The Garden Tomb

One of my favorite Sabbath day activities is to visit the Garden Tomb. The route to get there takes us through some loud, bustling streets, and the site itself is located right behind a big bus station. However, as soon as I step through the gates to enter the Garden Tomb there is a wave of calm and peace that washes over me, and the city noise is instantly drowned out by the quiet reverence that fills the air. Even on busy days when there are lots of tourists visiting, I still feel peaceful when I enter and walk around the gardens. The feeling in the air is just different...I don't know how to describe it. I am so grateful for special sanctuaries where I can go to ponder and reflect and "take a relax moment" (to take a line from the hot chocolate machine in the center). Moments when I can just breathe, and leave the world behind for a little while. Moments when I can fully devote my thoughts and gratitude to my Savior. 

The tomb itself, where Jesus Christ may or may not have been laid for the 3 days before He was Resurrected. The point of the Garden Tomb is not to show the exact physical location where Jesus was laid--the precise location is unknown. What's emphasized instead is Christ's life and ministry, and the new life that we receive through His suffering for our sins and His death.  

"Gingers Without Borders" 
Every time we go, we sit and sing hymns for a good 30 minutes. It is an incredible experience for me, because my testimony grows so much through music. Music is a very powerful way for us to share our testimonies in a place where we aren't allowed to explicitly discuss our religion or beliefs. I especially love this experience because the other people visiting the Garden Tomb will often stop for a few minutes and listen to us sing. I think they are amazed to see a group of young people who are so dedicated to their faith, and also appreciative of the music and spirit that we bring to the site. 

Entering the tomb. There is a sign on the door that says "He is not here, for He is Risen"
Bailey, me, Boone, and Letty. Oh, and where's Wesley? 
Our sweet roommate Ashley, reading her scriptures in the garden.

So glad Wesley captured this hilarious moment, the moment right before a picture is taken and everyone is refining their look. 
The beauties of 303
I love these girls so much. 


Just a random post to say...I love my life.

Beautiful sunsets on the Jerusalem skyline
Lovely ladies in our Sabbath best
Exploring magnificent churches
Reveling in the wonders of the Shuk Market...honestly one of my favorite places here.
Adding a few strokes of paint to the Imagine mural in the Princess Basma School for Children with Disabilities. This mural was started by last semester's students, and after a few hours of work here and there we've finally finished it.
Ingredients for making 200 cookies to sell as Valentine-grams for the Shekel Shack (the committee I'm in charge of)
Thank goodness for Sam and her mother's sugar cookie recipe!
Waffle Bar with friends to celebrate Shay-Z's birthday
So much love for this fellow ginger. She is always smiling and genuinely happy, and one of the funniest Canadians you will ever meet.
The Lord's Prayer in Spanish at the Pater Nastor Church
Frolicking in meadows with the loverlies of 303
Twirling with Boonie
Graffiti on the Separation Wall
"The Hands That Build Can Also Tear Down"
Last field trip with our wonderful OT professor Brother Harper
Classic matching green sweater pic with Jerom...we fully endorse recycling outfits over here.
We're known all over Jerusalem as the "Mormon University" :)
Exquisite arches at the JC (my home)
Russian Orthodox Convent of the Ascension
Robes drying in the sun
Spontaneous dance parties before class
Typical post-supper activity in the Oasis
Playing Just Dance in the lounge. By the look on Courtney's face you can clearly see that I'd just taken the lead. :)

As my roommate Ashley would say, life is truly a dream. I'm enjoying every precious moment here...I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. This past month has been one of intense spiritual and emotional growth for me. My life is being shaped every single day by my experiences and the people here, both in the city and at the center. Before coming here, I was feeling a little uncertain and apprehensive...knowing that this experience would be wonderful but not knowing whether it was the right thing for me to be doing at this time in my life. Within a few days of arriving, I felt a huge confirmation that this is exactly where I need to be and what I need to be doing. With each day that goes by, that feeling is validated and magnified. Everything about this experience feels so right. Having that confirmation is a great comfort to me and helps put everything in perspective, so that I can honestly say:

I love my life. 

Neot Kedumim

It was a glorious day in the neighborhood...the sun was shining, the almond trees were blossoming, the turtles were sunbathing...yes, a glorious day indeed.

We spent the day learning about the natural vegetation if Jerusalem, specifically the herbs, plants, trees, etc. mentioned in the Bible. It was a fun day frolicking in the sun and learning about the local greenery.
Grinding hyssop with Wesley
Hyssop y'all.
Then came the sheep and goat herding...
We rocked it, thanks to our fearless leader Katelyn, who grabbed the bull by the horns. Quite literally. Except substitute a sheep for the bull.
Homemade pitas cooking over the fire
Pitas and fig honey. yummmmm.
This picture makes me giggle. Sneaky Westle.
Making tea with freshly-picked herbs
 The traditional Sisters Bradshaw + J Rowdy pic.
Marriage canopy, this way!
We are big fans of sweet Jen Riding (Riding, like riding a horse...:))
Delicious citron tree that smelled so...citrusy.
Succot (booth) on wheels
Our friend demonstrated his talents and calling as a Torah scroll writer--the block Hebrew is so beautiful but so time consuming: it takes about one year to record the Torah. Really makes you appreciate the beautiful script!