Meandering Mormons

Have I ever mentioned how fun it is that when we walk around, everyone knows exactly who we are? And how everyone seems to have a special Mormon student price just for us? And how (thankfully) we seem to have a pretty good reputation as nice people? Well, it’s fun.

Have I ever mentioned how fun it is to meander, and stumble across churches, shops, museums, and incredible people? I have had so many faith-building experiences that could never have been planned, all because we happened upon people or places or things that tell amazing tales.

The director of the center warned us about “JC LDS,” or “Jerusalem Center Last-Days-Syndrome.” People start to get frantic and want to visit EVERYTHING they haven’t seen. I can honestly say that I feel pretty good about what I’ve done here! I’ve spent all the time I could out in the city, I’ve tried to participate in every activity, and I’m sure I’ve seen more than 98% of tour groups will ever see. (It’s just a matter of having 4 months versus one week, you know?)

This week we’ve done a lot of what we call “meandering.” We have destinations, but we are very open to detours. We have shopping lists, but they change every time we see something new. We have sack lunches, but falafel and shawarma just call your name sometimes.

We’ve also been studying the New Testament extensively. I simply can’t get over how amazing it is to sit on my patio, read the New Testament, and look out at the very places it all happened. In. Cre. Di. Ble.

At this point my photos can’t adequately portray how I feel about this amazing city! But to save you from reading any more sappy nonsense I’ll just show them to you anyway.

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Rockefeller Museum. I don’t even know whose foot this is supposed to be but I guess it’s mine now, ha, ha.

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When you go to a Russian church and one of you served a mission in Russia but the other one simply just has no idea what’s going on
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Alexander Nevsky church. Has some of my favorite artwork anywhere. The paintings along the whole wall are huge, depicting the last days of the Savior’s life. It starts with his suffering in Gethsemane and ends with his resurrection. They

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This is such a fun place. Jewish artists have their workshops and sell their art in the same place so you can see how they work.
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Will I miss these sunsets? Is that even a question?
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Whaddup just chillin on an ancient tower
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Kathryn is a true homie. She’s half my personal photographer and other half trusty always-down-to-meander friend.
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David Tower Museum (full of archaeology!)
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Western Wall at night! We got to tour the tunnels underneath and walk along what would have been the whole temple mount wall back in the days of Herod. SO COOL! #totesworthit

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This was our awesome tour guide for the tunnels. She has the most perfect tour guide voice. We’ve all been talking about how she should narrate a tour movie.

 

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Trying to move the biggest single stone on the whole temple mount. It weighs 600 tons so don’t blame us for not being able to move it OK
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Brookie!!!!!!!!!
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I love seeing people in their element. Tons of Jewish people come here to pray and it’s so cool to watch.
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The streets are so quiet when you go out early in the morning.
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We got to come back to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for our field trip this week and it meant so much more after having insight and information from our teacher.
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Courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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Not only is this church impressive and beautiful, but Orson Hyde stayed in the monastery here when he visited Israel.

 

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Gotta have a street selfie.
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Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. Beautifully simple.
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Went back to the Alexander Nevsky church on our field trip and, again, it was so cool to get more info from our teacher. This is an arch preserved within the church from an ancient pagan temple.
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This is in the basement of the St. Mark church – claimed to be the house of Mark and where the Last Supper was. The nun who gave us an explanation was so great. I tried to film her talking to us, but she got mad at me so I just have a very, very short video of her, ending with “No camera, please!!!”
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Ben Yehuda Street, Jerusalem
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What happens when you go out the city right before shabbat? You get asked if you want phylacteries multiple times and you see lots of people using them to pray.
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A classic photo shop that a lot of people buy from. The man running the shop sells photos his father took in the early 1900s. Some of them are in a museum in the city and they are all amazing.
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