What joy to wake up with a call from Taylor!!!!! Elder Dalton was full of life, energy and enthusiasm and couldn’t have been more on fire about the gospel! Every few minutes he would stop talking to us in order to greet or talk to a passerby at the international gate in Mandarin. Passion for the language and the people just oozed from him and he teared up as he shared the First Vision in Mandarin. It was a beautiful parenting moment to hear him tell us what a gift and blessing our parenting has been to him. The spirit of missionary work filled the room and I was blessed by this sweet boy of mine. I think I will be floating for the entire week.
From our missionary call we went to the old German cemetery to pay our respects to Elder Haag and Elder Clark. They were young missionaries for our The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Palestine in the 1890’s who both died of infectious diseases. Their graves symbolize their lives that were cut short. Later when the state of Israel was created and denying any “new religions” that weren’t already previously established in Palestine, these two graves helped to prove that our church had indeed been in the Holy Land for 3/4 of a century. God has a plan. In Israel they put rocks on graves because rocks don’t die or wilt.
Along with this highlight we visited Caesarea Maritima- a favorite of mine- and read about Paul’s testimony to King Agrippa (“Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”) and Cornelius vision to send men to Joppa to Peter (What joy that must have been to have the gospel taken to the Gentiles!!!). The weather was perfect, the ocean was clear and the views were beautiful.
The kids REALLY wanted to spend some time in the Mediterranean so they convinced one bus to stop at the beach and we spent the rest of the afternoon having some ocean therapy. Lovely.