The Official Website of Kendel Christensen

A few people pointed out to me that I haven’t really focused on anything… other than the places I visit and what I learn there. And, they’re right. I haven’t. So I suppose it might be a good thing to just talk about day-to-day life type stuff. So here goes. The Jerusalem Center is, basically, the coolest place I have ever lived: Three meals a day, every day (except fast Sabbath). Each meal has a variety of mostly all-you-can eat items. No need to cook. No dishes (and no need to organize a *strained laugh* “system” for doing the dishes with roommates!).

So, there are 8 floors in the JC.

  • The 8th floor has the main entrance, the 24/7 security center (which has cameras all over the outside of the center—and they can zoom them extremely far), various classrooms used mainly for Sunday meetings, a multi-room library (pretty impressive, actually), a few small offices, a small art room, and the main auditorium that is used for tons of things including sacrament meetings and free concerts that we host (one of the ways that we are facilitating positive exposure for the Church because we can’t prostlytize).
  • The 7th floor houses our forum room where we have combined academic classes as well as houses the majority of the office space for our administrators, security, and office personnel.
  • The 6th floor is where most of us hang out: it has the oasis (our cafeteria—did I mention that every meal has all you can drink lemonade as well as orange and grapefruit juices?), the computer lab, the manna cabana (student-run shack where we can buy treats in the evening), as well a few study rooms—two of which are equipped with HDTV’s. It is also where our main classrooms are. We have 4 classrooms, but the JC is not at full student capacity, so we only ever use 3 of them (plus one ‘secret’ unmarked classroom).
  • The 5th floor is where the faculty and all other non-students liveAll of whom are absolutely exceptional people. First, there are the Whipples—I could write an entire entry about them. They are so awesome! Sister Whipple is one of those sweet ladies that just goes out of her way to love everyone. Bro. Whipple is a Swiss army knife of awesomeness—he has been a mission President, is involved in a new translation of the Polish Book of Mormon, and is the organist for the center and bell ringer for the YMCA tower in Jerusalem and lets us come with him! The Jacksons are the center doctors. They look after our temporal welfare and genuinely concerned about us always. The Okiishis take care of a bunch of stuff. Brother O is the branch president, so he does a LOT with that. He also helps host concerts. Sister O picks and arranges flowers to put around the Center to keep it looking nice, and also works with people who come to visit the Center. Our teachers Bro. Hamblin, Bro. Manscill, and Bro. Emmett and their families are there, too. They are all so… endearing (see attached pics).
  • The 4th and 3rd floors are our student rooms. Four people per room. My roommates are Christian Frandsen, Nick Petersen, and Jared Young. All awesome, some in more… unique ways than others 😉
  • The 2nd floor is more rooms (unused) and the laundry/ping pong area. The first floor is more unused rooms and the main entrance to West Jerusalem. And then under the center is the water, electrical, and other facility-type thangs. I feel perfectly safe and always at home.

My classes are:

-Old Testament, a class we have every day with about ~12 chapters of reading per day.

-A Jewish history class, taught by an orthodox Jew named Ophir. He grew up in New Jersey, is bald and always wears his kippa. He is the most engaging lecturer of all my teachers. He took us to his local synagog last week. It was all in Hebrew, so I didn’t understand any of it. But they did give us a booklet to follow along with. It was all prescribed recitation with one time where a congregant gave what amounted to a talk.

-An Arab history class, taught by a Palestinian Christian who lives in Bethlehem (an area almost completely inhabited by Palestinian Muslims) named Dr. Adnan Musallam. His readings are very interesting—they really cause you to try to think about things in a different way—but his class is the one I enjoy least. I have a hard time understanding him, and he doesn’t have a lot of skill at handling a class. His writing assignments are monumentally long.

-An Ancient Near Eastern studies class. Taught by Bro. Hamblin. This is about the archeology and, well, ancient history of the places we visit. He kinda comes off as a no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point facts man, but he has a soft side… and a very playful sense of humor. Don’t have a verdict on his class yet. His readings are the worst, but his lectures are ok—except the parts where he just talks about the dry topics like pottery shards and stuff.

-Field Trips. Definitely among the coolest things we do.

-Language class. I’m in Hebrew taught by one Judy Goldman. She is a sweet, endearing, yet deeply discerning and talented teacher. Her class is almost zero pressure, yet I am learning a lot. I’ll have a post about what I’ve learned shortly.

-For free time, I usually go into the city, read my scriptures, play games or watch movies that other people organize, and write about what I’m learning/experiencing. I have learned TONS and have had a lot of previously-learned lessons become… palpable… here.


Bro. Brown (Center) is having his arms held up a lá Moses (He is our district president) supported by Bro. Jackson (right) and Bro. Manscill (left). His counselors.

Bro Jackson and Bro. Brown.

Bro. Manscill. I don’t have a class with him yet, but he will by my main teacher next term (New Testament). Although I already know him a little bit. Scott Esplin is friends with him.

Bro. Hamblin with Bro. Emmett.

Bro. Hamblin with his wife. She helps us with memories committee stuff! I am the committee chair.

Bro. Emmett with his family minus Will.

Will Emmett is your archetypal always energetic, always speaking his mind, happy youngster.

Will and Joel Emmett with Tanner Manscill. My calling in the branch is to be Tanner’s personal seminary teacher!

My singin’ dancin’ deep voicin’ roommate Nick (right) with Mike Eddington (awesome).

Me with Christian Frandsen, also roommate. Pre-missionary, but possibly the most mature person in our apartment.

Jared Young. The man is insane. No, really. He works out every night and calls it ‘Insanity’ He wants to change the world by working for Interpol.

3 Responses

  1. Sounds like heaven on earth. Since I am not an unmarried undergraduate BYU student, I’m wondering how I could be one of those sweet ladies that just takes such good care of all the students. Where do I sign up?

  2. hmmmmmm, well, I think you just apply to be missionaries. Being a world-class organist or doctors would probably help.

  3. Kendel, you are one of the big reasons why this program is so successful and such a good experience. i appreciate knowing you

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