Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Parent's Weekend!

Holy Land, watch out- cause Derk and Lori Pelton are coming through! My parents just came on a tour of the Holy Land, and I got to see them while they were here in Jerusalem! I didn't realize how much I've missed them until it got closer and closer to me being able to see them. They got to Jerusalem Thursday night, the same night we got back from Jordan. So I got to see them really quickly then, and they dropped off my loot at the Center. They brought me lots and lots of barbeque sauce, Sour Patch Kids, Raisinettes, other candy, goldfish, the movie "Elf", and some "new" tops (meaning ones I already had in my closet but are brand new to me here since I've been wearing the same thing for the past two months), and a new camera! The camera is my Christmas present, but being in Jerusalem is a pretty good excuse to get it early. I was almost as excited to get all these treasures as I was to just see my parents... Just Kidding Mom and Dad! No, it was so nice to see them and begin to share with them all of the things that I've been seeing and learning. 

I didn't see them Friday because we were each doing fun things with our own groups, but then they came to Sacrament meeting at the JC on Sabbath. It's felt like forever since I've been able to sit at church with both of them. Their tour group was only staying for the first hour, so I tagged along with the tour for the rest of the day! I had already seen everything that they were seeing in the city, but everything is worth seeing again, and the company was even better. We went to the Upper Room, St. Peter of Gallicantu, Pools of Bethesda and St. Anne's Church, and the Ecco Homo Monastery. St. Anne's Church is the one with the amazing acoustics that I mentioned in this post, and the second visit did not disappoint. We had perfect timing and got to the church right in between groups, so we had it to ourselves for a little bit. One of the ladies in the tour used to be on a singing show, so she always leads their music and songs, and she also sang a beautiful song called "His Hands." It talks about all of the amazing things that Christ did with his hands- the miracles he performed, the atonement and sacrifice he performed, how he shows us the way. After she sang, we all sang "As I Have Loved You," then I sang. Yep. I guess my mom had been talking about me and mentioned that I liked to sing, so their tour director John Madsen (who is phenomenal) asked me to sing. I decided to sing "Jesus, Lover of My Soul." It's one of my favorite hymns, and I felt like it was appropriate for the venue. One of my favorite lines of the song is the last part of the second verse. "All my trust on thee is stayed; all my help from thee I bring. Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of thy wing." As long as we truly place our trust, faith, and hope in the Savior, he will help us endure any hardship we come across. He will cover and protect us from temptation and heartbreak. He will love us always. 

Sunday was my free day, so my parents and two other couples from the group (the Larson's and Clark's) ditched their tour group after the morning's activities and hung out with me in the Old City! They hardly got to be in the Old City at all, so I took it upon myself to take them around a little bit. First they met me at the JC and I showed them around the gardens. Then, they got the full JC Student experience of walking down and up the valley to the city. We went through Damascus gate, then around to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We then got hummus and pita at Lina's and of course visited Shaban's store. It was a pretty busy day! Showing them all around the city made me remember how awesome it is to be here. Now that I've been here for about 2 months, I've gotten used to the hustle and bustle and craziness of the little alleyways and shops, but all of this was brand new to my parents and their friends. It was fun to see it through their eyes again. I took them back to their hotel when it got dark, then my parents took me back to the JC to meet up with my friends to go to dinner. My parents were so nice and offered to take me and some friends out for dinner and not have the Oasis food again (not that it isn't good... but it's nice to have a change). The group was me, my parents, my roommates Robin, Whitney, and Amy, Melissa, Michael Sean, and Matty. We went to West Jerusalem to the first Chinese restaurant in Israel, and it was so delicious! We definitely never get chinese food at the center, so it tasted even better since it's been a while. I had so so much fun being out with my parents and friends just eating and chatting and having a good time. While waiting for the taxi to pick us up, we got ice cream across the street, which was also very yummy. Overall, it was such an exciting weekend! I love my parents, and I'm so happy that I was able to share just a little bit of Jerusalem with them. Hope they enjoyed their trip to Egypt too! 

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