President Nelson arrives in Holy Land, ‘where it all happened’

Editor’s note: Deseret News and Church News writers are chronicling the ministry of LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson as he and other church officials travel to Europe, Africa and Asia during the next two weeks. Sarah Jane Weaver reports today from Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM, Israel — Just inside Damascus Gate, the Old City here is brimming with hurried activity.

A boy carries a pallet filled with freshly baked bread, steam rising above it. Locals rip open the fresh loaves and sprinkle them with za’atar, a fragrant seasoning made of sesame seeds, thyme, salt and sumac.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Bread is delivered at the Old City market in Jerusalem on Friday, April 13, 2018.

Women sit on ancient cobblestone streets and sell grape leaves, sage and parsley. They weigh the herbs by placing a bag on the bottom of a hand-held scale.

The city bustles again as some answer the “Call to Prayer” and others follow the “Stations of the Cross.” Many here begin their day praying and touching the sacred Western Wall, while thousands more visit the Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Pilgrims carry a cross during Stations of the Cross in the Old City market in Jerusalem on Friday, April 13, 2018.

Into this city of kings and prophets comes President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, bringing a message of hope here to Jerusalem, part of a two-week tour that will span the globe.

“We want to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ,” said President Nelson, who arrived here Friday night from London with his wife Sister Wendy Nelson, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Patricia T. Holland, and others.

Because of the significance of its history, Jerusalem — located in the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia — becomes the central stop on President Nelson’s ministering tour that will also include stops in Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, Thailand, Hong Kong and Hawaii.

The walls surrounding the Old City were built almost 500 years ago, yet the markets inside those walls also bear the signs of a modern era. Air conditioning ductwork runs along the ancient quarters. And armed guards secure the area — a part of the world considered sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Guards and the threat of violence have been a part of the city for centuries as well, as conflicts continue to embroil the Middle East. Friday Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers along the border separating Gaza from Israel. And press reports note continuing Mideast tension as countries, including the United States and Israel, search for responses to the violence in war-torn Syria.

Yet the mission of the man revered as a prophet to 16 million members of the LDS Church is to focus attention on the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, who walked these streets, brought his Gospel to the world and whose disciples believe overcame death through …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Top stories


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