25 February, 2013

Non-Field Study Updates

I live in such a beautiful area of Israel, the Hill Country region. My quiet times with Jesus find new locations frequently, because there is so much to explore even just in the area around the moshav. One of my fav things to do is to read Scripture with the mountainous terrain surrounding me accompanied by the cold Israeli breeze and the warm sun. It gives a different meaning to the text. The weather that I feel on my skin here is the same that Jesus felt on His.. He felt the same wind, the same sun warmth, the same rain droplets, the same cool nights. I love living here.  

 The moshav has a really cool part called the Biblical Gardens. It has a threshing floor for wheat, a wine press, a second temple tomb, an olive press (for olive oil yum!), and a grape vine.

This is the threshing floor.. it separates the wheat from the tares so that bread can be made

The wine press

And this is the first thing I see when I walk out of class. hello Hill Country of Judea!

Outside of our library

Overlooking Neve Ilan toward the evening. Rain clouds are not strangers to Israel during the spring


Exploring Jerusalem on Shabbat is the highlight of my week aside from our field studies. No matter what the circumstances, I have a dumb smile plastered on my face and am so thrilled to be there.

Although Shabbat is on Saturdays, it actually begins on Friday nights when the sun goes down. We all get slightly dressed up (aka no hiking pants and t-shirts haha) and meet together for a very delicious, redeeming meal. Briana did the opening Bible reading this time!

After this, we have chapel which is one of my favorite things here. The student-lead worship is the best you could ask for (we have SUCH a talented group of humans here!!! jeeeeez) and the speakers are Israeli and wonderful and have great things to say. Then after chapel, we all hang in the miklot :)

There are two walls of signatures of past IBEXers in the miklot. It's so neat to find people you know and to look at how many students have done this same program.

And this special signature is from my wonderful wonderful boyfriend, who was here this time last year. We were together last year too so this is our second time being separated by the IBEX program but we wouldn't have it any other way.. it is amazing what the Lord has done for our relationship through all of this. God is so gracious to have given us each our own opportunity to study here in Israel. and it is definitely comforting to see his name every time I am in the miklot :)

Sarah has been learning how to use my camera and all that good stuff.. this is an original shot from her :) hahaha. she is a great lil photographer!!


Other fun things we do to celebrate Shabbat (even though Shabbat is technically over when the sun goes down Saturday night) is something called SNL - Saturday night live. From gathering in the conference hall for games to sending different groups to each professors house to doing short night hikes... it's always a great time.

One of the times I got to go to the Schlegel house and was treated to homemade ice cream and brownies along with some amazing hot chocolate. Stephanie Schlegel, Bill's wife, makes the most delicious food and is such a wonderful IBEX momma :)

The next time my group went to Natalie and Wendy's home, and it was great. We played games and had good talks and were also fed incredible brownies. It's nights like these that make IBEX feel so homey.

The next time we do the home visits I will be at Benj and Yael's house which I am really looking forward to! :) yay

One of the SNL festivities we did was a night hike to the local McDonald's

It was comforting to have some American fast food, even though the burgers still had an Israeli twist to them. 

After this, we set up a bonfire and had story time and fellowship. a wonderful way to end the night

One of the Sundays here, it was Paige's birthday and we celebrated by having a girls' night in the miklot :)

We ended up having a hilariously fun night, danced too much, and stayed up too late. So good.

And re-enacted scenes from different plays and movies with song. hahahahaha Becky and Paige are doing the song "A Whole New World" from Aladdin here

And speaking of Paige, she is a lover of all the moshav cats and decided to give a particularly stinky one a bath... it was theeeee funniest thing to watch

Then one fateful day this glorious pair found its way to mine and Sarah's door. We miss Mexican food everyday. Thanks Bryant!!

That next week, we had two days full of Jewish Thought and Culture class. Although ten hours of the same class can seem daunting, we literally have theee greatest prof ever so it was great :)

Ariel (our prof) let us out a little early, and we were able to catch the sunset before it disappeared. The sunsets blow my mind here.

This past Friday wecelebrated Bryant's birthday. Natalie and Wendy make delicious treats to celebrate every birthday in IBEX. It is one of the many kind things they do for us.. it helps us to feel like one big family. I love it here! These were chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.. amazing.

Last but not least... we had a game night in the miklot and it turned into the world's greatest (and longest!) pillow fight. Chaos broke out everywhere while Ben and Becky serenaded all of us. Hahaha