Saturday, January 31, 2009

Israel Day Ten!

Today was our Shabbat (sabbath) here in Jerusalem—Shabbat Shalom! The Jerusalem Center has a beautiful room to meet in that overlooks the Old City and today we had a fabulous view. Pictures just can’t do it justice, it was truly beautiful. The students weren’t here, they are in Egypt this week, so there were only 20 or 30 people there. You can’t help but feel the spirit when you sing the hymns in this place. There is a beautiful organ, so the music is so beautiful, and it is so close to where the Savior lived, and ministered to the people. The hymns take on a whole new meaning, and the spirit is so strong in this place. It was a beautiful Sabbath service.After church, we took a quick drive down the hill to the Orson Hyde Memorial, and the Garden of Gethsemane. We went to the memorial park first. It’s just a city park, that anyone can come to, and unfortunately, you can tell that people don’t always respect this beautiful place. Some of the park had trash and graffiti in it, and it wasn’t very well kept up. The city owns this park, not the church, and sometimes the students will clean it, but it always ends up trashed again. It’s really too bad, it’s a beautiful location, right above the Garden. It amazes me to know that Orson Hyde dedicated this land way back in the early 1800’s for the returning of the Jews to their homeland. That is exactly what is occurring right now—how could they have known the events that were to occur, if it weren’t for revelation? What a blessing it is to have a prophet in these latter days who can help us to prepare. Are we willing to listen to him?
We walked down the road further and went into the Garden of Gethsemane. The Garden has a church, The Basilica of Agony, built over the place where they say that Jesus knelt to pray, that was beautiful. It had several beautiful paintings, and this rock by the altar, that they say is the rock where he knelt.There are olive trees out in the courtyard that are truly ancient olive trees, maybe even dating back to the time of Christ. The bases of the trees are HUGE. If only these trees could talk—what a history they have been a part of! I thought about the apostles and how they slept as Jesus suffered for the sins of the world. How could they have known what he was doing? How could they have comprehended it? It’s hard for us to understand exactly what happened in this place, it’s just so amazing. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind about the magnitude of his suffering, but I am so grateful to him for his sacrifice for my sins. I am especially grateful for his example when he said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” One of the monuments in the garden had this quote, “O Jesus, in deepest night and agony, you spoke these words of trust and surrender to God the Father in Gethsemane. In love and gratitude, I want to say in times of fear and distress, ‘My Father, I do not understand You, but I trust You.’” I loved that. If I will just trust in my Father in Heaven, even when it’s hard, he will take care of me. Bob got some olive tree branches so I could give a leaf to each of the grandchildren to put in their scriptures. What a neat experience, and one I will never forget. This place is truly amazing.When we went back to the center, the other couple missionaries had prepared dinner and invited us over. It was turkey breast and all the fixins, including homemade rolls! YUM! Isn’t it terrible that this was my absolute favorite meal while I was in Israel??? I’m sorry to say, that Mediterranean food wasn’t exactly my favorite--this is one vacation that it wasn't all about the FOOD! The fruits and veggies were great, but I’m a meat and potatoes girl at heart! We sat and talked for a few hours, and I was so impressed by the couples that are serving in this place, they are remarkable people! The church is lucky to have such awesome people who volunteer their time and leave their families to serve. It just tells you how dedicated they are to the gospel that they love, and I am so proud of Bob and Sue for the awesome job they are doing!

1 comment:

Erin said...

Hi! I’m the Community Manager of Ruba.com. We’re building a website to highlight some of the most interesting places travelers around the world have discovered. We’ve read hundreds of blogs about Israel, and we think that yours is awesome! We’d love to highlight excerpts from blogs like yours (assuming it’s OK with you of course) and to discuss other ways of tapping into your expertise if you are interested. I’m at erin@ruba.com.
Thanks! :)

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