go get 'em tigers

1:49 AM Marcie Parson 3 Comments

Our last day in Jordan started with the Roman Theater of Philidelphia and the Odeon. Some brave souls treated us to some musical numbers, including an Arabic song (thanks to our tour guide Mohammed), some beat-boxing, and a hymn by our very own Brother Hunstman, MoTab choir extraordinaire. The girls threw together some choreography and performed "Hey Now" by Hilary Duff. The video is priceless. The best part though was all 80 of us singing hymns with such incredible acoustics. Great juxtaposition right? Hilary Duff and hymns? I know.

sig boy band pic
the whole group!

The last stop of the trip was the Jordan River, where Christ was baptized. We sang hymns and stood in the muddy water. I am really starting to appreciate the power of hymns.

Such a great trip. Well done, Tigers.


zero to hero

1:33 AM Marcie Parson 1 Comments

Amman is out of control. It's the capital of Jordan and the home to one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world. Our first stop was the King Abdullah Mosque, where our tour guide, Mohammed, sat us down and taught us about Islam. I had no idea that Muslims had such similar beliefs to Mormons. I seriously was shocked. It made me sad that Americans, myself included, and Christians can be so ignorant about other peoples that we don't realize how similar all of us really are.
all of the girls had to wear head scarves and black robes inside the mosque

After the mosque, we proceeded to the Citadel of Rabbath-Ammon/Philidelphia/Amman. So many names. The highlight was definitely the Roman temple to Hercules, where you better believe we pretended we were muses and sang "I Won't Say I'm in Love."

temple to Hercules
signature muse pic

We also stopped at the Jabbok River, where Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32. So peaceful and green (which was surprising, considering the majority of Jordan had been barren, sandy desert).

Finally, we went to Jerash, an ancient Roman city. okay. So cool. Don't mind us romping around the ruins, walking through Hadrian's Gate, standing in the Hippodrome, prancing around ancient theaters, and taking muse pics galore. Thank goodness for patient boys who put up with our incessant picture taking.

Hadrian's Gate

brys, cam, marce, log, mere

Long bus rides, tours, miles of hiking (wish I had a pedometer), and lots of power naps on the bus. At night, we treated ourselves to a trip to Safeway (what the American grocery store?) and ice cream at McDonalds. Successful day.



1:24 AM Marcie Parson 2 Comments

According to the JC director, Petra is the 3rd most amazing site in the world (as is everything else we see). But really, Petra is incredible. Don't be fooled - it's not Southern Utah, but it was the setting for Indiana Jones: the Last Crusade! In real life, it actually is an ancient Nabataean city where they carved massive burial tombs that look like palaces into sandstone that we got to climb around in, ride camels in front of, and hike up literally 1,000 steps to take pictures with (since pictures are our main motive here. Catching on?).

Me and Maddie in the Siq, the slot canyon leading up to the Treasury
Riding a camel in front of the Treasury
The Treasury
The Monastery (post 1000-step hike)
Sig Indiana Jones pic - good thing courtney is a cowboy and provided the hat and whip
sig pyramid pic - in front of the Monastery
One of the merchants insisted that he tie our scarves the bedouin way. Then some man offered 6 camels for me. True story.

Best part of Petra = getting to check "ride a camel" off my bucket list.


jordan jargon

1:10 AM Marcie Parson 0 Comments

One Jordanian passport stamp later, I finally made it home sweet home to my never-ending supply of pita and nutella in the JC cafeteria. Jordan was such a jam-packed week (meaning we took way too many pictures for our own good) that each day deserves its own post. So let's start with day 1:

Mount Nebo, where Moses was taken up to view the promised land

Roomie pic. Love me my Carrie.

Madaba, home of the largest and oldest mosaic map of the holy land

Machaerus, Herod's fortress where John the Baptist was imprisoned and killed


service nerd

2:35 PM Marcie Parson 4 Comments

Somehow I lucked out and became the chair of the humanitarian committee here at the JC, and I love it so much. On Friday, we had our first humanitarian activity: making school kits to be sent out to kids throughout Israel. These kits include basic school supplies (notebooks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, colored pencils, rulers, and erasers) and they are heat sealed, boxed, and shipped off around the country. The JC partners with LDS charities, so we are well supplied and make about 10,000 kits (both school and hygiene kits) per semester. I love that we can reach out to the community. We may be legally bound to not share our faith, but we can certainly make a difference and let people know what kind of people we are!

The activity was a huge success. There was music, dancing, food, and a lot of hard work, and I'm so so pleased with the outcome of this project. It's actually quite embarrassing how "in the zone" I was. You could say I'm a tad passionate about humanitarian aid.

so proud.

ps. countdown til JORDAN - 5 hours.


negev forev

9:38 AM Marcie Parson 1 Comments

On Thursday we went to the Negev - aka the southern desert area of Israel. Our first stop was a bedouin weaving demonstration at Lakiya Weaving. This organization has actually been sponsored by the church because of their excellent education and employment program for women. We sat on pillows in their woven tent while watching their demonstration and being served tea and baklava. Their hospitality and humility was incredible.

Then we went to Arad where we saw some Canaanite ruins as well as an ancient Israelite temple. I stood in the Holy of Holies and next to a sacrificial altar - crazy.

Erin = the epitome of jeru style. baggy jeans, christmas knee-highs, and sneakers.

Then we went to the ruins of Avdat, a trading stop between Petra and Gaza. There we stood in two ancient temples, climbed through some caves, and took lots of nonsensical pictures.
It was freezing, but hey, my Old Testament paper and my Israel class were cancelled. Negev forev.


walls of jericho

10:41 AM Marcie Parson 2 Comments

On Monday, we drove down to Jericho, the "oldest city of the world." It was beautiful! It literally is in an oasis in the middle of the desert. We saw the oldest man-made structure found in the world, a neolithic tower, and the Elisha spring, among other things.

Then we drove down to King Herod's palace... or what very, very little is left of it. Can you picture it?

Finally, we drove to the Wadi Qelt and St. George's Monastery. WOW. So incredible. We drove to the middle of nowhere (the Judean wilderness) and suddenly we were on the edge of a cliff next to a massive canyon. There is a monastery built into the side of the canyon, and it was breathtaking.

Joshua 6:20
So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.


a slice of jeru

9:19 AM Marcie Parson 2 Comments

just some weekly pictures:

western wall
Haram es-Sharif grounds
al-Aqsa mosque
by dung gate
lunch at the Austrian Hospice in the old city. bought these bad boys for 40 shekels.



5:18 AM Marcie Parson 1 Comments

Marhaba (hello in Arabic)!

It makes me sad how quickly this week went by; I don't want this whole semester to slip through my fingers! We had about 5ish hours of class each day, and it's been quite cold and rainy, but we managed to squeeze in some time to explore the city, eat gelato, and goof off.

On Monday, we had our first field trip to several sites around the city. We saw Bethlehem, stood in the West Bank, and saw the dividing wall, Israeli settlements, monasteries, churches, and mosques. One of the most incredible things I've learned since being here is that there are so many similarities between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It's shocking to see how the values and even our holy scripture compares. Most of our professors are locals, and I love learning about their cultures and beliefs. I think my favorite thing about this place is that it is not only holy for Latter-day Saints, but it is also holy for all Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Everyone has a sort of reverence toward the city.

Jerusalem isn't what I expected... not that I know what I really expected. It's strange because the streets I walk on are obviously not the ancient streets of Christ's time, but the feeling is the still so special. The people in the old city are hilarious and so loving. They call us the "young Mormons" as we walk by, and they love us. Our friend Shaban has BYU pennants hanging outside his shop, offers us juice every time we walk by, made all of the girls free rings, and makes scripture cases and BYU-J shirts especially for us. Love it.

Bethlehem in the distance

Erin and I in front of the old city