Friday, February 17, 2012

Mount Nebo

While in Jordan we visited a site of great significance to the Bible. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites came near unto the promised land. Moses was commanded to climb to the top of Mount Nebo, where he viewed the land Israel was to inherit. Traditionally, it is here that Moses died (though LDS theology differs on this point). Therefore, Mt. Nebo is still honored today as the resting place of Moses. Accordingly, he has several monuments dedicated to him at the summit of the mountain.

The view the Israelites would have had of the "Promised Land"

The statue of the bronze serpent at the top of the mountain stuck out to me more than anything else. It commemorates the "attack" of poisonous serpents on the Israelites, and how they were saved by looking at Moses' staff (in the shape of a serpent). Luckily for us, the account in Numbers is elaborated on in the Book of Mormon.

In fact, some of my favorite passages in the Book of Mormon describe this event. Most importantly, the Book of Mormon teaches that many of the children of Israel did not look because of the "simpleness of the way," which seems to ring a bell with the themes of the Old Testament (specifically the story of Naaman) and the apostasy that occurred among the Israelites.

Bronze Serpent--monument to Moses

In short, I felt my visit to Mt. Nebo uplifting and memorable. Plus, what great views!

Love,

Mark

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Jordan River







The Jordan river is significant for a number of reasons. Historically, it has served as a natural dividing line and border between groups and nations (today part of it is the literal border between Israel and Jordan). Religiously, it is much more than a boundary.

First of all, the Jordan river is the spot where Elijah ascends into heaven, dropping his mantle onto Elisha's shoulders as his "chariot of fire" flys away. The Jewish population especially honors Elijah and Elisha as prophets of great importance.

Second (and in my opinion, closely related), is the baptism of Jesus. We know the story well. What I find significant is the fact that these two events occurred in the same place. Think of the baptism by water and baptism by fire spoken of by Jesus himself. Then consider the idea of Jesus' baptism by water and Elijah's ascension by fire. Not to mention the other LDS connections we have with Elijah and his role in the restoration.

The celebrated spot of Jesus' baptism
Church commemorating Elijah's ascension into heaven

The Jordan river, though not so clean, is a place of purity. I felt the spirit of the place as we sang hymns, studied our scriptures, and pondered the events that occurred there. 

Love,

Mark

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ramparts Walk








That same rainy day Kyle, Daniel, and I took a walk around the Old City wall. The views were spectacular, and enjoyed seeing the city from a different perspective. Though these aren't the original walls of the city of Jerusalem during the days of Jesus, they are still pretty impressive.

Love,

Mark

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Roman Ruins

Citadel of Amman:

While in Jordan we got to see many roman ruins. A few of us went Mr. GQ crazy and tried get some good boy band shots. Hope you enjoy!








Roman Theater:

This huge Roman theater in Amman, Jordan seats around 6000 people. We got to sing hymns as a student body to the guards, which was a memorable experience. Definitely one of the highlights of being in Jordan!

Mark, Bailey, and Kyle demonstrating the gigantesque of roman architecture






Love,

Mark

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rainy Day

We are currently in the midst of the rainy season here in Israel. Sometimes a day will start out literally cloudless, and before too long we will completely drenched from head to toe! These pictures are from one of those days. Daniel, Kyle, and I got back to the center, but we really felt like we had just gotten back from the pool! So, we decided to document our sudden change of circumstance.


We are definitely not all on the same page here.

Clearly I can't time my jumps...

Love,

Mark