For the past two-and-a-half weeks, I have been traveling around Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank with a group of Bethel and Tabor students. The focus of the trip is on expanding our understanding and awareness of the Israel-Palestine conflict and to visit different sites important to the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian faiths, as well as other tourist sites in the area.
Thus far in our travels, we have visited Petra (an ancient city hewn out of solid rock), ridden camels (!!!!!), the Church of the Nativity (where Jesus was born), the Wall separating Israel from the West Bank (tragic), the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Gaililee, the Dead Sea (we floated!!!), the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques (we were able to go inside, which is HIGHLY unusual), the Western Wall of the Jewish temple destroyed in 70CE, and many, many other sites mentioned in the Bible.
Many treated today as a day off from school, and work, but how many have stopped and realize what this day truly means. Do many see this day as celebrating an African American legend who used peaceful marches and dreams to help break racial barriers worldwide or is this day about celebrating an opportunity to sleep in, play around, and watch TV? I don’t see today as just another day off. I look at today as a day of reflection. A day where we can reflect on how many of Dr. King’s dreams have changed from an image of a dream to reality. As I look at Dr. King’s dreams come true, I also reflect on how it’s not complete. If Dr. King were here today, he would be so pleased to see that people of different ethnicities are allowed to attend schools together, work together, and eat together. He would look and smile at the change that America has gone through as an African American president sits in office. He would be able to turn on his TV and see an African American woman with her own talk show, an African American coach that is the head of an NFL team, and African American quarterbacks. He could take a ride in his car and see an inter-racial couple holding hands without a care in the world. Dr. King would look at the world and see that so much of his dream has been accomplished, but he is not satisfied because his dream is not complete. Read More
Hello, friends and fellow students, Greetings again from the Social Development and Social Justice class here in Cuernavaca Mexico. I write to you on the morning of our last day here, as we are moving to Mexico City tomorrow. I think that the group has mixed feelings about the end, as most of us have really enjoyed this city, its people, and especially our host Gerardo. Though I think that one of the bloggers may write a little more about his story, I want to introduce you to him briefly because he’s a man I believe we’ve all come to respect and admire.
Gerardo grew up in Canada in a conservative family that had pretty strict religious views (Dutch Reformist I believe) and raised him in the traditions of Canadian dairy farming. He told us that for years he felt as though something was missing from his life, and even though he was making good money as farmer, he did not feel fulfilled. So with a group of other farmers around the area, he put together several trips here to Cuernavaca
, to get to know the farmers here and what their need were. Eventually this group donated 30-some dairy cattle to the people here, and Gerardo brought them down from Canada and began helping out here among the poor and marginalized. Read More
January may just be my favorite month at Bethel. The entire month is filled with more free time because of only having to worry about one class and if you play your cards right (like I did), that class is only two weeks long! That leaves much more time to hang with friends, play intramural sports and go support the basketball teams! This last Saturday the teams went to Bethany College in Lindsborg and both got the win. The ladies are now 3-3 and in the top half of conference and the men are 4-2. They have been working very hard and have been back on campus since the 27th of December; talk about a short Christmas break! Read More
Greetings from the Volweider sisters in sunny Cuernavaca!The Social Development and Social Justice Class has been in Cuernavaca, Mexico for five days now. We started our journey last Tuesday morning after much excitement and anticipation! Our traveling went seamlessly with the exception of one of our ginger students passing out on the flight from Houston to Mexico City. Luckily, there were a couple of doctors on the plane and the flight attendants were helpful, so everything turned out all right.We were greeted by the Quest program director Gerardo, (who was quickly nicknamed Gelato) and took a bus from Mexico City to our first destination of Cuernavaca. All of our eyes widened and smiles came to our faces when we caught our first glimpse of our new home for the next two weeks. It is located on a mountain in the outskirts of Cuernavaca. There are rolling hills, beautiful trees, fields of corn, and a colorfully painted house. The house has no door to enter and it is open to the flourishing outdoors. We also quickly discovered the stairs to the roof where we found a pool and the view of a lifetime overlooking trees, hills, and the city below. We also then had our first taste of the delicious traditional Mexican food that is prepared for us three times a day. Eating these meals is an activity that everyone in our group looks forward to! Read More
Our women’s basketball team traveled to Florida before the Holidays to play in a tournament. We lost both of the games, but still had a great time! We got to spend a lot of time in Daytona at the beach and we visited some great authentic beach restaurants! Then we spent a few days in Orlando visiting Disney World and doing some shopping!
Disney World was probably my favorite part of this trip. I had never been before and it was so magical! I cannot imagine getting to go there as a little girl! I think our whole team had a great time riding the rides and getting a chance to meet many of the Disney characters! We took lots of pictures but unfortunately I cannot get them to upload! Don’t you just love technology! Well, see the blog right before mine because I know Krishna posted some great pictures!
The women’s basketball team took a trip to Florida to play in a basketball tournament in Daytona Beach, Florida. Although the two games they played did not go as expected, as a team the two losses helped them grow and learn from their mistakes in order to get ready for conference play coming up in January. The two games they played may not have went as planned but they did get to enjoy some time off before conference as well. They got to enjoy the warm sunny weather at the beach, and they also got to go to Orlando, Florida to enjoy Disney World. Their time in Florida was a great experience because it allowed them to bond together and get know one another off the court. This bonding experience will help us gear up for the tough conference play ahead of us.
First Game Aginst Taylor of Indiana
Interterm is just around the corner! This is a different time at Bethel, and it is another one of those things that makes Bethel unique.Interterm is a bonus mini-semester; it spans the entire month of January and consists of classes that meet most of the morning or afternoon, or travel. Interterm is the time to go places, and this year is no exception. There are classes going to Mexico, Haiti, and Israel, but I won’t be going to either. Though it’s not as glamorous, I’ll be spending the interterm here at Bethel. Read More
Christmas break began, and the Bethel campus is very quiet. The last few days before break are always very hectic, full of studying for Finals, primping for Gala, performing the last concerts of the year, and finally, packing up and moving out. Gala and everything associated with it was a ton of fun. If you want to read more about it, the other bloggers did a fantastic job of covering it. Finals week is always fun in that high-stress sort of way. You’re amped up on so much caffeine and you stay up to obscene hours of the night; you don’t even have to start studying until at least Tuesday morning, because there are no Finals on Monday! Read More
I’d like to think that’s what the score was, at least. Semester one is officially OVER. I can’t quite say for sure, since not all of my grades are posted yet, but I feel pretty good about it. The last week of school was probably the most fun yet stressful. I was expecting finals week to be full of hours in the library and no fun, but it was actually kind of exciting. I was lucky enough to have my finals schedule evenly spread out so I only had to focus on one test at a time. Some people were not so lucky and had 3 finals in one day, but professors are very understanding and most will let you take a final on a different day if you have 3 or more scheduled the same day.
Campus is more or less empty now, which is kind of depressing. I’m going to work next week at the bookstore and Mojo’s is still open as well, but it won’t be the same. Now I just have to wait for everyone to come back for Interterm! Merry Christmas everyone!