July 13, 2010

My day was AWESOME.  It was hard at first, because I was super tired as my roommates were up until 1am playing pranks on a girl’s bungalow—which, of course, included the girls trying to infiltrate our apartment to play pranks on my roommates… sigh. Maybe I’m just lame (To be honest, I was feeling a little left out when they were talking about it the next day). Anyway, I can’t really tell you much about Hazor except that it had a cistern, it was one of the main cities of the Northern kingdom with a wicked king (Jabin), and… I was really tired. Chorazin was much better. The sleep on the bus got me to a more coherent state. It was really thought-provoking. This was one of the places that Christ cursed for rejecting Him. It spurred a discussion on what it means to have an opportunity to receive the gospel and the level of understanding needed for accountability. Dan was beautiful. We hiked around and saw the source of the Jordan river. We also saw the Winnie the Pooh tree, as well as the place that Jeraboam set up the altar as a political move to tell the people that they did not need to go to Jerusalem to the temple. 

By far, though, my favorite was our next stop: Caesaria Philipi. Bro. Manscill talked about Peter’s confession of faith and testimonies in general. He asked for volunteers to share their testimony and I raised my hand (usually I wait to give others the chance, but the last time I did that Bro. Manscill took the brief silence to mean that no one wanted to… and moved on!). Even though I didn’t have time to think of anything, I was so glad I raised my hand. I simply told the story of how I felt when President Monson had said “I stand before you and declare this First Presidency is united as one under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Thomas S. Monson, “To Learn, to Do, to Be,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 60–62, 67–68) and how I felt my testimony being renewed in a very full, conscious way. I felt the spirit and throughout all of the free time I thought about the evolution of my testimony. I reread my patriarchal blessing and realized how far my testimony had come since I had received it—and I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. A testimony really is a gift. I had the idea to record my testimony at that spot. It was a little hard to hear it because of the running waters, but it felt good to just do it so that there would be a record that I had a testimony of the gospel when I visited the place where Peter testified of him.

Our next stop was a mountain with a huge fortress on top of it—Nimrod’s castle, as it was called. It had a good view and another bat cave, both awesome. Our last stop was an overlook of the UN embassy of Syria—another sad reminder of the disquieting relations of Israel and its neighbors. At night, we had a bonfire with SCONES (soooooooo yummy!) and then I helped my teacher with a computer problem (their email account was hacked).

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The Winnie the Pooh Tree at Dan
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Banias falls. Pretty. Also pretty crowded when we were here. I hardly got a chance to get some pics–but this one sure turned out nice!!
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Caesarea Philippi. Both Peter and I gave our testimonies here.
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Nimrod’s Castle. Awesome.
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Bat cave #2
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The UN outpost is in the background.

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