Well hello there strangers!
I know what you’re thinking… You weren’t the absent party in this whole blog thing. And I apologize. I’ve been really busy thinking and talking about my trip to Israel, not to mention getting ready for upcoming classes. But that is no excuse for not updating in like FOREVER, even just to let you know I’m still alive. For that I am truly sorry. If you can possibly find it in your heart to forgive me, I would be ever thankful!
Okay, if you’re still reading, I’m guessing that means you’ve forgiven me. Thanks. Now lets chat a bit about Israel, shall we? Okay! First things first, I had the time of my life over there! It was such an amazing, mind-blowing experience! I took a TON of pictures (1,564 pictures and videos, to be exact) and had so many great conversations with truly inspiring people. We heard the life story of so many Palestinian and Israeli people in two weeks, and I know we have only scratched the surface of the surface of life in Israel! The people are truly inspiring on so many levels. I am so saddened by the fact that I was clueless as to what was going on over there and that the US is helping to fund a lot of the inequality!
I don’t know how they manage to do it, but despite all the horrible things Palestinians have to endure there, they maintain a positive attitude and are hopeful of better days. I’m not sure I would be able to have such optimism in face of what they’re dealing with. For them, it’s basically survive on hope or perish in despair.
It was such a great experience getting to talk to leaders like Mitri Raheb and Elias Chacour and hear all that they have done and continue to do to bring hope and opportunity to the people. At the same time they are constantly working to promote peace and understanding between the Palestinians and Israelis.
I look forward to answering questions, talking to everyone, and spreading the hope and knowledge that I gained on this trip with all of you! Please feel free to check out my pictures on Facebook. I’ll try to figure out a way to share them with everyone who doesn’t have a facebook account.
Greetings from Israel! For any of you who aren’t on Facebook or haven’t seen my update yet, I just wanted you to know that I made it safe and sound and have had a great time here so far. I’m so glad I’m here and have already learned so much in this short time! This definitely isn’t what I pictured before when I thought of Israel or Bethlehem! Seeing everything in person makes is seem so much more REAL! It’s not just an empty desert, or perfectly preserved and unchanged like hopping onto a tv show stage.
Also, I want to wish you Merry Christmas! It was Christmas Eve last night when we arrived, and Christmas day today. Manger Square was all decked out for the holiday, and tons of people were there! So cool! We were a bit surprised at how many Santa Clauses we saw, but that’s just one more thing I would never have guessed about this amazing place. I can’t wait for worship tomorrow! I’ll have more for you lovely people later, but for now I’m exhausted. I have some pictures posted on Facebook from the first day, so check those out if you can. Keep your eye open for more updates!
In case you haven’t heard, I will be going on an amazing trip to Israel for two weeks coming up soon. In fact, I will beginning this awesome journey in less than 30 hours with a drive to Chicago, then a plane ride to Frankfurt, and finally a plane ride from Frankfurt to Tell Aviv! I cannot wait to begin this wonderful journey which will no doubt change my life in ways I can’t even begin to comprehend. We have an absolutely wonderful group going with us, though I am greatly saddened that two of our group are no longer able to join us due to medical issues. I hope both of them safe procedures and speedy recovery.
That being said, I should also point out that, as this trip encroaches ever closer to the present, I am turning more and more into a jumbled ball of nerves. I’ve rarely gone out of the country, and have NEVER gone off the continent (except for that time the aliens abducted me to perform some tests and… just kidding!) I don’t really know what to expect, so I’m glad I’m not trying to navigate this alone. I am so fortunate to have others along with me. Still, would it kill any of them to admit they’re a nervous wreck as well?
Well I’m going to have to end this here. I still have a lot of packing left to do in the next 29 hours or so, and I want to make a list and check it twice. Oh, and I want to thank my parents for the extra money to buy clothes. Somehow I don’t think four pairs of underwear would’ve taken me through this trip. Or if it did, I certainly would’ve repelled all or most of my classmates. So a trip to the store was best for all of our sakes. Thanks to grandma too, for the socks. One less thing to put on the shopping list!
I will miss all of you and try to update whenever internet is available. I’m not sure how much of a chance I’ll have, but I’ll do my best to snap photos like crazy for your viewing pleasure in between blog posts. If I don’t update, please don’t take it personally! It just means I have no internet, not that I don’t love you all. Because I do love you. Wish me luck and soothed nerves!