Saturday, September 5, 2009

My first post ever.

Hey family and friends! I can’t believe I’m here- in the Holy Land. I knew it’d be great- one can easily assume that- but I couldn’t have expected to be so happy here.

The people I’m here with are… incredible. Everyone is EXPLODING with light- they’re so strong and ambitious, caring and outgoing. It’s humbling to be with such a high caliber of people. I want to be like them!

The center is beautiful. The structure is ingenious and clean… but even more so… the Spirit is so strong moment you step in. It must be experienced to be understood. All the instructors and service couples are constantly smiling and seeking to help and serve to make this a good experience for us. It’s overwhelming.

Going out into the city was such a new experience for such a simple Spokane/Rexburg girl like me. Haha, my mouth was seriously like a cotton ball by the end of our first tour from having my jaw dropped for so long. There were so many different people, shops, smells…- even the ground fascinated me! It was impossible for us to fit in- especially in such big groups. We heard a lot of “Hey white girls” or “Hi mormons!”- people seem to know and like us- they’ve paved a reputation for us in the past. I like being a minority. I feel pretty safe here. It’s so neat to meet people so different from myself and what I’m used to- and to see all their different ways of worshiping- I love witnessing such devotion to God. It’s beautiful. It’s almost halfway through Ramadan, so all the muslims are fasting during the day, and at sundown a cannon goes off and you can hear everyone start partying and eating. The streets are decorated with lights- like Christmas. It’s so fun. We have to be careful not to even drink water in public. I suspected it'd be almost annoying... but I love hearing the call to prayer during the day and first thing in the morning. It serves as a reminder to me too- I love how imporant prayer is to them, and it needs to be as well constituted in my own daily routines.

Yesterday we went into the city on our own for the first time. We were doing well… or so we thought until it got extremely crowded, and we found ourselves following, or, being caught in, a wave of muslims- so we kept going until we were being stopped, “Hey! You can’ t come in here! Mormons- what are you doing?”- we suddenly realized that we were at the Dome of the Rock- as Christians-on their Sabbath- uncovered women. We were mortified. I can only imagine it’s like someone trying tramp into the temple in their gym clothes without a recommend. Oops.

It was said in relief society, that we will have a good experience not so much because are here, but because of what happened here. I know that I don’t need to be here and see “evidence” of Christ to know Him, because He has made Himself evident to me constantly in my life. One of our professors told us not stop considering ourselves as “tourists”, but rather as pilgrims. I love that. This is more than a tour or a fun travel, but a spiritual quest. I know I'm supposed to be here. I don't know exactly why- but I have recieved continual confirmation that this is SO right. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to grow and learn.

I can't believe this is my life- but I wouldn't want to be anyone or anywhere else right now.