Monday, August 13, 2012


As I was looking through my email I found this draft I wrote of my testimony (I ran out of space in my journal so I had to type it) when I was in Galilee. It has been about four months since I have returned from Jerusalem and through my daily life I am often reminded of the things that I learned and the wonderful experiences I had there. This is my testimony:

At the shore of the sea of Galilee we had a fireside. As Brother Harper talked about Peter and Jesus as they were on the sea of Galilee and Peter walked to Jesus in the water and as he got frightened and started to sink and Jesus said, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" I felt the spirit so strongly and it was amazing being able to look out onto the sea and imagine that scene happening. Knowing that I was at the place it happened brought the spirit so strongly into my heart. We should never doubt Christ, we must always put our faith in him because he will save us. We can all relate to Peter, as we do doubt and often forget our God and Christ. I am truly blessed to be able to be here at all these places where I know the Savior was. But being here and knowing the places isn't what builds my testimony, it is the actual experiences that happened in the places that build my testimony. These experiences and stories that we read in the Bible help strengthen my testimony by showing how Christ lived and his example and the example and lessons we can learn from him and his apostles. I am so grateful for my Savior and his atonement. I know that I am not perfect but because he died for me I can become perfect through him. The Savior showed his love for us through his ministry and lastly and most importantly through his atonement. Because of his atonement I can feel his love constantly and can be comforted through him because he knows us and he can relate to any experience that we have. That is the most comforting thing. Although I make mistakes and often forget the Savior, he is still willing to help me and bless me. His love for us will never fade nor die. Reading through the New Testament shows me how I can be like Christ and gives me inspiration to try and be more like Jesus. We began our fireside with the song I'm Trying to be Like Jesus and I know that the way we can return to our Heavenly Father is by striving always to be like Jesus because he is perfect. (March 28th, 2012)

A beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee

The best place ever!

I realize more now that I am home how much I learned when I was there. I find the information and stories in the Bible more real and interesting to me now that I have been to the places in it and studied it more deeply. Not only am I grateful for the what I learned about Christ's life and the Bible but I am so grateful for the love and respect I gained for the culture and the people there. I am so grateful for my experience there and will never forget the impact it has made in my life. I am also so so grateful for the gospel. It is what has made me the person I am today and it has brought me great happiness and comfort in my life.

If anyone is even considering doing a semester at The Jerusalem Center, DO IT! You will be so glad you did.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Galilee Teaser

Galilee was amazing. I loved it so much and I would definitely consider it one of the highlights of my whole Jerusalem experience. We were there for 11 days and I was not ready to leave! We were able to tons of fun things and go to a lot of great places. We stayed at a kibbutz on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Ein Gev. I would love to blog about it all but it would take me forever and I don’t have the time or patience for that so here is just some pictures to help you get a feel of some of the awesome things we got to do.
Class picture in  a synagogue that Jesus visited in Gamla Heights.

Going to church in Galilee was amazing.

At the Mount of Beautitudes. Where Jesus did the Sermon on the Mount.

Capernaum, where Peter lived. Also, where I left and lost my camera :(

Looking out on a boat in the Sea of Galilee. After a great devotional we had a fun time dancing to some contemporary Christian music. Wish I could post videos on here of that.

We went to a fish restaurant and this is me getting a little frisky with some St. Peters fish.

We got to go rafting on the Jordan river. Previously before this picture I was pushed out of my raft so these kind boys let me join in on their raft.

We got to go on a hike on one of our free days and it was BEAUTIFUL. We got to swim in a waterhole there with a waterfall and I don't think I have ever been more cold in my life. I could barely breath.

One of our field trips we got to swim at Gan HaShlosha. It was super fun! This is me and Shealeigh enjoying ourselves under the waterfall.

Caesarea Philippi, where Peter testified of Christ. If you look in your Bible there is this exact picture (minus me) in there.

We then went to another waterfall..

Dan, Me, and Boone in front of the Mediterranean Sea.

Enjoying some Magnum bars at Caesarea. Magnum bars are quite the rage here with all of us JCers.

Caesarea aquaduct. It was extremely windy if you couldn't tell.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Just call me a runner

So every year Jerusalem has a marathon and I signed up to run the 10k! This is a big deal for me considering I RARELY run. Basically like never. But I figured I'm only in Jerusalem once and It would be a cool experience, even though I hate running.

But I had such a great time! The weather was very moody, it would be raining one second, then it hailed and at one point it was sunny. So it was quite the running experience. It wasn't too bad running wise, I felt good most of the run until the like the last half mile, I felt like I was going to die but I had to push through it (once I got to the finish line I seriously thought I was going to collapse)! Out of the whole thing I probably walked about a mile. Me and Jen, my running buddy, decided we would walk to hills, and there were quite a few.

Muddy shoes BEFORE the run, so just imagine what they were after the run.
A group of us all ready to runble!

Jen and I in the middle of the rain. This is as the hail was pelting us.

Me, Jen, and Hannah after we finished!

After the race showing off our medals!

So although I am horribly sore and can barely walk (thanks to Shealeigh and Ethan for gladly carrying me down the stairs when I am unable) I am so proud of myself! I am especially glad to have a picture of me with a medal and a running number. I can now officially say that I have ran in an official race!

For unto us a child is born

This last Monday for our field trip we went to Bethlehem! Bethlehem isn't too far from Jerusalem but since it's in the West Bank we can't go there unless it is for a field trip. 

Our day started out with us going to the Herodian (King Herod's Palace) and looking around there. It's so interesting to correlate all these things together, seeing where Herod was living during his kingship when Christ was born. It gives you more of a visual and understanding.  

Me and Shealeigh in the Herodian

An overlook of the whole palace.

After that we then went to Manger Square and visited the Church of the Nativity, where most Christians believe is the place of the stable where Jesus was born. It was a very pretty church that is highly decorated. They have tons of lights and candles here where things/places they consider holy are. It's a form of worship and honoring.

Me in the place where Jesus was "born"

Waiting in line to see the birthplace. It was very crowded.

After the Church of the Nativity we went to lunch and ate tons of food. We then headed over to the shepherds field had a nice devotional and then sang a bunch of Christmas hymns (made me miss Christmas). It is always so great to sing at all these places and bring the spirit.

Me and Shealeigh in the shepherds field.

I am so grateful for the birth of the Savior and what he did for all of us. I would be no where if it weren't for his atonement and love. I am grateful to be here in Jerusalem and to experience all these great experiences and learn more of the Bible and my Savior. It is truly amazing to be able to see first hand the places where the Savior has walked and where events in the Bible have taken place.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Wow, could I possibly be making two posts in one day?!

My dear friend Vladi did a blog post on pictures of the Jerusalem Center, which has been our home for over 2 months. If you are interested at looking at it and seeing the beautiful center that we all live in have a look!

Click here for the link


I hate finals. So much. 
But I have to admit that the week before we went to Turkey was probably the funnest week of finals I've ever experienced. 

First off living with all the fun people here is a constant party. And let me tell ya, we have quite the parties here. So on leap year we celebrated with an ipod dance party. For those of you who don't know what that is (I didn't know what it was either until I got here) it's when someone makes a fun mix of songs and then everyone else downloads it, puts it on their ipod and we all meet at a designated spot at a designated time and play the mix at the same time all dance. Ashley was nice enough to coordinate this for everyone and oh my gosh it was so fun! I'm sure we all looked so funny a big group of us dancing when no one could hear music. We started in the lounge then migrated all over the JC to places such as the library, outside, etc. It was pretty crazy and so much fun. 

Following the ipod dance party then was a steamroller extravaganza at 12am. We all met and steamrolled like crazy. This is the best thing ever for me since at home I always try to initiate a good round of steamroller and everyone usually shuts me down telling me no one likes steamroller. NOT TRUE. We all love it here! This picture should be enough proof. 

Getting ready..

Me having a go and loving every second of it.
 And last but not least on Friday... IT SNOWED!! I'm not sure when the last time it snowed here but I do know it has been a LONG time. We got a break during class to run out and enjoy the coldness. I'll admit as much as I hate snow, I actually enjoyed this snow, especially since it only last a couple hours and was sunny later that day.
Shealeigh looks a little suspicious with that snowball in her hand..

Just soaking up the snow!

Pretty cool to look out into the city and see the Dome of the Rock with snow on it.
I know I need to be better at blogging but life is just going at full speed here! I still plan on posting about Turkey, but am too lazy to go to my room and get my journal with all the info written in it. Lazy, I know.  I will soon though. 

We leave for Galilee this upcoming week! According to the teachers this is probably the best part of our whole experience here so I can't help but be excited. I'll be there for about 11 days, which will be busy busy days! Can't wait. The only bad thing to this is that as time goes by here that means we are coming closer to the end of our time here. What the? How did this all go by so fast?!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Turkey Preview

Let me just say..
(no, not the meat. Although I do love that as well)

I don't have time right now to post all the important pics so I thought I would post some fun ones just to show the fun time we all had!

So here is a little preview of our amazing trip.

A nice treat in the Tel Aviv airport. That is some great hair, if you ask me.

Trying to spell out TURKEY in Istanbul.. not sure if it is too legible though.

Me and Vladi showin off our riches, well MY riches. 50 lira, baby! Which actually isn't that much.

Just enjoying the view of the Blue Mosque.

Kyle and I having a romantic moment in front of the Blue Mosque (which by the way is beautiful)

Ethan and his Harem.

The majority of our time was spent riding in the bus so me and Boone found a secret room under the bus. This moment only lasted about 5 minutes though due to the horrifying smell of feet.

We were lucky to have a bonfire and dance party on the beach at our hotel in Selchuk. SO MUCH FUN! This is Shealeigh, Dan and I "dancing in the moonlight"

Nice awkward posing in Pergamon. Pillar pics are very common here so you gotta switch up the posing.

Jumping pic on the beach at our 3rd hotel (we stayed at 4 different hotels in a matter of a week) in Surmeli Efes, which is near Ephesus.

How come I never see these hairties in America? They are so hot.

The shop man let me try on his cool boots, even if I didn't buy them. Sweet sweet man.

So much confusion when I saw this man. Multiple hats on his head and creepy dolls. That's the way to go.

Funny hats in the Grand Bazaar.

Shealeigh and I just doing some good ol' airplane on the beach at our 2nd hotel in Selchuk (Obviously I could be spelling theat horribly wrong.. that Turkish language is confusing).

Showing off my flexibility (or lack of, it was very painful) in Assos.

At one of our hotels they had a disco club.. We went... "hey, you come here often?"

Jen and I with some Turkish Delight!

I will update on all the details later but for now I hope you enjoy these "fun" pictures. I finally got my camera back so I was lucky enough to take most of these with my own camera! :) Turkey was great and I am so glad that I am blessed with this opportunity to be here and to do all these wonderful things and to be learning new things every day! So grateful. 

P.s. A shout out to my niece, Alyssa, It is her 8th birthday today! I can't believe she is already 8 years old! What a fun, exciting, and joyful girl she is and I love her very much!
PJ's on Christmas Eve! Glad I have this girl to use as an excuse to still act like a child. :)