We are so happy to have Sarah as part of our family. She is multi-talented. She is great with kids--including young Nadim at a gathering last Sunday in Bethlehem. Here she and her brothers pretend to help a Palestinian girl frisk an Israeli solider. This graffiti in Bethlehem is by the famed British artist Bansky. One of the service projects each semester for the BYU students is painting murals on the walls of the Princess Basma school for handicapped children on the Mt of Olives. This was the first semester the Emmett children have helped out. Sarah helped paint the turtle and Joel the cheetah/wildebeest/who-knows-what. Will painted dots on a wolf. Sarah has great artistic abilities. A week ago we enjoyed the Tel Aviv beach. Sarah is a great playmate for Joel and Will. She helps come up with elaborate and creative games.
A few weeks ago she finished all of her Faith in God requirements and she is now ready to attend Yong Women's for the first time on our first Sunday back in Springville. For her birthday she wants to go to a bookstore and buy a book for the flight home. Without the school library this summer, her reading options have been limited.
A few weeks ago after my morning religion class we went to visit some lovely Russian Orthodox Churches on the Mount of Olives. Our first stop was the Church of Mary Magdalene just up the hill from the Basilica of Agony in Gethsemane. It is one of the mot beautiful and noticeable churches in all of Jerusalem.
A mosaic above the entry of Mary bringing burial ointments to the tomb.
The large mural to the left is Mary before the Roman Emperor in which she offers him an egg as a testimony that Jesus Christ rose from the grave. The mural on the right is Jesus appearing to Mary on the first Easter morn.
A nice painting of Jesus praying that he not have to drink the bitter cup.
Another painting from the iconostasis of Mary coming to the tomb.
This is the free standing Russian steeple of the Ascension on the southern crest of the Mount of Olives. Unfortunately it is not open to climbers. It was built in the late 1800s so that pilgrims unable to make the journey down to the Jordan River could at least see the river from this tower.
The Russian Church of the Ascension stands near the steeple.
The ascension of Jesus from the dome of the rotunda.
Blood on the tile floor of a Byzantine Church that once stood here. Nuns were massacred here by the invading Persians in 614.
During WWI, Russian priests and nuns left the holy land leaving the church in the care of local novices. Each night during Turkish control the nuns would barricade themselves inside of the church for protection. They would spend the night praying to this bejeweled icon of the virgin Mary which is believed to have protected the innocence of these faithful women.
Behind this church is the Chapel of the Head of St. John the Baptist.
Tradition has it that the head of John was buried in this depression which was then covered in mosaic during the Byzantine era.