We went to church at the BYU Jerusalem center. We got there a little late, and when we walked in we were greeted by 2 things: The first was the fact that there were very few people there (I somehow expected a group of students or something...); the second was the view! WOW!! Behind the stand where the speakers, etc. stand, there are huge windows that overlook the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a magnificent view. I was in awe. Well, we got into some seats and sang along to the opening hymn, had sacrament, then someone got up to announce. They said, "And now, our speaker will be (so and so--I don't remember who)". My first thought was, "Oh no, this lady is going to speak for a full hour!" She got up, spoke for 15 minutes, and then they closed the meeting!!!! That was it!! Apparently, all the students were off on a field trip to Galilee, so they only had a SUPER shortened meeting. The kids were hilarious: Andrew kept yelling how it was the BEST CHURCH DAY EVER! (ha ha) Peter cried because he really wanted to go to his class. Claire and Josh were totally taken aback, but just said that now it was time to go home and watch a movie! ha!
We all wandered about the grounds of the center for a bit, then we decided that since it was the Sabbath, we should go to a holy site. So, we went and found the Garden Tomb.
The rest of the Sabbath day was spent at home. The kids wrote in their journals about the day and things they've done and learned this week. They're writings and pictures are so insightful. I just love these kids. Claire wrote about how it's so funny to have church on Saturday now, and she has deduced that maybe there's a different church day in every country! :D Andrew drew a great rendering of the Garden Tomb and the Old City Wall. Josh wrote about how fascinating everything is and how cool it is that he gets to see it! At family scripture time, we read about Jesus being crucified and laid in the tomb, and it just brought so much more meaning!
Today being our 'weekend' day, we started it out as most weekend days. The kids got up and watched cartoons while Dev and I took turns exercising. This is a glorious place to run! the sun is up early, the day today was warm, there is a little park with a jogging trail near our house--I ran for awhile, then put myself through my taekwondo paces. It felt SOOOOO good!!! After that, we took the kids and went grocery shopping at a local supermarket. I find that it's easier to take the kids grocery shopping now. Maybe it's because I'm with them ALL the time, so I'm used to their presence, or maybe they're just growing up... but it's better. They're much more helpful. Since the local supermarket is pretty small, it's also hard to lose them...and since everything's in Hebrew, and there's not much that's imported, there's less temptation for the kids to throw junk into the cart! :D We had a great time and hopefully we have everything we need now for the next week or so...
When we got home, poor Devin was dying for a haircut, so he left to find a barber while the kids and I chilled at home (I'm in the middle of a really good book that I'm having a hard time putting down). Andrew wasn't feeling very well, either. He told me he had a really bad tummy-ache. He was in the bathroom for a VERY long time, and after he got out, he said, "Mom, I think I may have had a diorama!" It was almost impossible for me to keep a straight face on that one, and tears streamed down my face as I tried to keep myself as serious as possible. Poor kid. He had a diorama. I wonder if maybe I should have corrected him and said 'diarrhea' is the word he wanted, but it was just so cute!!
When he got home, though, it was time for an adventure!!
We popped on our water shoes and got ready for some fun! At first, the tunnel was a well-lit cave of sorts. The kids were pretty happy about that. Then, at one point, there was a guy selling flashlights. There was a sign that said that watershoes and flashlight were required in the tunnel. So, we bought everyone a flashlight--a super cool little keyring that has City of David and a harp on it--and got ready for more adventure! Just a little ways more, and we entered the real tunnel: complete with almost waist deep water gushing down! Oh my. Devin carried Peter, Josh plunged in, and I was left with a terrified Andrew and Claire. I grabbed their hands and sort of dragged them--kicking and screaming--into the water! After about 15 feet, we went up some stairs of sorts and the water stayed at a pretty steady 5-6 inches for the rest of the way. Now, the kids LOVED it!! They smiled and giggle and shone their little flashlights all around. We saw mini stalagmites and cool cave formations that happen with limestone (found out later that we were right in guessing it was limestone...we're so awesome...) and trudged through the narrow tunnels where sometimes we all had to duck and sort of crabwalk through! We had an absolute ball!!! On a scale of 1-5 stars, it gets 6!! Pretty much the best outing ever!
And now, that book I can't put down is calling my name.