Our Last Day
Today was our last day here. I type this with a saddened heart! I've absolutely loved our time here and have felt very at home here. We've shared lots of laughs and have learned so much in so little time.
For our last day, we packed up our stuff and climbed into the bus one last time. We got dropped off at the Mount of Olives and learned about the presence of God. God's presence once dwelt in the tabernacle and now he even dwells in us! How cool is that! We serve an almighty God who will never leave us nor forsake us. Often we hear that phrase, but overlooking Jerusalem they sank in.
Mount of Olives
Separated from the Eastern Hill (the Temple Mount and the City of David) by the Kidron Valley, the Mt. of Olives has always been an important feature in Jerusalem’s landscape. From the 3rd millennium B.C. until the present, this 2900-foot hill has served as one of the main burial grounds for the city. The two-mile long ridge has three summits each of which has a tower built on it.
Moving onwards, we stopped at some cemeteries and learned about the Jewish burial traditions. 2,000 years ago they would prepare the bodies and then after a year gather the bones and bury them their ancestor's bones. That's why some passages in the Bible talk about burying people with their ancestors.
Next, we went to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was here that Jesus prayed 3x that God would take this "cup" from him, but he also said "let your will be done." In our lives, God wants to use us. We must respond with ready hearts and trust in his good will. We also heard about Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. We must choose to follow the "path" and stick to it. Otherwise we will get caught up in this world and betray our faith. We then split off and had some alone time. As I sat there I read the last moments of Jesus' life. He came as a humble servant in order to die for US! For me and for YOU! I cannot understand the amount of love the Father has for us that he'd send his one and only son! I'm in awe of my God.
Then, we walked up into the city through lion gate to St. Anne's. Inside the church we sang "Amazing Grace." We also learned about the pool Of Bethesda. John 6 talks of a cripple man that Jesus saves at the pool. We were all amazed at the size of the pools! They were huge!!
Afterwards, we headed to the church of the Holy Sepulchral, which is believed to be the place of Jesus' death. We saw a stone that is believed to be the stone where Jesus' dead body lay in the tomb. Many of us felt overwhelmed with the amount of people and decorations. It was a very cool and growing experience.
Next stop: our final picnic lunch! However, as we walked to lunch we walked through the Muslim quarter. Here we saw hundreds of tiny shops cluttering the pathway. I remember learning about Israel and seeing pictures of the exact place we walked, which was super cool! Anyways, our final lunch consisted of FALAFEL! Yum!
With our bellies full, we went to the Garden tomb. Here we learned another site that is believed to have been the site of crucifixion and Jesus' tomb. We also had a communion together. The gardens were absolutely stunning! I think it was really interesting seeing a replica of the tomb Jesus was in.
Our second to last stop was souvenir shopping! We shopped in the old city and had fun bargaining! (Well, at least I did :)
Finally, we stopped at a restaurant for delicious dinner!
Bon voyage! See you soon!
Now that our study tour is complete hopefully you'll be able to talk to one of us in person about what we saw, heard, learned, and experienced!
Below is a wrap up video that serves as a nice summary of the trip and a reminder of all that we did.
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