled it out! J It’s been little experiences like that, that have really blessed me. I have really felt the Spirit a lot stronger and especially when I have been having really spiritual experiences here in this Holy Land.

One thing that I think was cool while I was reading some of the chapters at one point stuff would pop up that stuck out to me that day or happened to me that day and I think that was a blessing and it was neat. One example is that I was learning about my priesthood duties in Yong Men’s and then at night when I was reading in the four gospels, I read more about the Sacrament and my duties.

Also from reading the scriptures I have been getting blessings through my prayers. I have felt his presence when I have prayed and I have had many answers and comforting feelings from the Holy Ghost and it has been such a great blessing.

I also think it has been very interesting to look at the different religions especially at my school. It is such a crazy thought to think that some people don’t have the comforting knowledge of our loving Savior and Heavenly Father; it just feels like they are so lost and I am very excited to go on a mission and bring people unto him and I have been praying that this Holy City can sometime soon have a temple and that missionaries can bring these people the gospel and I have been praying that I could be one of them.

My Mom always will tell us as we go out the door for school or anything else: “Remember who you are” and being here I think that I have really been figuring out who I am. I am now a different person after my amazing experiences here. I have also changed very much spiritually and I think I am forever changed.

But the biggest blessing that reading the scriptures has brought is a strengthened Testimony and especially my testimony of my Savior. I can now testify that He lives and I love him, he did suffer for all of us, just out that window in that beautiful city and he rose from the grave and I know that with all my heart and soul that this is true. And he will come again someday and he will bring everyone unto him and every knee shall bow.   I have a testimony that we have a true prophet on this earth today, who holds the keys and is definitely a prophet of our Heavenly Father.  I know that this church is definitely a true church and I can now testify that reading the scriptures can bring blessings and also it is a very great learning tool. I know that all of these things are true with all my heart and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Where I gave my talk!

Part of one of my favorite scriptures :)

Sat almost in that same spot on Easter when I had my experience, I love life! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Holy Week

Sunday: Palm Sunday did the procession from Bethpage to Lions Gate (there is a post on this)
Monday: Went to the Garden Tomb with my school it was very neat and interesting to have so many religions there with us and some had no idea the Garden Tomb was and it is right near where a lot of them live.

Tuesday, Wednesday: Normal days got out of school Thursday.

Thursday: Christ suffering in Gethsemane, Last Supper and his arrest. We first went to the Garden of Gethsemane as a family and did some learning things there than we went to a little grassy area above the Garden of Gethsemane and below the Orson Hyde Park and we had a little devotional and then we got our own pondering time it was nice. Then at nine o'clock we went to the Garden of Gethsemane again and we went to a service to commemorate his suffering. It was really cool and they read scriptures in Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, English, German and some other languages and we sang little one line Latin hymns, it was really neat. Then we all got candlesticks and went from the Church of all Nations (at Gethsemane) and went all the way to Peter Gallicantu. I thought that it was interesting how he does the most selfless thing in the world, he suffers for all the sins of the world and he then is despised for it, he is arrested and I wonder if the soldiers who are now in Heaven somewhere are feeling very stupid for arresting him. I'm so grateful for my Savior!

After the service

With our candles on the procession

Sitting on the steps where they belived they dragged him up at Peter Gallicantu

Friday: He is beaten and crucified. I didn't do a whole lot of cool things for today although it is a very important day, he has to die sometime for the plan of Salvation to work.We were wanting to go to a service but we were too busy with Marissa's birthday party and the Talent show. But I did read the account in John of his crucifixion as my chapter for the night (to go along with my Easter goal)

Saturday: Christ in Spirit World/ Prison preaching to evil spirits (D&C 138/ 1 Peter 4 and 5.) Today I went to church we had our own Easter service it was really nice. I read D&C 138 and 1 Peter 4 and 5 for my chapter I thought that it was so interesting how he spent his time up there and maybe he still does teaching evil spirits the gospel. I also thought it was interesting how Joseph F. Smith said that lots of prophets are up there preaching to the evil spirits such as Moses, Elias and even Joseph and Hyrum Smith. I really like what I read today, super cool.

Sunday: He is not here for he is risen, his Resurrection, Easter! I first went with the fam to the Garden Tomb for a service, they played a lot of Christian Rock, I kinda disliked it, I thought that it was interesting how differently they worship than the LDS people. This is a link to a video of the church service.
I then hurried after the service to find a spot to read my four Easter chapters for my Easter Goal.( I ended up only getting in two chapters and the music was still playing so I felt a different kind of spirit and I felt rushed. I was then a little bumbed that I didn't get to read all my chapters at the Garden Tomb, which was my initial plan with my Easter goal. But when I got home I went under one of the arches and pulled out my scriptures. The birds were chirpping, sun shining, nice breeze the most perfect weather ever. I then read the last two chapters and then sat for like an hour pondering, then I said like a 15- 20 minute prayer, out loud which was amazing. I have to say it was the strongest I have ever felt the spirit and the happiest I have ever been in my life. It was amazing the coolest experience ever, definitely an answer to my prayers of wanting Easter to be a cool experience. After that I went home and I wonder if anyone was wondering why I was so happy but we went down to the Harpers apartment (one of the other faculty families) and we had a water fight, Easter egg hunt and and egg bashing contest then we had eggzalla for dinner which is like the white part of an egg which is put in white sauce and you put on top of broken up bread and then sprinkle on the golden yolk part. It was a very eggy Easter and the yolk which is my spirit was very filled and will be forever filled.

I love the Garden Tomb, it is such a nice place

Right before the service, it was really cool!
After reading my two chapters! :)

We ate lunch at some resturant one the side of the main road.

After the Easter egg hunt

Melia Modeling the dinner, it was so good!
At night I read the chapter where Christ is in Tiberias and then I was finished with my Easter goal! I am now reading in Acts!

 The Best experience of my life, what an answer to all of my prayers, I know that my redeemer lives, He is Risen!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rissa Roo the Kangeroo!

Rissa Roo the Kangeroo who lost her shoe in Timbuktu. So yesterday was my cutest older than littlest sister's birthday, Marissa! I love her so much, although both my sister like Josh way more than me, I think we sometimes get along just fine. She also has a very sweet spirit and I am glad she is my sister. She is definitely a great sister to Melia and I know that she is right now really good with kids and that will help her when she has her own kids. I love her so much and I am so glad that she is my sis! :)

This is her with her BEST friend Meagan, they love each other so much, Marissa is also a great friend. Meagan and her Dad came to Israel because her Dad is an artist and he is painting different scenes in Jerusalem.
She is a great older sister

and we all will always love her...
Love you Marissa! :)

Palm Sunday

So yesterday was Palm Sunday and in Jerusalem (where it happened) it is highly celebrated by Christians here and they even had a procession that went from Bethpage to Lion's Gate. Palm Sunday is when Jesus got on a donkey at Bethpage and rode on the donkey into Jerusalem (into Golden Gate) and was hailed as son of David the people cried Hosanna! It was really cool to be a part of the procession and it was so interesting how deovoted other Christians are. It was an amazing experience!

Inside the church at Bethpage

Most everyone had palm leaves and we were waving them, singing and dancing, it was so fun! :)

Me with my Palm leaf

We didnt quite go all the way to Lions gate, we stopped at Gethsemane, but it was still hard and slow

I love this city so much
This is kind of what it was like the whole time we were in the procession, sing Hosanna!

This was such a great experience, I loved it so much! One of the best times of my life! :)

April Fools

So how great do you think it would be if you broke your arm on your birthday, I didn't put this in the other post for Marissa's birthday but she broke her arm, on her birthday, on April fools day.....;) Haha I didn't do any real pranks for April Fools day but I did use a lot of jokes. Yesterday I had three things so it was a big day and there wasn't a whole lot of time doing pranks, it was Marissa's birthday, Palm Sunday and April Fools Day. The best two April fool jokes were by my Mom and by the JC director Eran Hayet. So today the students are going to Eilat and they are snorkeling in the Red Sea and all of them are super excited and he was saying since there were some disciplinary issues the trip would be put off and I actually believed him, it was a really good one. My Mom when we were coming back from the Palm Sunday procession she asked the students if they wanted to take the hidden elevator and they started to follow her but there isnt a secret elevator, hahaha. April Fools day is so great and so much fun! :)