We went to Tel Aviv this week. I felt like I had gone to a completely different world. It is about as far as you can get from Jerusalem... from Orthodox Jews with long curly sideburns in the Old City to fat ladies in skimpy bikinis on the beaches of Tel Aviv in about 45 minutes. It was awesome though. Had a nice swim in the Mediterranean Sea, hung out on the beach, wore Shorts!!! ate a fat old hamburger at a great restaraunt right on the beach as we watched the sunset.
I thought I had been to crowded beaches before, but this place made Waikiki look like Dingle, Idaho in comparison to NYC. People as far as you can see. Another interesting contrast to Jerusalem. It was Shavout, the day of Pentecost that we went to Tel Aviv, the streets of Jerusalem were quiet as all of the Jews were fervently studying, whereas it looked like Memorial Day in Tel Aviv, people everywhere.
After some time on the beach and in the water we headed down to Jaffa. A beautiful little city down the coast about a mile from the beaches of Tel Aviv. There was a nice boardwalk to so we walked along the coast the whole way down. We ran into a beauty little restaraunt there on the beach where you sat with your feet in the sand, eating hamburgers (pretty good, though it wasn't no Billy Burger) and watching the sunset. It was awesome. We then made our way down to Jaffa, or Joppa, you might remember it from the pictures in the back of your bible. Where Peter receive revelation to take the gospel to the Gentiles. It was a beautiful old town on the cliffs of the Med. Sea.
Then we had to take a jumping picture, you can see Tel Aviv in the background. The guy on the right actually looks like Superman. Well, the teachers here for some reason think that we all have superhuman powers and can read like 332 pages every night. These classes are rather short (time wise, only 7 weeks) but they pack everything into it. It kind of makes me sad for some of the people who are really worried about grades, because you have to sacrifice a lot of your time out in the city if you really want a good grade. I am working and learning, but I am not letting the work get in to the way of my education. Some people are a bit though. Darn BYU professors. Oh well. We are finishing the Old Testament this tuesday, and then on to the New Testament. I can't wait. I spent some time in the Garden of Gethsemane today reading and thinking, and it got me so excited to study more in depth the teachings of the Savior, and go to the places. I found a note that Charity had left for me there. Man, that girl is awesome. What a testimony she has! She inspired me to elevate my spirituality and get even more out of this experience here. She encouraged me to read Mosiah 3, about the Atonement. Wow. I am in the place where so much of Savior's life took place, and I get to go more places, like Galilee for example...we are going there on Wednesday and will be staying there for 9 days. I am so excited. Before then though we have 2 finals and a midterm for which I haven't studied yet. Oh well, that is what makes life interesting.
I said the closing prayer in church today and it hit me like a rock how lucky I am to be here, walking in the footsteps of our Savior, drawing closer to Him and learning so much. It seems much more like a dream than a reality. The spirit reassured to me today that Jesus is the Christ, and that he suffered in Gethsemane because he loves me, and he loves you. Read Luke 22. I love you all. Click on the link above to see a bunch more pictures from Galilee (the first time we went) and Tel Aviv. - Eli