May 30, 2010

Day S E V E N

Today started out well, as at breakfast a waiter named Yousef asked me if “I was free to go out tonight”, as in…a date! I bet you my whole life savings that if I had brown hair, this never would’ve happened. I would be a nobody. (no offense to my brunette readers) It’s just my blonde hair I’m tellin’ you. Oh, and about that date,  after thinking it over long and hard for about half a second, I had to turn him down. It’s not like I’m living in some fantasy Marykate and Ashley movie where it’s totally normal to run off with cute foreign guys; I am living in a world of reality, where I have had my fill of newspaper headlines and news reports to know to always expect the worst. Haha, you heard it first! From a true pessimist…

(I like to call this one, the Times Square of Jerusalem)

Today we went to the Mount of Olives, which was just a lookout point practically, and then walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. This was nothing like I had expected. Not even close. Just like how I had preconceived the Jordan River to be, you know…somewhere far out, desolate, well I was wrong again. This garden was in the middle of Jerusalem city, with horns honking as a background soundtrack bonus. Thankfully, this garden was surrounded by a high stone wall, so there was only one way in and one way out. When we got inside, I was expecting to see a lush green garden with exotic flowers of every color, vines caressing the gray stone walls, and for some odd reason I even imagined there to be mist drifting through the olive trees. (that’s the wild imagination of Jennifer, for you) The garden was very tourist-friendly. There were made pebble pathways, benches to sit, an olive tree here and there, and the flowers were quite sparse. But you know what? That was OK. The point of visiting this garden wasn’t to see it and judge it based on our own understanding. The point of visiting the Garden of Gethsemane was to remember what Jesus had to go through during those long and agonizing moments of prayer before being imprisoned. Here in this garden we were given the chance to just sit, reflect, and pray. Read to us was the passage Luke 22:42, where Jesus is crying out to his father, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” These are honestly the most powerful words to me. Not my will, but yours be done. To put it bluntly, it makes me feel…terrible. Here Jesus is putting his whole life into the hands of God even though he knows that things are going to get pretty bad. If you knew that you were going to be tortured in disgusting and horrific ways, would you tell God, “not mine, but your will be done”? UGH. That takes 17,000 oceans and a mountain of faith. This frustrates me and amazes me to no end.
(A muslim graveyard)
(The Dome of the Rock and I)

(My lame attempt at photography)
(Group photo!!)

(The door into the Garden)
(Garden of Gethsemane)


We then went to the Israeli Bible Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are actually located. Yesterday was where they were found, today is where they are located right now. Yes, we saw the actual ones! Pretty cool.
Next in my journal I wrote, “then we went to eat lunch.” And that was the end of that paragraph. Who does that? Who can be so incredibly vague like that? Why would somebody even waste their ink on that? Haha.

That afternoon, we walked through Old Jerusalem. This was so cool. Before entering this old city, we were warned to leave ALL valuables on the bus and to practically link arms with the person in front of you, because it’s so incredibly crowded and crazy. Apparently the pick pocket-ers are crazy. Haha my pastor actually told me this story that when he was in Vietnam, he was standing on the sidewalk talking on his cell phone, and then some guy on a motorbike sped by and snatched the cell phone right out of his hand. Hahah. And here I thought stuff like that only happened in the movies!! So Old Jerusalem was really cool. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. To help your imagination out a little…have you ever seen the movie Aladdin? If you haven’t, then shame on you. It’s a Disney CLASSIC. Anyway, Old Jerusalem looks exactly like the street market where Princess Jasmine wanders off to, minus monkeys and turbans. Narrow, narrow streets, tapestries hanging on either side, jewels, dresses, lamps, fish, bread…like wow. It was awesome. Eventually we made our way to a church, where I can’t for the life of me remember its importance. My apologies. All I remember was being followed AGAIN… Haha. But no worries, I’m getting used to the whole creepy stalker thing.
(Old Jerusalem streets)
(Holdin' on for dear life)

(Irwin inside of the church- Haha)

Oh and my sandals totally broke too. The bottom layer of my sandal was flopping around so I ended up limping down the streets rather than walking. My tour-mates noticed my limping, were probably embarrassed of me, and came up with a solution. Gloria put gum in between the layers. This makeshift glue did the trick, I’d say. Two hours later, somehow EVERYONE on the tour knew that I had a broken sandal. They kept coming up to me and asking how my sandal was doing; it was like the hot gossip of the day or something. Haha it was hilarious!
(The path Jesus took while carrying the cross)

(Jerusalem landscape)
(Jerusalem city shot)
(Everybody has barred windows because of so many break-ins)

That evening we attended a church service inside of a mall, called the King of Kings church. This was super cool, because it had people from all over the world since it included a majority of messianic Jews, we sang a few songs in Hebrew. I’ve come to the realization that Hebrew is such a beautiful language. It’s like poetry to my ears. We were all so exhausted during this church service, Charmaine actually full-out fell asleep. Haha. But I’m proud to say that I was too intrigued by this service that I was wide-awake. Phew!
(Great church service)


  1. I noticed that you snuck this post in there and didn't even tell me!! haha! I read day 8 before this one!
    You got to go to a real live Agrabah!!! So cool! "Riff raff... street rat... I don't buy that..."
    You should have tucked your hair under your hat or something! All these stalkers... sheesh! At least you had good people looking out for you!
    I remember when I went to Europe, we went to an international church service in this little church in Switzerland. It was by far the coolest thing ever. There were about 40 people there, and we sang some hymns and P&W songs - but what struck me the most was everyone belting it out in their various accents and languages all singing praise to our Lord! It moved me to tears!!!!! Yeah, sure, we might be from different continents and cultures, but in that moment, we were all the same, sinners saved by grace! So cool!

  2. did you see a guy with a Tupperware stand in the old city market?

    hurray for brunettes!! we're less likely to be stalked. :) let that be a lesson to you.