I was giddy to go to church in the Jerusalem Center. Not only does that building have a temple like spirit but it held special memories for me of a time when I was able to come to know the Savior in a deeper way than I had previously. What a gift for Drew to be able to pass the sacrament there overlooking the great city of Jerusalem and on a hill not far from Gethsemane! I loved singing the hymns in that sacred edifice and I loved experiencing one of the most powerful testimony meetings I have ever attended. As I reflected on what made it so powerful it was obvious- everyone had testified of Christ: of his divinity, of his love, of his power, of his suffering. It was “filling”.
Kathryn and I were dear friends back in college….
Drew, Bella, Juliette, Hannah, Ava
I felt like I could just burst with joy………and then if that wasn’t enough we went to have our own testimony meeting in the Orson Hyde gardens. Again, beautiful. What wonderful people we have gotten to know! How our lives have been blessed by their testimonies!
I felt so fortunate and so grateful. Basking in that feeling the men consecrated oil and we went across the Kidron Valley to the Upper Room. It was chaotic and crowded, but Karen (Roy’s daughter) began to sing “In This Very Room” (which we had sang as BYU students in that exact same venue) and everything became completely calm and peaceful. It was amazing. Once again I was filled. I wanted to hold on to that feeling and capture it as it was the perfect embodiment of “being in the world, but not of the world”.
Bella, Juliette, Drew and AshleyMindi and I with our dear friend Gina Carson from China
Our final stop was Caiphas’ palace or where Caiphas’s palace may have been, and where Christ would have been tried and scourged. Mindi, Bonnie, Brian and I were with Bella and Drew and some of their new wonderful friends. The feeling in the building was dark and we began to sing, “Peace in Christ”. The heaviness dissipated and we began to feel light, even joy. Christ makes our bitter, sweet when we turn to him.
Another bitter moment was when we had to say goodbye to some of our new friends. This continued over the next 24 hours. Someday our reunions will be sweet as we have all changed each other for the better.