Saturday, March 21, 2009


So this week and part of last week was all study all the time... well sort of. We have taken six tests in the last two weeks. By the middle of this week, we were starting to get a little crazy. Wednesday we finished class before lunch and had the whole afternoon free to study for a final the next day in our Judaism class. Some friends I were just sitting around during lunch and thought it'd be a great idea to study outside... at the beach... in Tel Aviv. This was at about 1 o'clock already and it takes an hour to get there from the center. So we made quick arrangements, changed clothes and headed for the coast. I mean, I thought it sounded like a good idea. Funny though, we didn't really study much.
The beach was beauuuuutiful. It was a little chillier than I wanted it to be, but fun nonetheless. We did have some educational fun, however. We made a sand Herod's temple along with the complex surrounding the temple with accurate steps leading up to the temple. Then we filmed the second temple destruction. I mean what better kind of studying could you do? Then we went out to eat and walked around Old Joppa. We saw a whale dedicated to Jonah, since Joppa is where he left from before the whale got 'im. Somehow we even ended up in a wedding march and had to get out of it... fun times kickin it in Joppa.

Of course, who can go to the beach here without getting a little gelato? All in all, it was a great day, and waaaaay better than studying.


Day in Bethlehem...
We spent our morning in Bethlehem on Tuesday at Bethlehem University learning about the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict from the students there and getting their perspective. I met one of the students Bassel and he told me all about his studies there and what they do for fun. It was really interesting. He lives in Jerusalem and he has to wake up at 5:30 everyday so that he can get through checkpoint to make it to class by 8:30. The separation wall surrounds Bethlehem so it was interesting just getting in for us. Anyway, after our time at Bethlehem University, we ate at this restaurant in a tent. It was AWESOME. The food was great and weird things were going on with nuns smoking hookha... weird. Then we went to the cave were Christ might have been born. Interestingly enough it really wasn't that cool. I mean it was, but I just kept getting yelled at by monks and there were SO many people there. When I saw the place where Christ was born, I didn't even know what it was... sad day.
This is where the manger was. I at least knew what this place was all about!

The best part of our trip to Bethlehem wasn't even in Bethlehem. We went back about half way between Bethlehem and Jerusalem to the Shepherd's Fields to have a Christmas program. It was great! We sang Christmas songs, which I totally loved and read Luke 2 and I signed up to read our family's favorite Christmas story, "Trouble at the Inn". See Deaver family for further details of this story. A few people bore their testimonies and it was really cold and dark out so it felt like Christmas. I LOVED it! The stars were out and I can definately see the upside to being a Shepherd. The scenery was beautiful. The best, most coolest part of being there was that a boy walked up with a lamb and I got to hold it! It was so cuddly and adorable. Isn't he cuuute? I want one I think.

Women Empowerment

This week we did probably the neatest thing I have done with the people here. We went to the women's Gypsy community center (I love the Women's Empowerment part) to help teach their kids english and help them with their homework. I helped two little girls and they were so dang cute. Laila was the name of one of girls, she was 13 and she needed help learning when to use who or which. Um... that was kind of hard. She needed me to make up sentences to quiz her on which to use and it took me forever! The other girl I never understood what her name was but she was fun to talk to. Both of our favorite colors were pink. Then we chatted about nail polish and playing outside. She was about 8. Then I got to help teach the alphabet to this little tiny boy that was precious. It was such a fun afternoon and I realized, maybe I like kids after all!!!! What a break through!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jordan Joys Part II

(Jessica, Stefanie and me at the temple of Diana)

Our third day in Jordan we went to Jarash which is a Roman village with a bunch of ruins. I looooved Jarash. It was so green and smelled like grass and the day was beautiful, it was just a great day walking around looking at ancient buildings. We saw the temple of Diana, a Roman Theater and the hippodrome where we watched a Roman show. The show was awesome. We learned about Roman Legionnaires and watched gladiator fights. The fights were awesome. My favorite part was the creeper gladiator with no shirt who asked to take a picture with me after the show… creeper. When one gladiator beat the other one, the audience had to vote whether or not to let them live or die by showing a thumbs up or thumbs sideways (for killing them). We let most live but one gladiator we gave the definitive thumbs sideways and crazy fake blood sprayed all over. Needless to say, the show was pretty dramatic… I loved it! After the gladiators, we saw a chariot race. Great more horses… We got some pretty awesome pictures with the cast after the show. Apparently this is one of the best Roman shows in the world, hm.

Day four was my favorite. It began at the Muslim mosque in Amman, where Moon Cate and I did a little mediating under the gorgeous ceiling. It was very relaxing. Check out our Harry Potter uniforms we had to wear too…

Then we went to the River Jordan. I loved the River Jordan. The water was pretty dirty but the day was beautiful and it was humid with a sticky breeze, just like the beach or something. Ryan, Bryan, Kara and I rolled up our pant legs and got right in the river. It was FREEZING… reminds me of when I was baptized in the Church. The water was really cold then too, so it was fitting. Then we got to have Brother Skinner, one of our teachers here, talk to us about the scriptural account of John the Baptist baptizing in the River Jordan. We talked about how Jesus was baptized in the lowest inhabited land on earth, which is the River Jordan. He descended below all things in his perfect state, and was crucified in the high mountains, rising above the sins of the world. Even though I’ve been in this amazing land for a couple of months, it is still hard to believe that I am right here where the scriptures I love so much happened. I saw where my Savior was baptized and it was so neat to remember my own baptism and how special it is to me, to be baptized in His church.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jordan Joys

Before I get to the good stuff let me give background for the pictures I took in Jordan. Day before we left it had been rainy all day and a few of us were feeling a little cooped up in the center. To release a little pent up energy we decided to play a round of body ball. For those of you who don’t know this Olympic sport, it is where you take a large exercise ball and play with it like soccer, with a goal on each side of the gym, but you can hit the ball with any part of your body. Ten seconds after I walked in to play MATT MORGAN (shout out) told me to hit the ball with my fists when he kicked it to me. He kicked with all his might and instead of my fists hitting the ball, the ball hit my fists and my fingernail went up into my eye… causing me to look like a hardcore fighter. I had quite a shiner during our trip; needless to say, no one in Jordan messed with this! Elyse also received a black eye from BRYAN BOZUNG. We were a pretty sad sight.

If I had to live somewhere here in the Middle East, I would definitely choose Jordan. We spent our first day in Petra, which is one of the modern 7 wonders of the world. Even more importantly, Indiana Jones (The Last Crusade) was filmed in Petra. We saw the treasury where Indiana passes the tests to get to the Holy Grail. It was pretty rad and I took a picture as Indy Jones for dad, because as most of you already know, my dad IS Indiana Deaver.

Cate, Jessica and I were feeling a little USA pride at the monastery for some reason, so our red white and blue was a tribute to the land we love and miss!

Speaking of the monastery, we had to hike up 850 stairs to get to it, then we hiked up to the sacrificial high place and tested it out. Good times hiking my tail off in Petra.
(thats me in the green shirt)
Dear Aunt Jeannie,
I tried to ride a horse just for you... I failed.
My voyage to Jerusalem was all for the purpose of learning a new culture, trying new things, and learning to appreciate everything possible in this amazing land! After conquering my camel in Egypt I knew I was ready to retackle horseback riding. For those of you who don't know, I have had a couple of "near death", as my family likes to call them, experiences with horses and have been deathly afraid of them for sometime now. So on the way back from Petra we had the opportunity to ride horses up the path. Shelby, Angie and I all started the trek together and were having a grand time when they asked me about my fear of horses. I explained my bizzare encounters with them when suddenly my horse started bucking! no joke! I asked for my money back because I was definitely given a defective horse (jk). It happened three times where my horse just started going wild when another horse would pass us. It was kind of ridiculous. Once I got off, I treated myself to some ice cream since I could barely walk I was so shaky and vowed never again!

More Jordan fun to be continued...