March 25, 2011 11 Comments
Toward the end of my mission one of the Assistants to the President came to spend a few days with my companion and me. We tracted, we taught and studied but what I remember most about Elder Benson’s visit were the stories he related about spending a semester abroad in Jerusalem and Egypt. He talked and talked about the experiences he had walking where Jesus walked. The visit had changed his life forever and his excitement for what he had experienced planted a strong desire in both my companion and me.
Quickly, we had serious plans for after our missions. We would attend a semester abroad in Jerusalem together. We were best of friends and envisioned an adventure of a lifetime. We talked and dreamed about it often. He returned home two months before me and was to set the master plan in motion.
One of the first calls I made upon returning home was to my companion. I quickly learned that all the excitement for our “Jerusalem Adventure” had somehow been transformed into love; love for a sweet, good looking returned missionary. Like a good Mormon “RM” he had decided to avoid being a “menace to society” and was engaged to be married in less than two months.
No worries, I still could go by myself and my desire hadn’t faded at all, in fact, it had intensified. I began efforts to earn the money working three jobs. I was determined, focused and motivated. And then you guessed it, a very cute, spunky little girl returned from her mission and I was smitten. All plans, desires and dreams were put on hold to a someday future date when we both could go.
Jill and I have dreamed of a Holy Land visit since. We have been very blessed to go to Nauvoo twice, once with the entire family in the summer and another in January just the two of us. (That was my Favorite. Nauvoo in the snow is moving.) But we have always considered a trip to Israel the “holy grail” of trips.
About three years ago, Jill and I were dreaming out loud when Jill’s father, an adventurous soul, said, “Let’s do it!” So plans were begun, research done and pennies saved. Our goal was 2011.
As the time drew closer, circumstances created obstacles and major reasons not to go. Finally, a family council was held and it was determined that if we didn’t go now, as planned, we may never go.
So now I write this from an airplane headed to Israel. We are psyched to say the least.
We are so grateful for this opportunity and those who have helped to make it happen. (You too Christian and Josh!) I hope to do multiple posts over the next two weeks so stay tuned.