Well, I loved Egypt, and Jordan was incredible too! The first day was spent crossing the border and driving to Petra. We stopped at Mount Nebo (Where Moses was Translated) as well as Madaba—a church with this incredible mosaic of a map of the Holy Land in biblical times. The next day was PETRA!!!!! First off, let me just say that growing up on Indiana Jones definitely prepared me to anticipate and appreciate what I was about to go see!!! And oh my goodness, it was so great! I was impressed at how much Petra reminds me of Moab and other parts of Southern Utah—only it has awesome structures in the stone. I loved walking through the narrow pathway to see where it opens up to the famous treasury where Indiana Jones was partly filmed. But that is only part of how great Petra is. I rode a donkey up to the Monastery—which looks a lot like the treasury just bigger. The donkey ride was the best $5 spent! I had no guide so I rode a donkey up all these stairs by myself. It was actually a really special experience as I imagined what Mary went through on the Donkey on her way to Bethlehem with Joseph. But the Monastery at the top was so cool! Its huge!!!!! I still don’t understand how these people were able to build these awesome structures—but that goes across all different lands and cultures. After lunch at the bottom (which has fabulous falafels, yum!!!) I went to “The High Place” which is basically you just hike up all these stairs to the top of one of the rock cliff/mountain things, and you have a huge overlook of Petra—it is absolutely beautiful—I live for these types of adventure. I want to go to Moab so bad now! I loved Petra—it is absolutely incredible—everyone should go there!!! And, I got a ton of junk, I bought so many necklaces and other things. After Petra we drove to Amman. After eating dinner at the hotel I walked a couple blocks down the street with some people to this place where they had all these American food places like McDonald’s and Subway. There is also a Black Market movie store there which was very popular with the students—that man made a lot of money that night. The movies are actually legit though!
The next day was just as great. In the morning we went to this huge Mosque—where all of us women were required to wear these black robe things. I very much felt like a death eater from Harry Potter, too bad I couldn’t keep the robe or I would have had a perfect Halloween costume! The mosque was neat. After that we stopped at Jabok River where Jacob encounters/reunites with Esau. And then we went to Jersah! I LOVED Jersah!!!!! It is this old ancient Roman city. It is huge and so well preserved I was impressed! It was so neat. In the Chariot/Sports Arena I got run a foot race with some of the girls against these Jordanian girls. Me and Becca Snyder smoked everyone else, and I even did it in a skirt. I know mom, it was probably not very lady like, but hey, I still beat everyone in a skirt—that is awesome right? And it was about a 50 meter sprint, and sprints aren’t even my thing. It was so fun I loved it!! Then at the theatre there, these Jordanian men were playing the bag pipes and drums so a bunch of us girls danced with these other Jordanian girls. It was certainly a great bonding time with these women from a different culture. At one point I had about ten young girls come up and ask to get a picture with me because they thought I was beautiful—that made my day!! Especially since they were all so beautiful!
After Jersah we went and met with the District President and a couple members. The District in Jordan covers Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. There are about 400 members total. It is quite an incredible story. The church is everywhere, even where we cannot proselyte. And a man was even just recently baptized about two months ago!! I was so touched listening to the two members bear testimony—they truly are the pioneers of this land. I am doing my best to follow Pres. Monson’s council and pray for the missionary work to be able to come to these nations where it is not allowed yet. The work is coming here slowly, it truly is penetrating every nation!
After that we headed back for the hotel. That night many of us went to the Mecca Mall. It was a blast there, and felt like at home!!! I bought a shirt from FOREVER 21!!!! Can you believe that mom? It was so exciting! Haha. The boys from the group all rode the mechanical bull and we drew a huge crowd of Jordanians to watch us Americans. It was a riot. It was so fun, except it was disgusting cause everyone smokes in Jordan, and they all smoke in the buildings too. We went to go buy cookies from subway, and the guy gave me a free cookie cause he thought I was cute!! Man I am loving it here; I get free food for having blonde hair! We had to take taxis to and from the mall. I am pretty sure our taxi driver on the way to the mall was either drunk of high off of something. It was a little frightening but absolutely hilarious as well. I probably should have been a little more frightened than I was laughing, but I couldn’t help myself, especially since kept repeating the same English words he knew over and over again. I am safe though obviously, so it was all good. I am definitely grateful for America.
Today before heading home we stopped at a citadel and also at the baptismal site of Christ at the Jordan River. That was really special. We sang a few hymns there and read from the scriptures. I still can’t believe that I am actually at these sites. I think that one of the best part about going on these incredible trips is that when I come back home, I am coming home to the Center, which in itself is like a giant long trip. I love it. This place is wonderful and I am learning so much. I miss you all so much, and it was pretty tough to have gone all week without knowing anything about baby Brynn. I am praying and fasting! I love you all!
Singing to the Babe
2 weeks ago