can I admit something embarrassing? I get nervous when people start talking about the story of david and goliath. why? because I have this irrational fear that they are going to point at me and say—“yeah goliath was about as tall as you”. I would probably turn beet red and hate myself. because what girl wants to be compared to the beastly giant in the scriptures? not me. luckily…it hasn’t happened…yet. (p.s. you all need to know that I love being tall. I just wouldn’t love being compared to giants).

so to my surprise. I’ve had two exceptional experiences with the giant here in Jerusalem.

experience numero uno:

a few weeks ago we visited the valley of elah (where they believe david fought goliath). brother belnap gave us a lesson while looking out over the valley. he talked about the goliaths we are all going to face throughout our lives. he guessed that some of us probably came to Jerusalem to take a brake from our goliaths (yep). he taught us that these goliath’s will always seem impossible to overcome in every way. however, when we are living our lives in accordance with the Lord, and have his spirit with us—we can have confidence and boldness in our trials. brother belnap expressed his confidence in us. his confidence in who we are and our potential. he understands and has taught us that we are the same type of being as God—and he sees that Godly potential in us. that understanding that is powerful…(in my opinion at least).

experience numero dos: 

in Sunday school today, our lesson was also on…drumroll please…david and goliath. we read:

proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

this might be one of the most comforting notions that I have come to understand in my life. I know when we make our plans HIS plans, everything is going to work out. I know when we work hard, and our hearts are good, great things happen. even when we can’t see why things are the way they are, it’s okay because we can trust in the man that knows it all. He understands it all. I also love the second half of this scripture—acknowledging Him is key. I think it’s so important to recognize when He is directing our paths (even though I think he usually always is) because it makes us aware of his guidance. aware of his love.
we also read what david says to goliath before the fight. it’s epic.

1 samuel 17:45-47

“Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air; and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.”

I felt like such a boy when we read this, so excited for the battle about to go down. I literally got pumped like I was about to get thrown into the biggest volleyball game of my life. haha. but seriously. why can’t we have that same courage, that same boldness, when facing our goliath’s in life? josh leaned over to me after we read it and murmured “God as Warrior” (a concept/description of God bro. belnap has talked about, that we all think is pretty rad).

david’s goliath and our goliath’s aren’t really all that different. and the best part is that God and our God are the same. the Lord will fight our battles with us, and that is the best weapon/protection…aka confidence…that one could ever ask for.

I heard a quote once that said something along the lines of “act like it all depends on you, and pray like it all depends on him”.  I know when we do this, we will be victorious.

the lesson ended with a quote by president Hinckley.

“There are Goliaths all around you, hulking giants with evil intent to destroy you.

…You need not fear if you have the slingshot of truth in your hands. You have been counseled and taught and advised. You have the stones of virtue and honor and integrity to use against these enemies who would like to conquer you. Insofar as you are concerned, you can hit them “between the eyes,” to use a figurative expression. You can triumph over them by disciplining yourselves to avoid them. You can say to the whole lot of them as David said to Goliath, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”

Victory will be yours. There is not a [person] within the sound of my voice who needs to succumb to any of these forces…You are a [child] of God. You have His power within you to sustain you. You have the right to ministering angels about you to protect you. Do not let Goliath frighten you. Stand your ground and hold your place, and you will be triumphant. As the years pass, you will look back with satisfaction upon the battles you have won in your individual lives.

When temptation comes your way, name that boastful, deceitful giant “Goliath!” and do with him as David did to the Philistine of Gath. God bless each of you, I humbly pray.”

amen to that.

I hope we can all face our goliath’s with courage, and have the comfort in knowing that God our father is behind our efforts.
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popes. arabs. camels.

this is the random of all random posts. i'm still playing catch up on this trip of mine, so excuse the total absent of anything chronological for these first few posts. 

(1) Popes 
did i tell you that the pope came? oh and that he stayed in the building literally right next to where i live? so that's cool. we had his hundreds of security peeps living and taking over the JC for a few days while he was here. some friends and i went pope hunting to try and catch a peek of him at damascus gate...we are pretty sure we saw the car...that he was probably in. but it was a real good time. israeli guards were every 10 feet on every streets in Jerusalem. camera men, tourists, bands, locals were all over the streets celebrating the pope's visit. 
when we were waiting, we saw a little riot/scuffle with the Israeli guards and some Palestinians. it was the first scuffle i've ever seen...and it freaked me out. but now i'm glad i got to see it. the air was charged with excitement and anticipation of seeing one of the most influential men in the world. it was tight. 

(2) Arabs 
a few weeks ago we had an arab dinner night. we all dressed up. listened to some muslim's who do the call to prayer at the dome of the rock. ate an arabic FEAST. then did some arabic dancing which was amusing to say the least. 

(3) Camels 
for our last free day, the group of us went exploring. we went to a lot of places...it was a long day. the highlights were the camel. having josh and jason use their russian to get us into the russian orthodox church which was gorgeous. and the tomb of the prophets. i don't have a ton of pictures, but here are a few. 


the city all dressed up.
 news peeps.
 guards chillin.
 getting some grub at our fave pizza place in west J.

 right before the scuffle.

 he had a good view.
 guards on all the walls.
 liza. from seeing the queen to seeing the pope. we have good adventures together.
 my little family. seriously what would i do without them?
 these little boys were play fighting. and i thought it was way amusing.

 ali the freaking arabic princess BABE.
 hi slater.
 hi daniel.

 taylor and the camel.
 camel threatening to spit on ali.
 tomb of the "prophts"
 dan excited about getting into the russian church.
 our russian heroes.
 why this place is cool. turn the corner and see things like THIS.
 schindler's grave. Jews put rocks on graves instead of flowers. much more logical if you ask me.
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gethsemane and growing up.

hi. these thoughts are a little jumbled…so just bear with me.

first the gethsemane part:

I hope I never take for granted the fact that I can walk 15 minutes after church to the garden of gethsemane. I mean come on…please.

gethsemane is beautiful, and the church of all nations is beautiful too. in the garden we saw the little olive tree the pope planted while he was here visiting the other week…which I thought was rad. I loved the big olive trees there too. I love their twisted trunks. I feel like they are a little symbolic of His atonement, of the suffering that He experienced in that garden. one of a million symbolic things about those trees. I love living in a place filled with worship. people from all over the world who are desperately in love with God. it’s humbling and faith building to witness.

we sat in the church of all nations (right by gethsemane) for a while. it was quiet, and dark, with beautiful purple stained glass windows on either side. I let myself be quiet, and I felt the spirit. I was looking up at a picture of Christ, and just felt a little overwhelmed by his love. I felt so thankful to be where he once was, but more importantly to have the opportunity to be with him now, in my own heart.

now the growing up shpeel I had while @ the church of all nations: 

I had some random thoughts about growing up while I was sitting in that church. about some experiences I’ve had in the last year that have been really hard but have helped me grow, a lot.

I had a hard break up in January, and let me just say moving on is hard. really really hard. I’ve only done it once in my little short life—and it hurts my heart to know that people go through that multiple times. the only comfort that I can see in it is that it is totally and completely worth every ache…eventually. 

I’ve been working on mine—for 6 months now. (wow…I can’t believe it’s been 6 months) for a while I couldn’t see how I could ever move on. it’s been 6 months of ups and downs. 6 months of lots of shallow dates and disappointments. but the more time that goes by, the more wisdom I see in why things happen they way that they do. retrospect is my jam. seriously.

I’ll admit. my break up was a huge reason I fled to Jerusalem, among others. this past year has been a hard one for me and my family. it felt like we just kept getting hit with wave after wave of hard things. a flooded house//a hard year in school//a dying dog (kk don’t judge-this was made us cry way more than we anticipated)//a busy tax season//an emergency scoliosis surgery for our favorite climber//a heart condition//and my break up (that sounds super shallow compared to the rest of the things of the list #oops). the point is, I was emotionally exhausted. and Jerusalem was going to be my little break from everything.

I felt like I was going to gain some clarity while in Jerusalem. and I have. before walking to gethsemane, I was reading through my journal, and I skipped across an entry from last summer. I was writing about the night I think I fell in love with that boy I’m still getting over—it was up at my cabin. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I had written a list things I loved about him. I couldn’t imagine me wanting anything else from a relationship—but reading that list now, I’m not sure. everything on that list was good, really good. but they weren’t the lasting kind of things that I feel like I need in my future partner in crime. I’m not saying this boy doesn’t have those things too, just we didn’t have them at the time.

I’ve been observing some qualities in other people that I really admire. people’s humility before the lord, their awareness of others, their strength, their faith...characteristics that I was kind of missing in my vision of what I was looking for. the biggest one though, probably being a person’s ability to love. not that these people love me, but I can tell that they will be crazy about whoever they choose to love. in addition to retrospect—words of affirmation are also my jam. I never knew if this boy was crazy about me the way I was crazy about him. and let me tell you—love needs to be a two way crazy street.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’ve learned a lot from this break up. a lot about me//him//god//and others. I don’t know if we will ever get back together, but I do know that I’ll always be thankful that I’ve had this time to learn a lot about a lot of things. I know that my little peek of understanding I had when reading my journal helped the process of moving on along. I know that I wouldn’t be creating friendships and experiencing incredible things in Jerusalem like I am now. I know I wouldn’t appreciate and understand what I really want in my relationships like I do now. I know my testimony in HIS understanding and wisdom has grown because of it.

I heard a quote a few Sunday’s ago that said, “when you have faith in God, it doesn’t matter what you don’t understand”. amen. amen. amen. I know this is true with every fiber of my being. I know that when you align your purposes with God’s purposes…well God doesn’t let his purposes fail (just like the story of david and goliath). so I’m trying to have a little faith in all the “not understanding” that comes from being a single 20 year old girl. and it’s getting better—with time and with trust.

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6.16.14 // pic post.


here are a few randoms since i've been here. there's a lot...but it's a month of catching up in a lot of cool places.

liza and ali.
 a shepherd in bethlehem.
 first field trip class pic.
 boys singing.
 gracie and liza.
 the girls.
 cole, angela, kyle @ garden tomb.
 i ruv him.
 brian-make the same face as the mask behind you.
 liza the pretty.
 me and ali w/rip off scarves.
 ali, brian, slater @ dome of the rock.
 guard in turkey.
 our trusty photographers.
 ma boo and ali.
 we find footstools for ali.
 he doesn't stop.
 kyle and val.
 i love her so. much.
 me and the babes of bethlehem. 
 ruins with lize.
 twertle race in turkey.
 they are totes pops with the turkish kids.
 we slammed that nutella and a basketball of hot bread for dinner.
bonfires in the jewish orthodox neighborhoods.
 turkey at night.
 more ruins...
 ali, grace, liza.
 yeah, ali found this in turkey. #jackpot.
 mosque getup.

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