Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cairo Part Two and Mount Sinai

Well now to be honest I've changed my mind, and have decided to put Cairo 2 together with Mount Sinai. You see, I didn't sleep at all on that train overnight and got pretty sick. So one out of these last two days in Cairo I spent hanging out at the hotel with a good buddy of mine, Lauren, who was also sick. She's from Alaska, and was in the same congregation as on of my old mission buddies back in Anchorage. How crazy is that? The Mormon world is too freaking small, I swear.

So I missed some cool museums and such, but on day two I was back in action for my favorite day. We went around and saw all the biggest and most beautiful mosques in Egypt, learning all about the Islamic faith. We had four specific parts of the mosque pointed out to us, and had their functions/symbolisms explained. I won't even try to spell of them here, but we talked about the tower from which the call to prayer is broadcast from, the carpets with "lanes" outlined for where people pray, the acoustics to the domes and half domes throughout, and the podium where sermons and given on Fridays.
We learned a ton of stories from the Qur'an, examining the similarities and differences between its stories and the Bible's. We were taught about Ramadan and the importance of forsaking sin or weakness that is associated with it. We were also learning more about what is involved in their pilgrimage once they reach Mecca.

Now for Mount Sinai. The climb was ridiculous, mainly because I had diarrhea so bad by then. That was not fun at all, but our group was great and I was able to talk and hang out with a lot of people on my way to the top which helped a lot. The hike itself was only a couple hours, and the view on top was so worth it.

One of my most favorite things to do out here it read from the scriptures on site. It was so interesting to me to read about Moses and the burning bush, then later going to Exodus 19. I also read in Mosiah about Abinadi teaching King Noah's priests about Isaiah as well as straightening them out on what the law of Moses was really all about. I pondered the miracles that happened on Mount Sinai, how it was used as a temple for so many, the teaching that came to Moses from there, and how misinterpreted those teachings became over the ages. I was again felt so grateful for the fact that we have living prophets on the Earth once again today, that the Heavens are opened, and that those same miracles for that same God is still here for us today as He has been throughout time.
After my own personal reflections, I met back with the group to sing hymns together. Later, we enjoyed a couple talks and a testimony meeting. It was powerful stuff. As we started our way back down, our teacher gave us some closing remarks. He mentioned how the Israelites were so close to meeting God at Sinai, but that through their own choices they wandered the wilderness for forty years instead. "We've been able to hike this mountain today, but what will you choose in your life. Will you chose to wander for forty years, or will you claim this mountain today?"

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