Saturday, October 16, 2010

Scouts, City of David, and more

So, it was two months ago today that we got on the plane. Time is flying!

Last week was a fun and interesting week. BJ and I went on a scout camp with the little group of Americans that we do scouting stuff with. This camp was different because we also camped with an Arab Christian (Catholic) troop. These are guys that live in the Old City next to the Holy Sepulchre. It was especially interesting because once we got up there we found out that they were a mixed gender troop, girls camping with the boys. We made sure we camped a bit farther away from them than we normally would have.

It was great to talk with this Christian group about what it was like to live in the Old City as Palestinians and Christians. They don’t quite fit in with anyone, and have a bit of a hard row to hoe in that manner. But they are strong in their Christianity. Their Scoutmaster talked to me for a while. He told me that he recently did a thing with a bunch of scouts who were of 6 different Christian faiths. He started out his speech to them by telling them that it did not matter whether or not they were Coptic, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant or anything else. They were all Christians, and they should unite together in that way. I agree so much with what he is saying. I even think we can unite together as people of differing religions, whether Muslim, Christian, or Jew, but just uniting together as people who believe in God. There is a great sense of unity in that way.

Anyway, it was a good camp. We taught the other troop Wilderness Survival stuff, and gave them some wilderness survival packs. It was a fun day. We also played steal the flag and some other fun games with them at night. They made us dinner, a tasty Arab meal, and we made desert. BJ and I helped with the dutch oven peach cobbler. The cobbler only turned out kind of good, but the oven was very hard to clean. We also did the totin’ chip training for them. I’m not sure the stuff about how to handle knives safely made any difference at all, but we tried.

This week we took the students on the field trip to the City of David. At the very, very last minute it worked out for Julianne to be able to come also. I so enjoyed having her with me, it was great. We looked at the varying structures from the time of David and Solomon, including the structure that might be David’s palace. We looked at the houses from the time of Jeremiah and Lehi which show evidence of the destruction that came upon the city under the Babylonians, which Jeremiah and Lehi had prophesied of. We looked at the place where Solomon was anointed king. We read a lot of scriptures together and learned a lot of lessons together. Then we went through the tunnel Hezekiah had chopped into the rock underneath the city to bring the water from the Gihon spring to the pool of Siloam. It is over 1700 feet long, going right through the rock under the city, with the water from the Gihon flowing through it. This time it never even got past my upper thigh, though when we went through as students it was up to my chest. It was fun and exciting to go through together. While in the tunnel we sand “give said the little stream”, and for a while turned out all our flashlights and saw how dark it really was. When we got out we sat by the pool of Siloam and talked about the man who had been born blind and had some lessons from that. All in all it was a great day. It was especially good because Julianne was there. I have found that as good as these field trips are with the students, they are better when Julianne is there.

This week we took Tashara out to a nice dinner to celebrate her turning 12 (last week). She is turning into an amazing young woman, someone who is trying so hard to do what is right and be the right kind of person. She is so pure and good.

We also celebrated the Seder (Passover) meal this week. It is not the right time for it, but we do it every semester with the students so that they can learn about it. It was a great experience, and we learned a lot. The kids like the students so much that only Jacob sat with us, the others sat with their friends and enjoyed being with them.

I am having so much fun here. We have started reading scriptures on our balcony, overlooking the temple mount/dome of the rock, and the city of Jerusalem. This has not come without its grumbling, but it has been a great experience. We are getting more out of our family scripture study than we ever have before. I am so enjoying my classes with the students, and am only frustrated that we don’t get to spend more time in the classroom with them. It is like a little Zion experience with them here. We do school/work together, we often eat together, they are with us for about half of our personal lives, we do church and everything ecclesiastical together. And everyone gets along, and as time goes by the feelings of love for each other just increases and increases. It is an incredible experience.

We love it all!

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