Friday, February 18, 2011

Remembering the Best Parts

View of Jerusalem from our balcony (taken with the panorama feature of our new camera)

Classes were great this week. It is so much fun to teach this stuff, and it is such wonderful material. The students have such good questions and we have such great discussions. This is fun stuff. I got a lot of good stuff done for other aspects of work this week too, which does not happen all that often. One of the things I enjoyed most this week was reading student papers. I usually don’t like that much, but have found that here I have enjoyed it much more. For this assignment I had the students go to a place where they can look over the city and read some passages about the siege of the city in Hezekiah’s day and write about it, answering some specific questions. I thought I might read five each day. But when I started they were so good I couldn’t stop, and I read all of them. They were really able to picture this, and see what it would have been like, and thus able to better internalize it and apply it to their own lives. It was great reading!
I took BJ home teaching with me, it won’t be long before he is my companion all the time anyway. We spent a little time learning how to use our cool new camera, which does some really cool stuff.

One of the students, Celeste Ouimette, dancing at the talent show. She used some gestures based on symbolic action we talked about in our class. Very Cool!

We had an outstanding forum speaker who really lays on the line the things that are going on here in regards to the peace process. He is a Palestinian Israeli citizen who has been a news reporter covering Palestinian Affairs for almost 30 years, and even used to work for the PLO. He knows the ins and outs of things here, and really taught the students a lot. We also had the students’ more formal talent show. These guys have lots of talent.Of course I do have some problems with our terminology, which I think teaches bad theology. But I am sure I will find a way to address the bad doctrine we often accidentally but strongly teach in connection with our talent shows. We just have to make sure that everyone knows that while the kinds of talents you can see are nice, the most important talents, such as charity, patience, spiritual sensitivity, etc., will never show up on a stage. We have to remember these are the best talents, the best parts of life, and those who can't stand on a stage and do something are almost more likely to have the more important talents.

President Ohman at the organ during the talent show

The kids were able to have a few friends over to play at our place. They have not been able to do that much, so it was really nice that they had the chance. Kaleb started working with a great student here named Ashley Crist, who is a great photographer and good at working on these things on the computer as well. She started teaching him how to do some good photo manipulation on the computer and he seemed to like it.

Sabrina, one of the reasons we are really here

Every now and then I have to pinch myself to believe this is all real. It is still breathtaking each time I look out at the city. I still can’t believe my children are having this experience. It is amazing, what they are able to do here. Most importantly I think they are getting the opportunity to think more about their Savior. They have the chance to learn more about Jesus Christ and all he did for them and it seems to become more real. Gaining a greater understanding of and appreciation for the Savior is what this is really all about. I see it happening with the students, with my children, and I feel it in myself. Nothing could be better. These are the best parts.

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