Friday, March 26, 2010

Caesarea-aqueduct and churches

This so some of the ruins of the Christian Crusade churches in Caesarea. They were pretty nice and cool to walk through.

See how the churches have pointed vaulted ceilings.they were very pretty

This is a fig leaf. Isn't it pretty. They aren't supposed to come out until the start of summer but there have been some hot spurts throughout this rainy/winter season and all the flowers are starting to bloom and leaves are flourishing.
This is the aqueduct that brought water 12 miles away to Caesarea. I have played plenty of games and learned all about these aquaducts and now it is so cool to actually see the Roman Aqueducts!!Posted by Picasa

Biblical Lands and Caesarea!

This is the the beginning of our trip to Galilee. We stopped at a bunch of places heading up there and here we were able to see how life was lived in the ancient times. We got to herd sheep, which was incredibly funny and suprisingly a little difficult. Those sheep can be stubborn sometimes. I tried to taunt them with grass, nudge them along, and push them but they wouldn't move. Finally I had to scare them to get going. I would run and scream and eventually they moved. It was hilarious and fun to do. Our tour guide kind of chastised me because that isn't the right way to herd sheep. You have to earn their trust and guide them gently like the Savior would. I guess I have some work to do.

We finally got them all in a ring!! yay! Then after that we scattered them and then the next group would have to go gather them up again. We were able to do it again and we had to walk them around the poles and guide them as a shepard would. It is so cool how if you can keep the head sheep going on the right path the others will follow suit very nicely.

Here we saw the process of how they make a torah scroll. They made the ink from all these different plants and spices to make the perfect color. We also learned that for every time you write the name of God in the scroll you have to cleanse yourself by dipping in a bath. Sometimes the scribes will not write the name of God and leave it blank so that they can write God all at once and dip in a mikvah(Jewish baptismal font) over and over. It is very pretty writing and to not ruin it with your finger prints they use a Yad, the little hand pointer thing.

Here is the the start of the Caesarea tour. It was a really cool place. During its peak the harbor there was consider a wonder of the world. It was a huge man made harbor that Herod built so that trade would come into Judea and cut off trade to Alexandria in Egypt. It was a very smart plan and it worked this area really flourished and became prosperous from the harbor here. It was Paul here that defended himself against king Aggripa.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hezekiah's Tunnel and Meeting Moses

This last monday we had a field trip and headed down to the City of David. It is south of the temple mount where Solomon built the Temple. David came to this city and conquered the Jebusites and turned it into the City of David. There is a spring called Gihon spring that supplies the water to the city and for that reason was Hezekiah's tunnel was built.
When the Assyrians came to destroy the city of david Hezekiah needed to protect their only source of water from being poisened, cut off, or just taken. It was very vulnerable and on the edge of the city and if it was taken the Assyrians surely would have won quickly. So to get the water to a different more protected area of the city Hezekaih built this tunnel that we walked through on monday. it was really cool!! It is about a half mile long and has water that is about thigh high. The walls are about 3 feet apart from each other and the roof always varied from about 30 feet high to about 4 feet high. I hit my head alot...
We walked through the whole thing singing, doing konga lines, and for about 15 minutes turned off all our lights and just walked. It was a cool experience to see and do.
Before going into the tunnel we saw ruins of David's palace, which is pretty cool. Parts and pieces of Nehemiah's wall, remember Uctdorf's talk -"We have a great work to do and will not come down." They built that wall in a short 52 days.
We also saw a very pro-Israeli movie about how the Jews had been in the land thousands of years ago and deserve the land here today. I love all the little subtle hints that both sides of the conflict give. It's kind of fun to see and notice them.
After everything we were all wet so we went back to the JC and changed clothes, did a little homework, and went back out into the city. We went to St. Marks house again because last sunday we didn't have enough time to go into the upper room. This house is significant because this is where supposedly Jesus and the 12 had the last supper and after the death and ressurection of Christ he reappeared here to the 12 again. It is a pretty cool aramyic church. The first christian one in Israel actually. The upper room is acually downstairs because of the time and destruction of Jerusalem. All ancient stuff is 50 or more feet below our feet because of all the rubble that has built up over the centuries.
When we got to the church they were just staring their prayer meeting they have everyday at 4:00 so we decided to stay and see what it was like. It went on for about 20 minutes and they had two priest in the front with a king/pope like guy that would put a crown on and would kiss his staff with a cross on the top of it. The two priest would mumble and recite their memorized prayers. It was pretty cool and I enjoyed it. Afterward we asked the guy to go downstairs and he let us go down and it was nice. Nothing much was down there but it was just cool to think that the ressurected savior could have walked. We went back up stairs and started to talk to one of the priests that did the prayer, named MOSES!! He was a really cool guy that actually lived in Holland. So we talked about that for a while and he taught us some aramayic words. Shalomo is hello and toudie is thank you. So when you all die and go to see our Judge you should all go and greet him in his native language and say, "Shalomo" to Him. We talked for like 30 minutes and now we have a aramayic priest friend that gave us a free picture. He told us that we were invited to come to a special meeting with the President of Armenia and the head partiarch were coming to visit their church. He invited us but we can't be out at night so we couldn't go. Could you imagine meeting the Armenian President in Jerusalem? We were just thinking if we went there would be all these men and we would just be like..."yeah, we are just Byu students living here for 4 months. Nice to meet you President". It was a great day!
I'll put pictures in someday...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shephelah valley with David and Goliath!!

Okay I have procrastinated this one and just have been so extremely busy. Even though it has been about about 2 weeks I totally can't remember all the stuff that I did. I remember the highlights and things that were fun but some of the names of these places has slipped my mind. That is why we've got a wonderful field trip manual that we can go back and look at everything.

We went to Beth shemesh which is in the bible a million times if you look for it. Samason lived here. Beth=house and shemesh=sun After the philistines had stolen the Ark of the Covenant and were cursed/punished they gave it back to the Israelite in the city of Beth Shemesh.

We went to Azekah-tel which was a fortress that was attacked by the Assyrians and survived the first time. The second time wasn't too good. They found a tablet from Lachish another fortress that read, "And my lord know that we are watching for the singal fires of Lachish(a fortress south of Azekah) according to all the signs which my lord has given because we cannot see Azekah." meaning that the flame at Azekah was put out meaning that Azekah had fallen to the Assyrians. It was a pretty cool place to see.

After that we went to maresh/marisa which is another fortress. We went to alot of those that day. Here they had an olive press that was pretty cool. They had a big olive crusher and then other olive squishers that would press out the olive oil. Nearby, they had some bell caves which were cool to go see. Here they carved out the limestone creating huge caves. They used the limestone to line cisters in the ground to collect water.

Lachish was our next stop which was the most impressive of the fortresses. This one is going to come from memory. Actually, I looked. Anyway, it was the largest city in the old testament. Any conquerer would have to take this city to assult Jerusalem. After it was destroyed no one ever moved back and so it is a great tel to do archeology on. You can still see the siege ramp that the Assyrians built to take the city. It is pretty cool to see history from thousands of years in the past still there. The walls were huge!! Around the whole city the walls were about 30 ft. or more high. Some of the walls are still remaining that are about 15 feet and I couldn't imagine trying to get up those walls with people shooting arrows, throwing rocks, and javalines at me.

We went to Gath too. It was a city where Goliath lived and one of the big philistines cities.

We also went to Micah's caves which were really fun to climb all over in. We could discover so many different chambers. It had nothing to do with the bible but it sure was fun.

The last place we went was the valley of Elah where the Philistines and Isrealites met and almost had battle but because one Isrealite boy, had faith in God, and slew the largest giant of the Philistines. We went to the valley picked up smooth rocks from the river, put them in our slings and slung rock exactly in the valley where David and Goliath had their show down!! It was really fun but pretty difficult to get it going fast enough to kill someone and have accuracy. I think it would take me a long time to master the art of slinging.

I will put pictures up when I get the chance..

Friday, February 12, 2010

Israel and the Holocaust

First off, Sorry it is so long. I really should have written this before because I don’t have the same feelings that I did have before about the Holocaust and the Jews but I still remember the waking up and having terrible dreams about the holocaust and just feeling so bad for the Jews. My feelings were very blue. We have been studying the history of the Jews in the Old Testament, a Jewish class, and learning about them in the modern times, and the Palestine/Israeli conflict. They have had a very hard hard history that has put them all through a lot of suffering. Going to the Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, was a very moving experience. I have been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC but it felt different because I have learned about them in class more than I knew before and I am now living among them. I has given me a different perspective and I am glad that I have a little new found understanding for this region.

At Yad Vashem our tour guide was a very strong Jew from Ohio and New York that moved to Israel for Zionism. Where the Jews can gain back their identity, have a home, and create a Zion. They have been wandering in exile just as the scriptures prophesied. I know that this was all supposed to be this way but your heart still goes out to them. For what they have been through I feel as though they deserve to have a place where they can have peace and a home. In contrast, I don’t totally agree with what they are doing or are going about it in the right way. They have thrown thousands of Palestinians out of their homes, taken control of their lands, water, and a lot of their basic rights. Israel makes life for an Israeli so hard with all the checkpoints and security measures, which they say, help stop terrorism, but fact discourage Palestinians from going just about anywhere. All of our teachers have to have bassports, licenses, permits, and much more…about 5 different things to get them through security checkpoints to come teach us here at BYU JC. We have had forums where Palestinians come in a tell us their side of the story, which is very tragic, showing us that Israel and Palestine are not at “War” but Israel sure is making non-violent aggressive movements of settlements and such to expand their boundaries. It really is considered an act of war and they’re getting away with it. I am really not siding with either side but I have been more informed on what is going on presently and can see both sides of the story.

Enough about the Conflict for now, I wanted to share with you about the field trip that we had to Yad Vashem last Friday. Our guide as I said before is a Zionist and while we were taking our tour I asked her a question about living in Israel compared to America and what is so different? She said religiously or physically? I wanted to hear both so I had asked her both and she said that religiously, living here is so fulfilling. Living where the bible “torah” took place, where the temple was and is supposed to be built and a place designed to be their Zion is wonderful. I thought that was cool but what she said after that was pretty powerful to me. She said, physically it is a little scary 4 of my sons are in the military and one will soon be when he is old enough. I worry about them when they are away. Then later she said that her brother in law, who was engaged, and uncle were out in the market preparing for his wedding the next day when a bomb went off and killed them both. I was shocked because these things are real and happen to people that live here. It’s not on the news about a disturbed land far away, it’s here. It is very sad to hear about but I feel super safe being here in Jerusalem.

As we further went through the holocaust museum it was very sad to see how the Germans and others worked to annihilate the Jews: The Anti-Semitism, the ghettos, and death camps. We went into a room where the floor was just shoes, tons of shoes that were worn by the Jews before going into the Gas chambers. Our guide told us when she went to Auschwitz, the death camp in Germany, and saw a room filled with luggage, a room filled with shoes, and a room filled with human hair. She was disgusted and couldn’t look at it anymore. I thought about it and thought to myself, what if that happened to us, the Mormons? It would be devastating and very heart wrenching to see that happen to your people. The museum was a touching experience for me and my heart went out to the Jews. They had hard lives.
Later that night we watched Schindler’s List where he saved thousands of Jews lives but still didn’t feel like it was enough. It was a little redeeming to see good people resist the bad but the treatment of the Jews was terrible. It has made me think a lot about being human and treating others with kindness and respect no matter who they are. At the end of our tour our guide said that she saw two boys walk out of Yad Veshem and one say to the other, “I will never allow this to happen to my people again.” Then the other boy replied with, “I will never allow this to happen to any people again.”

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mosque of Mohammad Ali, Mt. Sinai, and the Red Sea

We are back in Cairo after 3 days in Luxor and a train ride of death. They tried to get us with the food....they thought they could give us a little pharoah's revenge, or Cairo's quick step. We rode all night on the train and it arrived in Cairo at 4 so all of us were dead all day long. It was an experience I don't really want to repeat but I'm glad we get to try everything.

Here is the Mosque of Mohammad Ali. It is considered 1 of the seven wonders of the world in the Medieval Ages. It was spectacular and great.

Here on our way out of Egypt we stopped at this Oasis. The children of Israel would have stopped in places like this for a while to drink and fill up on water.

This is atop mount Sinai!! We made it to the top after waking up at 2 and hiking for 2 or 3 hours...can't remember how long. On top it was very cold and so we had to stay together to keep warm. We had a great spot to cover from the wind and watch the sunrise.

Here is the first sighting of the sun! It was beautiful to be there and contemplate about God's creations upon mt. Sinai.

Basking in the warm sun was a must!! It was so nice and beautiful!

This is the pool of Elisha on top of Mt. Sinai. We had a great testimony meeting there.

This is coming down the Mt. Sinai. It'll kill anyones knees but we had a good hike coming down.

These christians built this monastery around Moses's supposedly burning bush in the 12th or 13th century. I love the claim to fame they all have for sacred objects in the Old testament. I am standing under "The Burning Bush".

On our way home we stopped for lunch by the Red Sea. It was so beautiful to be on the beach again after the desert of Sinai.

Which is better? The pyramid or the lovely Sphinxes...

Karnak and Luxor Temple

After Cairo we flew down the nile to Luxor. This is the place that is famous for the Valley of the kings, Karnak, and Luxor Temple.

This is my first ride on a camel!! It's name was Sonja and I will never forget it!
I couldn't believe how high you are when riding a camel. Everything else was the same as a horse, which I am already pro at,of course! It was a fun ride.

Here is part of our group that all rode camels. We look like a caravan...

Here is the nile river and all the sail boat that run up and down it. It is really cool though because the water flows south to north and the wind goes north to south. So it would have made it easy for them to trade back in the day.

This is probably the coolest picture I took while in Egypt!! I absolutely love the sunset and sailboats on the nile.

This is our first get away into Luxor to go bargin with the traders. It was hilarious and we had a great time trying not to get ripped off. We got some cool cheap stuff though. The general rule of trading is; no matter how good you have bargined the price down and think you are getting a good deal, you are still getting ripped off! Don't worry it happens to everyone.

This is a model of Karnak, the coolest place on earth!!! This place blew me away at how grand and big this place is. It is the biggest building on earth. Streaching across 52 acres of land!!! It was great!

Here is one pillar of the 96 that are found there. This column represents the lotus flower and is huge. We learned when we were there how they built these massive columns, oblisks, and great statues. It really is stunning how they did all that in that day.

Here we are with eight of us one pillar! These are huge and so of course we had to make a james bond movie while we were there!! It was fun to run and play inbetween all the columns!

This is a little part of Karnak. The picture doesn't give it justice but really was a cool place.

Here is an obelisk built by Queen Hatshepsut that was taken down by her son again!! It is amazing how tall these are. Our tour guide drew in the sand describing how they built this massive peice of one rock!

Here at Luxor Temple they have these sphinx gaurding the entrance of the temple. 5000 years ago the entrance was 2 miles long lined with these things. The archeologist are still uncovering these things.

Here I am in front of Luxor Temple! It was a pretty great place but I think Karnak spoiled the greatness of it.

Here we are in front of the statues of the pharoahs. My pharoah's head got lobbed off and defaced by the muslims

If you guys want more detail or stories to go along with it you should comment on some of my blogs. I have no idea how many people look at my blog right now.