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Lady Flames' Israel Journey: Day 3
Ellee Rollins describes the Lady Flames' action-packed Sunday, which was spent touring the historic city of Jerusalem.
Wow! I have to say that I'm still reeling from all of incredible places that we went today!! As my teammate Emily and I were discussing earlier, we wish that we could just freeze every moment on this trip so we could fully absorb the precious and unique significance that each biblical site holds. I am thankful that our guide, J.R., skillfully fits so many locations into our four days of touring, but I'm almost certain that I could have spent an entire day at each spot, especially all of the places we went today!
A wake up call broke the serenity of our sleep at 6 a.m. this morning (not that I woke up to it of course…my teammates can attest that I sleep often and I sleep deeply). My awesome roommate, Simone Brown, answered the call and we began our day. My breakfast was comprised of plain yogurt with granola, dried plums and raisins, potatoes, baked apples, and… the MVP, besides the coffee of course…'Halvah!' This is a traditional food here that sort of looks like a block of cheese but is actually ground up sesame seeds with some sort of sweetener added. Better than it sounds, I promise.
Our first site was the Mount of Olives. We all sat in a miniature amphitheater and were mesmerized by the unbelievable view of Jerusalem laid out before us! The history of the city was interesting to hear, but I could not stop thinking about the fact that Jesus is someday going to return to that very mountain on which we were standing!
Next we walked down some narrow streets to the Garden of Gethsemane, passing the place where Jesus wept on the way. The Garden was my favorite spot of the day. It was a lot smaller than I imagined and was fenced in so that we could only look through bars to see the beautiful area of trees and flowers. The olive trees, J.R. explained, were most likely the same ones present when Jesus and the disciples prayed there! I may or may not have reached through and touched some branches. The Church of all Nations was situated right beside the Garden.
Back on the bus, we drove over to the Old City to check out the Western Wall or ‘Wailing Wall.' To enter that square we had to go through a security check point. We read Isaiah 56:7 together, which is a prophecy about how people from all nations will gather to pray in this area, and then headed toward the wall. The girls had one designated quarter of the wall, while the boys had the other three quarters. We wrote prayers on little pieces of paper and stuck them in the wall, crowded beside hundreds of other prayer papers from all over the world.
This awesome experience was followed by a lot of walking through crowded streets toward the Armenian quarter of the city. Here we ate lunch in a very Armenian restaurant that someone described as ‘what Olive Garden might try to model its design after.'
The Upper Room was next. It was actually a mosque built on top of another building which was built on top of the original Upper Room, but it was still really cool. It was surreal to be in the same place where Jesus and His disciples shared a final meal before His crucifixion.
Our last stop was to drive up to an olive tree grove that had a great view over Bethlehem. Lack of time as well as the Palestinian government didn't allow us to go into the town where Jesus was born, but it was good enough to look at it from above. We finished with some shopping, but I won't bore you with those details.
Thanks for reading and until next time, Shalom everyone!!
Ellee Rollins #4
P.S. We also all rode a camel today!
Rode a camel on the Mount of Olives today! #LUWBB_Israelmemories??— Catherine Kearney (@cgkearney) June 8, 2014