Through an organized tour, my sisters, cousin and I were able to get a permit for a day to go north. Actually the permit was given for a religious holiday. Last Sunday is believed to be the day when Christ gave the sermon on the mount and the beatitudes. We visited a church by the Sea of Galilee on the mount of Beatitudes. It was beautiful there...
One of the beatitudes...
At the church site:
Sea of Galilee:
We visited the Syrian hot springs. They are called that because the location is actually in the Golan heights which was part of Syria but is now occupied by Israel. So, I guess I can say I have been to Syria. It is by Al-Yarmook river which of course we can't get close to.
It has some hot springs with natural mineral hot water. They say that it cures some diseases and is good for the body. Because of my back problems and my sister's neck problem we hoped it would help. It was a 3 hour bus ride or so, but with amazing views of the Land that was once ours. All the hills and fields near Bethlehem are bare. hardly any grass or trees. When you go north you see how beautiful the country is. Of course you have the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean up north. 20 years ago we used to be able to drive anywhere we wanted in this country. As a child I remember going often to swim in the Mediterranean and in the Sea of Galilee. Now it all seems so far and beyond reach. Is it nice to go visit such places when we can (once a year)? I think it is more painful because you see what we don't have anymore.
It was a cold day relatively, but the water was warm (well somewhat hot). There is an inside pool which was really hot. We could not sit for more than 3 minutes in it...Even though someone told us that sitting in that pool for 10 minutes is like walking 1.5 miles (I mean it burns that much calories). We called it the frying pan, because really that is what it felt like. Why would anyone willingly sit in a frying pan full of hot boiling water?
There were some animals (alligators and others) near the pools. They had a parrot show (Smart birds!). They ride on roller skates and on a bike on a wire...It was really cute.
On Friday I went to a church meeting in Ramallah. It was a really nice meeting. The Ramallah group meets for church on Fridays. I gave a talk at church and to introduce me, Tony said "we all get to hear from one of the top 100 Mormon women in the world". Where is that coming from? Well, my friend sent me this link that shows that I am on the top 100 coolest Mormon Women in the world. Here is the list (in Alphabetical order and I am #78):
It was so surprising to me! I mean I thought I knew a lot of people, but not that many people!!! Anyway, it is only a list suggested by some people, so it means nothing. But, I still think it was kind of neat to be on it.
My friend Emily cooked Musakhan for us after church. It is a famous Palestinian dish with chicken. It was very good! Emily is an amazing cook, you would think she was Palestinian when you taste her food.