Tag Archives: John

Israel Calling

Israel Calling

Do I hear Israel calling?  I do.  I hear Israel calling my name, “Come to me… Come to me…”

So, I’m going.

I have some wonderful friends.  Some how it was assumed I was going to be somewhere, or something, but anyway, I’m pleased with what happened.  Here it is in a nutshell…

John comes to pick up some portraits.  He says, “I understand you’re going to be joining us in Israel.”

Me:  I am?  (I’m really kind of confused at this point because I had written it off for early 2017.)

John then got confused and I basically told him I would if I could swing it.  Then, a couple hours later Matt calls, “Hey, buddy,” (which is how he always starts his conversations with me).  He then apologized for any confusion and invited me to join them in Israel.

I asked him to email their itineraries and if I can, I will.

Good Fortune on my Side

Good fortune is on my side.  I give God credit.  (And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments. — D&C 59:21)

When I checked the other day, the week was sold out at the one hostel.  Not only did they have a room, it was about 1/3rd the price.  The same thing happened with the other hostel.  Then, when I went to book a flight, while it was a tad bit more than before, the savings on my lodging more than made up for the difference.

I’m so excited!!!

One of My Plans

One of my plans while I’m there is to take some of my Book of Mormon Action Figures (Lehi, Nephi, Laman, Lemuel) and photograph them at various locations in the Holy Land.  While this may sound strange to you, I’m jazzed about it.

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Lehi, Laman and Lemuel

I don’t plan to do a lot of them, just a few.  After all, most of the Book of Mormon stories take place here.  It’s only a few that take place in the Holy Land.

Another Turns 30

Another Turns 30

Today, another turns 30.  Yes, another one of my children has turned 30.  It’s making me feel old.  I’ll get over it.

We joked back and forth about how she has now passed me up.  (I’m 29, I told her, but she wasn’t buying it.)  In reality, the last few months she has been 1/2 my age, but not any more.

Happy Birthday Amber!

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We had quite a crowd at church today.  The Young Single Adults in the area are having their conference this weekend, so many of them were attending our Sacrament Meeting this morning.


After church I made a chicken dish for the missionaries. It’s quite easy and tasty.  Here’s the recipe…

1 boneless chicken thigh per person, pounded thin, coated with buttermilk or plain yogurt, and then coated with flour seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, marjoram, paprika, oregano, and then pan-fried in oil.

Cover the fried chicken with a scoop of hot marinara sauce, top with a slice of provolone cheese and garnish with slices of cooked, sweet, Italian sausage.

I guess you could have pasta with it, but I served it with salt potatoes (a regional classic around here.)

After dinner, I took a few pictures of the missionaries with Elizabethe in the garden.  These will be submitted to create.lds.org.


copyright 2015 db walton

Missionaries Helping Pull a Few Weeds

Our next stop was Rochester for a fireside with Dan Rona.  Dan is from the Tribe of Judah (i.e. a Jew) and he is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I’ve known about Dan for decades.  It was nice to finally meet him and hear him speak, especially after having been to Israel.

While I was hoping for more pictures and discussion about places and events, I was pleased with his details about Jewish customs.  I love how he put the following (and I’m summarizing)…

  • Jews believe the priesthood has been lost and needs to be restored (they are waiting for a Messiah ben Joseph)
  • Catholics believe the priesthood was never lost (i.e. the keys were passed to Simon when Christ announced he was Peter (the rock) and upon him the church would be established)
  • Mormons believe it was lost and has been restored (the keys were lost after the apostles of old were killed, and then restored by Peter, James and John to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery)
  • Protestants don’t believe it is needed (many say they receive authority from the Bible)

While I’ve often looked at the difference between the Catholics, Protestants and Mormons,  I’ve never included the Jews in that list… until tonight.

Israel Day 8 – The Sabbath Day

Today is the Sabbath Day here in Jerusalem.  Or Sabot (shaw-bot) as they call it.  It is very quiet and the streets are quite empty.  Last night, devout Jews made their way to synagogue.  Their Sabbath will continue until sunset tonight.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.  Likewise, Latter-day Saints here in Israel honor the Sabbath day by going to church on Saturday.  We did likewise and headed to the BYU Jerusalem Center for Sacrament Meeting.

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BYU Jerusalem Center (left) and Old Jerusalem (right)

The building where we attended Sacrament Meeting has these large arches that frame old Jerusalem.  The arch style fits the architecture of the city and the building definitely enhances the Mount of Olives.

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Building Side that Faces Old Jerusalem

We headed in to Sacrament Meeting and there were greeted by several BYU students who are studying there.  It was not a large congregation and is a branch (not a ward).  Today is Fast Sunday, so we got to hear many testimonies.

copyright 2014 db walton

Heading in for Sacrament Meeting

For my LDS friends and family… Imagine singing Redeemer of Israel as the opening hymn while over looking the walls of old Jerusalem.  Imagine partaking of the sacrament on the same mount where Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins in Gethsemane.  (Yes, I could look out the windows to my left and see the area near Gethsemane.)

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Looking Towards Gethsemane from the BYU Center

It was a moving and touching experience.

With our luggage in tow, we headed to Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee.

copyright 2014 db walton


Capernaum is an important location in the life of Jesus.  It was also the home of Peter.  It was here where Jesus was questioned regarding paying tribute to Cesar.  It was here where Jesus performed many miracles.  It was here that Jesus called Peter, Andrew, John and James.  It was here he cast out the unclean spirits from a man.  But, it was also here that he cursed, as he said,

23 And thou, Capernaum, which art aexalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to bhell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of aSodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

A fair warning as also given in the Book of Mormon:

14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.

Nonetheless, Capernaum was an exciting place to visit.  They have unearthed Peter’s home and, of course, built a church over it with a glass floor where you can look below and see the home.

copyright 2014 db walton

Peter and the Keys of the Priesthood

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Synagogue at Capernaum

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The Sea of Galilee

Each cooing dove and sighing bough,
That makes the eve so blessed to me,
Has something far diviner now,
It bears me back to Galilee.

O Galilee, sweet Galilee,
Where Jesus loved so much to be,
O Galilee, blue Galilee,
Come sing thy song again to me.

Each flowery glen and mossy dell,
Where happy birds in song agree,
Through sunny morn the praises tell
Of sights and sounds in Galilee.

O Galilee, sweet Galilee,
Where Jesus loved so much to be,
O Galilee, blue Galilee,
Come sing thy song again to me.

And when I read the thrilling lore
Of Him Who walked upon the sea,
I long, oh, how I long once more
To follow Him in Galilee.

O Galilee, sweet Galilee,
Where Jesus loved so much to be,
O Galilee, blue Galilee,
Come sing thy song again to me.

— Each Cooing Dove (Memories of Galilee) by H. R. Palmer

copyright 2014 db walton

Fishermen on the Sea of Galilee

When I walked down to the water, I saw these fishermen.  Being the joker that I am, I wanted to yell out, “Try the other side,” but I didn’t.  It was nice seeing how close they were to the shore.  When you read the scriptures how Jesus yelled out to those in the boat, it is hard to imagine being able to yell loud enough for someone to hear you unless you were close to the shore.  Sure enough, these guys were catching fish close to the shore, and with a boat that small, I wouldn’t venture too far away from the shore.

Yes, the sea (lake… it isn’t that big) was calm.  However, a few hours later, the winds came up and this calm sea turned in to a raging white-capped terror.

Our next stop was the area where the Sermon on the Mount was preached.  These terraced hills were home to one of the most impactful sermons of all time, where Christ taught the beatitudes.

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Sermon on the Mount Area

A church built on the shore is dedicated to the beatitudes.  Beautiful gardens surround this church, and many had come to worship and reflect.  There is a special spirit here.

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Sermon on the Mount Church

Matt pointed out that the beatitudes were given in three parts.  (I looked it up, and it covers three chapters in Matthew.)  Each chapter covers a higher level of teaching and enlightenment.

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Sermon on the Mount Area

It has been a long day, and the sun is about to go down and we began searching for an open restaurant where we could break our fast.  We finally found a “sushi” place that also sold other foods.  I went for the lamb kebabs.  Came dessert time, the sound of this decadent dessert sounded too good to pass up.  Matt and I ended up splitting one.

copyright 2014 db walton

Dessert – Waffle with Dolce de Leche, Whipped Cream, Ice Cream and Pecans

We then headed to our hostel where we’ll spend tonight and tomorrow night.  This is a nice, clean place right on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  Doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to accommodations on the thrifty side.

copyright 2014 db walton

Our Hostel