Thursday, January 26, 2012


The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where some believe Christ was crucified and buried.

Me touching the middle of the world! or universe?...

Me with my shekels and dinars( jordanean money). I'm a rich girl.

Head stand in Machaerus!

Just enjoying some tea at a rest stop in Jordan. Actually those cups are ash trays, we had no tea. EVERYONE smokes here.

The Siq in Petra!


Finding our inner selves.

Cool view of the Monastery.

Strikin' a pose.

Funny lookin dog on a horse. So funny.

Me during my buckwild horse ride.

At a Muslim Mosque. Us girls had to cover our heads and wear these black robe things. We looked like dementors from Harry Potter.

Band pic in Amman.

In Jerash!

Just performing some Shakespeare in Jerash. We're really famous now.

The River of Jordan. Crazy to think that this is the river the Christ was baptized. What a special place. You'd think the water would be a little cleaner though.
This last week we went to Jordan for 4 days! Oh my gosh it was so much fun! Some of the girls and I were joking around and acting like we were going on some crazy party trip so we kept saying MARDI GRAS 2012! So that's what we considered our trip. haha Turkey will be Spring Break and Galilee will be Senior Trip. Anyways we left early Monday morning to go to Jordan. Jordan really isn't that far from Jerusalem but since it's a different country it took a while to go through the border and stuff like that. The first day we stopped at a bunch of different sites, one of them being Machaerus, where John the Baptist was beheaded. That night we stayed at a hotel and had live cultural music and got to dance with the workers! It was so much fun!! Unfortunately I didn't have my camera then so I need to get those pictures from everyone else.

On Tuesday we went to PETRA! That was so interesting and fun! We hiked up to the monastery and dang, that was quite the hike. I was seriously sweating and it was really hot. We took tons of pictures then ate lunch. FYI every meal we had this whole trip was buffet style. I seriously are TONS and am almost positive I gained like 5 pounds. But hey, YOLO (you only live once, another popular phrase said among us here). Leaving Petra we got to ride some horses back to our bus, that was pretty fun. Although my horse didn't go as fast as I wanted it to go and the guy leading me didn't really understand me when I asked him if he could make it go faster. Sometimes it is just so hard to communicate here. I don't talk THAT different right? I'd say Arabic and English are pretty similar... Ok fine I'll admit it, they are totally different. Anyways Petra was amazing. I loved it.

Wednesday we went to many different places. Amman, Jabbok river (where Jacob wrestled with an angel), and Jerash. All these places are pretty amazing and have so much history behind them. It's so crazy that I get to go to all these places! It is surreal.

Thursday we went to a cool Roman Theater. It was pretty cool cause our teacher Brother Huntsman has a great voice so he sang to us in the theater and one of our Arab guides sang for us too. Then us girls planned a dance and performed it. So much fun! In brother huntsman's blog he should be posting those videos soon. After that we drove and went to the River of Jordan where Jesus was baptized. That was a very special place. We sang some hymns and that truly brings in the spirit so much. One thing I love so much here is that on the field trips we'll sing hymns at a lot of the sites; songs that have meaning to the site. It really gives you a better understanding and appreciation for the places.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Days Go By

Me with an overlook of the city. It was windy, obviously.
 Sorry it's been so long! So much is going on and it's a little stressful trying to recap everything so bear with me please. It is very scattered, I'm having a tough time with blogger right now so I apologize in advance. My teacher has a blog that is explaining the places more if you want to check it out

Oh the things I have to catch up on.

Ok there are so many stray cats here! Its insane. In Ecuador there were always stray dogs and here it is cats. I always pet them but I had a dream the other night I pet a cat with rabies so I think I might be done with that now.

Shaban letting us try on some of the traditional clothes. He loves us Mormons.

The Western Wall. We went there Friday night for their bringing in the sabbath and it was so cool. It was insanely crowded and everyone was singing, dancing and praising. It was such a happy feeling.

I had my first falafel the other day and oh man, it was pretty good! I kinda thought I wouldn't really like it for some reason but it is really good! So if you ever have the chance to try it I would definitely recommend it.

Yesterday some of us went to the Dome of the Rock. It is a beautiful building with a lot of great detail. Unfortunately we weren't able to go into the actual building because we weren't Muslim, I felt a little left out.

Today we went to Jericho. They told us to have lower expectations for it because It can tend to be a bit of a let down but I actually found it really interesting! We went to the tel of Jericho, which is cities built on top of each other after one is ruined. You'd have to see a picture to understand more but they dug down the tell and found ancient cities from times of the Bible and supposedly even some before the Bible. It was super cool. Crazy to think that that stuff is still actually around. We also saw Herod's winter palace.
Cute little boy with his baby goat.

In Herod's Winter Palace.

Just watering the pond.

At the tel-Jericho. So much love.

Just walking in the spring in Jericho, the main source of water for the jerichoans(sp?)

Me (and my hymn book) in front of the Wadi Kelt. This is in the Judean Wilderness where Jesus fasted 40 days.

My new obsession: Fanny Packs. I know I made fun of them when I was younger and recently I'm sure, but I seriously love them now. Whoever invented them is a genius. I'm sure all the locals here can identify me as a tourist miles away with it but I don't even care. It's the most convenient thing ever. I can now understand why people wear them and will show respect for them rather than laugh at them like I used to. So I'd just like to thank my mother for letting me borrow hers while I'm here.

Totally rockin the fan pack.
I swear I have other clothes. It looks like I'm wearing the same outfit as in the picture before but I'm wearing a different shirt. Don't judge.

So I joined a basketball league at the JC! I'm so athletic. NOT. My poor team, I suck at basketball but it was really fun to play. This was before with our game faces. Joe (one of the teacher's son) was our coach.

Team huddle before. I have some post game pictures but I refrained from putting them up considering I was so red and sweaty from not even playing good. But in my defense I was told I played better the second half after being mentored by my good friend Boone.

The other day Me, Boone, and Shealeigh went to Zedekiah's cave. It was really cool!
Just doing some yoga at Avdat.

Drinking the tea at the Beduin Women's Complex.

All bundled up!

Friday, January 13, 2012


A model of Old Jerusalem at the museum. Pretty cool to see it how it used to be and compare it to how it is now.

Is there something in our teeth?

Some cool mirror thing at the museum

Colgate toothpaste with Hebrew and Arabic writing!

Looking pregnant with our neck pouches under our shirts.

Just some of us who went out to the Museum on Sunday. We went to Aladdin's money exchange before. So I've met an Aladdin for those that were wondering if I would ;)

Beautiful Orson Hyde Garden with an overlook of the city.

My roommates!

On our way to the Orson Hyde Garden there were a bunch of boys outside the Center that wanted a picture with us. They were pretty obsessed with getting their picture taken, I have like 5.

Ok so I have a lot more pictures that I need to upload onto my computer from this last week but these are the only ones that are on my computer now. Things have been going great here! I seriously love all the people here and It's awesome going through the city. It has rained 2 days this past week which wasn't too exciting but it's fun to just hang out with everyone and do fun things!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

Ok it just took me a while to figure out how to post. haha Sometimes my computer will be in Hebrew and I can't figure out how to fix it. So that was confusing.

Anyways so we had out first field trip this last Monday! It was a lot of fun but was really windy and cold so we were definitely ready for it to be done. We went to many different sites and overlooks of the city. It is quite the city, there is so much to look at. I am still confused as to what is what in some places but figure I have about 3 more months to figure it all out.

What I really liked about our field trip is that we would sing hymns at many of the different sites that we went to. We went to an place that overlooked Bethlehem and sang Christmas songs, it was very special. We actually get to go to Bethlehem in March so I'm excited for that!

We do so much walking here! I feel like I should be skinnier by the time I get home and have super toned legs but I doubt that will be the case considering I eat so much food here. Today I had 3 pieces of chocolate cake... don't know what overcame me but it's definitely something I hope doesn't happen again. The food is pretty good, obviously.

The people here are so awesome and I'm having even more fun the more I get to know everyone. I think I have almost everyone's name's down so that's nice. My sleeping schedule is still way off and I have been waking up at least and hour and a half before my alarm most mornings. It is a little frustrating. Maybe it's because I left my teddy bear Stanley (whom I received from a special friend) at home. His presence is missed at night.

So the center issues us a cell phone for security reasons as we go out to the city. I have already had 2 missed calls from random numbers and some random man called me yesterday. I'm so popular here.

Anyways I'm just rambling. I should definitely be doing my homework right now. School is pretty hard here! Just a lot of reading but it is very interesting stuff so it's not too bad. Sometimes I just wish that school was never an issue.. but that's just me being unrealistic.

Love you all and hope things back home are going well! I love getting emails so if you want to email me my address is Good night (Jerusalem time)!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


So I swear soon enough I'm going to try and post pictures soon. I just have to go to the Hebrew University, which is not too far from here, to do that.

Things have been going great! Yesterday (Saturday) we had Sabbath. They do it on Saturday here because that is when everyone else has Sabbath so it just works out better that way. Church was great though. It was fast sabbath and a lot of people bore their testimonies and they were very powerful. There are not very many members here and the students make up like half of it. I think it is pretty cool that in a place where there is a very low amount of Christians, some of the locals are LDS. It is a testimony to me that the church is true. No matter where you go you can always find the church, although in some places it may be small.

I'm in the choir. Yes, I'm trying to expand my musical abilities. It's cool though because they have the choir sing five minutes before church starts so it's a great way to invite the spirit! Music can provide such a strong spirit, it's great.

So after church we went to the Orson Hyde Garden. It is a beautiful garden! We went and wrote in our journals and read our Scriptures. It's a great place to ponder and feel the spirit. I guess close by the Orson Hyde Garden is the Garden of Gethsemane. Well, where the church believes that it may be. It was so special to think that I was close to the place where Jesus Christ felt our pain and prayed to Heavenly Father saying, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." I can't even imagine what the pain and sorrow he must have felt at that moment but I am so grateful that he went through that for me. His atonement has blessed my life and continues to bless it. Knowing that I was near the area where that all happened was a very humbling and special experience. It's not everyday that you can be in the place where Jesus walked and did the great things that he did. I've learned about the Atonement all my life and it just makes the whole thing seem more real and special after visiting this place. This is the city where it actually happened! That is truly amazing. I am so grateful to be here and learn more and strengthen my testimony in Jesus Christ.

Today is Sunday, which is our Saturday. It throws me off though cause I keep thinking that it is Monday. So we have all day to do whatever we want! I'm planning on going to a museum we have to go to for one of our classes with some people so that should be fun! There is so much to do here so I'm glad I have the 4 months to get it all done!

Oh! So if you want to write me a letter, which I know you all do, my address is:

BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies
Letty Wursten
P.O. Box 19604
Jerusalem, 91196

FYI: Packages are really expensive so I would advise not to do it. Even though you are all itching to send me a package!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I titled this post home cause I'm in my new home for the next four months! The flights went well and pretty smoothly. I read the Hunger Games (and finished it!) the whole first plane ride, which was 5 hours. My eyes were pretty blurry for a while after that. After waiting in the JFK airport for a while we got onto our 12 hour flight to Tel Aviv, Israel. The flight went pretty well and they provided food so that was nice. I guess I slept a lot of the plane ride cause I woke up drooling a couple of times. Also, the girls I were sitting by told me I slept most of it. Hopefully I wasn't snoring or anything.

We got here yesterday and have been so busy since. A lot of orientations and touring of the Jerusalem Center and today we toured the actual city! It was so cool. We went to a lot of different places I can't even remember all the names right now. The city is so different here. It actually reminds me a lot of Ecuador. The buildings are flat and the driving is crazy! Also, the markets are really crowded and lively. I almost got ran over by carts full of fruit a couple of times. They don't mess around. We went to the place that most believe where Christ was crucified and resurrected. It was pretty cool and its not a positive that that is where it happened but it still is very interesting. We didn't get to hang around there very long cause we were just doing a short tour and we have the whole 4 months to go to all those places on our free time. They didn't even let us bring cameras cause it would slow down the tour. I'm excited to roam around a little more and get to know the city even better.

Today we have another orientation and then I already have a lot of homework to do! We are very busy here. I like my teachers a lot though. I have Eric Huntsmen as my Old Testament teacher and he seems like he'll be a great teacher with a lot of enthusiasm!

So this whole thing hasn't really seemed completely real to me even after getting here. I just felt like I was in a big building with a lot of other students. After this morning it is finally real to me. I went to bed at like 9:30 or 10 last night (I was exhausted!) and woke up at 4:15 this morning and was very awake. So as I was lying in bed this man on a loud speaker over the whole city starts talking in a different language( Hebrew or Arabic, I don't know). The Muslims have prayer 5 times throughout the whole day and it goes over the whole city. The prayer lasted between 5-10 minutes, so you're sitting there listening to this man prayer at like 4:30 in the morning. It was very interesting to me though. I admire the Muslims, I think praying 5 times a day is a great way to always remember the things that you believe and strive to always keep it in your daily life. Just the daily things we go through can distract us from the things that we believe and strive for. If we prayed more throughout the day we'd always have the spirit of Christ with us because we'd always be inviting that spirit to be with us and always reminded of it as we pray. I think that is so awesome. They are an example to me of dedication and love for what they believe. Anyways I thought that was pretty cool. Oh, and I never fell back asleep. Jet lag sucks.

I should probably start some of my homework now but It's been tons of fun and I've met a lot of cool people so far! I can tell this is going to be a really fun experience but also a great learning experience as well. Love you all!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Ok so this might be my last post for a couple weeks, I'm not sure how everything will be once I get to "The Holy Land." Today was orientation and it was very informative. It started to make the whole thing seem real. I don't really know how to react to everything, I'm so excited!! Tomorrow will be all day of flying.

So luckily I was able to see some of my good friends before I left. Jessica, Mckenzie, and her sister Kelby. Jessica lives in Salt Lake and Mckenzie is doing an internship in Salt Lake this winter so we met up for frozen yogurt, which ended up being a difficult task for me considering I got lost on the way, and the way back. But it was great to see them! I also got to talk to one of my best friends Lexi on the phone for a while until my phone died on her. That was my last time talking to her for a long time since she is leaving on her mission Feb. 15! Makes me really sad to think about that, but I am so excited for her!!

I was also hoping to meet up with my good friend Ben since he is in Utah as well, but that didn't work out:( I'm grateful for all the great family and friends that I do have who love and support me and I will miss them all so much! It is hard saying goodbye to those that you love. Tomorrow will be sad saying bye to my parents.

Next time I post I'll be in JERUSALEM!!! :)

Not the best one of me, but it has us all in it. Jess was a little hungry as you can tell..

Love them!!