Friday, July 22, 2011

I Left My Heart in Galilee

I feel like I start every blog post about how my last experience was the best one yet, but this time I think that it might be true.  Galilee was the most blissful ten days ever! I know why Jesus loved to be there so much.  The whole area is simply beautiful! The sea is this stunning blue with lacy white waves pushing towards the shore.  The sea is completely still in the morning, but as the day goes on the winds pick up and by the end of the day the waves are massive.  I love the sound of the waves washing up on the sand.  I could have sat on the beach forever :) Our hotel was right on the beach so I was able to sit on the beach late into the night.  I loved sitting there at sunset and think about Christ.  I was able to imagine him being in that beautiful place or walking on the water.
Our first field trip was to take a boat across the sea in the early morning. I sat in the bow of the ship and looked out over the water.  It was so peaceful and perhaps one of my favorite moments of our trip to Galilee.  When we got to the middle of the sea (which is actually a lot smaller than I thought it was), our captain put down the anchor and Brother Judd gave a devotional about Peter and Christ walking on the water. It was amazing to read that account while I was sitting on a boat on the Sea of Galilee.  I can't even describe how I felt in the moment. Best moment ever!!!
We visited several archaeological sites during our ten day trip.  We saw Capernaum, Dan, and Nazareth. We also so Megiddo (Armageddon, anyone?), Gamlah (a city on a hill), and Tabgah (the feeding of the 5000).  One of my favorite stops was the Mount of Beatitudes.  I loved reading the Sermon on the Mount in the place were it actually happened.  I have never been to such a serene place.  This little hill overlooks the Sea of Galilee and the gardens are immaculate. We met the sweetest nun in the entire world! Sister Mary Rose just added the experience all the more sweet.
The whole experience seemed surreal.  I felt like everyday I had to pinch myself to see if I was in a dream or not.  Most of the places that we saw were no longer inhabited, but that almost made it easier to imagine Christ being there. When we went to Dan I felt like I was hiking through the jungle.  It was a beautiful change to the intense desert I'm used to in Israel :) The heat was almost unbearable! I thought North Carolina was hot, but Galilee is probably what the earth's core feels like.  I felt sticky for 10 straight days.  I don't know how the people survive!!
Our last day was so great.  We went to a cemetery that is the resting place for several missionaries from the early 20th century.  It was amazing to stand there and sing 'I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go.' It was a definitely a tender mercy from the Lord and I felt honored to be able to pay my respects.  From there we went to Caesarea on the coast.  Before we went into the city we stopped and played on the beach and we all know how much I love water :) I don't know why it brings me such intense joy, but it just tickles me pink! The Mediterranean Sea is one of the best.  We got to play in the water and then it was back in the heat to see the ancient city where Paul appealed to Caesar.  Finally we went back to the JC.  It was so great to go back to Jerusalem.  I don't know what I'm going to do when it's time to return to the States.  Both Jerusalem and Galilee have stolen my heart and I don't they're going to give it back anytime soon.  I love Israel more than all the pita in the Old City!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Classmates and I at Be'at Shean

Chris creepin' on me at Nazareth

No talking in the church!

Sea of Galilee from Mount Arbel

Joan and I getting ready to cross the Sea 

I love fish........

and spaghetti!!!!!

Galilee roommates and I at church

Joanie and I at the Jordan River....and yes that is my slip :) 

Me at Megiddo 

Riding the chariot at Megiddo 

Doing laundry old school style 

Sunset on the Sea 

My toes in the Sea...happiness 

Elise and I on the watchtower 

Don't pick the wildflowers-it's illegal in Israel :( 

Peter Pan pose at Tel-Pan 

Getting ready to storm the castle at Nimrod

Not sure where we're going.....

Road sign to DC!

Me overlooking the Jezreel Valley from Mount Tabor 

Me in the Mediterranean :) 

Joanie and I love the sea! 

Me at Caesarea 

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