Thursday, August 29, 2013

My soul did long to be there

I've decided to make a blog specifically about my adventures in the Holy Land. So here it is! I'm 5 days away from flying out to the Holy Land today. Let me tell you how I got here. You see, it all started on Friday, March 22, 2013...
My mind was totally blown today. A bunch of little things in my life all just came together.

So Ventana requires us to RSVP by March 30 in order to guarantee our stay here at the complex. I've been sure that I'll stay ever since they gave us this notice. But today as institute started, I had the thought to call mom and talk to her about it, just in case. So I made a to-do on my phone for it.

Then, in institute class we talked about Elder Holland. At one point we mentioned how he was instrumental in getting the BYU-Jerusalem center established. When the teacher showed the picture of that magnificent center, my eyes were totally glued to it. 
It influenced me through the rest of the class, and after it was over I immediately left to a quiet, secluded place in the institute where I could pray about the feelings I had. While I was there, I realized that this feeling was connected to the thought I had to call Mom about housing. I've wanted to go to Jerusalem for 12 years, ever since I went to Kimber Academy. That's half my lifetime. And after I've moved here to BYU it has been more of a reality, but I haven't been serious about it. I figured that I could probably do it in a year or two when my college career is winding down. Yeah, like THAT will happen.

But then I realized… you know? I can't go to Jerusalem once I'm married. Who knows if I'll be able to go in a year or two anyway. If I really want to go, I really need to make it happen sooner than later.

Well, I knew that I needed to at least research the possibility of going to BYU-Jerusalem this Fall, and see where that would take me, if I could even apply at this point.

On the drive home I realized that this might be why I got my raise...

I came home with a blank, overwhelmed look on my face, telling Corby I'd talk later. I immediately went to my laptop and looked up BYU Jerusalem application. And wouldn't you know it's only a 2-week window, and tomorrow is the last day for applications. Fancy that timing…

And isn't it also funny that I just barely took time to re-evaluate my college career path earlier this week, so that I could have a better feel of what I'd be up against if I shifted the whole thing back a semester? Turns out it would jam up a few things, but they would be further down the road. I'd still be able to come home and immediately start back into classes in the Winter.

And wasn't it also funny that I made a goal to get 9 hours of sleep each night this past week? Suddenly, when this urgent, time-sensitive matter comes up and presses my attention, I can spare to stay up late! Truth be told, once I was done, I stayed up with the roommates to play Dungeon Defenders 'till 12:30, but you know…

Anyway, so I've now filled out the application, and have most everything ready save for the Notary portion and the ecclesiastical endorsement, which luckily isn't due until the end of next week. Whatever is happening, I sure am jumping on this quickly. But it's something I've wanted for a long time. And I've contemplated it frequently. Like, at least every few weeks. And I feel worthy of the spirit. So when I suddenly get broad-sided with this irrepressible urge to jump up and sign up before it's too late, I can definitely believe that this is coming from the Lord. He probably also knows that if I had more time to seriously think about it, I would have psyched myself out. I just needed to get up and apply! So I'll apply tomorrow. And then I'll take this to the temple on Saturday.

What am I doing!?!?!?!?

Living out my dreams.
 So now it's today. August 29, 2013. Now I know that all of those coincidences from that night were divinely inspired. Since then I've seen many more things, some large and some small, work together to make this semester possible in ways I couldn't have anticipated! I'm not sure if it's like this for everyone that goes to the Jerusalem Center, but I absolutely know that this experience is part of God's plan for me.

It took me a long time to put to words the feeling I had that night when I saw the picture of the center. When I would explain it to my friends and family, my hands would grasp the air and my face would portray the deep need I felt! But then one day the words of Alma came to mind, which perfectly describe the feeling that God planted in my heart those twelve long years ago:

" soul did long to be there." - Alma 36:22