Bags are packed, apartment cleaned out, and mind is home bound. It's hard to believe that nearly four months have come and gone so quickly; but yet, so much has happened in this period of time. People ask whether or not we are excited to go home, but really there isn't an easy answer. The best thing I can say is that it is bitter-sweet. Of course we miss our home and all of its familiarities and are excited to return (sweet), but the life experienced here was so valuable that it's hard to see it come to an end (bitter).
This trip was more than just going to study abroad about Israel, the Bible or the culture. What it brought me was the study of my self. Of course I have obtained much knowledge about the Word of God, the history of His people, the land, the past and current cultures, and much more. But I would be lying if I were to say that the knowledge stops there. When one is pulled away from their comfort zone, from familiarity, and the usual pace of things, you can't help but notice weaknesses and at the same time, obtain new strengths. That is what I have been taught here. One lesson that resounds more than others is the lesson of priority. Before coming to Israel we were so busy with school, work, and just life. I kept thinking and waiting for Israel in order for things to slow down and for me to "catch up" on things. But the truth is that you can be just as unproductive when things slow down as when you are hectic and busy. It's all about prioritizing and doing and not being lazy. You won't be more productive after the vacation or after the fishing trip or after you get your nails done. You have to want to get it done for it to get done. And being busy doesn't mean productive either, as C.J Mahaney said, "Busyness doesn't mean you are diligent, busyness does not mean you are faithful, busyness does not mean you are fruitful." That has been one of my most prized lessons here and one that I hope to never forget.
Some other things I'll miss:
-Being within a walk from the Old City of Jerusalem
-The beautiful weather
-Dr.Wright and all the field studies that we have had with the class
-Walking everywhere, great exercise!
-Studying and getting to know the Bible more
-Friends that we have obtained while here
This is what I am looking forward in Minnesota
-Friends and family (of course!)
-Thunderstorms (Minnesota has the best ones)
-Ability to tell apart sour cream from cream cheese and yogurt
-Pizza Luce and Chipotle
-Work (I miss working!)