Jordan. where do I begin? well, let’s start on the bus…because that’s literally where it did start. what came to be the theme of my trip began during the devotional on the bus. as we were pulling out of the Jerusalem Center, we sang the song “ill go where you want me to go”. simple song, sung it hundreds of times, you know? but for some reason, as I sang the simple verses, I was overcome with a peaceful content. as I said the words “I’ll go where you want me to go…I’ll be who you want me to be”, the notion that I really could do anything for the Lord was made very clear to me (not that I always do...just the thought that doing so would bring me joy). I was filled with this yummy warm feeling. its fascinating to me that our will/agency/freedom is truly the only thing we can give over to the Lord, but by giving it that is the only way we can truly be free. it doesn’t work for anything else in this world, but with the Lord, it does! I have seen over and over again, that when I turn my life over to him, when I become completely submissive…well let’s just say things work out infinitely better than if I had taken things into my own hands.

anywhooo. back to the adventures. after crossing into Jordan, we travelled to a few sites. we went to Mt. Nebo, where Moses saw a vision of the holy land, and was later translated. it was “enjoyable”…dr. seely gave us a lesson at the top, while we looked out at the hot dirt spanning in every direction. the second place we visited was herod’s palace, where John the Baptist was beheaded. our lesson about John the Baptist from Brother Woods was wonderful. he spoke to us about how John the Baptist, and other great men and women find joy in other people’s joy. John was set apart to prepare the way for the Savior. John decreased so the Savior could increase, he found joy in bearing witness of Him, unto the very end when he was eventually killed. the thought of finding joy in doing what the lord requires of us came to mind again, going where he wants us to go, being who he wants us to be. though John’s entire life was devoted to aiding our Savior, it was evident that serving the Lord is what truly made him happy. after the lesson, we were informed we would be walking to the top of the mountain upon which one of herod's palaces once resided. it was hot, dirty, and no shade to be seen for dayz. we thought we were going to die, but it turned out to be pretty fun. we made the most of the sweaty trek to the top.

dan and his extra trendy shades.
 survival tip #1: seek shade and a comfy rock for lessons in the sun.
 behold your holy land.
 top of mt. nebo.
 top of mt. nebo.
because it's cool.
 mt. nebo.
 sis. nickel: "amazing that they can make them. amazing that someone would buy them"
  mother and daughter in jordan.

 three of my favorites all in blue. jason, josh, and sis. nickel.

 the mosaic map.

after that, we proceeded to drive for a few hours to petra. the bus rides were a bit crappy in Jordan. small bus, that would shake back and forth like a boat in stormy waters…aka sleeping was a NO GO. anyway, there was literally just dirt in every direction for hours. then you would randomly see a dude just sitting on the side of the road with nothing for miles. not even “sheeps in sight” as I so eloquently explained to my peers. I have no idea what they were doing there. I hope they don’t die. anyway, I was thinking that Jordan is kind of an ugly, hot, dirty place and that’s about it. my attitude wasn’t a 10 I guess is what I’m saying. but then I had this thought. I’m driving through JORDAN (actually the “Hashemite kingdom of Jordan” as our guide so repetitively explained) on a bus, with a bunch of my best friends, and there’s these rando Jordanian dudes on the side of the road every 45 minutes. no it’s no lake powell. but it’s cool none the less. how many people get to have that kind of experience? and that’s just the lame bus ride.

after arriving in petra, and a lot of convincing of the administration, we got to go to Petra by Night. ooooohhh my…be still my soul. back it up. petra is one of the seven wonders of the world, and for good reason. we hadn’t seen it in the day yet, but we walked through a part of it that night. they had little paper bags, with sand and candles in them lighting the path about every 5 feet on either side. it was magical. I saw stars for the first time in a long time, and the huge, dark walls of petra towering on either side of me. we walked through this little canyon-y thing until it opened up to the “treasury” where there were hundreds of candles lighting the wonder up. it was breath taking. it was one of those…kinda had to be there…moments. so sorry, but put it on your bucket lists.

**p.s. ALL pictures from Petra I stole from thanks to her 8,000 times**

the next morning, we woke up early, and were ready to start exploring. petra was stunning. we climbed and explored for hours. it was hot, but we were too entertained the whole time to ever worry about it. I’ll share a two highlights. first: the monastery. the hike up to the monastery was a little rough (it was later in the day, we were tired, and it was all uphill). anyway, as I turned the corner at the top, and saw the huge monastery towering over me…well it was worth the hike (see pictures below). we saw these little native kids crawling up the sides of the mountain, who would climb and jump across the top of the towering monument like it was no big deal. it was terrifying…one slip up and they would be goners. it probably didn’t help that we were providing a great audience for them. but definitely a unique sight to see. second highlight: CAMELS. oh. my. goodness. we paid three bucks to just ride in a circle in front of the treasury and take a picture on the camels…which made me happy as can be. but then, ali talked me into paying twenty bucks to ride the camels back from lunch to the treasury (about a mile or so walk). it was the best, most terrifying twenty bucks I’ve ever spent. our guide was named Ahmed, my camel was named Antonio and ali’s camel was named Daisy. it was an adventure to say the least. ali and I were dying the entire time. laughing or screaming. there were a few times Antonio tried to smash my long limbs up against some pillars, and Ahmed LOVED to get those awkward animals to gallop…despite me and ali’s pleas. we almost ran roughly 15 people over. and we couldn’t tell if Ahmed was yelling to get them to run faster, or if he had lost control of them. we came hauling up this path that had little shops on either side—both of us terrified. and there was brother belnap (our old testament professor) just laughing at us, with his camera ready to capture our terror. I still need to get the pictures from him…I’ll be sure to post them once I do. anyway. the moral of the story is we made it to the treasury safely. and it was the most uncomfortable, frightening, wonderful thing I’ve done in a while. best 23 dollars ever spent on a camel.

 the treasury.
 gah. i'm still in love.
 group shot in front of the treasury.
 josh might have been happier than me.
 Jason, Alex, Josh.

 we could not get a grip.

 josh and donkey.
 oh hey joshua.
 carl and ali.


 this little family literally lived in the walls of petra.

 the crazies on the monastery.
 the monastery.

 after surviving the death ride. daisy and antonio.

 they can be a little feisty sometimes.

after petra, all 90 something of our sweaty selves loaded onto our not so comfortable bus and drove for three hours to Amman. that night, we ate dinner, then went out to rainbow street (just a cool place to hang out in the city). we listened to the locals, and our fellow students play the guitar and sing together. it was a super cool experience.

the first day in Amman…wasn’t my favorite day. but we did go to a royal automobile museum, which was a nice change up—as opposed to the many ruins and piles of dirt we usually visit. that night, we met up with the famous Robert Caroll (as in Robert and the Caroll’s of provo). anyway, he lives in Amman, and he took us on a little tour of his city. we got ice cream, went to a cool art museum/shop, then walked downtown and had one of the traditional deserts that they make (can’t remember what it’s called). it was a real good time.

our second day in Amman we went to the King Abdullah I Mosque. where I had to wear this cloak thing that made me look like a death eater for lack of a better word. my favorite part of the day ended at the river Jordan. it was scary hot, walking to the river. but what a wonderful experience. dr. seely gave us a lesson about the baptism of Christ. it was technically the first lesson we've had about Christ from the New Testament (switching from old testament to new half way through the semester). the example of our Savior, who was the perfect example of going and being who the Lord wanted him to be, being baptized in the River Jordan was an amazing experience for me. and the biggest surprise of the day was that the River had the best wifi we've had since landing in tel aviv. so we all woke our parents up and skyped them from the site. 

jordan was hot. but it was a real good time. thanks jordan. until next time. 
post signature

1 comment:

  1. I love these photos!!! Again, thank you--I would have no idea what josh was up to over there were it not for your blog ;) I don't know which I like more--the photo of the "three wise men" or the one that looks like maybe josh didn't clear that gaping hole he was jumping over (I assumed he did or we would have heard?)