“Dan Ball of Jerusalem,” Liahona, Apr. 1997, 13
What would it be like to live where Jesus lived—to walk the streets of Jerusalem or stand on the Mount of Olives?
Dan Ball knows. Dan, 10, and his family lived in Jerusalem for a year while his dad, Terry Ball, taught at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Dan’s favorite place in the Holy Land is the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus did much of his teaching. It is beautiful and green, and Dan loved to swim and look for crabs there with his younger brothers, Cody, 6, and Alex, 6. The Ball family took a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, just as Jesus and his Apostles did. While there, the family read about how Jesus walked on the water and calmed the waves (see Matt. 14:22–33).
Dan has also sat on the Mount of Beatitudes, near Galilee, and read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 5–7).
Another place Dan liked to go was the ancient city of Jericho. He loves the story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho and how the walls of that city crumbled when the children of Israel shouted and the priests blew rams’ horns (see Josh. 6). Dan also likes the story of when King Hezekiah, as a defense against possible attack from the Assyrian army, had a tunnel dug under Jerusalem to bring water into the city (see 2 Kgs. 20:20; 2 Chr. 32:1–4, 30). Dan even waded through the tunnel himself.
He learned about many events that occurred in and around Jerusalem as recorded in the Old and New Testaments; he also learned about Jerusalem from the Book of Mormon.
Dan, his brother Christopher, 16, and his sisters, Cami, 18, and Carla, 14, attended an international school in Jerusalem. They had friends from all over the world, including Jerusalem and nearby cities. Even though many of their school friends were not members of the Church, the Ball children know that Heavenly Father loves these children. The Balls learned about many cultures and religions, but they especially learned about the cultures of the Jewish and Palestinian people who live in the Holy Land.
Dan is trying very hard to follow the example that Jesus Christ has set for us. When he was eight years old, he was baptized because he knew that was what Jesus wanted him to do. He was baptized in the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (see Mark 1:4–11).
DeAnna, Dan’s mom, says that he worked very hard to prepare himself for baptism by learning more about the gospel and by studying the scriptures every night. “He was a wonderful example to his younger brothers,” she said.
Easter time was very special for Dan. He learned about Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter), when people waved palm branches to celebrate the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem (see John 12:12–13). Dan thought a lot about Jesus Christ and his Atonement, especially when he visited the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus suffered for the sins of the world (see Matt. 26:36–46; Luke 22:40–45). Dan also spent time at the Garden Tomb, where the Savior was buried after his crucifixion and where he was resurrected three days later (see John 19–20).
Living in Jerusalem helped Dan learn a lot about Jesus Christ. He says that the scriptures seem more real to him now, and his testimony is growing stronger every day.