Bethlehem Bible College - April 2019 Update
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Bethlehem Bible College (BBC). They recently shared the following stories about their ministry and involvement in the local community in God’s mission in the world.
After the resurrection, Jesus met his disciples in Galilee where he gave them the Great Commission “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations ...” Matthew 28:16-20
The classic cross, pictured here, is seen throughout the Holy Land and is known as the Jerusalem cross. It is made from locally sourced olive wood and crafted by artisans in the Bethlehem area.
The shape of the cross has a deep historical and spiritual significance. The large cross represents Jesus. The four smaller ones represent the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – going out to the four corners of the world. Perhaps the most compelling symbolism found in this cross is that of the five wounds Jesus suffered during the crucifixion. Wounds to Christ’s hands and feet are represented in the small crosses and the large center cross represents the wound to Jesus’ side.
Today, the Jerusalem Cross calls Christians everywhere to continue to spread the word and love of our Lord Jesus all over the world. Therefore, this cross is especially meaningful to us.
In addition to teaching our local students, Bethlehem Bible College offers an online diploma in Biblical Studies. Our Arabic speaking online students are scattered across the globe, especially in the MENA (Middle East and Near Africa) region.
Hala Douqmq-Ghneim serves both the college and the surrounding community. A BBC alumna, Hala went from being a student to a librarian immediately upon graduation. The college needed someone to help organize and build a library for current and future students. Hala stepped in and transformed a library that was primarily Bible study books into one that includes a children’s book section, a reference room, and a much broader and deeper book selection.
Hala’s journey with BBC has been one of growth and grace. She describes her early days at the college as special and communal, “Dr. Bishara and Salwa always opened their home for us as students and staff, especially at Christmas time. We lived as a real family. We were concerned for each other and prayed for each other.” Hala shared what a blessing it has been to witness first-hand how the college has grown. When asked to describe one of the most important lessons she learned from her time at BBC, she answered, “Loving and being kind to people by shining the love of Christ in any situation.”
Through her faithful service to the college, Hala has impacted the lives of students and faculty daily. For many years, her steadfast presence has contributed to the larger mission of the college. People like Hala are the reason we are able to celebrate BBC’s 40 years of faithfulness!
BBC’s Visit to Serve Refugees in Jordan
Fourteen of Bethlehem Bible College’s students, along with the Head of the Shepherd Society Sari Ziedan and the Academic Dean Vice-President Gabriel Hanna, went to Jordan recently to serve among the Syrian refugees there. It is the tenth time that the Shepherd Society, along with BBC and with the help of the Alliance Church in Al-Mafraq, organized ministries to refugees in Jordan. The team showed the refugees love by standing with them in their pain, praying with them, and giving them basic supplies like food and blankets.
Sari Zeidan, the leader of the group, said that the seven days spent in Jordan were life-changing for the students and that they showed the love and light of Jesus to every refugee they met. “Our visits were amazing; people were very gracious, and what helped us the most was that the Alliance Church had built good relationships with the refugees, so they welcomed us.”
Sari added, “The refugees are losing hope. They have been in Jordan for a while. They can’t work, study, or travel, and they feel that life has given up on them. That was the hardest thing to hear from them. We tried our best to comfort them, listen to their stories and feel their pain.”
After the visits were over, the group had daily debriefings. Sari says that they were very challenging for him. “Every night we had debriefing and devotion; we shared the experiences of the day and how the visits affected us. We discussed the emotions we carried with us after each visit. Those debriefings were hard, and the students were very heartbroken. It was a challenge for me to help them feel better after such hard experiences.”
The group also helped at the school that belongs to the church. It has around 100 Syrian students, and they come and learn basic things for free. The group helped the teachers, made snacks, and assisted with activities for the students.
During the visit, the Shepherd Society helped two Syrian women who are starting a sewing project by giving them money to begin their own projects. We are so thankful for the great work the Shepherd Society is doing both in our community and with the refugees. Please keep them in your prayers, and may the Lord generously provide for all their needs.
Blessings from Bethlehem,
Rev. Dr. Jack Sara
President of Bethlehem Bible College
From Bethlehem Bible College:
Walk in the footsteps of Jesus by viewing the four videos that describe the journey of Jesus as he walked the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. Engage with the story and be challenged to embrace the life, teaching, death and resurrection of our Lord!
Read more about Bethlehem Bible College HERE.
The Outreach Foundation is seeking $2,000 per month to support the mission and ministry of Bethlehem Bible College. Make a gift HERE or by sending a check to The Outreach Foundation.