JBU Life

A Blog By Students, For Students.

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Productivity
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Olivia, Meet Ireland
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Abila: Reflection on Worship
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Celebrating Independence–Jordanian Style
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Tasting History
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Respectful Disagreements
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The Dig’s What You Make It
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Pottery Reading
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Second Breakfast
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Field School: Registry

Productivity

Earbuds serve many purposes but, most importantly, they serve as a signal to the outside world that the wearer wants no human interaction. They are a sign to all: do not disturb. At least, that’s how I see them. If earbuds aren’t enough, surely the furrowed brows, the chattering of laptop keys and the tablecloth of books are enough to ward off any who dare distract us dedicated students. That’s why I am irritated when people try to strike up a conversation with my friend. I’ll spare the occasional smile and wave if I accidentally make eye contact with a[…]

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Olivia, Meet Ireland

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, to be precise, when I first touched down at Dublin Airport, it was a dark and stormy morning. It turned out the trip directors had not been lying about the copious amount of rain in Ireland, and the 50°F weather was a big change from the sweltering 90°F August heat I had left behind me in Arkansas. As I would soon be told by a local in Belfast, the common saying in Ireland is that it’s either about to rain, raining or just finished raining. This provides the “Emerald Isle” with its[…]

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Abila: Reflection on Worship

Forty kilometers from raging conflict, bombings, and displaced people in Syria, peace that surpassed all understanding settled in my soul as our excavation team worshipped Christ at an ancient Byzantine church in Abila, Jordan. I came on the Jordan Studies trip two years ago as a Bible and Theology student. This season, I was asked to serve as the camp manager and assistant chaplain, now as a JBU alum. At the time I accepted the position, I was unaware that I would be given the opportunity to preach at one of our Vespers services, let alone preach at the final[…]

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Celebrating Independence–Jordanian Style

Due to previous stints abroad, I’ve had the opportunity to celebrate the 4th of July away from the patriotic enthusiasm of the United States before, but the 4th of July of 2018 was definitely a new experience for me. In Jordan, there are no fireworks stands by the roadside or American flags in the stores. It can be easy to forget about the holiday when you’re 6,695 miles away from the U.S.: there’s work at the dig site, pottery reading, and homework still to be done. But Americans can still have an amazing celebration wherever we are in the world![…]

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Tasting History

“You know, I never thought I’d lick a bone.” This was all I heard the first few days at the dig site. Many people expressed the same thought, while I silently disagreed; somehow, I knew that someday, somewhere I would be licking a bone. “Why in the world are you licking bones at Abila?” you might ask. Well, if a bone sticks to your tongue, it’s over 500 years old. In archaeology, that can give you a pretty good idea of when the area you are digging in was occupied by someone or something. For someone who has been interested[…]

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Respectful Disagreements

Before I started going to John Brown University, all the Christians in my life seemed to think the same way. I wasn’t really confronted with opinions that drastically differed from my own. Once I came to John Brown University, however, I learned that people do not always have to think the same way. I personally believe that it is through disagreements that we actually come to better ideas, because no one can be right at all times. When disagreeing with someone, it is important to remain respectful. Here are a few tips for when disagreements come up: Actually listen to[…]

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The Dig’s What You Make It

“Okay,” I told myself as I looked out over Area B of the Abila site for the first day of excavation. “It’s Indiana Jones time.” The gray light of dawn was just coming, giving everything—the squares, the tells, and even the goats and sheep on the hill across the narrow valley—a hazy image. In the cool, crisp morning it was easy to imagine that I could actually do this; I could be a little bit like Indiana Jones, or Benjamin Gates from National Treasure, or even Alan Grant from the original Jurassic Park film. Just a little. When I first[…]

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Pottery Reading

During my freshman year of college, I took a Gateway class with Dr. Vila. On the first day, he shared a slideshow with photos of Abila. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to come to Jordan. Since arriving two weeks ago, I’ve been excavating Square 22 of Area AA, uncovering ancient Roman walls. While excavating is exciting, the real reward is learning about the former inhabitants of Abila themselves through the artifacts they left behind. Each morning, my square partner Kari and I fill plastic buckets with pottery to take back to camp. Dr. Susan, our area supervisor,[…]

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Second Breakfast

Posting from the Abila Archaeological Project.  “Break!” Dr. Susan announces. Excavators drop their picks and scurry up ladders. Wheelbarrows screech to a stop. Empty guffas tumble over stone walls. Binders full of top plans snap shut. We all know what Dr. Susan’s words mean: it’s food time. Members of the Abila crew unzip backpacks and pull out sack lunches packed by the camp chef—flat bread, a hardboiled egg, an orange, a tomato and a triangle slab of cheese wrapped in foil. Jordanian team members trail toward their resting spot—the shaded gap between the wall of a Byzantine church and what we[…]

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Field School: Registry

Posting from the Abila Archaeological Project.  My favorite room at camp is the registry. In layman’s terms, it’s where cool stuff gets sorted and documented. During field school, dozens of JBU students crammed into the registry for a training session. They clustered around desks covered with Munsell soil charts, rulers, pail tags and microscopes. Peter, our resident priest and registrar, explained that archaeology is destruction, purposeful demolition for the sake of learning. Because the sediment and artifacts we uncover can never be returned to their original state, documenting our work with great care is critical to honoring history. After providing[…]

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