Wellll I’m home! “How was it?” The people ask. “Amazing!” I say. “2 thumbs waaay up, 10 out of 10, would recommend.” What I want to say is more like this: “So much more than I bargained for. An extraordinary blend of learning and observation about diverse peoples, cultures, and religions, that in turn allow for self-reflection and personal learning that can be applied in any facet of life. A closed community that allows enough time to get to know each individual, which aids in overcoming quick judgments or social anxieties. A city that is so full of history, faith, and tradition that you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and into the future all at once. Teachers who are dedicated, knowledgeable, and the best in their fields, who are more than just teachers—they are friends, mentors, and guides. All of this combines to facilitate a closeness with the Lord that rivals only a full-time mission and only fails to change the hearts of those most determined to fail to see the beauty around them.” This would be a little weird to say in a light, passing conversation in the Church hallway, but it’s the only way I can sum up in a few words what I experienced.
There is so much to say about my last few days in Jerusalem. We had some of my favorite field trips from the whole semester, lots of last-minute shopping and goodbyes, and looooots of photo-taking.
Then, Monday and Tuesday were our final field trips. We followed the path of the Savior in his last week. We went from Bethany to Jerusalem, from the Mount of Olives to Caiaphas’s palace, from Golgotha to the tomb. While many sites are only revered because of tradition, they have all been made holy by those who believe it to be so. We can gain a testimony of Christ and feel His love for us no matter where we are.
If there’s anything I’ve gained this semester, it’s a deepened resolve to be better. And, possibly even more importantly, a firm knowledge that I can be better because of Jesus Christ. Knowing my Savior better has given me more assurance that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
For my final wrap-up, I have a few videos to share. They’re from St. Anne’s Church, which has some of the best acoustics in the world. Allie, Brooke, and I went there after church on our last Saturday and sang hymns for a while. It was a great way to spend our last Sabbath in the Holy Land.