Monday, December 21, 2009

Galilee continued..

Another neat site was Gamla- a Jewish city besieged and destroyed by the Romans. It was so cool to walk around this hill and be able to see and imagine a real city and civilization from the first century AD. You could see a break down in the wall that the Romans made to get into the city and the smooth round rocks thrown by the catapults. 5,000 Jews committed suicide by jumping off the pinnacle of the hill.

We went into one of the synagogues- and you could really imagine and live history in your mind through your eyes there. It was SO cool.

A site that I fell in love with was a little, humble, run down church in Nain- to honor the raising of the widow's son.
We read from Luke 7 of the compassion of Christ on this widow. We were taught that coming from Capernaum, Nain is 25 miles away. The mercy of the Lord really hit me as I was brought to realize and understand that Christ probably walked all throughout the night to come to that widow. He was aware of her, He knew and loved her, and came to bless her with the aide that she needed through her faith and His mercy. Reflecting on my own life, I can vividly see countless accounts of such miracles of personal magnitude throughout. I was again struck and overwhelmed with awe and gratitude for such unwarranted mercy for me.

Another unreal, and yet VERY real site was Megiddo, or "Armageddon". Reading from Revelations, Joel, and Zechariah about the event that will take place here in the last day made it a very impactful site. Imagining and realizing the horror that was surely come to pass in the world in the last days- but especially at this very site made me SO grateful for the prophets of the past and present and for revelation that helps us prepare for what is to come. Reading again of all the destruction to come and so often feeling it come more and more near should logically be a scary thing. I felt no fear as I was reminded of these impending events. I even became excited for them- and I know that those feelings of peace of surety can only come through faith and knowledge of the Savior.

I love learning of the past, living the present, and looking towards the future with a faith and trust in the Lord with the joy and sweet peace that it brings despite all the turmoil and darkness that constantly surrounds us.

Another fun experience was to walk through the shops, cardo, bath houses and tel of Scythopolis- an important crossroads Roman city that certainly the apostles would have traveled through.

This is part of the bath house- hot water would flow through this and steam everything. It looked and sounded divine.

Caesarea Philippi was another place of reverence and inspiration. It's one of the sources of the Jordan river, and right where Peter tells Jesus, "Thou art the Christ". We read from Matthew 16 and talked about Jesus as the "Living Water". Some return missionaries stood up and shared their experiences of declaring that Jesus is the Christ- and I was AGAIN absorbed with the burning desire to serve a mission and to add my testimony to the world that

Jesus is the Christ!

We sang the primary song "Give said the little stream" and as we did, I noticed a cute European couple standing next us, listening in very pleased. Afterwards, a few of us starting talking to them, and it ended up being exactly who I needed to talk to.

This man and woman were from Austria. They had loved the tune that we were singing and we gave them the words and taught it to them. They were very excited to learn that we were mormons and were anxious to tell us why they love the mormons. They became emotional as they told us about their destitute situation after World War II. They said that they had nothing- absolutely nothing. When the church humanitarian services sent them food, they said that all that they had- a block of cheese that kept them alive was because of the mormons in Utah. They gushed gratitude for those meager and simple rations of cheese and hope that the mormons had brought to them in those times. They wanted to thank the mormons for their help, but had nothing. The church said they did not want any repayment, but would love to be allowed to be recognized as a religion there. This event is the reason that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints in Austria today. I was touched by their humility, determined to better contribute to such causes, proud of my heritage and name, and thankful for modern day revelation that institutes such programs as the humanitarian aide that I know that the Lord truly directs and oversees.

No comments: