Sunday, September 20, 2009


Although this is a month overdue we just wanted to write a little post with some pictures of our trip to Israel/Palestine on our way home from the Middle East. It was HOT and tiring because we were going going going, but also relaxing because Andrew was done with all of his big tests and we were pretty much just on vacation. We saw some awesome things and it was an educational experience we will never forget.

We spent the first few days up north in Nazareth and around the Sea of Galilee. Nazareth is where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, where Jesus spent his childhood, and where he began his ministry by announcing in the synagogue that he was the fulfillment of prophecy. It’s a fun little city mostly populated by Christian and Muslim Arabs and has beautiful churches. We stayed for two nights in a convent that is run by a French order of nuns. Under the convent we got to see ruins of a first century house that is traditionally believed to be Joseph’s house.

In the Galilee was stayed for two nights in Tiberias in a hotel right on the beach of the Sea of Galilee. The sight from the balcony of our room was beautiful. Christ did much of is teaching and preformed many miracles on and around the Sea of Galilee. On Saturday (the Sabbath in Israel) we took a boat ride across the Galilee before church. The church building in Galilee is incredible. It’s up on a hill and behind the pulpit are a big glass wall and a balcony overlooking the Sea. After church we toured the cities and churches in the area including Capernaum (home of Peter and where Jesus spent much of his time) and the church of the Beatitudes.

The rest of our time we stayed in the BYU Jerusalem Center, which is on the top of Mount Scopus overlooking the Old City. The center is absolutely incredible and we loved our stay there. We had breakfast and dinner in the cafeteria everyday and we had sack lunches waiting for us at breakfast to take on our daily excursions. We did everything most tourists would do in Jerusalem (Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Garden Tomb, Gethsemane, Bethlehem, Orson Hyde Gardens, the four quarters of the Old City, Western Wall, etc.). In addition, however, almost every night we had some kind of lecture, which made it more of an educational experience. We heard from and met numerous people involved in the government and public policy including Americans, Israelis, Palestinians, an Australian, and a Brit. One of the coolest was a renowned leftist Israeli attorney who took us on a tour of the security wall and Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It was kind of surreal to be right there in the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You can feel the tension and the more you see it in real life and learn about it from both sides the more you feel like it’s kind of a hopeless situation.

On a happy note we loved Israeli. It was, in a way, a dream come true to be right there where so much history has occurred, including so much history of the three major monotheistic religions of the world. The atmosphere and feeling is like no other place either of us has been in the world. The trip was a perfect way to end our four month journey in the Middle East.

A beautiful view of Nazareth from the roof of the convent

 The Church of the Annunciation 

Chana twirling yarn at the Nazareth Experience
(It was a little museum where you got to see everything how it would have been during Christ's day.)

The view from the church building in Tiberias

The city gates of Capernaum

Remains of a Synagogue in which Christ taught

The Security Wall separating Israel and the West Bank

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
(It was like a huge zoo in there... people everywhere.) 

The Garden Tomb- a beautiful and peaceful place

The Garden of Gethsemane

The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount

More of the Dome of the Rock.  

The view from the Orson Hyde Gardens

The Western Wall of the Temple Mount (aka. Wailing Wall) on a Friday Night