This started out as a letter to mom and dad, but I think I will send it on to the whole fam.
Mom and Dad, it was so awesome to talk to you guys a little bit today. especially considering i was doing it from a little olive wood carvers shop in the middle of jerusalem. i tell you what the people of jerusalem are awesome. they really love and TRUST the BYU students here. For example. In order to buy that nativity, (which is beauty by the way, i really like it) I had to go to the money changers to exchange some money, usually you do that with checks, but all i had was a credit card. I asked the guy, Aladdin, who is the money changer that has dealt with BYU students for ages, if he could work as an ATM and give me some cash by charging my credit card. He told me that he would have to apply a 5 percent service charge, after a bit of negotiating, he just pulled out a paper and told me to write my name on it, how much i needed and he then gave me the $200 to buy the set as I told him I would bring him a check next time I come to town. What a guy huh? These people, regardless of their faith are all so full of light and love. I really do love these people. There are some many great faces in town, I love talking with merchants, getting to know them, (and then bargaining) ha. I really appreciate them and their "light" that they have.
In church on Sunday I had a personal epiphany regarding the Savior and key to happiness in life. The two words that I feel best describe the Savior are "light" and "love" I know those may be common, but think about it for a second. He had those, he does all he can to instill those qualities in us. We are all blessed with the "light of Christ." As we accept that light, our own personal light within us goes stronger, as does our desire to love more. To be more Christlike. All the people here have that light within them, and there will come a day when they will be able to stronger associate that light with the Savior and his love... and ultimately his atonement. It may be a while, but one day these blessed Israelis will come around and have a chance to explore and accept the gospel. But it all starts with that light of Christ.
I am sure Charity remembers this, as do you all from the time that you were here, but one of the most interesting comments that we receive, I guess I should say compliments that students here receive from virtually everyone in town, is that there is a certain light that the students here have. They tell me that they can pick a mormon out of any crowd of people. That is quite a compliment. They say our faces are full of light and happiness. I think that is the reason why they love having BYU students here, and why they have anxiously awaited a return for so long.
I really love this place, and the people that are here... everyone from the shopkeepers to bus drivers to the other students in the group to the kids. I just thought I would share some of my thoughts about this with all of you. It all comes back to the Savior and the light that he blesses all of us with. I guess that is what they mean when they call Him the light of the world.
I love you guys. Let's all try to have more Light and Love in our lives.