Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Last Field Trips!

On our LAST TWO DAYS (crazy!) of the BYU program, we had field trips that focused on the last week of Christ's life.  You know, these were probably the last field trips of my life, and not just of the Jerusalem Center program. Now I'm a real adult, and people probably won't take me on field trips anymore.

Our first stop was Bethany, the town two miles east of Jerusalem where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived. Jesus stayed with them during the last week of his life. We got to visit the 'actual' tomb of Lazarus.

There was also a church near the tomb.

Interesting tidbit... Muslims decided it would be a good idea to build a mosque over the entrance to Lazarus' tomb so Christians couldn't visit it anymore. The Franciscans responded by just tunneling a new entrance. Nice.

Site #2 was Bethphage, the village that is traditionally thought to be the starting point of Christ's triumphal entry.

Chapel at Bethphage:

Our next site for the day, the Pater Noster church, was FRENCH! This is the site associated with the giving of the Lord's Prayer. It reminded me of the Jordan River site in the Galilee. But instead of having the baptism story in lots of different languages, they had the Lord's Prayer. I enjoyed it because I found lots of French dialects. I'm a France nerd, what can I say.

It was a very pretty church and courtyard!

Our next stop was the Dominus Flevit church. Dominus Flevit means "the Lord wept," so it commemorates when Jesus wept over Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. The church is, fittingly, shaped like a tear drop.

There was a lovely view of the city from this church, so it was a good opportunity to take a picture with my friend Melanie.

The next site we went to was the Cenacle, one of the traditional sites of the Last Supper. The current structure is from medieval times, but the foundations of this building are ancient.

The Cenacle room is the next door neighbor of Dormition Abbey (site of Mary's death) and the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (Peter's denial of Jesus). I'd been to both of these places before, but I still had enough energy to take a few pictures at the end of this long day.

Dormition Abbey:

Peter in Gallicantu:

I can't believe we did that ALL in one day! I guess that's what happens when someone forces you to wake up at 6 in the morning. My life is so different now. I spent the whole day on the couch. Well, and at the mall.

Our field trip the next day was a lot shorter. We started out at the Orson Hyde garden, and talked about his visit to the Holy Land to dedicate it.

I'm pretty sure we took this picture right outside of the Orson Hyde garden. This is me with the two other Hebrew students in my class: Cameron and Nathan!

I knew them from the Hebrew House last fall semester, too. We've had some good times.

 The Orson Hyde garden is right up the hill from the Garden of Gethsemane. Our professor tried to get us into the private garden where there's space to sit, but we couldn't get an appointment. Instead, we sat in a field right outside of the official Garden for some class lecture.

Me and Kaitlyn took a selfie because we were anticipating missing each other. This was our last day together!

It's pretty rare for me to take selfies, but my friendship with Kaitlyn was definitely worthy of one.

Anyways, we sat outside for a while listening to people talk. In the course of that time, it started getting really hot out, my skirt got caught on a thorny branch, some ants attacked me, and some friends that were sitting behind me saw something that was either a worm or a snake. We honestly couldn't tell. Then we had an hour of free time to sit outside and read and contemplate by ourselves. Would you be able to concentrate in that hostile environment? We couldn't. 

So Kaitlyn and I decided to trek over to the Church of All Nations across the street instead of sitting in a field. However, to get to the church, we had to trek through that field. There was no path! Okay, there was...we just didn't find it. I was wearing a skirt and heels, but we trekked through treacherous rocks and tall grass, and then we had to SCALE A WALL. But we did it. It was a bonding experience.

We had a great hour listening to an African priest talk about the Garden of Gethsemane to a group of Sri Lankan tourists. It was a really good mass, actually! It made our day.

Sri Lankan mass:

It turns out we made a really good decision by doing that, because our friend Kendall who stayed in the field accidentally spent the whole hour watching the worm/snake get squished by a BYU student, violently die, bleed "real blood," in her words, and then come back to life.

Our next stop was the church of St. Anne's/ the Pools of Bethesda. I'd been there before, but it's a very pretty and peaceful place.

Then we had free time!! Free time during a field trip! Unheard of.

I went with some friends to hang out in a cave for 3 hours. Yes, we really are that exciting. I mean that sarcastically. Instead of running around and sightseeing, we literally just sat in a dark cave for 3 hours. And I loved it.

We had passed by the sign for Zedekiah's Cave a million times, and decided to finally go inside. Being underground was like being in air-conditioning, it was great!

Descending underground:

Fun fact: Zedekiah's Cave is where freemasons gather and have a party every year in Jerusalem. Because it's supposedly where the masons who built Solomon's Temple worked.

I was feeling hyper and excited by this time. I just happened to really, really like everyone that ended up in our group. And it was my last time to hang out with them. And I was excited for my dad to arrive later that night!

Summer, Kendall, Sierra, Me, Kaitlyn, Lauren, Kelby! (and Cameron taking the picture)

After having too much fun in the cave, we met up with our whole group at the Garden Tomb. I like that place! It's another pretty and peaceful place to visit in Jerusalem.

And those were our last. field. trips.  This day seemed so far away as we were looking at the unimpressive rocks of Arad and Beersheva on that first field trip. VoilĂ . It's been a great summer.

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