Testing, 1, 2, 3

Trip Start May 19, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Jerusalem University College
What I did
Jerusalem Church

Flag of Israel  ,
Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yeah, the titles are going back down hill.  Sorry folks.

Being rather worn out from the late night at the Holy Sepulcher "late by our standards-we've been getting up at 5:45 most mornings", it was excellent to sleep until 8:15 and roll out of bed towards breakfast.  From there I made myself presentable and got my studying on for an hour or so before leading an expedition to the Jerusalem Church, an experience unique enough to merit some recording.

After a quick google search to make sure I knew how to find the church, I realized this might not be an easy task.  I encountered no fewer than 4 ways to spell the name of the street on which it was located, a winding affair deep in the Old City's Christian Quarter.  I might make so bold as to brush my shoulders off for getting our group of about 20 to our target:  a somewhat marked, somewhat defaced residence that had its upper room turned into a sanctuary for a congregation of about 15 Palestinian Christians, led by their pastor, a missionary from South Korea.  Of course it was slightly awkward doubling the size of the congregation, no I don't speak the Arabic in which the worship was conducted and the Bible verses read, and yes the old lady behind me put her hand on my shoulder and didn't take it off for the majority of the service, but that's what made the message all the more powerful:  again, it's the season of Pentecost, and it meant all the world to the pastor of this small and presumably struggling congregation that, on this day of speaking in all languages and the launching of the expansion of the Church, 20 Americans would find their way to his church.  Oh, and his family served us all pastries and fresh apricots afterwards, which was just dandy by me.

This and lunch being accomplished, it was alas time to begin studying for the test that was to come at 4:00.  There's probably not a good way to say this, but I studied for probably a solid 2 1/2 hours, and should have studied for about 1/3 of that; I finished the test in literally 5 minutes, and the consensus among the group was something like "wow, that was a pleasant surprise".  In celebration "and because this is what we do", after dinner a considerable contingency of us went into the new city for waffles and/or coffee.  There is a phenomenon of the waffle bar here which bares mention:  instead of going in for cake or similar, one goes in and gets a large, fluffy waffle topped with any number of delectable whips, icings, syrups, fruits, chocolates, and other sources of concentrated caloric deliciousness.  As an aside, I should mention that Molly and I went for a run in anticipation of this and before dinner, not that I think it will matter much.  Still, I mention these runs because it illustrates how my mental map of Jerusalem is continually expanding and I have access to a greater and greater number of places I'd like to try in my time here.  Anyway, when we went out, most of the stores were closed in honor of Pentecost "for those of you wondering, turns out Pentecost was originally a Jewish holiday related to the harvest and 5 weeks after Passover", so we moseyed around until we found some non-kosher shops.  By the time we found these it was after sun down and the Shabat was over, so stores were starting to put out their wares.  It's been a really interesting experience, seeing the Sabbath and religious holidays being observed so broadly.

Well I'm fading and I don't have much left to report, so I'll wrap this up.  I'm currently sitting on the roof of the college, listening to a family across the way celebrate loudly in their courtyard.  Tomorrow we leave for a three day, two night expedition into the south, beginning with a hike in the Judean Hill Country and a visit to the Ashkelon archeological site tomorrow before bussing it way south to the Wilderness of Zin "how awesome is that, just saying".  I'm planning on bringing the lappy along and posting, facilities permitting, but we'll have to see.  I think that's it for now.  Peace and blessings y'all.
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