Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Year and New Students

It has been so busy the last while, and I thought this is when it wouldn’t be as busy during this time. One of our highlights was going to the YMCA tower to help President Ohman play the Carillon bells.

President Ohman playing the bells.

It was great to watch him, great to see the bells as they played, and he let the kids help him ring the Noon Chime. The view from up there was incredible too.

Family at the bells.

View from the tower of King David Hotel and the Mt. of Olives

Another highlight was our trip to the zoo. We had a lot of fun there. It is a cool zoo. With some of the animals, like the kangaroos, we got to go right in.

Family with Kangaroo behind (if you look closely)

With some parrots, we could even feed them and have them land on our arms.

We also had a great trip to Tel Afek, or at least some of us did. We all started out, along with a lot of other youth from our Branch. But one van started making horrible noises, and it sounded to me like it was having a serious problem somewhere along the drive train. I was not confident we could make the trip. So I took all the younger children and came back. It turns out that the drive shaft was coming unhooked, and we probably would not have made it. The older ones who went had a great time, it was a great youth activity. Those of us who stayed a bit of fun as well.

Youth at Tel Afek

New Year’s Eve was fun. Lots of people from the Center came and joined us playing games, but only for a short while. Most of them went to bed at about 8 or 9. So it ended up being just us and our children and Rebecca Call staying up ‘til midnight. I was ready to die from being tired by then. I’m not sure when I got so old.

Sometime in there the faculty and their wives ran out to Gibeah of Saul and looked around, for fun and to decide if we should take the students there. It is cool, so we will.

All of us at Gibeah

The kids started school when the weekend was over. They didn’t really want to go back, but back they went. At that same time we started to get ready for the new students in earnest. We had meetings, made assignments, made sure syllabi were ready, etc. On Tuesday I led the folks who hadn’t gone through the orientation walk last time through it this time. It was the Bentleys, Ohmans and Harrises, along with Julianne and Jill. It really was a fun time, I enjoyed it very much. We made some good relations with the folks at the Austrian Hospice, and had a nice lunch together on Ben Yehuda Street.

Julianne and Sabrina shopping as we get ready for school and regular life again.

On Wednesday we went to get the students. Frank, President Ohman and I were on the bus while the Chadwick family went in a van. It was good they did. First, the bus driver thought he was supposed to be taking students on a tour, not go to the airport. We had to talk to his boss on the phone for a while to convince him there were no students anywhere to go on a tour, there were only students in the airport. Finally we got that worked, out, and were hoping that the second bus that was supposed to meet us at the airport actually knew to go there. Then our bus got pulled over at the airport for extra security check. That took forever. They searched every inch of the bus, the cargo area, and under the bus. They did a thorough search of our driver, and they did chemical tests all over the bus. Finally we got through. The students were supposed to be there about then, but Jeff and family had gotten in, and no one was there yet. Good. Except not, because our driver took the wrong turn, we ended up outside the airport again, had to drive back, and go through security again. This time they put us through more, finding it odd that we were right back. The driver went through the same security, and this time I went through it also. Fun stuff. By the time we started they had students there, and we couldn’t find the other bus that was supposed to meet us. So there were lots of students and nowhere to go. I was very glad Jeff had gotten in, so that they weren’t just wandering around wondering where to go. We eventually got there, found the other bus and got students loading on. It is always so exciting when they see for the first time the Dome of the Rock and the JC and realize they are really here, that it is the real thing.

They seem like a great and fun group. I am doing horribly at learning names. I keep calling people by the wrong name and the more I try the worse I seem to do. But they seem like a great group. As they were being shown around the center I had to take Lexie home for a while because she just got too excited about having students and went a bit too wild. She got better. That night we introduced our family to the students, and then I met with them, etc., etc.

I have been fighting off a cold a bit, and have not suffered really from it at all. But having to yell at the airport to various groups so that they knew where to go, I lost my voice. About 13 students didn’t end up with any luggage. We arranged for them to use some of the clothes left behind by other students for a while. When I tried to announce this I could not speak at all, my voice was totally gone. Bad news.

During the night I prayed to be healed so that I could lead a group around the city tomorrow. I woke up not 100%, but with a pretty good voice. I led the group, being the first group so that we led the way. By the end my voice was not great, but still okay. I feel I was blessed. The students loved what they saw and learned. It is a very, very cool place to be.

Class the next day went well, though I could not speak very well. My throat has gotten worse and worse, and my cold is really starting to hammer me. Julianne arranged for me to take a short nap, bless her heart. That helped. She has had a lot to do, and I haven’t been much help lately. I spent most of the day working on Church stuff, especially arranging for people to teach, working out who should have what calling, etc. I have been fasting and praying about that, and went to the airport fasting, and feel like we have been receiving some good direction. I was worn out by the end of the day, and didn’t have a voice again. But things are starting to come together. Jeff came and found me and offered to give me a blessing with one of the students. Thank goodness, I needed that.

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