photo update from the past few weeks

18 february 2017

lame excuses

Things have been crazy the past few weeks and I really haven't been great keeping up this blog. Hopefully these pictures will suffice for my time off! See my full post entitled field trips and bucket lists if you want more reflections and insights about the places in the photos below. This post is a ton of photos and some (hopefully) brief descriptions. Side note: most of these photos were taken on the iPhone 7 Plus. Incredible camera.

egypt photos

selfie with the step pyramid

In the background, you can see the first pyramid ever built - the step pyramid of djoser! (I'm wearing the jacket because I got the flu just before heading to Egypt and my fever made me feel quite cold at times)

more of the step pyramid

inside a pyramid

It is an unforgettable experience to see and feel real hieroglyphs inside the underground complex of a pyramid.

selfie with a sphinx

I mean, why not?

finally, the pyramids of giza

This was my first view of these amazing, amazing buildings. They loom over the modern(ish) city of Giza.

clay at giza

My caption was, "look mom, two wonders of the world in one photo!" ...yeah, I think I'm funnier than I actually am.

more pyramids of giza

The jumping photo is a Coleman family tradition of sorts

the nile cruise

The Egyptian man piloting our boat (seen below) only had Akon on his iPod – we were surprised but not altogether opposed to it? We danced and laughed and enjoyed the scenery and the cool Nile breeze

our guide who loved akon

The white kid in this photo is Aaron Lewis, who's turning out to be one of my closest friends here in Jerusalem. Great guy.

sunset in Luxor

More sunset photos coming up later...

jerusalem photos

hiking through the Negev

every day, I have the privilege of studying the lives of the old testament israelites and then exploring the very parts of the world they knew. Here's a shot of the zin wilderness, the area the israelites wandered for 40 years after losing sight of the ability and willingness of their God to provide for them time after time. We got to hike through this beautiful canyon and experience a bit of what they lived! It's now a vivid memory and reminder to me to seek higher perspective before doubting the path that the Lord has placed me on.

the valley of elah

This is the valley between Azekah and Shochoh (see 1 Samuel 17), known as the valley of Elah, where David fought Goliath. We were standing at Azekah and had a beautiful view of the whole area!

the dome of the rock

This weekend, after visiting this absolutely INCREDIBLE and sacred site to Islam, I went into a small shop and met two hilarious Arab men. Initially, they were a bit standoffish with me, but after I attempted to speak my very basic Arabic with them, they instantly changed. They gave me wides smiles, joked with me and one even affectionately put his arm around me. One of them asked which country I am from; assuming some Palestinian attitudes towards the US can be less than positive, I was apprehensive as I answered, "America". His simple response caught me off guard. He smiled and said, "America! Good people from America!" in complete sincerity. I was touched and taken aback. I responded, "Well, some good and also some bad." (thinking specifically of our president and his newest policy of overgeneralization towards this man's people). He looked at me for a moment rather thoughtfully and then said, "You know, that's Arab people too. Some good, some bad." Though we could hardly communicate with language, in that moment, we understood one another. We both recognized that though there are many in our cultures who would harm and hurt and overgeneralize, so many others, like us, are striving for goodness and decency. I'll cherish the memory of that moment forever.

See a video of more art at the dome of the rock and some great Clay commentary here.


Meet Tommy - he's the son of one of my professors here at the Jerusalem Center and my newest buddy here in the Holy Land! One of the most fun parts about this program is that my professors and their families double as my church leaders and also as great competition in our morning basketball games. Tommy and I are super tight these days - today, he fell asleep in my arms on our field trip! Yet another reason I'm happy as I've ever been here!

sunset in Jerusalem

I saw this then literally ran through the Jerusalem Center getting kids to come out and see one of the most amazing sunsets I've ever seen. Happiness is best shared, right?

middle eastern patterns

Seen in this photo is the door of an early church. One of the coolest part of the middle east (this includes both Egypt and Israel) is that almost all of their sacred structures (mosques, synagogues, churches) are decorated with incredible and intricate patterns and geometrical designs! The video I linked above (and again here) shows more of these patterns at the Dome of the Rock.

pools of bethesda

Here is a semi-drenched Clay sitting on the wall that overlooks the pools of bethesda, where Jesus healed a man stricken with paralysis for 38 years. You can see behind me some steps that could have been where the lame would sit and wait. Because of the rain on that day, my friends and I were able to be here without a lot of tourists. I know that this is a place where the Son of God walked because of the quiet closeness to God I felt upon arriving there.

friends obsessed with portrait mode

This is Madeline Martin. She loves portrait mode on my phone; she felt bad for asking me to take so many of her that she said, "Clay, come get a picture with me!". Note the very awkward hand placement on my shoulder: prime evidence of the friend zone (it's mutual)

more friends obsessed with portrait mode

For Valentine's Day, a large group of students (around 60) bought tickets to see the Israeli Philharmonic. It was incredible! The violin soloist was absolutely breathtaking. The music director of the Jerusalem Center told me afterwards she's never heard anyone at any concert she's been to play that way. Anyways, this is my buddy Jake and I in our Zara jackets. We still didn't get dates though.


25 Feb 17

:):  these are brilliant! más!

29 Aug 18

AUBS:  dude i am so excited i found this website

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